The ablution with nabidh
The Imamis are agreed - following the Imams from the family of Muhammad (P) - on the prerequisite of purity of the water [used] for wudu and ghusl whether a person is at home or on a journey. They also agree that if getting water is difficult, then the mukallaf is required to do the tayammum on pure earth. This is the view of al-Shafi'i, Malik, Ahmad and others.
Imam Abu Hanifa and Sufyan al-Thawri have allowed the wudu and ghusl with the nabidh of dates when travelling, if there is no water. Al-Hasan al-Basri, Abu 'Aliya and Rafi'i b. Mihran see it as an abominable act. 'Ata' b. Abu Ribah says: "The tayammum is more beloved to me than performing the wudu with milk and yogurt." Al-Awza'i allowed the wudu and ghusl with all types of nabidh, in fact with all forms of pure liquid.
The proof for the Imamis and one who agrees with them on this question, in addition to the practical principles (al-usul al-'amaliyya) - is the book of God, the Almighty and Glorious, and the sunna of His Prophet (S.A.W.) and the consensus of the umma.
As for the book of God, it is His saying: "If you do not find water then [use] the pure earth and wipe on your faces and hands." [This is a proof as] He commanded the tayammum when there is no water; He did not give any [other] alternative apart from it (the water) and the pure earth.
As for the Sunni, his (P) saying "the pure earth is the wudu of a Muslim if he does not find water" is sufficient for us. Like the verse, the hadith is clear and there is no other alternative.
As for the consensus, the people of the qibla, all of them, are of one view. One who disagrees with it has rare views, goes against the ijma' of the Muslims, the rare views are not to be considered, it is like the rare view of one who says that the wudu with sea water is not permitted, for example.
Abu Hanifa, al-Thawri and those who agreed with them argued based on what was reported from Ibn Mas'ud from two chains of transmission:
1) On the authority of al-'Abbas b. al-Walid b. Sabih al-Khallal al-Dimashqi from Marwan b. Muhammad al-Tatari al-Dimashqi from 'Abd Allah b. Lahi'a from Qays b. al-Hajjaj from Hanash al-Sana'i from 'Abd Allah b. 'Abbas from Ibn Mas'ud who said: "The Prophet of God (P) said to him on the night of Jinn: 'Do you have water?' He replied: "No, only nabidh in the water vessel (satiha)." The Prophet of God (S.A.W.) said: "The good date and pure water, pour it on me." He said: 'I poured it on him and he performed the wudu with that.'"
Muhammad b. Yazid b. Maja al-Qazwini reported this hadith by this chain in the chapter of the wudu by al-nabidh in his Sunan. To the best of my knowledge, apart from him, none of the Sunan writers have reported by this chain because of the thick darkness enveloping it. Al-'Abbas b. al-Walid was not considered to be reliable or trustworthy. The scholars of the "wounding and authenticating" have not mentioned him. Abu Dawud was asked of him - as reported in Mizan al-I'tidal - and he said: "He was aware of the transmitters of traditions and the traditions [yet] nothing is reported from him." You know that they omitted him because of his weakness. As for his teacher, Marwan b. Muhammad al-Tatari, he was amongst the Murji'ites gone astray. Al-'Uqayli mentioned him in his book [entitled] 'Weak Reporters'. Ibn Hazm has clearly declared his weakness, you will know all of this in his biographical profile in the Mizan al-I'tidal.
Moreover, his teacher 'Abd Allah b. Lahi'a is one of those who has been considered weak by their Imams in the wounding and authentication. So refer to their views concerning his status in the collection of the biographical profiles like Mizan al-I'tidal and others. You will find that he has been considered weak by Ibn Mu'in and Ibn Sa'id and others. Apart from the three men of this path there are other shortcomings which we do not need to elucidate on.
As for the second path of the chains of hadith, it ends with Abu Zayd, the client of 'Amr b. Harith from 'Abd Allah b. Mas'ud: "The Prophet of God (P) said to him on the night of Jinn: 'Do you have [anything] pure?' He said: 'No, except a little bit of nabidh in the pot.' He said: 'The pure date and pure water, so he performed the wudu.'"
Ibn Maja', al-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud have reported this. The words "so he performed the wudu" are not in Abu Dawud's work. This hadith is invalid by this chain also; just as it is invalid by the first chain. It is sufficient for you to know that it is invalid [by the fact that] its revolves on Abu Zayd, the client of 'Amr b. Harith, who is not known to the people of hadith, as al-Tirmidhi and others have written. Al-Dhahabi has mentioned him in the section of kuna (patronymics) in his Mizan and has stated that he is not known, that he reported from Ibn Mas'ud and that his traditions are not correct. Al-Bukhari has mentioned him to be amongst the weak ones. The text of his hadith is: "The Prophet of God (S.A.W.) performed the wudu with nabidh." Al-Hakim said: "He is an unknown person. He does not have [any other] hadith, it is invalid."
In short, the past scholars have considered this hadith to be weak in both its chains. Moreover, it contradicts what has been reported by al-Tirmidhi in his Sahih and by Abu Dawud in his chapter of the wudu in his Sunan. All the Imams have verified it from 'Alqama that he asked Ibn Mas'ud: "Who amongst you was with the Prophet of God on the night of Jinn?" He said: "None of us was with him."
Assuming it (the tradition) is correct and it did not contradict it, the verse on tayammum would apogate it since the night of Jinn occurred in Mecca before the emigration. The verse on tayammum is Medinese without any dispute.
It is permissible to interpret the hadith - assuming it is correct - that, with the water, there was a little dry date in the pot. The water did not lose its purity nor did it lose it's attribute [of being] water.
Al-Awza'i and al-Asam and those who have agreed with them have argued that the wudu and ghusl can be performed with all pure liquids and that Allah, the Almighty, only ordered the washing and wiping. Just as they can be performed by pure water they can [also] be done by other pure liquids.
The answer: Allah, the Almighty and Glorious, has made the tayammum compulsory when water is not available. Allowing the wudu without it (water) would invalidate it (the wudu). This is what makes the washing commanded in the verse conditional upon [there being] water as is obvious, praise be to Allah for the understanding.
Perhaps the Hanafis allowed the wudu with yogurt mixed with water, as is reported from them, by relying on what al-Awza'i and al-Asam Hatim b. Unwan al-Balkhi relied upon.
This is what Allah has made easy for His slave and the son of His slaves, 'Abd al-Husayn b. al-Sharif Yusuf b. al-Jawad b. Isma'il b. Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Sharaf al-Din Ipahim b. Zayn al-'Abidin b. 'Ali Nur al-Din b. Nur al-Din 'Ali b. al-Husayn Al Abu'l-Hasan al-Musawi al-'Amili, all praises be to Allah , the Lord of the Universe.
Adapted from: "Questions on Jurisprudence" by: "Abdul Hussein Shareefaldin Al-Musawi"
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