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Tirmidhi s1.92: Tayammum for a junub
By Mft. M. Saifur Rahman Nawhami
10 Ram, 1443 AH / 11 Apr, 2022 CE
Research by Ust. Mashrufa bt. Shoeb

If ghusl is compulsory upon a person and they do not have access to water, they will do tayammum. There is ijmā' upon this. Some have discouraged tayammum for ghusl to dissuade people from using the ruling as a way of avoiding ghusl; not due to it being disallowed. As long as water is unavailable or inaccessible irrespective of the length of time, tayammum is permitted similar to wudu as an alternative purifier or enabler for worship which requires ritual cleanliness. When water is accessible to use, tayammum will break. Imam Tirmidi asserts that the reports that tayammum being 'tahur' and 'wadu' are both reliable albeit to varying degrees.


حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ بَشَّارٍ، وَمَحْمُودُ بْنُ غَيْلاَنَ، قَالاَ حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو أَحْمَدَ الزُّبَيْرِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ، عَنْ خَالِدٍ الْحَذَّاءِ، عَنْ أَبِي قِلاَبَةَ، عَنْ عَمْرِو بْنِ بُجْدَانَ، عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏"‏ إِنَّ الصَّعِيدَ الطَّيِّبَ طَهُورُ الْمُسْلِمِ وَإِنْ لَمْ يَجِدِ الْمَاءَ عَشْرَ سِنِينَ فَإِذَا وَجَدَ الْمَاءَ فَلْيُمِسَّهُ بَشَرَتَهُ فَإِنَّ ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ ‏"‏‏.‏

وَقَالَ مَحْمُودٌ فِي حَدِيثِهِ ‏"‏ إِنَّ الصَّعِيدَ الطَّيِّبَ وَضُوءُ الْمُسْلِمِ ‏"‏.‏

قَالَ وَفِي الْبَابِ عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ وَعَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَمْرٍو وَعِمْرَانَ بْنِ حُصَيْنٍ.‏

قَالَ أَبُو عِيسَى وَهَكَذَا رَوَى غَيْرُ وَاحِدٍ عَنْ خَالِدٍ الْحَذَّاءِ عَنْ أَبِي قِلاَبَةَ عَنْ عَمْرِو بْنِ بُجْدَانَ عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ ‏.‏ وَقَدْ رَوَى هَذَا الْحَدِيثَ أَيُّوبُ عَنْ أَبِي قِلاَبَةَ عَنْ رَجُلٍ مِنْ بَنِي عَامِرٍ عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ وَلَمْ يُسَمِّهِ ‏.‏

قَالَ وَهَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ صَحِيحٌ. ‏

وَهُوَ قَوْلُ عَامَّةِ الْفُقَهَاءِ أَنَّ الْجُنُبَ وَالْحَائِضَ إِذَا لَمْ يَجِدَا الْمَاءَ تَيَمَّمَا وَصَلَّيَا ‏.‏ وَيُرْوَى عَنِ ابْنِ مَسْعُودٍ أَنَّهُ كَانَ لاَ يَرَى التَّيَمُّمَ لِلْجُنُبِ وَإِنْ لَمْ يَجِدِ الْمَاءَ ‏.‏ وَيُرْوَى عَنْهُ أَنَّهُ رَجَعَ عَنْ قَوْلِهِ فَقَالَ يَتَيَمَّمُ إِذَا لَمْ يَجِدِ الْمَاءَ ‏.‏ وَبِهِ يَقُولُ سُفْيَانُ الثَّوْرِيُّ وَمَالِكٌ وَالشَّافِعِيُّ وَأَحْمَدُ وَإِسْحَاقُ

Muhammad b. Bashshar + Mahmud b. Ghaylan -> Abu Ahmad Zubayri -> Sufyan -> Khalid Hazza' -> Abu Qilabah -> Amr b. Bujdan -> Abu Zarr -> The Prophet ﷺ

Clean earth is a purifier for the believer even if they do not find water1 for ten years. Then if they find water, they should let it touch their skin2 for indeed that3 is good4 .

Mahmud [b. Ghaylan] in his report stated, "Indeed pure earth is the wadu (ablution water) of the believer".

On this issue, there are reports from: Abu Hurayrah RA, Abdullah b. Amr RA5 and Imran b. Husain.

This is how it has been reported by more than one [narrator] from Khalid b. Hazza -> Abu Qilabah -> Abu Amr b. Bujdan [of Banu Abu Amir] -> Abu Zarr. This hadith has [also] been narrated from Ayyub -> Abu Qilabah -> a man from Banu Amir -> Abu Zarr. [The man narrating from Abu Zarr] is not named.

This hadith is hasan sahih.

This is the view of the fuqaha in general. In that a person [in need of a bath due to being] in the state of janabah and haid, if they cannot find water, they will do tayammum and pray salah. It is reported from Ibn Mas'ud RA that he did not consider tayammum [to be necessary] for a person in the state of janabah if they could not access water. It is also narrated from [Ibn Mas'ud] that he retracted this view and said that they should do tayammum if they could not find water. This6 is what was stated by Sufyan Thawri, Malik, Shafi'i, Ahmad, and Ishaq.


جنب / Janabah is a state requiring ghusl (ritual bath) due to intercourse or ejaculation.7 Janabah is an exemplar and the ruling extends to any case in which a person requires ghusl such as a woman in the state of hayd (menstruation) or nifas (lochia).

صعيد / Lit: soil, earth / The root word means to rise similar to dust. Linguists such as Tha'labi et al.8 state that "sa'id" means 'surface of the earth' and this is indicative in the ayat (18:40), 'فَتُصْبِحَ صَعيداً زَلَقاً' (barren land). This is agreed, however, jurists are conflicted about whether 'earth' is limited to soil only or does it extend to anything made of earth such as rocks, limestone, mud wall etcetera. The latter is the view of the Ahnaf9 and the Malikiyyah keeping to the generality of the ayat (4:43) and hadith. The former is the view of the Shawafi, Hanabilah and Imam Abu Yusuf keeping to the description of Abdullah b. Abbas as 'rising soil'10 .

طيب / Lit: pure / Meaning it is free of impurity (najasat)11 such as soil that has not been urinated upon or wine poured on it.

إن لم يجد الماء / Lit: if water is not found / This encompasses a few scenarios. There is actually no water within a reasonable distance of travel. It is available but not accessible such as a prisoner denied water close by. It is accessible but not sufficient such as there is only sufficient water for survival but not enough to wudu or ghusl. The reason being that which is required for necessity is as if unavailable.12 In all these cases tayammum will be allowed as technically water is unavailable for wudu or ghusl.

عشر سنين / Lit: ten years / This is a figure of speech indicating a long time rather than stating a time limit. Theoretically, it is possible to repeat tayammum for more than ten years if in all that time there is only sufficient water for survival. The 'ten years' clause is the evidence Imam Tirmidhi RA is using to establish that a person requiring a bath will be allowed to do tayammum as it will be likely required within such a long period.

فليمسه بشرته / Lit: Then touch [the water] to their skin / If enough water is available that they can just about touch the water to their skin and only do the essentials of wudu or ghusl, their tayammum will become void; they will be required to wash.

فان ذلك خير / Lit: Indeed that is good / Goodness is the only option, hence, tayammum is not a choice and washing is mandatory. In another narration, instead of 'khayr' there is 'إن ذلك طهور' - indeed (washing) is cleansing.

طهور / Lit: cleanliness / According to the shariah ṭahārah is the removal of hadath (internal impurity) or khabath (external impurity). This is according to the Ahnaf, they apply the term irrespective of whether it is related to ṣalāh or not. The Shawafiʿlimit the definition of ṭahārah to removing any impurity which is a barrier to ṣalāh. The Malikiyyah limit the definition further and confine it to the removal of hadath (internal impurity). The Hanafiyyah will suggest the meaning of 'tahur' here is 'wadu' whilst the Shawafi take the meaning at face value.

وضوء / Lit: water / The letter waw has a fath (ــَــ) which refers to that which is used to cleanse. In wudu this is water. It could mean earth is subordinate to water. It could also mean earth is an agent to attain taharah (remove the impediment to salah).

Usul Hadith

Muhammad b. Bashshar (d. 252)13 and Mahmud b. Ghaylan (d. 239 AH)14 are reliable. Both of them narrate this report from Abu Ahmad Muhammad b. Abdullah Zubayri (203 AH)15 . Zubayri is honest but occasionally makes mistakes. Imam Nasai said that his narrations are okay.

There is a difference among his students in this report. Muhammad b. Bashshar states 'tahur' and Mahmud b. Ghaylan states 'wudu'. The apparent meaning is not significantly different, however, there is some implication in fiqh. Imam Ahmad16 reports, 'wudu' directly via Zubayri. Imam Abu Dawud 17 via Khalid Hazza to Abu Zarr RA also reports, 'wudu'. Imams Bazzar18 , Hakim Nishapuri19 , and Daraqutni20 also narrates the same via Khalid Hazza21 .

The Sufyan in this narration is Sufyan Thawri (97-161 AH)22 and not Sufyan b. Uyainah (107-198 AH). Zubayri's teacher is Thawri. Also, there are two links between Imam Tirmidhi and Sufyan which is usually indicative of it being Sufyan Thawri as opposed to when there is one link.23 . Both Sufyans are reliable.

Khalid b. Mihran (d. 142),24 was also called Hazza (the cobbler) because he used to hold gatherings in the cobblers' market.25 . Some26 have criticised his reports in the latter stages after he came to Basrah and took up an official government post. Imam Zahabi rejects the criticism and describes him as an Imam, Hafiz, thiqah (reliable) and among the notable scholars.27 This is the view of the majority including Imams Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Nasai amongst others.

Abu Qilabah Abdullah b. Zayd (d. 104 c).28 Imam Zahabi calls him 'shaykhul islam'. He is reliable and cautious in hadith. At times he would do irsal (drop a narrator in the chain). For instance, he narrated from Hisham b. Amir and Umar b. Khattab RA without stating his source. However, he did not do tadlis (hide a narrator).29 One of the differences between irsal and tadlis is that in irsal it is obvious someone is not named.30 He bequeathed all his collection to his student, the great authority in hadith, Ayyub Sakhtiyani RA.31

Imam Tirmidhi highlights a form of irsal by Abu Qilabah. Multiple chains report this hadith from Abu Qilabah who narrates from Abu Zarr via Amr b. Bujdan Amiri. Amr is from the Banu Amir.32 Ayyub reports with the same chain from Abu Qilabah except he states, 'A man from Banu Amir' instead of saying 'Amr b. Bujdan Amiri'.

Amr b. Bujdan Amiri33 is a tabi. Not much is known about him and only Abu Qilabah narrates from him due to which Imam Zahabi classes him as majhul al-hal. Most when noting him do not criticise nor praise him. Imam Bukhari discusses him in his Tarikh34 without criticism. That does necessarily not say that he is unreliable. Ibn Hibban and Ahmad Ijli include him in their respective thiqat (book of reliable narrators). Abu Hasan Ahmad Ijli states that he is reliable.35

Imam Tirmidhi states that the hadith is hasan sahih. This is verified in multiple manuscripts. In some copies,36 sahih is omitted.

All of the narrators in the chain are reliable. The hadith is hasan or sahih. Hasan if one has reservations on Zubayri or Amr and sahih if one considers them acceptable.

Alternatively, it can be said that Mahmud b. Ghaylan's narration which contains 'wadu' is sahih as it is corroborated by other narrations. Whilst Muhammad b. Bashashar's narration which contains 'tahur' is hasan as it not so prevalent. Both narrations are from Zubayri who occasionally errs.

It could be that the classification of hasan sahih is for his primary narration which contains 'tahur'. He wants to illustrate that is also reliable.

Fiqh Hadith

The following discussion arises from the hadith:

  • Tayammum for a junubi
  • Tayammum being a cleanser or enabler

Tayammum for a junubi

Tayammum will be done by a person upon whom ghusl is compulsory and they cannot access water. There is ijmā' on this matter. The ayat is general and the narration in Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud are emphatically more clear on the issue. There is the suggestion that Umar RA and Abdullah b. Masud RA may have considered tayammum not being allowed for a person requiring ghusl. Imam Tirmidhi states that Ibn Masud RA retracted his view. However, rather than retraction, their position could have been of allowance, but due to external consideration, they disapproved as is alluded to in Sahih Bukhari.37 . At times Umar RA, Abdullah b. Masud RA and other jurists would answer as a way of blocking the means to other sins (سدا للذرائع). This is an acceptable practice. In any event ijma on the matter is intact.

Tayammum being a cleanser or enabler

According to the Hanafiyyah and Malikiyyah, tayammum is a replacement for wudu so it is also a remover of najasat (wadu). This is alluded to by the transmission of Mahmud b. Ghaylan and most of the related narrations which describe tayammum as 'wadu'. Hence, with a single tayammum one may read multiple salahs and other acts of worship which require cleanliness. The limits differ between these two mazhabs. The Hanafiyyah allow tayammum to continue similar to normal wudu and breaks either with the breakers of wudu or when water is found. The Malikiyyah consider tayammum like the ma'zur person's wudu, hence, it breaks at ends at the end of each salah time in addition to the aforementioned causes.

According to the Shawafi', tayammum is an enabler for salah and not necessarily a cleanser. This is alluded to by the transmission of Muhammad b. Bashshar which describes tayammum as 'tahur' and their understanding of tahur is that which enables salah as opposed to us. Meaning a person is given a temporary reprieve to pray salah without necessarily gaining cleanliness. Hence, based on the principle of limited allowance for necessity (ضرورة تقدر بقدرها), each tayammum will only allow the salah for which tayammum was done.


Further reading

Maʿarif al-Sunan li Yusuf Binnori Mustafad min Shaykhi Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri. 1413 AH. Karachi, Pakistan. H. M. Saeed Company. pp. 405 – 408 v.1

Tuhaful Ahwazi li Abdur Rahman Mubarakpuri. Dar al-Fikr pp. 387-389 v.1

  • 1As in water to do wudhu or ghusl. Hence, if they have water for drinking and survival but not enough for wudhu, it is equivalent to them not having water.
  • 2do wudhu or ghusl
  • 3washing
  • 4As in it is mandatory if they wish to do any actions which require ritual purity. Tayammum becomes void when water becomes available
  • 5Musnad Ahmad
  • 6As in tayammum being required for a person who does not have access to water and needs a ritual bath
  • 7The criterion of with or without shahwah (pleasure) is disputed. According to the Hanfiyyah it is a requirement and according to the shawafi it is not.
  • 8Sihah li Jawhawi
  • 9Bada'i v.1 p.53
  • 10التراب المنبت
  • 11Fath al-Bari v.1 p.447
  • 12Similar to the case when calculating zakat and factoring necessary costs.
  • 13Tahzib li Ibn Hajar v. 9 p. 70 and Siyar li Zahabi v. 12 p. 144
  • 14Tahzib li Ibn Hajar v. 10 p. 64 and Siyar li Zahabi v. 12 p. 223
  • 15Tahzib li Ibn Hajar v. 9 p. 254 and Siyar li Zahabi v. 9 p. 529
  • 16Musnad Ahmad v.25 p.448
  • 17Sunan Abu Dawud v.1 p.246
  • 18Musnad Bazzar v.9 p. 387
  • 19Mustadrak Sahihayn Hakim v.1 p.284. Imam Zahabi concurs that it is sahih.
  • 20v.1 p. 347
  • 21In this chain of Bazzar the narrator is unsure about 'Muslim' or 'Mumin' however, most of the other narrations from Abu Zarr RA states, 'Muslim'.
  • 22Tahzib li Asqalani v.4 p.111 & Siyar v.7 p. 229
  • 23See Turki, M. 1422. Tamyiz al-Muhmal bayna Sufyanayn
  • 24Siyar v.6 p. 190 and Tahzib li Asqalani v.5 p.120
  • 25Siyar v.6 p. 192
  • 26Isma'il b. Ulayya et al.
  • 27Ibid
  • 28Siyar v.4 p.468 and Tahzib li Asqalani v.5 p.224
  • 29Siyar v.4 p.473
  • 30See Nuzhat al-Nazzr li Asqalani
  • 31Tabaqat b. Sad v. p.138. ادفعوا كتبي إلى أيوب إن كان حيا
  • 32Tarikh Kabir v.6 p.317
  • 33Tahzib li Asqalani v.8 p.7
  • 34Tarikh Kabir v.6 p.317
  • 35Tarikh al-thiqat v.2 p. 172
  • 36Tuhfat al-Ahwazi and Sharh b. Sayyid al-Nas
  • 37Bukhari #347
  • Type: Note

  • Subject: Hadith, Sunan Tirmidhi

  • Author: M. Saifur Rahman Nawhami

  • Collection: Notebook

  • ID: 220315501

  • Updated: 05-November-2023