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The meaning of Tahaarah (Purification) by Shaykh Uthaymeen

Question: What is الطّهارَةُ at-Tahaarah?

Answer: At-Tahaarah means النّظافةُ cleanliness and النّزاهةُ purity. In the legislation (religion) At-Taaharah is of two types:

Tahaarah ma’anawiyyah and
Tahaarah Hisiyyah

1. معنوية ma’anawiyyah; that which relates to purity and cleanliness in the spiritual or non-physical sense. This type refers to the purity of the heart from shirk, innovation in worship, hatred, envy and other than this from those dealings with the servants of Allah which they are not deserving of.

2. As for حسية Hisiyyah; then it is the purification of the body and this also has two categories:

– Removal of a characteristic which prevents one from prayer and it’s like from those matters which require purification. (i.e. Wudhoo and ghusl)

– Removal of al-khabath (i.e. removal of impurities from the body, clothing or place of prayer)

So we will speak firstly about the purification which is ma’anawiyyah and it is the purification of the heart from shirk and innovation and that which is related to the rights of Allah. This is the greatest of the two types of purification and for this all worship is built upon. Not any form of worship is accepted from a person whose heart is contaminated with shirk. And no form of innovation which a person seeks to draw near to Allah is accepted and while it is from that which Allah has not legislated. Allah the most high says:

وَمَا مَنَعَهُمْ أَن تُقْبَلَ مِنْهُمْ نَفَقَاتُهُمْ إِلَّا أَنَّهُمْ كَفَرُوا بِاللَّهِ وَبِرَسُولِهِ

“And nothing prevents their contributions from being accepted from them except that they disbelieved in Allah and in His Messenger”

And the Prophet ﷺ said:

“Whoever does an action that is not in accordance with our affair is rejected”

Based on this, the one who worships others besides Allah with major shirk (his) worship is not accepted even if he prays, fasts, pays zakat, and makes hajj. Whoever invokes others besides Allah or worships other than Allah his worship is not accepted even if he is devoted in worship to Allah being sincere in that so long as he has committed major shirk from another angle. For this reason Allah described the mushriks as impure. Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنَّمَا الْمُشْرِكُونَ نَجَسٌ فَلَا يَقْرَبُوا الْمَسْجِدَ الْحَرَامَ بَعْدَ عَامِهِمْ هَٰذَا وَإِنْ خِفْتُمْ عَيْلَةً فَسَوْفَ يُغْنِيكُمُ اللَّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ إِن شَاءَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

O you who believe! Verily, the polytheists, (pagans, idolaters,) are Najasun (impure). So let them not come near Al-Masjid-al-Haram (at Makkah) after this year, and if you fear poverty, Allah will enrich you if He will, out of His Bounty. Surely, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.

And the Prophet has negated impurity from the believer when he said:

“Indeed the believer is not impure”

And this is what the believer must have a great concern for in order that he purifies his heart from this.

Also he (must) purify his heart from hatred, envy, animosity and dislike for the believers because all of these matters are from the blameworthy and dispraised characteristics that are not from the character of the believer. The believer is the brother of the believer, he does not dislike him, he is not abusive towards him, and he does not envy him. Rather he hopes good for his brother just as he hopes good for himself. Even the Messenger ﷺ negated (complete) faith from the one who doesn’t desire for his brother what he desires for himself. As the prophet ﷺ said:

“None of you has complete faith until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself”

We see many people are from the people of good, worship, piety, abstinence and they frequent the masajid to maintain them with recitation (of Quran), remembrance and prayer, but they have a hatred or disdain for some of their muslim brothers or (even) jealousy for the one who Allah has bestowed His blessing upon. And this disrupts much of what they practice in (their) worship of Allaah. Therefore it is a must for each of us to purify his heart from these defiled blemishes in relation to our muslim brothers.

Fiqh al-Ibaadaat pg. 112-113

Translated by Abu Anas Atif Hasan