Question # 133: One of my friend just underwent a surgery and he is in the hospital. He is not in a position to get off from his bed to perform wudu or reach soil/sand to perform Tayammum. What should he do in such a position to offer salah?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: The sa’id or earth which is stipulated for the validity of Tayammum is pure or clean dust and things that belong to the earth such as sand, stones, and milled or ground stones. However, if it is not easy for an ill person to find dust for his Tayammum, he can wipe the dust over the wall beside him or on the ground if it is not made of wood and use this dust for his Tayammum. It does not matter if the wall is made of clay or stone, plastered with oil or not. Further, if he is confined to bed and cannot access dust to perform Tayammum, or cannot change his impure clothes, his prayer will be sufficient, even if it is performed without Tayammum or in impure clothes. 

Long Answer: The sa’id or earth which is stipulated for the validity of Tayammum is pure or clean dust and things that belong to the earth such as sand, stones, and milled or ground stones. Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says in the Qur’an: “… perform Tayammum with clean earth …” (Soorah an-Nisa’a, 4:43) Lexicologists have unanimously maintained that the Arabic term “sa’id” (translated in the Qur’anic quotation as “earth”) refers to (the material constituting) the surface of the earth whether it consists of dust or anything else. Accordingly, if it is not easy for an ill person to find dust for his Tayammum, he can wipe the dust over the wall beside him or on the ground if it is not made of wood and use this dust for his Tayammum. (‘Simplified Islamic Jurisprudence’ by Abdul-Fattah)

[As for] the permissibility of making Tayammum with a wall, Ibn ‘Abbas (رضي الله عنه) narrated, “’Abdullah ibn Yasar, the client of Maymoonah (رضي الله عنها), the wife of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) and I went to Abu Juhaym ibn al-Harith ibn as-Simmah al-Ansari. Abu al-Juhaym said, ‘The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was returning from Bir Jamal (close to Madeenah) and a man met him and greeted him. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) did not return the greetings until he turned to a wall (with his hands) and wiped his face and hands and then he returned his greetings.'” (Recorded by Bukhari (without its complete chain), Muslim, Abu Dawood and an-Nasá’i)

Dr. Abdul-Azeem Badawi writes in his book: “It matters not if the wall is made of clay or stone, plastered with oil or not. This is what our Shaykh al-Albani has concluded to me. Then he said, ‘And your Lord does not forget.’” (‘The Concise Presentation of the Fiqh of the Sunnah and the Noble Book by Dr. Abdul-Azeem Badawi)

In reply to a question, Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “A wall is considered to be of good earth, so if the wall is made from earth, whether it be rock or clay, i.e., mud bricks, then it is permissible to perform Tayammum on it. However, if the wall is covered with wood or paint, but there is dust on it, he may perform Tayammum on it and there is no sin in that. He will be like one who made Tayammum on the ground, because dust is from the material of the earth. But if there is no dust on it, then it is not from the earth, and he may not make Tayammum on it. Regarding the mattress, we say: If there is dust on it, then he may make Tayammum on it, but if there is not, then he may not do so, because it is not of earth. (Fatawa Arkanul-Islam)

Imam Abu Hanifah regarded it as permissible to do tayammum with smooth rocks surfaces, plastered walls and clay made from pure mud. The same applies if one strikes a cloth and dust rises. (Badaa’i’ al-Sanaa’i’; al-Taaj wa’l-Ilkeel; al-Mawsoo’ah al-Fihqiyyah) (Islamqa.info)

Dr. Salih AI-Fawzan writes “A person might happen to be detained in hospital where he is confined to a bed that he can not leave to pray, or cannot change the impure clothes he wears, or cannot find pure earth to perform Tayammum (dry ablution) instead of ablution to pray. Some ignorant people in this case defer prayer on the pretext that they will perform it later when possible. In fact, this is a grave mistake and a means of missing prayer whose reason is unawareness and lack of juristic consultation. What they have to do is to perform prayer at its specified times regardless of their states. Their prayer will be sufficient, even if it is performed without Tayammum or in impure clothes; Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says: “So fear Allah as much as you are able…” (Soorah At-Taghabun, 64:16) (‘AI-Mulakhkhas AI-Fiqhi’ by Dr. Salih AI-Fawzan)

Whoever cannot get water or soil may pray in whatever state he is in, and he will not have to repeat his prayer later. This is based on what Muslim related from ‘Aishah. She had borrowed some jewelry from ‘Asma and it broke (and fell). The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) sent some people to search for it. The prayer time came and they had to pray without ablution. When they came to the Prophet, they complained to him and the verses of Tayammum were revealed. Usaid ibn Huzhair said, “May Allah give you good recompense. Allah never reveals an order with respect to you except that He removes by it some hardship and gives the Muslims some benefit.” The companions prayed while in a state of impurity, but the Prophet did not admonish them nor did he order them to repeat their prayers. Says an-Nawawi, “That is the strongest statement of proof (on this question).” (‘Fiqh Us-Sunnah’ by As-Sayyid Sabiq)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam