Islamic Ruling Regarding Taharat – Urine and Feces

on Monday, September 23, 2013

In Islam, unlike other socio-religious systems, laws and rulings have been specified for almost every theme, be it fasting, Taharat, praying, performing ablution or pilgrimage to the Holy House.

One finds, therefore, clear and succinct rulings on the things that are included in the category of impurities i.e. Najasat. In this larger category, there are larger sub-categories concerning a specific form the impurity might take. In this essay, we deal with the rulings on urine and feces.

It becomes necessary, as a point of introduction, to highlight the categories of animals:

  1. Halal Animals and birds like cows, goats, etc- whose meat can be eaten
  2. Haram Animals and birds like dog, cat, etc- whose meat cannot be consumed. This class includes:
    1. Human Beings: The Qur’an declares eating the flesh of another human as an abominable act: “Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it” (49:12)
    2. Animals whose flesh may not be consumed: They have been classified under verse (5:3) of the Noble Qur’an. It must be mentioned in this context that any animal killed by goring of horns, or by electrocution, or by any method which mentions not the name of Allah, is Haram.

After this, let us consider the general principles which govern this issue:

1. The urine and feces of Halal Animals and birds is pure (Ta’ahir):
These animals are the one’s whose flesh can be eaten and whose milk can be drunk. If the dung or urine of such an animal gets on ones clothes, one can pray in that state without washing them. All scholars of jurisprudence except Imam Shaa’fai unanimously agree that in the light of the Prophet’s saying, [Pray in sheep pens for they are a blessing] quoted by Sahih Muslim. See also Ibid ((Book #004, Hadith #1069). Therefore, it is allowed to pray in sheep pens even though the dung may be present (However, Imam Shaa’fai declares clearing the place of dung a requisite).

Moreover, the urine of these animals can be used for medicinal purposes also. It is proved by the two Sahihs that the Prophet advised a group of people to use the urine of camels as medicine.

For the sake of convenience, however, it is advised that people remove the urine or feces from their clothes if they appear repugnant to other people, and to the subject himself.

2. The urine and feces of Haram animals and humans cannot be used for medicinal purposes, and is not pure:
 Also, if it gets on the clothes, the clothes should be purified before performing Salah. The case applies to birds, as well. Eagles, which hunt their prey with their talons, are Haram to eat, and so if their feces get attached to the body, they are considered Najis.

The urine of humans and Haram animals can also not be used for medicinal purposes. If, however, a sound and trustworthy Muslim practitioner advises that they are used to save the patient’s life in a state of emergency, then it is permissible to use them, in accordance with the last part of verse (2:173).

3. If a Halal animal is raised by a Haram one, e.g. a goat nursed by a pig, then the urine and feces of that Halal animal will be considered Najis (impure):

Thus, the basic rules concerning purity and impurity clearly prove that the urine and feces of Halal animals are pure, and those of Haram animals and birds are impure. Indeed Allah Almighty Knows best. May He Almighty help us to maintain true essence of cleanliness and purity. Amen!

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