Ritual cleansings are always performed with water. This is under normal circumstances. However, sometimes water cannot be used. This can be due to the absence or scarcity of water, whether due to drought or while travelling and a person only has enough water to drink and cook with and not enough for ritual cleansing. It may also be that a person cannot use water on their body or parts of it due to an injury, and water would exacerbate the harm of the injury.
In these cases, God has given us the concession of making dry ritual cleansing [Ar. Tayammum]. God says, “…If you are sick and you fear that the sickness will get worse or the healing will be delayed, or if you are on a journey even though you are not sick, or if you are in the state of minor ritual impurity, such as after going to the toilet, or in a state of major ritual impurity, such as after having had sexual intercourse, and you do not find water to purify yourselves with, despite having searched for it, then make use of the soil on the ground by striking it with your hands and then wiping over your faces and then wiping your hands with it.” [5:6]
Dry ritual cleansing is performed using clean soil or anything naturally found on the face of the earth. This includes sand, rocks, etc. The soil used must be clean, and cannot have impurities in it.
The method for performing dry ritual cleansing is as follows:
- In your heart, intend the lifting of the physical impure state
- Say, ‘I begin with the name of God’ before starting
- Strike the soil once with both hands
- Wipe over the face and then wipe the hands up to the wrists once
Dry ritual cleansing takes the place of normal ritual cleansing for the acts of devotion it can be used for, such as Salah. With dry ritual cleansing, a person remains in a state of ritual purity just as with normal ritual cleansing,, until they break it by one of the nullifiers of ritual cleansing or when water becomes readily available or usable.