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Firstly: Defining Purity and Purification [1] ‘Purity’, the state of being pure, will be used to translate Taharah as the root word; and ‘purification’, the act of becoming pure, will be used to translate Taharah as the process.
Purity linguistically: cleanliness from filth and dirt.
Purification technically: lifting ritual impurity, hadath [2] Defined thoroughly in section titled “Thirdly: Defining Hadath”. Linguistically, hadath refers to an event. Technically, it is a bodily ‘event’ which breaks one's state of purity, like relieving oneself. and what resembles it, and removing filth. [3] ar: Khabath, here referring to najasah. There is no one word that perfectly describes najas in the English language. Technically, it refers to specific types of filth that must be removed from a person, their items of clothing, and their immediate surroundings for prayer to be valid therein. Najas and najasah refer to the state and/or the substance itself, while najis is the adjective form.
The term purification is used in two senses:
Firstly: removing filth, meaning najasah. This entails purity of body, clothing and place.
Secondly: lifting hadath. This entails purification through ablution (wudu’) and/or ritual washing (ghusl). ‘Things that resemble’ lifting hadath are acts of purification which do not actually lift the state of hadath (e.g. the ablution of a person with urinary incontinence), or are performed while not being in a state of hadath (e.g. renewing one's ablution when already in a state of purity, and washing the hands after waking up after sleeping by night).
Secondly: Categorising Purification
1. According to its location. Here, purity can be categorised into two:
The first: internal or intangible purity, which is the heart's purity from polytheism as well as hatred and malice to Allah's believing slaves. This type of purity is more critical than the body's. Rather, the body's state of purity cannot be attained from a legal Islamic perspective if the internal impurity of polytheism remains.
The second: physical or tangible purity, which is purification from ritual impurity (hadath) and filth.
2. According to its type. Again, here purification can be categorised into two:
The first: purification from hadath. This is further sub-categorised into three:
- Major purification: which is ritual washing (ghusl).
- Minor purification: which is ablution (wudu').
- Purification in their place: which is dry ablution (tayammum).
The second: purification from filth. This further sub-categorises into three.
- Purification by washing
- Purification by wiping
- Purification by sprinkling
Thirdly: Defining Hadath
Hadath linguistically: comes from huduth which refers to an event taking place or an event repeating. It also refers to something coming into being after being absent. It may also refer to an unknown, unfamiliar matter which is objectionable, and it is in this respect that one says, "Muhdathat al-Umur" or newly-invented matters.
Hadath technically: a state of the body which prevents one from praying and performing other acts requiring purity.
Fourthly: Types of Hadath
Hadath is categorised into two types:
The first type: minor hadath, which is what requires ablution, like urination, defecation, and passing wind.
The second type: major hadath, which is what requires ritual washing, like one who engaged in sexual intercourse or has ejaculated.

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