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Tayammum (Arabic:التيمم) is a ritual act which becomes obligatory instead of Wudu or Ghusl. Its steps are: hitting the palms of both hands on soil and rubbing them on the forehead and the back of the hands. The purity created by tayammum is similar to that of Wudu and Ghusl and has no difference. "Tayammum" is also called al-tahara al-turabiyya (الطهارة الترابية).

Two verses of the Qur'an and more than 220 hadiths discuss tayammum and its conditions and rulings.


In jurisprudential terminology, the word "tayammum" refers to the act of touching the forehead and the back of the hands.[1] If Wudu or Ghusl is not possible, tayammum substitutes them. Tayammum is also called "al-taharat al-turabiyya" while Wudu and Ghusl are called "al-taharat al-ma'iyya" (الطهارة المائية).[2]

In the Qur'an and Hadiths

In two verses, the Qur'an refers to tayammum and its rulings: Qur'an 4:43[3] and Qur'an 5:6[4]

In Wasa'il al-Shi'a and Mustadrak al-wasa'il, there are more than 220 hadiths about the manner and conditions of tayammum.

As a Substitute for Wudu or Ghusl

One who cannot perform Wudu, needs to perform tayammum instead of Wudu for doing things which require Wudu and one who cannot perform Ghusl, needs to perform tayammum instead of Ghusl for doing things which require Ghusl. If tayammum is done instead of Ghusl al-Janaba and then one of the things which cancels Wudu (such as urinating or sleeping) happens, (if the person is still in a condition which requires Ghusl), for doing things like prayer, he needs to perform Wudu if he can, otherwise he has to perform tayammum instead of Wudu.[5] There are different opinions regarding sufficiency of tayammum instead of Ghusl of Janabat instead of Wudu or tayammum instead of Wudu.[6] These two tayammums are different and some jurists believe that in tayammum instead of Ghusl, one needs to hit the palms of his hands on soil twice, once at the beginning and once before rubbing the back of his hands.[7]

Cases of the Obligation

  • When there is not enough water available for Wudu or Ghusl.
  • When there is enough water available for Wudu or Ghusl, but using it may consume the water the person or his companions needs for drinking.
  • If consuming the available water causes death of his or others' animals.
  • If the available water is not enough for removing Najasa (impurity) and Wudu or Ghusl is not enough. (different fatwas)
  • If using Wudu or Ghusl is harmful for the body (a rational probability of harm is also enough.)
  • When there is not enough time for Wudu or Ghusl.[8]


  1. First the person needs to put the palms of hands on something which is alright for tayammum having the intention of performing God's command (some marja's also require a small hit of hands, not just slowly putting the hands on the soil).[9]
  2. To rub the palms of both hands on the forehead from the line of growing hairs down to eyebrows (and on the eyebrows according to some fatwas). (Hairs of the head must not block the performance.)[10]
  3. The whole palm of left hand needs to be rubbed on the whole back of the right hand from the wrist to the tips of fingers.[11]
  4. The same as in step three needs to be done for the left hand as well.[12]

Some marja's believe that before rubbing the hands (steps three and four) one needs to hit his palms on the soil once again;[13] and some believe that in addition to the four steps above, one needs to hit his palms on the soil once again and rub the back of his hands once more (i.e. repeats steps 1, 3 and 4).[14]


  • In tayammum, Muwalat is a condition; i.e. there should not be a long break between the steps.[15]
  • In tayammum, the place to be touched should be still and the hands should move on it.[16]
  • The organs involved in tayammum should be ritually pure and there should be no obstacle on them. If it is not possible to remove an obstacle from the skin, tayammum should be performed in Jabira form.[17]
  • Under normal conditions, one should not get help from someone else in performing tayammum.[18]
  • Rubbing of hands on the nose is not necessary.[19]
  • After hitting the palms on the soil, they can be hit together so that the extra soil on them pours.[20]
  • It is necessary to remove the ring from the finger before tayammum.

Things which are Alright to Make Tayammum On

According to the Qur'an 5:6, tayammum need to be performed on "Sa'id" (صَعید), but there are different opinions among lexicologists and thus among marja's whether "Sa'id" only refers to the soil or whatever grows out of the earth.[21]

According to some fatwas, tayammum must be performed on soil as the first choice; however, if it was not available, it can be done on sand, gravel, clod, clay or stone (which has some dust on it).[22]

There are different opinions about the permission of performing tayammum on plaster, cement, brick, tile, etc.[23]

What is going to perform tayammum on needs to be pure and not illegally obtained.[24]

Other Rulings

  • Anything that nullifies Wudu can nullify tayammum (which is performed as a substitute for Wudu) too and everything that nullifies Ghusl, can nullify tayammum (which is performed as a substitute for Ghusl) too.[25]
  • If for the lack of time, one performs tayammum instead of Ghusl (such as the moments before the call for prayer in the month of Ramadan), for doing other practices such as prayer, the person needs to perform Ghusl.[26]
  • If the cause for which one has performed tayammum is no longer in place, there are different fatwas about repeating the practices one has performed while in tayammum.[27] For example, if in the afternoon, one thinks that one will not find water and performs one's prayer by doing tayammum, but later one finds water, there are different fatwas about whether or not one has to repeat his prayer after performing Wudu or Ghusl.


  1. Baḥrānī,al-Ḥadāʾig al-nāḍira, vol. 4, p. 243.
  2. Farhanq-i fiqh-i fārsī, vol. 5, p. 243.
  3. But if you are sick or on a journey, or any of you has come from the toilet, or you have touched women, and you cannot find water, then make your ablution on clean ground and wipe a part of your faces and your hands.
  4. O you who have faith! When you stand up for prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, and wipe a part of your heads and your feet, up to the ankles. If you are junub, purify yourselves. But if you are sick, or on a journey, or any of you has come from the toilet, or you have touched women, and you cannot find water, then make tayammum with clean ground and wipe a part of your faces and your hands with it.
  5. Khomeini, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling 724.
  6. Khomeini,, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling 724.
  7. Khomeini, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling. 724.
  8. Khomeini, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling. 648-678.
  9. Khomeini, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling 700.
  10. Khomeini, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling 700.
  11. Khomeini, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling 700.
  12. Khomeini, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling 700.
  13. Khāmeneʾī, Ajwabat al-istiftāʾāt, Question 209.
  14. Subḥanī, Tawḍīḥ al-masā'il, ruling 674, 675; Khomeini, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling 701.
  15. Khomeini, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling 704.
  16. Khomeini, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling 700.
  17. Khomeini, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling 706-707.
  18. Khomeini, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling 711.
  19. Khomeini, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling 700.
  20. Khomeini, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling 698.
  21. Fayyūmī, al-Miṣbāḥ al-munīr, vol. 2, p. 339; Jawharī, al-Ṣiḥāḥ, vol. 2, p. 498.
  22. Khomeini, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling 684.
  23. Khomeini, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling 685.
  24. Khomeini, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling 692-694.
  25. Khomeini, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling 720, 726.
  26. Khomeini, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling 719.
  27. Khomeini, Tawḍīh al-masāʾil, ruling 715.


  • Baḥrānī Āl ʿAṣfūr, Yūsuf b. Aḥmad b. Ibrāhīm. Al-Ḥadāʾiq al-nāḍira fī aḥkām al-ʿitra al-ṭāhira. Edited by Īrawānī, Muḥammad Taqī and Muqarram, Sayyid ʿAbd al-Razzāq. 1st Edition. Qom: Daftar Intishārāt Islāmī, 1405 AH.
  • Fayyūmī, Aḥmad b. Muḥammad. Al-Miṣbāḥ al-munīr fī gharīb al-sharḥ al-kabīr li-rāfiʿī. 1st edition. Qom: Manshūrāt Dār al-Raḍī, [n.d].
  • Khomeini, Sayyid Rūḥ Allah. Tawḍīḥ al-masāʾil. Edited by Muḥammad Ḥusayn Banī Hāshimi Khomeinī. Qom: Daftar-i Intishārāt-i Islāmī, [n.d].
  • Jawharī, Ismāʿīl b. Ḥammād. Al-Ṣiḥāḥ (Tāj al-lugha wa siḥāḥ al-ʿarabīyya). Edited by Aḥmad ʿAbd al-Ghafūr ʿAṭṭār. 1st edition. Beirut: Dār al-ʾIlm li-l-Malāyīn, 1410 SH.
  • Khāmeneʾī, Sayyid ʿAlī b. Jawād. Ajwabat al-istiftāʾāt. Tehran: Al-Hudā, 1386 SH.
  • Muʾassisa-i Dāʾirat al-Maʿārif Fiqh Islāmī Bar Madhāhib Ahl Bayt (a). Farhanq-i fiqh-i fārsī. Under the supervision of Āyat Allāh Sayyid Muḥamūad Shahrūdī, Qom: Intishārāt Muʾassisa-i Dāʾirat al-Maʿārif Fiqh Islāmī, 1392 SH.
  • Rāghib al-Iṣfahānī, al-Ḥusayn b. Muḥammad al-. Al-Mufradāt fī gharīb al-Qurʾān. Edited by Ṣafwān ʿAdnān Dāwūdī. 1st edition. Beirut: Dār al-ʿIlm al-Dār al-Shāmīya, 1412 AH.
  • Subḥanī, Jʿfar. Tawḍīḥ al-masāʾil. Muʾassisa Imām Ṣādig(a), 1386 SH.
  • Sabziwārī, Sayyid Abd al-ʿAlī. Muhadhdhab al-aḥkām fī bayān al-ḥalāl wa al-ḥarām. 4th edition. Qom: Muʾassisa-i al-Manār, 1413 AH.