Sins do not make a Muslim physically impure
Fatwa No: 286756

  • Fatwa Date:8-10-2015 - Thul-Hijjah 25, 1436
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Question

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh. Hello, I'm a young muslim men and I have questions about sins and the purity of a person. If a person commits sins in the past like not praying five times, lying or others, does that mean that they become physically impure and the things that they touch or the things they wear becomes impure? According to the Qur'an " A Kafir is a najis" what does that mean? Also according to the hadith of the Prophet SAW " A Muslim never becomes impure" can I get a brief explanation on that too? Does this means that a muslim never becomes impure whether he is in a state of sinning or not? I would like to get a brief explanation for the confusion I have. Thank you so much for your help. Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

Allaah says about the impurity of the polytheists (what means): {O you who have believed, indeed the polytheists are impure, so let them not approach Al-Masjid Al-Haraam after this, their [final] year.} [Quran 9:28]

What is meant here is the abstract (spiritual) impurity of the unbeliever and not the tangible impurity, i.e. the impurity of belief and not the impurity of the body. Therefore, a Muslim doesn't have to wash his hands after shaking hands with a polytheist. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, bound Thumaamah ibn Uthaal to (one of the pillars of) the mosque when he was taken as war prisoner as a polytheist. If his impurity was tangible, the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, would not have allowed him into the mosque.

Imaam An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “The saying of Allaah (which means): {Indeed the polytheists are impure}, what is meant by it is the impurity and reprehensibleness of belief, but it does not mean that their body parts are impure as with the impurity of urine, feces or the like.” [End of quote]

Moreover, At-Taahir ibn ‘Ashoor said in regard to the interpretation of the above verse: “{O you who have believed, indeed the polytheists are impure}, they were described as impure on account of their polytheism, so we know that it is an abstract, spiritual impurity and not a tangible, physical impurity. Abstract impurity means that a person who has certain characteristics is considered despised and defiled by people, so he is not worthy of virtue as long as he has such characteristics. The polytheist is impure due to his beliefs in polytheism, but his body may be clean, perfumed and not disgusting; however, he might be unclean in his body and stained with impurities because his religion does not require him to be pure.” [End of quote]

Shaykh As-Sa‘di  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said in his Tafseer: “{impure} in the verse means filthy in their beliefs and actions … and it does not mean the impurity of the body here, because the unbeliever is like other people, pure in his body … and Muslims have always come into contact with the bodies of non-Muslims and it was not reported that they considered them impure in the same way as tangible impurities. Rather, what is meant, as mentioned earlier, is their abstract impurity with polytheism. Just as Tawheed (assertion of Allaah's Oneness) and faith consists in purity, so does polytheism consist in impurity.

As regards the Hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah: “A Muslim does not become impure” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] it means, as mentioned by the scholars, that a believer does not become physically impure when he is in a state of Janaabah (major ritual impurity) and his body parts are pure because he habitually avoids impurity, in contrast with a polytheist, as the latter does not avoid impurity.

Since an unbeliever does not become physically impure despite his unbelief, then with greater reason, a Muslim does not become physically impure due to sins and acts of disobedience. A Muslim's body is pure and does not become impure just by committing sins and acts of disobedience. However, he may be impure in the abstract sense in proportion to his sins, but good deeds, repentance and asking forgiveness purify him from it. Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “Since a polytheist does not have good deeds, then his impurity is absolute impurity; whereas a believer who sins, his impurity is proportionate to his sins; and charity purifies a person from his sins and atones for them.

For more benefit, please refer to Fatwa 84754 and 36758.

Allaah Knows best.

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