Drinking Directly from the Mouth of Water-Skins
Fatwa No: 375349

Question

could you please interpret the following hadith and clarify what does mean by "... drinking directly out of the mouth of a water-skin"?Abu Hurairah (ra) reported Prophet Muhammad (saw) prohibited drinking directly out of the mouth of a water-skin.This hadith is mentioned in both Bukhari and Muslim but I don't have the correct reference. I hope you'd provide that too.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The Hadeeth that you referred to with the wording that you mentioned was reported by Al-Bukhaari and Muslim and narrated by Abu Sa'eed Al-Khudri  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him and not by Abu Hurayrah, as you mentioned.

Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated: “The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) forbade tipping up the mouth of the water-skin, and then drinking from its mouth directly.” [Muslim]

Al-Bukhaari reported the Hadeeth from Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him who said: “The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) forbade drinking directly from the mouth of a leather container or of a water-skin.

The meaning of “forbade tipping up the mouth” is the prohibition of turning its mouth (mouth of the water-skin) to the outside and then drinking directly from it, as was reported in the version narrated by Muslim.

The scholars mentioned three reasons for this prohibition:

1- There may be something harmful in the big leather containers or water-skins, such as insects, a scorpion, or a snake, or a jinni. So, if someone drinks from it directly, he will be harmed by that thing. The Hadeeth reported by Al-Haakim in his book Al-Mustadrak and by Ibn Maajah in his book As-Sunan states that Ibn ‘Abbas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him narrated: “The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) forbade tipping up water-skins. After the Prophet had forbidden that, a man got up at night and tipped up a water skin, and a snake fell out of it onto him.

Ibn Abu Shaybah, also reported in his book Al-Musannaf that Abu Sa'eed Al-Khudri, said: “A man drank (directly) from the water-skin, and there was a jinni in its inside which went into the man; so the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) forbade tipping up water-skins.

Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: “The wisdom behind this is that the water in the past was not that clean water, and when it was placed in a big leather containers or a water-skins, there were harmful things in it, like pieces of wood, insects, and other harmful things. This is a fact known to those who used to use these containers before. This is the reason why the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) forbade it [..] This does not include drinking from the faucet or from the jars in which water is stored, because these are known and clean, and it is like drinking from pots.” [End of quote]

2- Drinking directly from the mouth of the water-skin or leather containers continuously leads to a change in its smell, and over time it will have a very unpleasant smell. This is proven by the narration reported by Al-Haakim in his book Al-Mustadrak on the authority of 'Aa'ishah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  her who said: “The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) forbade drinking from the mouth of water-skins because it gives it an unpleasant smell.” [Al-Haakim classified it as authentic, and Ath-Thahabi agreed with him]

3- Water pouring out. This was mentioned by Ibn Hajar in his book Fat-h Al-Baari, as he said: “If a person drinks from the mouth of the water-skin, then the water may pour on him more than his need, and thus one might choke with water or that the water may fall on his clothes. Ibn Al-'Arabi said: ‘One of these three reasons is sufficient to prove that it is disliked (to drink from the mouth of the container). This becomes even more confirmed if the three reasons are combined together.’” [End of quote]

In our view, the ruling includes every container that has an open mouth where the drink that is inside it cannot be seen, such as the open jar and so on, because it is possible that something might have entered it without the person knowing. The same thing applies to every vessel (or container) from which many people drink, and it is likely that its smell might change.

Allah knows best.

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