Surah An-Nisa Ayat 43 in Arabic Text
Here you can read various translations of verse 43
O you who have believed, do not approach prayer while you are intoxicated until you know what you are saying or in a state of janabah, except those passing through [a place of prayer], until you have washed [your whole body]. And if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women and find no water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and your hands [with it]. Indeed, Allah is ever Pardoning and Forgiving.
O ye who believe! Approach not prayers with a mind befogged, until ye can understand all that ye say,- nor in a state of ceremonial impurity (Except when travelling on the road), until after washing your whole body. If ye are ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from offices of nature, or ye have been in contact with women, and ye find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand or earth, and rub therewith your faces and hands. For Allah doth blot out sins and forgive again and again.
Believers! Do not draw near to the Prayer while you are intoxicated until you know what you are saying nor while you are defiled – save when you are travelling – until you have washed yourselves. If you are either ill or travelling or have satisfied a want of nature or have had contact with women and can find no water, then betake yourselves to pure earth, passing with it lightly over your face and your hands. Surely Allah is All-Relenting, All-Forgiving.
O you who believe! Approach not As-Salat (the prayer) when you are in a drunken state until you know (the meaning) of what you utter, nor when you are in a state of Janaba, (i.e. in a state of sexual impurity and have not yet taken a bath) except when travelling on the road (without enough water, or just passing through a mosque), till you wash your whole body. And if you are ill, or on a journey, or one of you comes after answering the call of nature, or you have been in contact with women (by sexual relations) and you find no water, perform Tayammum with clean earth and rub therewith your faces and hands (Tayammum). Truly, Allah is Ever Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving.
O ye who believe! Draw not near unto prayer when ye are drunken, till ye know that which ye utter, nor when ye are polluted, save when journeying upon the road, till ye have bathed. And if ye be ill, or on a journey, or one of you cometh from the closet, or ye have touched women, and ye find not water, then go to high clean soil and rub your faces and your hands (therewith). Lo! Allah is Benign, Forgiving.
O you who have believed, do not draw near to prayer (when) you are drunken until you know what you are saying, nor (when) you are ritually unclean, (i.e. unclean through the emission of semen, or sexual discharge “in woman”) except when you are traversing a way, until you have washed yourselves. And in case you are sick, or on a journey, or (in case) any of you comes from the privy, or you have had contact with women, yet you have not found water, so have recourse to good soil, (i.e. a high dry place, a mounting place) then wipe (most of) your faces and hands. Surely Allah has been Ever-Clement, Ever-Forgiving.
You who believe, do not come anywhere near the prayer if you are intoxicated, not until you know what you are saying; nor if you are in a state of major ritual impurity- though you may pass through the mosque- not until you have bathed; if you are ill, on a journey, have relieved yourselves, or had intercourse, and cannot find any water, then find some clean sand and wipe your faces and hands with it. God is always ready to pardon and forgive.
Quran 4 Verse 43 Explanation
For those looking for commentary to help with the understanding of Surah An-Nisa ayat 43, we’ve provided two Tafseer works below. The first is the tafseer of Abul Ala Maududi, the second is of Ibn Kathir.
(4:43) Believers! Do not draw near to the Prayer while you are intoxicated until you know what you are saying nor while you are defiled – save when you are travelling – until you have washed yourselves. If you are either ill or travelling or have satisfied a want of nature or have had contact with women and can find no water, then betake yourselves to pure earth, passing with it lightly over your face and your hands.70 Surely Allah is All-Relenting, All-Forgiving.
65. This is the second in the chronological sequence of injunctions concerning intoxicants. We came across the first injunction in (Surah al-Baqarah 2: 219). In that verse God merely indicated that drinking wine was a great sin, making it clear that it was reprehensible in His sight. This was quite enough to make some Muslims give up liquor altogether, though many others still took intoxicating drinks: they sometimes stood up to pray while still under the influence of alcohol, so that they even made mistakes in their recitations. This second injunction was probably revealed at the beginning of 4 A.H., making it forbidden, thenceforth, to pray in a state of intoxication. This led people to alter their drinking times. They drank only at those hours when there was no fear of their remaining under the influence of intoxicants when the time for Prayer came. The injunction embodying unconditional prohibition of intoxicants was revealed not long afterwards. See (Surah al-Ma’idah 5: 90-1.)
It should also be borne in mind that the word used in the verse is derived from sukr, which embraces not merely intoxicating liquors but everything which causes intoxication. The injunction contained in the verse is valid even now, for though the use of intoxicants as such has been completely prohibited, praying in a state of intoxication is a graver sin.
66. It is on this basis that the Prophet (peace be on him) directed anyone who is under the influence of sleep, and dozes off again and again during the Prayer, to stop praying and go to bed. (Ibn Kathir, vol. 4, p. 494-Ed.) Some people argue, on the basis of this verse, that the Prayer of one who does not understand the Arabic text of the Qur’an will not be accepted. Apart from taking things too far such a conclusion is not supported by the words in the text. The expression used by the Qur’an is neither ( ) nor even ( ). On the contrary, the expression is ( ) (i.e. until you know what you are saying, rather than until you understand’ what you are saying). What is required is that while praying one should at least be conscious enough to know what one is uttering in the Prayer.
67. The term janabah denotes the state of major ritual impurity, and is derived from the root meaning: ‘to ward off’. The word ajnabi, meaning foreigner or stranger, is also derived from the same root. In Islamic terminology, janabah denotes the state of ritual impurity (in both male and female) which results from the act of intercourse or from seminal emission (either from sexual stimulation or from a wet dream).
68. One group of jurists and Qur’anic commentators interpret this verse to mean that one should not enter a mosque in the state of major ritual impurity (janabah), unless out of necessity. This is the opinion of ‘Abd Allah b. Mas’ud, Anas b. Malik, Hasan al-Basri, Ibrahim al-Nakha’i and others. Another group thinks that the reference here is to travel. In the opinion of this group, if a traveller is in the state of major ritual impurity he may resort to tayammum (i.e. symbolic ablution attained through wiping the hands and face with clean earth). See (Surah al-Ma’idah 5: 6 and also n. 70 ) below – Ed.) This group considers it permissible to stay in the mosque in this state provided one has performed ablution. This is the view of ‘Ali, Ibn ‘Abbas, Sa’id b. Jubayr and some other authorities. The opinion that a traveller in the state of major impurity may perform ablution if he is unable to take a bath is supported by consensus, but while some authorities infer it from traditions others base it on the Qur’anic verse mentioned above. (See Jassas, vol. 2, pp. 201-6; and Ibn Kathir’s commentary on this verse – Ed.)
69. There is disagreement as to what is meant here by the verb lamastum, which literally means ‘you touched’. ‘Ali, Ibn ‘Abbas, Abu Musa al-Ash’ari, Ubayy b. Ka’b, Sa’id b. Jubayr, Hasan al-Basri and several other leading jurists are of the opinion that it signifies sexual intercourse. Abu Hanifah and his school, and Sufyan al-Thawri follow this view. But ‘Abd Allah b. Mas’ud and Abd Allah b. ‘Umar hold that it signifies the act of touching, the mere placing of one’s hand on a woman’s body. This is the opinion adopted by Shafi’i. Other jurists take an intermediate position. Malik, for instance, is of the opinion that if a man and a woman touch each other with sexual desire, their ablution is nullified, and if they want to perform the Prayer they are obliged to renew their ablution. He sees nothing objectionable, however, in the mere fact of a man touching a woman’s body, or vice versa, provided the act is not motivated by sexual desire. (See Ibn Kathir’s commentary on this verse – Ed.-)
70. The detailed rules of tayammum are as follows: A man who either needs to perform ablution or take a bath to attain the state of purity for ritual Prayer may resort to tayammum provided water is not available to him. Only then may he perform the Prayer. Permission to resort to tayammum, rather than make ablution with water or take a bath, is also extended to invalids whose health is likely to be harmed by the use of water. We have tried to convey both shades of meaning in the translation of the verse by using the expression ‘have had contact with’ instead of ‘touched’ – Ed.
Tayammum literally means ‘to turn to, to aim at, to head for, to intend’. The relevance of the term in the Islamic religious context is that when water is either not available or when its use is likely to cause harm one should ‘turn to’ clean earth.
There is some disagreement among jurists about the manner of performing tayammum. According to some, one should strike one’s palms on the clean earth, then gently wipe one’s face, then strike one’s hands again and gently wipe one’s hands and arms up to the elbows. This is the view of Abu Hanifah, Shafi’i, Malik and the majority of jurists. Among the Companions and Successors, ‘Ali, ‘Abd Allah b. Umar, Hasan al-Basri, Sha’bi, Salim b. ‘Abd Allah and many others are of the same opinion. Other jurists are of the view that it is sufficient to strike one’s palms once on the clean earth, then wipe one’s face and one’s hands up to the wrist; it is not necessary to wipe the arms between the wrist and the elbow. This is the opinion of ‘Ata’, Makhul, Awza’i, and Ahmad b. Hanbal, and is generally followed by the Ahl al-Hadith. (Cf. Qurtubi, Ahkam al-Qur’an, vol. 5, pp. 239-41.)
Tayammum is not necessarily performed by striking one’s palms on earth proper. It is sufficient to strike the palms on anything which either has dust over it or anything consisting of the dry elements of the earth. It may be asked how one attains purity by striking one’s palms on the earth and then wiping one’s hands and face with them. In fact tayammum is a useful psychological device to keep the sense of ritual purity and the sanctity of Prayer alive in man’s mind even when water – the principal agent of purification – is not available. The value of tayammum is that even if a man is unable to use water – and no one knows how long this situation may persist – his sensitivity to cleanliness and purity will endure. He will continue to observe the regulation laid down by the Law in respect of cleanliness and purity, and the distinction between the states in which one may and may not perform the Prayer will not be erased.
43. O you who believe! Do not approach Salah while you are in a druken state until you know what you are saying, nor while Junub (sexually impure), except while passing through, until you bathe (your entire body), and if you are ill, or on a journey, or one of you comes from the Gha’it (toilet), or from Lamastum (touching) women, but you do not find water, then perform Tayammum with clean earth, rubbing your faces and hands. Truly, Allah is Ever Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving.
Allah forbade His believing servants from praying while drunk, for one does not know the meaning of what he is saying in that state, and He forbade them from attending the Masjids while sexually impure, except when one is just passing through the Masjid from one door to another. This Ayah was revealed before alcohol consumption was completely prohibited, as evident by the Hadith that we mentioned in Surat Al-Baqarah when we explained Allah’s statement,
(They ask you about alcoholic drink and gambling). In that Hadith, the Messenger of Allah recited this Ayah to `Umar, who said, “O Allah! Explain the ruling about Khamr (intoxicants) for us in a plain manner.” When this Ayah ﴿4:43﴾ was revealed, the Prophet recited it to `Umar, who still said, “O Allah! Explain the ruling about Khamr (intoxicants) for us in a plain manner.” After that, they would not drink alcohol close to the time of prayer. When Allah’s statement,
(O you who believe! alcoholic drinks, gambling, Al-Ansab, and Al-Azlam are an abomination of Shayatan’s handiwork. So avoid that in order that you may be successful. ) ﴿5:90﴾, until,
(So, will you not then abstain) ﴿5:91﴾ was revealed, `Umar said, “We abstain, we abstain.” In another narration, when the Ayah in Surat An-Nisa’ was revealed,
(O you who believe! Do not approach Salah while you are in a druken state until you know what you are saying,) at the time of prayer, the Messenger of Allah would have someone proclaim; “Let not any drunk approach the prayer.” This is the wording collected by Abu Dawud.
Ibn Abi Hatim has recorded some reports about the incident of its revelation: Sa`d said, “Four Ayat were revealed concerning me. A man from the Ansar once made some food and invited some Muhajirin and Ansar men to it, and we ate and drank until we became intoxicated. We then boasted about our status.” Then a man held a camel’s bone and injured Sa`d’s nose, which was scarred ever since. This occurred before Al-Khamr was prohibited, and Allah later revealed,
(O you who believe! Approach not AsSalat (the prayer) when you are in a drunken state). Muslim recorded this Hadith, and the collectors of the Sunan recorded it, with the exception of Ibn Majah. Another Reason Ibn Abi Hatim narrated that `Ali bin Abi Talib said, “Abdur-Rahman bin `Awf made some food to which he invited us and served some alcohol to drink. When we became intoxicated, and the time for prayer came, they asked someone to lead us in prayer. He recited `Say, `O disbelievers! I do not worship that which you worship, but we worship that which you worship ﴿refer to the correct wording of the Surah: 109﴾.”’ Allah then revealed,
(O you who believe! Do not approach Salah when you are in a drunken state until you know what you are saying). ” This is the narration collected by Ibn Abi Hatim and At-Tirmidhi, who said “Hasan ﴿Gharib﴾ Sahih.” Allah’s statement,
(until you know what you are saying) is the best description for when one is intoxicated, that is, when he does not know the meaning of what he is saying. When a person is drunk, he makes obvious mistakes in the recitation and will not be able to be humble during the prayer. Imam Ahmad recorded that Anas said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(If one feels sleepy while he is praying, let him sleep for a while so that he knows the meaning of what he is saying.) This was also recorded by Al-Bukhari and An-Nasa’i. In some of the narrations of this Hadith, the Messenger said,
(…For he might want to ask for forgiveness, but instead curses himself!) Allah said,
(nor while Junub (sexually impure), except while passing through, until you bathe (your entire body),) Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that Allah’s statement,
(nor while Junub (sexually impure), except while passing through, until you bathe (your entire body,) means, “Do not enter the Masjid when you are Junub, unless you are just passing by, in which case, you pass through without sitting down.” Ibn Abi Hatim said that similar is reported from `Abdullah bin Mas`ud, Anas, Abu `Ubaydah, Sa`id bin Al-Musayyib, Abu Ad-Duha, `Ata’, Mujahid, Masruq, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Zayd bin Aslam, Abu Malik, `Amr bin Dinar, Al-Hakam bin `Utaybah, `Ikrimah, Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Yahya bin Sa`id Al-Ansari, Ibn Shihab and Qatadah. Ibn Jarir recorded that Yazid bin Abi Habib commented on Allah’s statement,
(nor while Junub (sexually impure), except while passing through,) when some men from the Ansar, whose doors literally opened into the Masjid, were sexually impure, and they did not have water, their only way to get water was to pass through the Masjid. So, Allah sent down,
(nor while Junub (sexually impure), except while passing through,).” What supports this statement by Yazid bin Abi Habib, may Allah have mercy upon him, is Al-Bukhari’s report in his Sahih, that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Close all the small doors in this Masjid, except that of Abu Bakr.) This is what the Prophet commanded at the end of his life, knowing that Abu Bakr will be the Khalifah after him, and that he would need to enter the Masjid on numerous occasions to manage the important affairs of the Muslims. Yet, the Messenger of Allah commanded that all the small doors that open into the Masjid be closed, except Abu Bakr’s door. Some of the Sunan compilers recorded the Prophet saying that only `Ali’s door should remain open, but this is an error, what is in the Sahih is what is correct. In his Sahih, Muslim recorded that `A’ishah said, “The Messenger of Allah said to me,
(Bring me the garment from the Masjid.) I said, `I am having my period.’ He said,
(Your period is not in your hand.) Muslim also collected a similar narration from Abu Hurayrah. This Hadith indicates that the woman is allowed to pass through the Masjid during menses or post-natal bleeding, and Allah knows best.
(and if you are ill, or on a journey, or one of you comes from the Gha’it (toilet), or from Lamastum (touching) women, but you do not find water, then perform Tayammum with clean earth, rubbing your face and hands. Truly, Allah is Ever Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving.) As for the type of illness which would allow Tayammum, it is an illness that one fears would be aggravated by using water, which could be detrimental to a part of the body, or when doing so would prolong an illness. Some scholars said that any type of illness warrants Tayammum, because of the general indications of the Ayah. As for travelling on a journey, it is known, regardless of its length. Allah then said,
(or comes from the Gha’it). The Gha’it is, literally, the flat land, and this part of the Ayah refers to the minor impurity. Allah then said,
(or you Lamastum women), which was recited Lamastum and Lamastum, referring to sexual intercourse. For instance, Allah said in another Ayah,
(And if you divorce them before you have touched them, and you have appointed unto them the dowry, then pay half of that) ﴿2:237﴾, and,
(O you who believe! When you marry believing women, and then divorce them before you have touched them, no `Iddah (period of waiting) have you to count in respect of them) ﴿33:49﴾. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn `Abbas said that Allah’s statement,
(or Lamastum women) refers to sexual intercourse. It was reported that `Ali, Ubayy bin Ka`b, Mujahid, Tawus, Al-Hasan, `Ubayd bin `Umayr, Sa`id bin Jubayr, Ash-Sha`bi, Qatadah and Muqatil bin Hayyan said similarly. Allah said,
(but you do not find water,them perform Tayammum with clean earth,) In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that `Imran bin Husayn said,
(Allah’s Messenger saw a person sitting away from the people and not praying with them. He asked him, `O so-and-so! What prevented you from offering the prayer with the people, are not you Muslim’ He replied, `Yes, O Allah’s Messenger! I am Junub and there is no water.’ The Prophet said, `Perform Tayammum with clean earth and that will be sufficient for you.’) The linguistic meaning of Tayammum is to intend, as Arabs say, “May Allah Tayammamaka (direct at you) His care.” `Clean earth’ means dust. In his Sahih, Muslim recorded that Hudhayfah bin Al-Yaman said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(We were given preference over people in three things. Our lines (in prayer) were arranged in rows to resemble the rows of the angels, all of the earth was made a Masjid for us, and its dust was made clean for us when there is no water.) The Messenger mentioned the favor of making dust a purifyer for us, and if there were any other substance to replace it for Tayammum, he would have mentioned it. Imam Ahmad and the collectors of Sunan, with the exception of Ibn Majah, recorded that Abu Dharr said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(Clean earth is pure for the Muslim, even if he does not find water for ten years. When he finds water, let him use it for his skin, for this is better.) At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Sahih”. Allah’s statement,
(rubbing your faces and hands (Tayammum)) indicates that Tayammum is a substitute for normal ablution, not that it involves cleaning the parts that normal ablution does. Therefore, it is sufficient in Tayammum to just wipe the face and hands, as the consensus concurs. The face and hands are wiped with one strike on the sand in this case, as Imam Ahmad recorded that `Abdur-Rahman bin Abza said that a man came to `Umar and asked him, “I am Junub, but there is no water.” `Umar said, “Then, do not pray.” `Ammar said, “Do you not remember, O Leader of the Faithful! You and I were on a military expedition when we became Junub and did not find water. You did not pray, but I rolled myself in the sand and then prayed. When we went back to the Prophet, we mentioned to him what had happened. He said to me, S
(This would have been sufficient for you), and the Prophet stroked his hand on the earth once, blew into it and wiped his face and hands.” The Muslim Ummah, rather than all other nations, was favored with the allowance of Tayammum. In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Jabir bin `Abdullah said that the Messenger of Allah said,
(I have been given five things which were not given to any (Prophet) before me: Allah made me victorious with fright that covers a month’s distance. The earth has been made for me (and for my followers) a place for praying and an object to perform purification with. Therefore let my followers pray wherever the time of a prayer is due – and in another narration – he will have his means of purity and his Masjid. The spoils of war have been made lawful for me and it was not made so for anyone else before me. I have been given the right of intercession (on the Day of Resurrection.) Every Prophet used to be sent to his nation exclusively, but I have been sent to all mankind.) We also mentioned the Hadith of Hudhayfah that Muslim recorded;
(We were preferred with three things over people. Our lines (in prayer) were arranged in rows to resemble the rows of the angels, all of the earth was made a Masjid for us, and its dust was made clean for us when there is no water.) Allah said in this Ayah,
(rubbing your faces and hands. Truly, Allah is Ever Oft-Pardoning, Oft-Forgiving.) meaning, a part of His pardoning and forgiving is that He allows you to use Tayammum and to pray after using it when there is no water, to make things easy for you. This Ayah sanctifies the position of the prayer, it being too sacred than to be performed in a defecient manner, like in a state of drunkenness, until one becomes aware of what he is saying, or sexually impure, until he bathes (Ghusl), or after answering the call of nature, until he performs ablution. There are exceptions when one is ill or when there is no water. In this case, Allah allows us to use Tayammum, out of His mercy and kindness for His servants, and to facilitate them, all praise is due to Allah.
Al-Bukhari recorded that `A’ishah said, “We set out with Allah’s Messenger on one of his journeys until we reached Al-Bayda’ or Dhat-ul-Jaysh, where a necklace of mine was broken (and lost). Allah’s Messenger stayed there to search for it, and so did the people along with him. There was no water source or any water with them at that place, so the people went to Abu Bakr As-Siddiq and said, `Don’t you see what `A’ishah has done! She has made Allah’s Messenger and the people stay where there is no source of water and they have no water with them.’ Abu Bakr came while Allah’s Messenger was sleeping with his head on my thigh. He said to me, `You have detained Allah’s Messenger and the people where there is no source of water and they have no water with them.’ So he admonished me and said what Allah wished him to say and hit me on my flank with his hand. Nothing prevented me from moving (because of pain) but the position of Allah’s Messenger on my thigh. Allah’s Messenger got up when dawn broke and there was no water. So Allah revealed the verses of Tayammum, and they all performed Tayammum. Usayd bin Hudayr said, `O the family of Abu Bakr! This is not the first blessing of yours.’ Then the camel on which I was riding was moved from its place and the necklace was found beneath it.” Al-Bukhari and Muslim recorded this Hadith.
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