I have Heard that in Shafii Madhab, the only way to clean Mutanajjis thing is water, can you explain this to us? what about clothes dry cleaning?
Wa ‘Alaikum Assalam,
Essentially, yes only water can remove filth, this is the opinion of the majority of scholars and schools with the exclusion of Abu Hanifah, his student Abu Yusuf & Dawud Az-Zahiri.
However, there are more details to this matter. When we say clean, what we are referring to is removal of the actual physical filth. Then rinsing the area of contact a couple times. Filth in our school is divided into three categories; heavy, light & common. To learn about these we recommend The Shorter Abridgment available in our book store.
Each require a certain method of removal of the filth. Heavy refers to contact with dogs & pigs, which requires seven washes, one of those to be done by pure dirt. Light refers to urine by an infant boy that has only consumed milk, which only requires water to be splashed or sprinkled over the area of contact. Common refers to all other forms of filth, which only requires it to be washed until color, taste & smell are removed, and there is no harm if a smell or color stain remain after the washing.
After this one is allowed to take the garment to dry cleaning.
For more details, here is what Imam An-Nawawi stated in Al Majmu’,
“The ruling of this matter is as follows, only with water can one lift the status of impurity or remove filth, that is our schools opinion with no debate among us”
"وَأَمَّا حُكْمُ الْمَسْأَلَةِ وَهُوَ أَنَّ رَفْعَ الْحَدَثِ وَإِزَالَةَ النَّجَسِ لَا يَصِحُّ إلَّا بِالْمَاءِ الْمُطْلَقِ فَهُوَ مَذْهَبُنَا لَا خِلَافَ فِيهِ عِنْدَنَا" المجموع 1/92
He also stated,
“Therefore, our school and the majority have stated that only water can remove filth, not vinegar, or any other liquid. This opinion has been documented as being the opinion of Malik, Mohammad bin Hasan (Abu Hanifah’s student), Zufr, Ishaaq bin Rahawai, and an authentic narration by Ahmad bin Hanbal. However, Abu Hanifah, Abu Yusuf (Abu Hanifah’s student), & Dawud (Az-Zahiri) have stated that filth can be removed from both body & clothes by any liquids, it can been washed with the likes of vinegar, rose water”
“قَدْ ذَكَرْنَا أَنَّ إزَالَةَ النَّجَاسَةِ لَا تَجُوزُ عِنْدَنَا وَعِنْدَ الْجُمْهُورِ إلَّا بِالْمَاءِ فَلَا تَجُوزُ بِخَلٍّ وَلَا بِمَائِعٍ آخَرَ: وَمِمَّنْ نُقِلَ هَذَا عَنْهُ مَالِكٌ وَمُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الْحَسَنِ وزفر واسحق بْنُ رَاهْوَيْهِ وَهُوَ أَصَحُّ الرِّوَايَتَيْنِ عَنْ أَحْمَدَ: وَقَالَ أَبُو حَنِيفَةَ وَأَبُو يُوسُفَ وَدَاوُد يَجُوزُ إزَالَةُ النَّجَاسَةِ مِنْ الثَّوْبِ وَالْبَدَنِ بِكُلِّ مَائِعٍ يَسِيلُ إذَا غُسِلَ بِهِ ثُمَّ عُصِرَ كَالْخَلِّ وَمَاءِ الْوَرْدِ" المجموع 1/95
Finally, Dry Cleaning does not suffice in our school. Unless, the filth has been removed from its point of contact thoroughly with water. Then one is free to take it to the dry cleaner.
Answered by: Shaykh Muhib al-Din Abu Malik