Commentary on the Hadith Concerning purity of Semen

Praise be to Allah,

Narrated ‘Aa’ishah (R.A):

“I used to wash the traces of Janaabah (semen) from the clothes of the Prophet (PBUH) and he used to go to Salaat (prayers) while traces of water were still on it (water spots were still visible).”[i]


In the narration of Muslim: Narrated ‘Aa’ishah (R.A): “…for I remember scratching the garment (at the place of semen) of the Messenger of Allaah (PBUH) thoroughly, then he performed Salaat in it.”[ii]



Difference of Opinion of the Scholars


Concerning whether al-Manee (Semen) is Impure or not.


  1. The Hanafee and Maalikee scholars held that al-Manee (semen) is an impure substance. They cite as evidence the ahaadeeth which mentions the washing of semen from the garment of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), including the present hadeeth. [This is also the opinion of Umar, Sa’eed ibn al-Musayyib, and al- Awzaa’ee].


  1. Imaams ash-Shaafi’ee and Ahmad, the People of Hadeeth, Ibn Hazm, Shaykh al- Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, and other scholars held that al-Manee (semen) is a pure substance. They cite as evidence, among other things:


  • The authenticity of ahaadeeth indicating ‘Aa’ishah (R.A) was scraping the semen – if it were dry – from the garment of the Messenger of Allaah (PBUH) with her fingernail. If semen were an impure substance, it would not have been sufficient except to use water, as is necessary with all the other najaasaat (impure substances).



It was narrated that ‘Abdullaah ibn Shihaab Al-Khawlaanee said: I was staying at ‘Aa’ishah’s house, and I had a wet dream in my garment, so I dipped it in water. A slave girl of ‘Aa’ishah saw me and told her, and ‘Aa’ishah sent word to me, asking, “What made you do that with your garment?” I said, “I saw what a sleeper sees in his dreams.” She said, “Did you see something on it (the garment)?” He said, “No,” She said, “If you see something, then wash it, for I remember scratching it from the garment of the Messenger of Allaah (PBUH) with my fingernail when it was dry.” [iii]


(b) That al-manee (semen) is the essence of the human being. Hence, it is not conceivable that the essence or source of life of the human being be neither najas (something impure) nor khabeeth (harmful, offensive, and repulsive), while Allaah has honored and purified the Human Being.


(c) The Prophet (PBUH) never ordered that it (semen) be washed, or that one should be careful to avoid it, as he cautioned and advised us to avoid urine.


(d) They also responded to the hadeeth pointing to semen being washed from the garment saying: “Mere washing (of the semen from the garment) does not conclusively prove that it is an impure substance, just as the washing of Mukhaat (nasal mucus or snot) or similar substances (from one’s garment) is not an indication that it is najas (an impure substance). The Islamic Law requires keeping oneself clean from impure substances (najaasaat) as well as dirty or filthy things (mustaq-dhiraat). Hence, it is expected that the Prophet would have agreed to the washing of the semen from his garment even though it is not najas.” [This is also the opinion of Ibn Abbass, ‘Ataa, Sufyaan ath – Thawree and Is-haaq].


Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:


With regard to maniy, the correct view is that it is pure, as is the view of ash-Shaafa‘i and Ahmad, according to the well-known report from him. It was also said that it is impure, but it is sufficient to scratch it, as is the view of Abu Haneefah and Ahmad, according to the other report. And it was said that it must be washed, as is the view of Maalik.

The first view is the correct one, because it is well-known that the Sahaabah experienced wet dreams at the time of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and that maniy would get onto the body and clothes of one of them, and this is something that affects everyone. If it were impure, then it would have been obligatory for the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) to instruct them to remove that from their bodies and clothes, as he instructed them to clean themselves after relieving themselves, and as he instructed the menstruating woman to wash the menstrual blood from her garment. In fact, the issue of getting maniy on one’s body or clothes is far more common than the issue of menstrual blood getting onto the woman’s garment. It is well-known that no one narrated that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) instructed any of the Sahaabah to wash maniy from his body or clothes; thus it is known for certain that this was not obligatory for them, and this is definitive to anyone who examines the matter.[iv]


Important Points Derived from the Hadeeth:

  1. That al-Manee (semen) is not an impure substance, and that it is not obligatory to wash it from the body, clothing, or other things.


  1. That it is commendable (mustahabb) to remove it from the clothing and the body. If it is moist, it should be washed with water, and if dry by scraping it off.


  1. The excellence of Aisha (R.A) in serving the Prophet (PBUH).

Allah Knows Best.

Copied from Sources:

Arousing the Intellects with the Explanation of Umdatul Ahkaam. The Book Of At-Taharaah by Allama Sheikh Salih Ibn Uthaymeen (May Allah have mercy on him). page  90

Tayseer al-Allaam Sharh Umdatul-Ahkaam by Shaykh Abdullah ibn Abdur – Rahmaan Aal Bassaam. Page 70

[i] Saheeh Bukhaari, Volume 1, Book 4, Hadeeth Number 229, p. 177

[ii] Saheeh Muslim, Volume 1, Book 3, Hadeeth Number 668, p. 410. I could not locate the exact wording of

the hadeeth quoted in the text. This difference in this version is in the beginning. It says: رأي†ت†ني†أف†ركه†ول†قد

– Ed

[iii] [Saheeh Muslim, Volume 1, Book 2, Hadeeth 674, p. 412-413] – Ed.


[iv] End quote from Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa, 21/604, 605


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