Many countries all over the world suffer from water shortages and a decrease in water resources. Thanks to modern techniques that have enabled man to refine water and made it reusable, as it has helped hundreds of thousands in their dire need.
Now, the issue arises as to the permissibility of using refined water. Water is an integral part in Muslim’s rites of worship. In books of fiqh there are entire chapters dedicated to lengthy discussions concerning the conditions and types of water that a Muslim is allowed to use to fulfill his religious duties.
Responding to this issue, the Standing Committee for Research and Ifta‘ stated:
The Council of Senior Scholars has previously studied this matter in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and has issued a decree regarding it to the following content:
The Council has read the study that was made on this issue by the Standing Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta‘. The Council has also read the letter of his Excellency, the minister of agriculture and water No. 1 / 1299 in 30/05/1398 A. H. After studying and discussing the matter; the following was decreed:
According to what has been mentioned by scholars, large amounts of water which has been changed by najasah (impurity) becomes tahir (pure) if this change happens either on its own, by adding tahir water to it, by the passage of time, by the effects of the sun or wind, etc. as a ruling becomes terminated as soon as its `Illah (effective cause) is no longer existent.
The Council is of the view that such impure water can be considered pure after it is refined fully in a way that it regains its original nature with no change in its taste, color, or smell. This is because impure water can be purified by various means. Modern ways of water purification is guaranteed in this regard as many tangible mediums are utilized to make sure that the water is free from all impurities. Experts whom no one can doubt their work and experience are witnesses to this.
Such water, after being purified, can be used to remove major and minor ritual impurity. It can also be drunk but if doing so will harm a person’s health, it should be abandoned in order to avoid harm, not because the water is impure.
If possible, it is preferred not to drink such water so as to protect health, avoid harm, and to be far above doing anything that people naturally detest and regard as filthy.