Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
Suppose you have impurity on your hands; wash them thoroughly with soap and water and remove the physical filth. However, about ten minutes later, the smell of impurity remains on your hands with no physical impurity; Are your hands considered purified despite the smell remaining and no trace of psychical impurity?
The towel used to dry the hands after initially washing them is that considered to be free from impurity even tho the smell remained on the hands after washing and there was no smell on the actual towel? I am overthinking that maybe the towel is also impure now. Can you answer according to Hanafi Madhhab?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
How Impurity is Removed
It is important to remember that Allah Most High has not made it obligatory for us to investigate such detail in matters of purity.
They are pure if one has washed and is reasonably sure that no impurity remains. This includes one’s rear and hands. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah]
It is not a requirement to smell one’s hands. This is highly discouraged as it leads to doubts, misgivings, and overthinking, as you have mentioned.
Things to Keep in Mind
Allah Most High has not burdened anyone beyond their capacity. Most High says, “and Allah has not put, upon you, in the religion, any undue hardship.” [Quran, 22:78]
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “This religion is simple, and none goes to extremes in the religion except that it overwhelms them. So strive for uprightness and do your best…” [Bukhari]
These types of misgivings are all too common regarding matters of purification. Shaytan plays on people’s sincerity in their religion and incites them toward false caution.
What is True Caution?
Proper caution is to follow the Sunna of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).
Abandoning Misgivings (Waswasa)
For the one constantly in doubt, abandoning caution is often the best cure.
“As for the one who often struggles with misgivings, it is necessary for them to sever the cause of the misgivings and not to give it any consideration. This is because it is the doing of Shaytan, and the instruction for us is to oppose him.” [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]
Knowledge as a Cure
The long-term cure for these constant doubts is to seek a deeper understanding of Islamic Knowledge. With knowledge, Shaytan cannot deceive you with his whispers and plots. I would advise you to find authentic scholars in your area and study an introductory text in Islamic Jurisprudence with them.
Please note that SeekersGuidance.org has classes available in Islamic Jurisprudence and many other subjects.
May Allah Most High ease all of your affairs and protect you and us from the plots of Shaytan.
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani