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What is the ruling of Sharia on wasteful use of water?

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
What is the ruling of Sharia on wasteful use of water?

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds, and may His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions. Allah, The Almighty, has made water the backbone of life for all creatures on earth since none of them could survive without it. In addition, this blessing is most spreading on the face of earth. Allah, The Almighty, said: "We made from water every living thing"{Al-Anbia`/30}. Just as Islam called for preserving, storing, and using water properly, it prohibited wasteful use because it is a blessing upon which all forms of life rely. Moreover, if we preserve this great blessing by following the teachings of Sharia in this regard, it will last longer and make us happier because Allah, The Almighty, said: ""If ye are grateful, I will add more (favours) unto you; But if ye show ingratitude, truly My punishment is terrible indeed."{Ibrahim/7}. It is our duty to keep water pure, use it moderately, and collect it in dams, reservoirs and clean wells. Allah, The Almighty, said: "And We send down from the sky rain charted with blessing, and We produce therewith gardens and Grain for harvests And tall (and stately) palm-trees, with shoots of fruit-stalks, piled one over another;-"{Qaf/9-10}. Due to the great importance of water, the Prophet(PBUH) prohibited wasting it even when making Ghusl(Ritual bath) or performing ablution. It was narrated from 'Abdullah bin 'Amr that:"The Messenger of Allah passed by Sa'd when he was performing ablution, and he said: 'What is this extravagance?' He said: 'Can there be any extravagance in ablution?' He said: 'Yes, even if you are on the bank of a flowing river.''{Ibn Majah}. Consequently, jurists have specified the amount of water needed for washing the limbs that must be washed in ablution-the legitimate need varies according to persons and conditions-therefore, any excess to this need is an act of extravagance. If the water was owned by the person who is using it extravagantly then it is disliked for him to do so, but if it was owned by someone else or endowed, like the case with lavatories of mosques, then extravagance in using it isn`t permissible as agreed by all jurists because it is an endowed property that nobody is allowed to use, but as much as the legitimate need. Due to the importance of water, the Prophet(PBUH)" used to perform ablution with a Mudd (of water) and bath with a Sa'. {Sa` is 2.75 litre} and {Mudd equals 687 litre}. This narration sets the estimation of the quantity of water which is sufficient for ablution. Since Jordan is one of the poorest countries in water resources, it is imperative to carry out periodic maintenance of dams and water supply networks in addition to benefiting from rain water. Moreover, it is essential to show gratitude to Allah for this great blessing by preserving and using it properly. And all perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds.

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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