Answered by Sidi Moustafa Elqabbany
My question is in regards to wudu in the Shafi’i madthab. I was making wudu the other day when I became conscious of the water dripping from the outside of my mouth and nose as I scooped up the next scoop of water to wash my face. As I had this water approaching my face I noticed a drop fell from my nose/mouth area or upper lip and dropped into the water I was about to wash my face with. Is this water then considered ”used” water and thus impermissible to wash my face with or is it still considered pure as similar to one being in the shower and having water running off their head and into their hands.
There are three kinds of water: purifying, pure, and filthy. Only purifying water can be used for wudu and ghusl. Most of the water we encounter is purifying. Water used for the first washing of a limb of wudu or ghusl is referred to as used. Used water is pure but not purifying, so it cannot be used for wudu. Water used for sunnah acts, like rinsing the mouth and nose, remains purifying.
If water that is pure (but not purifying) mixes with purifying water, one asks:
1. If the pure water were pomegranate juice, would it have been enough to change the taste of the purifying water? If yes, then the water is pure but not purifying; otherwise, one asks:
2. If the pure water were black or red grape juice, would it have been enough to change the colour of the purifying water? If yes, then the water is pure but not purifying; otherwise, one asks:
3. If the pure water were frankincense, would it would it have been enough to change the smell of the purifying water? If yes, then the water is pure but not purifying; otherwise, it is purifying.
If one doubts whether the pure water would have been enough to change the purifying water, one assumes that the purifying water is still purifying.
Note: The above merely answers the question asked. There are many other details that might be relevant in other scenarios.
Allah the Exalted knows best.
Metro Vancouver, Canada