Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
In the Shafi‘i school, how do I purify something that had najas fall on it if flowing water destroys it? For example, electronics, especially with exposed circuit boards, which can be quite expensive, thin paper, etc. Especially if I need to handle these items regularly with non-dry hands or if I need to hold them during prayer.
If the answer is to follow another school, should I change my prayer method, make wudu, ghusl, etc.?
Thank you for your question. The following is the method to purify something non-porous from the Hanafi school: If either invisible or visible filth is found on a smooth surface (e.g., countertops or tiled floors) that are free from open pores, then one can simply wipe up the remnants with a tissue or cloth. [Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah; Tahtawi, Hashiyyat al-Tahtawi; ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]
This ruling can be applied to a circuit board or other electronic device and is the easiest way to deal with the issue that you mention.
As for a thin paper, it would be possible in the Shafi’i school to wipe away the filth with a tissue or the like, then flow a bit of water over the area and leave it flat to dry. This won’t destroy the thin paper, but just leave it a bit wavy and textured. If there is something really important on this paper, it might be worth it to print it again or write it out again on a new sheet of paper.
If you follow the Hanafi school on this point, and this ruling affects you often, it is better to switch over to that school. In this case, you should learn its rulings of purification and prayer.
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May Allah give us all beneficial knowledge and the application of it.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.