It will not be of any surprise if you already know about tayammum (dry or sand ablution).
Tayammum is done in place of water ablution or the ritual bath (ghusl when we cannot find water. Our concern here is not about how to perform the tayammum, rather it is about the story that brought about the mercy of tayammum to the Muslims. Let us see the story as narrated by Aisha (RA): We set out with Allaah's Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) on one of his journeys till we reached AI-Baida or Dhatul-Jaish, a necklace of mine was broken (and lost). Allaah's Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) stayed there to search for it. and so did the people along with him.
There was no water at that place so the people went to Abu-Bakr As- Siddiq and said, "Don't you see what Aisha has done? She has made Allaah's Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the people stay where there is no water and they have no water with them: Abu Bakr came while Allaah's prophet (peace and blessings. be upon him) was sleeping with his head on my thigh. He said to me: "You have detained Allaah's Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the people where there is no water and they have no water with them." So he admonished me and said what Allaah wished him to say and hit me on my flank with his hand.
Nothing prevented me from moving (because of pain) but the position of Allaah's Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) on my thigh. Allaah's Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) got up when dawn broke and there was no water. So Allaah revealed the Divine Verses of tayammum, Allaah says: "But if you are ill or on a journey, or any of you comes after answering the call of nature, or you have been in contact with women (i.e. sexual intercourse), .and you find no water then perform tayammum with clean earth and rub therewith your faces and hands. Allaah does not place you in difficulty, but he wants to purify you, and to complete His Favour on". You that you be thankful . " (Q5:6). So they all performed tayammum. Said bin Hudair said, "Oh the family of Abu Bakr! This is not the first blessing of yours." Then the camel on which I was riding was caused to move from its place and the necklace was found beneath it (Bukhari).
A Case Of Misunderstanding: Narrated Shaqiq : "While I was with Abdullah and Abu Musa, the latter said to the former, "Haven't you heard the statement of Ammar to Umar? He said, Allaah's Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) sent you and me out and I became Junub (impure through wet dream) and rolled myself in the dust (clean earth) (for tayammum). When we came to Allaahs Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) I told him about it and he said, "This would have been sufficient," passing his hands over his face and the backs of his hands once only. (Bukhari) From this narration we can see that nobody is safe from mistake and misunderstanding and that asking questions when we don't know is important.
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited