#36: The Status for Drool

Question:

What is the ruling for drool that unintentionally seeps out of one’s mouth and came into contact with one’s clothes? Is it considered as najis?

Answer:

The original ruling of saliva that escapes the mouth of a person is pure. In a story told by Saidatina Aisyah r.anha, she said:

كُنْتُ أَشْرَبُ وَأَنَا حَائِضٌ ثُمَّ أُنَاوِلُهُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَيَضَعُ فَاهُ عَلَى مَوْضِعِ فِيَّ فَيَشْرَبُ

“I would drink when I was menstruating, then hand it to the Prophet, and he would put his mouth where mine had been and drink; and I would eat flesh from a bone when I was menstruating, then hand it to the Prophet, and he would put his mouth where mine had been.” [1]

Although, the details of it, is stated by al-Khatib al-Shirbini: “If it originates from the stomach such as it smells awful and yellowish, then it is considered as najis. It isn’t considered as najis if it is not from the stomach. Or if one is uncertain as to whether it is from the stomach or not, then it is considered as pure.” [2]

How to differentiate it? Imam al-Nawawi cited from Imam Abu Muhammad al-Juwaini: “If it flows from the mouth since he first sleeps and it discontinued throughout his sleep and dried on his lips and pillow, then it is from the mouth, not from the stomach. While, if he could feel that his mouth is always wet all the while he was asleep, then it is apparent from the stomach. However, if there is doubt, then as a precautionary step, wash it.” [3]

Imam al-Nawawi commented on the opinion of Imam Abu Muhammad al-Juwaini said: “I’ve asked several fair medical doctors. They deny that there is saliva that came from the stomach and they also deny anyone who obligates that it should be washed. The chosen opinion is that it isn’t obligatory to be washed except when one has ascertained that it is from the stomach. When there is doubt, it isn’t obligatory to be washed, but sunnah as a precautionary step, if we consider it as najis, but it is included as a general matter of al-balwa (unavoidable), then it is included as matters which are forgiven such as the blood of insects, incontinence, istihadhah and others similar which are included as the matters that are forgiven due to difficulty.” [4]

Through scientific research, we know that the stomach doesn’t produce saliva but acid. The mixture of saliva and acid reflux that travelled up the throat which causes pain in the throat, heartburn, produces an awful and sour smell. It may be closely related to Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). This is what is meant by our scholars when they mentioned saliva “from the stomach” as najis. Whereas, saliva that seeps from the mouth, without any characteristics that I’ve mentioned previously, is pure. However, it is sunnah to wash the clothing that came into contact with drool when one is sleeping. If one forgets, then it is forgiven. Wallahu a’lam.

 

[1] Narrated by Muslim, no. 453.

[2] Mughnī al-Muḥtāj, 1/79.

[3] Majmūʿ Sharḥ al-Muhadhdhab, 2/551-552

[4] Ibid

 

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