Concerning the Solar Water Heater

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Allah Ta’al has created everything that is on the earth to be of service to man. “It is He Who has created for you all things that are on earth.” (2: 29). In His Creation, Allah has left signs which establish His Supremacy. “Behold! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alteration of Night and Day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding- men who remembers Allah standing, sitting and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth, (with the saying): Our Lord! Not for naught hast Thou created (all) this! Glory to Thee! Give us salvation from the Chastisement of the fire.” (3: 190-191)

Indeed, Allah has decreed the methods of the use or consumption of created things. For example, the elephant and the ass can be used as riding animals, but their consumption is illicit. Flesh-eating animals such as lions, tigers and foxes are prohibited from consumption, but their tanned skins can be used. The Prophet of Allah (saw) noticed the dead body of a sheep which the sahabahs were about to throw away. He told them: “Why don’t you draw benefit from its skin? It is only the consumption of the (flesh of the) animal that is haraam.” (Bukahri). Henceforth, the prophet (saw) has, by his statements, acts and approval, come to distinguish between what is licit and what is illicit.

Allah Ta’ala has created the sun with various objectives such as provision of light and heat, climate, clouds and also for counting the hour, the day and the year. Allah Ta’ala has stated: “Among His Signs are the night and the day, and the sun and the moon.” (41: 37). Allah Ta’ala has again stated: “It is He who made the sun to be a shining glory and the moon to be a light (of beauty), and measured out stages for it, that you might know the number of years and the count (of time).” (10: 5). The findings of science should strengthen our faith. Allah Ta’ala has made of the ardent rays of the sun a means of photosynthesis for plants.

Water is a favour which Allah Ta’ala has granted to us and which other planets do not have. But even here Allah Ta’ala has made of the sun a means to evaporate sea water to form clouds holding thousands of liters of water to water the earth. “It is He who doth show you the lightning, by way both of fear and of hope; it is He who doth raise up the clouds, heavy with (fertilizing) rain.” (13: 12). There is also the risk that the sun can be detrimental to health. The Messengers of Allah (saw) has prohibited religious service at the time of zawaal. “Wait! Because the intense heat comes from Hell.” (Bukhari). And one can find narrations where it is indicated that pools of water heated by the sun should not be used for wudhu (ablution) or for ghoussal (ritual bath).

Although the stories narrated are divergent, one can find the interdiction to use water heated by the sun as being harmful for the skin. Some learned persons analyse these narratives as being a prescription of medical nature, whereas others consider them as being a religious injunction. The Ummah remains cautious as to the utilization of water heated by the sun. According to information, there are two types of solar water-heater. The old model with glass sheets which capture the rays of the sun, and the new model with glass tubes. The former has the water heated directly by the sun through mini-pipes. Use of this model is considered by some learned persons as being makrooh (not advisable). But the new solar water heater with glass tubes is provided with mini-tubes of mercury which heat the water. This is a better model because the water is indirectly heated by the rays of the sun. And Allah Ta’ala knows best! Allama Iqbaal used to say thus: “We have been able to capture the rays of the sun, we have been able to walk on the moon, but we have not been able to learn how to walk on the earth!”
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