nature, the Shari’a modifies it and trains the evil-commanding soul, according to the Shafi’i school, most of whose followers are villagers, semi-nomadic, and occupied in manual labour: “Ablutions are spoilt by touching a woman; the slightest uncleanliness is harmful.” While according to the Hanafi School, since the great majority of it followers have entered social life and become ‘semi-civilized:’ “Touching women does not spoil the ablutions; there is licence for a small amount of uncleanliness.”
Now we shall consider a manual worker and a gentleman. Due to his craft and the manner of his livelihood, a worker is afflicted with mixing with and being in contact with women who are canonically strangers to him. Since he sits at the same hearth as them and is involved with unclean things, nature and his evil-commanding soul find the field empty and may attack him. Therefore, in order to form a barrier against such attacks, the Shari’a states concerning them: “Your ablutions will be spoilt; do not touch the women. Your prayers will be invalid; do not be tainted.” A heavenly voice rings in his spiritual ears. Whereas, in accordance with social custom and in the name of common morality, the gentleman –on condition he is honourable– is not afflicted with being in contact with women who are canonically strangers to him, and in the name of cleanliness of civilization, he is not tainted to any degree with unclean things. Therefore, in the Hanafi school, the Shari’a has not shown him harshness and censure; it has shown its permissive side, and lightened it. “If your hand has been touched, your ablutions are not spoilt. If you are ashamed and do not perform the istinja in public, there is no harm in it. A small amount of uncleanliness is permitted.” It saves him from scruples. Thus, two drops from the ocean as examples for you. Make analogies with them, and if you can, balance them on the scales of the Shari’a in this way, with the balance of Sha’rani’s Mizan.1
Glory be unto You, we have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.2
O God! Grant blessings and peace to the one in whom were embodied the lights of Your love through the beauty of Your attributes; the comprehensive mirror to the manifestations of Your Most Beautiful Names; in whom was focussed the rays of Your love for the art which is in Your creatures; the most perfect and wonderful of Your artefacts, who was a sample of the perfections of Your art and an index of the beauties of Your inscriptions; and who reflected the subtleties of Your love and Your desire that Your art be appreciated; the most elevated herald of Your fine art, who proclaimed in resounding voice admiration
See, Sharani, al-Mizan al-Kubra.