Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
In this fatwa:
1- A sick person who cannot use water for medical reasons is allowed to make tayammum (dry ablution).
2- The Prophet hit the wall and wiped his face. Then, he hit it the second time with his hands and wiped his two arms.
Answering your question, Dr. Wael Shehab, PhD in Islamic Studies from Al-Azhar University and currently the Imam of the Downtown Toronto Masjid in Canada, states:
If a sick person cannot use water for ablution for a medical reason, he can make tayammum (dry ablution) to offer the Prayers.
Tayammum could be done by hitting one’s hands on the wall, the bed, or one’s clothes if there is dust on it/them, or he can keep with him some dust in a vessel or bag to use for tayammum.
Thus, in case of inability to use water, or the unavailability of water, tayammum is permitted according to the verse:
“O you who believe! When you rise up for Prayer, wash your faces, and your hands up to the elbows, and lightly rub your heads and (wash) your feet up to the ankles. And if you are unclean, purify yourselves. And if you are sick or on a journey, or one of you comes from the closet, or you have had contact with women, and you find not water, then go to clean, high ground and rub your faces and your hands with some of it. Allah would not place a burden on you, but He would purify you and would perfect His grace upon you, that you may give thanks.” (Al-Ma’idah 5:6)
Tayammum should be done with “sa`idan tayyiban” which means “pure dust”, or anything made from the dust or dirt such as rocks, even the clothes because they have dust.
Ibn Umar narrated that “The Prophet hit the wall and wiped his face. Then he hit it the second time with his hands and wiped his two arms.” (Abu Dawud)
As for reading Qur’an and sending its reward to the deceased, it’s allowed according to some scholars. You are recommended to make a lot of du`aa’ to your dead parents, relatives, and all Muslims.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.