Q: We are nomads. We move from place to place all the time. We carry water for our camels and sheep in a special car. The place where water is available is one hundred kilometers away. When the time of Salah (Prayer) is due, we perform Tayammum (dry ablution with clean earth) and offer Salah. This is because the water we have is only enough for our basic needs. The wandering guides told us that it is not permissible for us to
perform Tayammum when there is water
and that our Salah will be invalid unless we use water for Wudu' (ablution). What is your opinion on this point?
The basic ruling is that it is obligatory to perform Taharah (ritual purification) using water as long as it is available and one is able to use it. If water is not available, or it is available but it is only enough for one's basic needs, and there is no water in the surroundings, one is permitted to perform Tayammum. Allah (Exalted be He) says:
...and you find no water, then perform Tayammum with clean earth and rub therewith your faces and hands.
Anyone who performs Tayammum while he can get and use water, his Salah is not valid, if the water is brought to him in vans and there is extra water over his basic needs and the needs of his cattle. (Part No. 4; Page No. 187) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.