Part of the human experience is the occasional bout with diarrhea. Here, we find Muhammad overcome by this unfortunate ailment and unable to make use of the faucet. Such a circumstance close to prayer time, may be how Muhammad came up with the idea of tayammum. Tayammum serves as an alternative to the required ritual wash with water when none is available. It involves cleansing oneself by rubbing the face and arms with sand or earth.
Tayammum sometimes came in handy because in seventh-century Arabia water was not always readily available and so it often made sense for Muslims to save it for drinking. Tayammum is seldom practiced in the modern world since clean water is readily available (unless you happen to live in Flint, Michigan).
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