The World Federation One Stop Fiqh

Ruling 637

If a person happens to be in a populated area, he must search for water for performing wuḍūʾ and ghusl until such time that he loses hope in finding water. The same applies if one happens to be staying in a desert, like those who stay in tents. If a person is on a journey in a desert, he must search for water on the way and in the places near where he is staying. The obligatory precaution is that if the ground is uneven, or if due to some other reason the road is difficult to traverse – for example, because it has a lot of trees – one must go in search of water in the area around him as far as the distance that a shot arrow travels as it would have been shot from a bow in the past.86 If the land is even, however, one must go in search of water in the area around him up to the distance that two shot arrows travel.87

86 There is a difference of opinion [among jurists] regarding the distance a shot arrow travels. The most often quoted distance is 480 cubits, which is equivalent to approximately 220 metres (Minhāj al‐Ṣāliḥīn, vol. 1, p. 141, Ruling 342). [Author]

87 Based on the distance quoted in the previous footnote, this would equate to approximately 440 metres.