Cleanliness in Islam

Islam has given so much importance to cleanliness as it is considered to be a part of faith. Cleanliness and purification are one of the great exemptions of Islam. There is no doubt that embodying such manners and virtues enhances personal style and qualities, refines personality and brings us closer to the hearts and minds of others. Eat, drink, and give in charity. Wear (nice) clothing but without pride and extravagance. Verily, Allah loves for his blessings to be seen upon his servants. Allah says:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا كُونُوا قَوَّامِينَ لِلَّهِ شُهَدَاءَ بِالْقِسْطِ وَلَا يَجْرِمَنَّكُمْ شَنَآنُ قَوْمٍ عَلَىٰ أَلَّا تَعْدِلُوا اعْدِلُوا هُوَ أَقْرَبُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

 

“O you who believe! Be steadfast for Allah (as) witnesses in justice, and let not prevent you hatred (of) a people [upon] that not you do justice. Be just it (is) nearer to [the] piety. And consciously revere Allah; indeed, Allah (is) All-Aware of what you do.” (Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:8)

 

The five daily Prayers are obligatory upon every Muslim, man, and women. This Prayer is actually pledged to meet Allah, the Exalted, from the rising of the dawn until the disappearance of the twilight at evening. It is, in fact, a spiritual shower washing away sins five times a day. In this respect. Allah says:

 

وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ طَرَفَيِ النَّهَارِ وَزُلَفًا مِّنَ اللَّيْلِ إِنَّ الْحَسَنَاتِ يُذْهِبْنَ السَّيِّئَاتِ ذَٰلِكَ ذِكْرَىٰ لِلذَّاكِرِينَ

 

“And establish the prayer (at the) two ends (of) the day and (at) the approach of the night. Indeed, the good deeds remove the evil deeds. That (is) a reminder for those who remember.” (Surah Hud, 11:114)

 

Islam teaches us to value cleanliness, to practice good hygiene habits, and to take care of our appearance as a courtesy to others. This is especially true for anyone who represents Islam in an official capacity, such as an Imam or a scholar. Physical appearance can be a reflection of what is in the heart, so outward cleanliness must also accompany inward purification of the soul. Allah says:

 

فَمَا كَانَ جَوَابَ قَوْمِهِ إِلَّا أَن قَالُوا أَخْرِجُوا آلَ لُوطٍ مِّن قَرْيَتِكُمْ إِنَّهُمْ أُنَاسٌ يَتَطَهَّرُونَ

 

“But not was (the) answer (of) his people except that they said, “Drive out (the) family (of) Lut from your town. Indeed, they (are) people who keep clean.” (Surah An-Naml 27:56)

 

Many good manners with a few good deeds are better than many good deeds with a few good manners. Even if some of these rules appear to be simple common courtesy, it is important to highlight their significance. Many Muslims commit errors which blemish the Islamic personality, whose purpose is meant to be unique in its beauty, perfection, and traits. Allah says:

 

فَمَا كَانَ جَوَابَ قَوْمِهِ إِلَّا أَن قَالُوا أَخْرِجُوا آلَ لُوطٍ مِّن قَرْيَتِكُمْ إِنَّهُمْ أُنَاسٌ يَتَطَهَّرُونَ

 

“But not was (the) answer (of) his people except that they said, “Drive out (the) family (of) Lut from your town. Indeed, they (are) people who keep clean.” (Surah An-Naml 27:56)

 

If you were the opposite, people will look down on you even if you were a relative or friend. To look good while visiting or being visited is an instinctive trait in addition to being an Islamic manner.
The general rule is that we should wear nice clothes, modestly and moderately, when we go to public places like the mosque. Allah says:

 

يَا بَنِي آدَمَ خُذُوا زِينَتَكُمْ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا وَلَا تُسْرِفُوا إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِينَ

 

“O Children (of) Adam! Take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink but (do) not be extravagant. Indeed, He (does) not love the extravagant ones.” (Surah Al-A’raf 7:31)

 

Cleanliness and purification are of two types in which we have inner purification and outer purification.

 

Inner Purification: Inner purification can be achieved by encouraging the five pillars of Islam. Having clean and pure thinking, avoiding sins, making a lot of dhikrs and most importantly making sure the heart is pure of spiritual affliction such as anger, hatred, relying on other people than Allah, pride, arrogance, etc. Allah says:

 

وَحَنَانًا مِّن لَّدُنَّا وَزَكَاةً وَكَانَ تَقِيًّا

 

“And affection from Us and purity and he was consciously reverent.” (Surah Maryam 19:13)

 

Outer Purification: Outer purification can be obtained by proper bodily purification e.g. making ablution, taking bath, cleaning teeth, using fragrance, keeping house and clothes clean, etc.

 

There are many instructions in connec­tion with health, hygiene and nutrition and about the cleanliness of air and environment in Islam. Some of them are listed below:

  • Wash your mouth and hands before and after a meal
  • Offer Salah with a clean body and clothes
  • Keep your clothes and body clean
  • Keep food and water covered
  • Go for a walk in the morning
  • Use fragrance or perfume
  • Do Miswak regularly
  • Comb your hair and use oil on the hair
  • Go to bed early and rise early in the morning
  • Take bath and perform ablution for offering prayers
  • Keep your house and streets clean or we can say keep your environment clean.

Cleanliness is the pathway to health and strength. Islam wants a healthy and strong Muslim society which is capable of understanding and applying Allah’s message and carrying it away to the whole world. The Holy Quran says:

 

كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ

 

“You are (the) best (of) people raised for mankind – enjoining the right and forbidding [from] the wrong and believing in Allah. And if believed (the) People (of) the Book surely would have been good for them. Among them (are) [the] believers, but most of them (are) defiantly disobedient.” (Surah Al Imran, 3:110)

 

Muslims ought to present a pleasant outward appearance by wearing nice, clean clothes and practising good grooming and hygiene habits. These are commandments from Allah and His Messenger, which are intended to cultivate gratitude, as a courtesy towards others, and to fulfil the purpose of our human nature. Our sense of fashion should also be limited and directed by modesty and moderation, so as to avoid extravagance and vanity. Allah says:

 

قُلْ مَنْ حَرَّمَ زِينَةَ اللَّهِ الَّتِي أَخْرَجَ لِعِبَادِهِ وَالطَّيِّبَاتِ مِنَ الرِّزْقِ قُلْ هِيَ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا خَالِصَةً يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ كَذَٰلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ

 

Say, “Who has forbidden (the) adornment (from) Allah which He has brought forth for His slaves, and the pure things of sustenance?” Say, “They (are) for those who believe during the life (of) the world, exclusively (for them) (on the) Day (of) Resurrection. Thus We explain the Signs for (the) people who know.” (Surah Al-A`raf 7:32)

 

Outward beauty, moreover, must be complemented by inward purification from spiritual diseases such as pride, arrogance, and envy. The Muslim never forgets that Islam, which encourages him to take care of his appearance and to wear his beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer, is also the religion that warns him against going to extremes in that, and tells him to avoid becoming enslaved by his appearance.

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