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. Islam places great stress on cleanliness, whether it’s in physical or spiritual terms. The attention to hygiene is the condition which was unfamiliar with any other religion before Islam. While people generally consider cleanliness or purification a desirable aspect, but Islam insists on it, making hygiene an essential part of faith. Cleanliness is an essential part of Islamic life. We can say the meaning and spirit behind the concept of cleanliness is above the slight concept of the traditional cleanliness. In Holy Quran Allah Almighty says: “Allah does not intend to inconvenience you, but He intends to purify you and perfect His favor to you, so that you may give thanks”. (Quran, 5:6)
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.
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.
Our beloved Prophet (SAW) said about purity in one of His hadith in a way: “Cleanliness is half the faith (Emaan).” (Sahih Muslim). So we can conclude that Cleanliness and purity are part of our faith which we have to take seriously in our lives. The Holy Prophet (SAW) practiced cleanliness himself and ordered his companions to follow too. He kept his body and clothes clean, took bath on regular basis, liked the use of fragrance, liked to do Miswaak, He (PBUH) disliked the use of smelly things like garlic etc .and appreciated neat and attractive appearance.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The key to the prayer is cleanliness, its beginning is takbir (saying Allahu Akbar) and its ending is Salam (salutation).” (Abu Dawud). Islam has always encouraged the believer to be in a state of cleanliness both physically and spiritually. As mentioned above, one of the most important aspects of prayers is that a person should be clean before performing them five times a day.
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.
- Keep food and water covered.
- Offer Salah with clean body and clothes.
- Use fragrance or perfume.
- Comb your hair and use oil on the hair.
- Take bath and perform ablution for offering prayers.
- Go to bed early and rise early in the morning.
- Go for a walk in the morning.
- Keep your house and streets clean or we can say keep your environment clean.
- Keep your clothes and body clean.
- Do Miswak regularly.
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: “You are the best community that hath been raised up for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah.” (Quran, 3:110)
In short, Cleanliness is a part of faith or we can say it is half the faith. We often clean our homes, brush our teeth daily, take bath, wash our clothes, wash dishes, use perfume. Do we realize that we are getting rewarded by Allah (SWT) for it? No, because generally we never think of doing these acts for an account of reward from Allah Almighty, we don’t do them for the pleasure of Allah as we are obeying his commands. May Allah give us the strength to obey His commands and get rewards and blessings from Him! Ameen