Purification is Half of Faith – Quran and Hadith on Cleanliness

Religion Islam greatly emphasis both physical and spiritual cleanliness and purification that’s why Muslims throughout the world have extremely high standards of personal hygiene. Other than Muslims generally all humankind considers cleanliness to be a pleasing attribute that every human must possess but Islam insists on purification. Muslims are required to take care of their personal hygiene by assuring that they are well-groomed, and their bodies, clothes, and surroundings are clean. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said about the importance of purification in these words: “Cleanliness is half the faith (Imaan).” (Sahih Muslim).

Cleanliness and purification are one of the great exemptions of Islam. Cleanliness and purification are of two types in which we have inner purification and outer 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 can be obtained by proper bodily purification e.g. making ablution, taking bath, cleaning teeth, using fragrance, keeping house and clothes clean, etc.

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 Allah u Akbar) and its ending is Salam (salutation).” (Abu Dawood) 

The reward for cleanliness and purification is so great that it could reach a level in reward equal to half of that for having faith. Faith is made up of affirmation of the heart and outward submission in deeds. Purity implies the prayer which is the greatest form of outward submission. That is why it is referred to as half of faith. Being a Muslim, we know the importance of cleanliness that’s why we perform Wudu (ablution) for regular prayers fives time a day and also for optional prayers.

Abu Malik Al-Ashari (RA) reported that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Purity is half of faith, and the praise of Allah fills the scale. Glorification and praise fill up what is between the heavens and the earth. Prayer is a light, charity is proof, and patience is the illumination. The Quran is a proof for you or against you. All people go out early in the morning and sell themselves, either setting themselves free or destroying themselves.” (Ṣaḥiḥ Muslim)

We have to perform Ghusl (bath) to clean our bodies. So, our faith is one half when we purify ourselves. There are two ways to understand the meaning of “purification is half of the faith (Iman)” The first way is to understand it in the term of physical cleanliness. But it’s not limited to ourselves. We must clean our homes, a mosque and everything around us. Its second aspect is the importance of prayer as we have to perform Ablution (wudu) before offering the prayer. This act purifies our faith. 

Cleanliness is the pathway to health and strength. Islam wants a healthy and strong Muslim society that 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)

May Almighty Allah gives us the strength to adopt the teachings of Islam and the ways of cleanliness as our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught us. Ameen!