Health Corner

Hygiene and Cleanliness

Original Urdu article: Kashif Shahzad Attari Madani

Islam promotes hygiene and high standards of cleanliness. The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم is a perfect example of immaculate purity and cleanliness. His body and clothes were always clean; flies or lice would never even touch his garments. Flies and lice come about because of dirt and bad odours; the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was safe from them as he was free from any type of impurity.[1] It is an act of disbelief to say the garments of the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم are dirty or the nails of the Prophet were long.[2]

Numerous narrations mention the importance of staying clean. The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, “Allah Almighty is Pure and likes purity. So, keep your courtyards clean.”[3] Allah Almighty loves the outward and inner purity of His slaves. We should cleanse our body, soul, clothes, and manners whilst keeping our speech, actions and beliefs correct. “Clean your courtyards” means keeping the house clean. Keeping your body and clothes clean is imperative but you should keep your house clean too, and do not allow garbage to gather. As you can see, Islam has taught us every kind of cleanliness.[4]

The day of Friday is of great significance. Therefore, the hadith encourage us to bathe and to apply oil and fragrance on this day. Imam Ahmad Raza Khan رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْـه said, “˹Bathing˺ is encouraged by Islam to purify oneself. Islam is based on cleanliness, and this is the wisdom of bathing on Friday.”[5]

A hadith specifically emphasis the purity of the mouth:

طَیِّبُوا اَفۡوَاھَکُمۡ بِالسِّوَاكِ فَاِنَّہَا طُرُقُ الۡقُراٰن

 “Clean your mouths with Miswak, as they are the channel of ˹reciting˺ the Quran.”[6]

Another narration mentions, “If it were not burdensome for my followers or the people, I would have ordered them to use Miswak before every prayer.”[7]

Imam Ahmad Raza Khan رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْـه commented:

The context of this hadith is that people would go to the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم with unclean teeth. The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم told them to clean their teeth with Miswak and not to approach him with unclean teeth.[8]

The Medical Importance of Hygiene

Staying clean has spiritual and medical benefits while a lack of hygiene is not only disliked by Islam but can cause or exacerbate illnesses such as diarrhoea, typhoid, tuberculosis, and skin infections.

Two Types of Purity

1.   Outer purity: Keeping your body and clothes clean protects against illnesses, enhances confidence, and makes you socially accepted. On the other hand, dirty clothes and a lack of personal care hinder confidence and repel others. Personal items such as cars, mobile phones, laptops, tablets, PCs, shoes, socks, imamas, shawls, hats, watches, pens, and bags should also be kept clean.

Trim your nails at least once a week. Otherwise, dirt will gather under them, making them a breeding ground for germs and pathogens. These can enter the mouth when eating and cause diarrhoea and cholera. Take special care of your oral hygiene and adopt the Sunnah of using miswak. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and wash your hands before and after eating. When cleaning your ears, use something that will not damage them.

If possible, bathe everyday as it removes body odour and is beneficial for your health. A lot of things can get stuck in a beard; bad smelling saliva can fall into your beard while you are sleeping, causing it to smell. Hence, it is beneficial to wash your beard with soap at least once a day. Also wash the hair on your head from time to time.

2.   Purity of the environment: Keep utility areas such as the kitchen and washroom clean. Make a schedule of what needs to be cleaned daily, weekly, and monthly. For example, the fridge should be cleaned at least once a month, and the doors and cupboards once a week. It is also necessary to clean the basement and the water tank occasionally. Filtered or boiled water may offer some health benefits. The cleanliness of the environment is not limited to your home but extends to the streets, neighbourhood, office, masjid, and public transportation. Clean your house and dispose of all the rubbish. Clean your garden or front yard and wash them with water, so neighbours and people passing by are not troubled. It is an undesirable act to become a means of difficulty for others.

Teach your children

Teach your children good hygiene habits. Encourage them to wash their hands before and after eating, and make them brush their teeth before going to bed and in the morning.

In summary, we should pay attention to the cleanliness of our body and our surroundings.

We beseech Allah Almighty to make us people of outer and inner purity.

اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن  صَلَّی اللہ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلہٖ وَسَلَّم

[1] Seerat e Mustafa, p. 566

[2] Kufriyah Kalimat Ki Baray Mein Sawal Jawab, p. 208

[3] Tirmidhi, vol. 4, p. 325, Hadith 2808

[4] Mirat ul Manajeeh, vol. 6, p. 192

[5] Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 2, p. 61

[6] Shu’ab al-Iman, vol. 2, p. 382, Hadith 2119

[7] Bukhari, vol. 1, p. 307, Hadith 887

[8] Fatawa Razawiyyah, vol. 30, p. 557




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