Abu Malik al-Ash’ari reported: “The Messenger of Allah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said: Cleanliness is half of faith, and ‘Alhamdulillah’ fills the scales …” (Sahih Muslim)
Cleanliness plays a very important part in the life of a Muslim. There are many Ahadith on different aspects of cleanliness. From washing our hands before eating, to cleansing our bodies in Ghusl, to cleansing our garments, it has all been passed down to us through these Ahadith.
Washing anything three times has been shown to be the most appropriate number of times to wash. Anything more would waste the water, anything less would result in inadequate washing.
It is the Sunnah of our beloved Nabi Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam to wash our hands before and after meals. This has been shown to be very hygienic. Peanuts left in bowls on the counters of bars were tested. People would dip their hands into the peanut bowl to take a handful of peanuts. The tests showed that there was a high concentration of urine and stool in the peanuts. The concentration of the bacteria E. Coli was also shown to be high. We should be very thankful to Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam for having shown us this easy and hygienic act.
Making Ghusl after husband and wife have been intimate has been shown to reduce the incidence of urinary tract infections, especially in women.
During Wudhu, besides the spiritual cleansing, those parts of the body washed are also kept physically clean. A study was done in Egypt many years ago on people performing regular Wudhu compared to people who did not perform Wudhu. It was found that those people performing Wudhu regularly, including flushing their nostrils with water, had a significantly lower incidence of bacteria in their nose compared to people who did not make Wudhu. Many of us carry bacteria in our nostrils which cause boils on our skin.
Removing pubic and axillary (armpit) hair decreases the possibility of infections in those areas. The odour emanating from those places is also decreased.
Muslims are expected to present themselves before Allah five times a day in a clean state, with clean clothes in a clean environment. It becomes second nature to us, a part of our life. One of the conspicuous features of the crusaders observed by Sahaabah was that a terrible odour and stench emanated from their bodies. Close combat became a problem for the Sahaabah, not because they were afraid, but because the stench from the body of the crusaders was over-bearing.
An area of concern is the state of the toilets in our Masajid. There are those who really mess up the toilets in the Masajid but have very clean toilets at home. What makes people throw water all over the place, that it becomes difficult for other users? When using water in the toilet, we should leave the toilet in a state that would be pleasing for the next user.
When washing hands, we should shake off the excess water in the washbasin, so that it does not drip all over the floor, making the floor slippery and endangering the lives of other people. Such carelessness is certainly not in keeping with the teachings of Rasoolullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam.
Alhamdulillah, we have such a beautiful religion, a religion that makes us live a life of purity, both outwardly and inwardly. Let us take this religion to heart and imbue it’s teachings in every facet of our lives.