An assailing factor which is vital for one to lead an Islamic lifestyle, is that he or she takes care to keep oneself is a state of purity constantly. Be that pure from spiritual or physical impurities. Islam is unique in that regard, as it recognises and gives emphasis to both types of purity. One should not be neglectful in both aspects, especially, considering the lack of both in modern society.
Firstly one should be aware that Allah himself is the most pure, and that he loves the pure; he states: “Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.” (2:222) This is undeniable truth, just as repenting and purifying oneself from spiritual filth is pleasing unto Allah, so too, is purifying oneself from physical filth. One who is mindful of both has truly attained Allah’s pleasure.
The Noblest of Messengers has also elucidated on the importance of cleanliness: “Cleanliness is half of faith” (Muslim) This should illustrate the importance that cleanliness holds in religion. It is an crucial part of complete belief, it should, therefore, be given its right.
In fact physical purity is so important for a Muslim, that if he is not pure his prayer would be void. As Allah has stated: “O you who believe! When you intend to offer the prayer, wash your faces and your hands (forearms) up to the elbows, wipe your heads, and (wash) your feet up to the ankles. If you are in a state of Janaba (i.e. had a sexual discharge) purify yourself.” (5:6) The way a Muslim purifies himself from minor impurity is by making Wudu (ablution) and the way he purifies himself from major impurities is by performing Ghusl (bath).
Wudu not only purifies a person from physical impurities like dirt but it also purifies sin, as the Messenger of Allah has stated: “He who performs the Wudu’ perfectly (i.e., according to Sunnah), his sins will depart from his body, even from under his nails.” (Muslim) One who does this Wudu will indeed be forgiven from his minor sins, it is a dismal state of affairs that many Muslims are neglectful of their Wudu. They see it as a burden, if only they knew the amount of sins being forgiven due to this.
Even with regards to Ghusl, the Muslims are lackadaisical, many are unaware of how to do Ghusl the way the Prophet did: “Whenever the Prophet (SAW) took a bath after Janaba he started by washing his hands and then performed ablution like that for the prayer. After that he would put his fingers in water and move the roots of his hair with them, and then pour three handfuls of water over his head and then pour water all over his body.” (Bukhari) This method of bathing is indeed the best for both physical and spiritual cleanliness. Can anything be more perfect than the way of the Prophet?! This is the way that is divinely inspired, nothing can compare to this way.
Even a person’s clothing should be pure as Allah Almighty has commanded: “And purify your garments” (74:4) He should take special measures to ensure that the clothes he is wearing when praying are clean from impurities. If one was standing infront of a King or President, or any other such person who has a position of authority, then to what lengths would he go to; to ensure he looked as clean and presentable as possible? Then why is it that when a person stands infront of the King of all kings he is neglectful?
The Best of creation has also advised his Ummah in regards to personal hygiene: “Five things are part of the fitrah: shaving the pubic hair, circumcision, trimming the mustache plucking the armpit hairs, and cutting the nails” (Bukhari) (Muslim) Fitrah or Natural disposition, is the way all Human being are born, it is only when they corrupt themselves that this disposition changes. One should take extra care in regards to these things, lest he go in opposition to nature.
One other thing a person should take care of is the way he relieves himself. I urge the Brothers here especially, it seems as though many have become neglectful in the way they relieve themselves. They have adopted the way of the Non-Muslims, they go completely against the Sunnah. They; many a time stand and urinate, not washing themselves at all afterwards. You will see many Muslim men queuing for the urinals, not caring about urine drops which splash over and soil their clothing. My beloved Brothers please take heed: ” The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) passed by two graves and said, “They are being punished, but they are not being punished for something that was difficult to avoid. One of them used to walk about spreading nameemah (malicious gossip) and the other used not to take care to avoid getting urine on himself.” (Muslim) My brothers, please do not sacrifice your eternal bliss for such an easy thing to avoid. Similarly, The Prophet has stated: “The most punishment in the grave, will be due to urine drops” (Ibn Majah) I hope this will deter Brothers from being neglectful.
The Prophet has instructed his nation to take care of their dental health, he has stated: “Were it not for the fact that I did not want to make things too hard for my ummah, I would have commanded them to use the siwaak at every time of prayer.” (Bukhari) (Muslim) The Siwaak is indeed from the Sunnah, it cleanses the mouth and should be used when making ablution. It is a very easy Sunnah to act upon and should be practiced. We will get benefit in this world and the next.
May Allah give us the ability to stay pure both physically and spiritually. May he give us the ability to follow the way of the Prophet in every facet of our lives. May he purify us from sins by forgiving us, and keep us far from physical and spiritual filth. Ameen.