The Worth of Cleanliness and Hygiene in Islam
- :Husayn Ansarian
Once the marriage takes place and the young couple start their mutual life with love and affection, they must attend to basic issues in life, and seriously avoid any indifference or sluggishness in this regard. One of these basic issues is cleanliness and hygiene in all aspects of life.
We must pay close attention to the cleanliness and hygiene of our body, hair, mouth and teeth, clothing, the floor covering, living accommodations especially kitchen appliances and dishes and whatever is related to everyday life. Some young couples only suffice to eating, drinking and apparent leisure and ignore cleanliness and hygiene early in their mutual life. There is no sign of orderliness, discipline or cleanliness in their life. Not only is this ignorance not acceptable by our healthy nature, our mind or our divine religion, but it is also seriously despised. This may also become dominant in life through the passage of time, and may threaten the health of the family, both physically and mentally. It may also have grave consequences on the children, and turn them into indifferent, dumb, ill, weak, oppressive and burdensome individuals. They may get used to various sins and corruption.
God the Benevolent Has announced His love and affection for those who attend to hygiene and their cleanliness and keep their bodies and souls free of all impurities.
For God loveth those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean. [Holy Quran Baqara 2:222]
Islam is manifested through the Holy Quran, the sayings of the noble Prophet (Pbuh) and his household, that are the Immaculate Imams. The rules of hygiene of this divine school exceed five thousand. They are partly presented in volumes one and two of Vasa'il al-Shiia. They are superior to all rules of hygiene and are extremely wonderful in that they are delicate and encouraging ones to abide by. Nearly fifteen agents have been introduced as cleansing agents in Islam. This is not observed in any other existing school of thought. Islam has forbidden polluting; being polluted or causing pollution in may respects. The one who pollutes is considered a wrong-doer and deserves divine retribution on the Day of Judgment. Either of the following can be used to clean in different situations: flowing water; well-water; spring water; rain water; stale water in a volume each of its sides being nearly three and a half feet; a small amount of water being poured on a filthy object sufficient to cleanse it; dust covered earth; direct sun-light; fire; change of state or form from one to another.
In several important traditions, the Prophet (Pbuh) has stressed on the value of purity and cleanliness in such a way that it seems to be one of the surprising Islamic issues to any intellectual.
Cleanliness is half of faith. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.5, p.558]
The first thing that is considered in the Hereafter is cleanliness. [Ibid]
The Prophet (Pbuh) was extremely sensitive to the issue of oral and dental hygiene, cleaning hair and face, clothes and furniture, lanes and streets and even the dead. He was also superior to all in following hygienic rules and cleanliness. He ordered the dead to be washed with lotus and camphor water.
Also he ordered that camphor be placed on the forehead where we prostrate to worship God. Also he ordered the grave to be dug deeper and to be careful in placing a stone above the head and a little bit distant from it, and to throw dust over the dead body in an orderly fashion. Thus the body, the camphor and the dust will disintegrate and combine together in such a way as to maintain the health of citizens. These decrees are amazing ones and show the greatness of that noble Prophet's knowledge and wisdom.
The Immaculate Imam Ali's (Pbuh) knowledge and wisdom are manifestations of God's knowledge and wisdom. The Prophet (Pbuh) was so pure and clean that Imam Ali (Pbuh) introduced him as the cleanest and the purest and asked all the people of the world to use the Prophet (Pbuh) as a model for cleanliness and purity of body and soul.
Follow the example of your Prophet who is the cleanest and purest creature in existence. In fact, he is a model for anyone who wishes to follow him in all issues related to living. [Nahj ul-Balaghah, Sermon 160]
The Prophet (Pbuh) said: In fact God is pure, He likes the pure. He is clean, He likes the clean. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.10, p.92]
See how important cleaning is that there is a mention of it in God's presence.
The Commander of the Faithful (Pbuh) said: Wash yourselves free of any bad, disturbing odors with water, and be responsible for yourself.
In fact, God the Almighty is angry with those who are so filthy that others do not like their company. [Ibid]
The Prophet (Pbuh) said: Clean your body, God will clean you.
In fact there is no one who spends the night clean, and is not accompanied by an angel. And no hour of the night is passed without the angel saying: O' God, please forgive your servant since he spent the night while being clean. [Ibid]
The Prophet (Pbuh) said: The human body is filthy. [Ibid]
He also said: Filthy people perish. [Ibid]
Jaber, the son of Abdullah Ansari has been narrated as saying: The Prophet (Pbuh) saw a man with badly disheveled hair. He asked him: Did he not find anything to comb his hair with? He saw another person with filthy clothes. He shouted: Did he not find any water to wash his clothes? [Ibid]
Hazrat Baqir (Pbuh) said: Sweeping your houses will eliminate poverty. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.10, p.93]
The sixth Imam (Pbuh) said: Washing the dishes and sweeping your courtyards will increase your daily bread. [Ibid]
The Commander of the Faithful (Pbuh) said: Do not collect the trash outside your house since it is a source of evil. [Ibid]
It is wonderful that the divine viewpoint of the Prophet (Pbuh) and the Imams informed the people about microbes centuries before their discovery.
The Prophet (Pbuh) said: Do not leave the unusable food leftovers at home overnight, and take them out of the house in broad daylight. In fact, these unusable leftovers are a source of evil. [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.10, p.95]
He also said: Attend to cleaning with all your strength, since God the Almighty has established Islam on cleanliness. No one shall enter Heaven, but the clean. [Ibid]
Imam Reza (Pbuh) said: Cleanliness is one of the attributes of divine Prophets. [Ibid]
The Prophet (Pbuh) told Ayesheh: Wash these two robes. Are you not aware that our clothes worship God as long as they are clean and will stop doing so once they become dirty? [Mizan al-Hikmat, v.10, p.94]
Considering the verses of the Quran regarding cleanliness and cleansing agents, and God's love of cleanliness and purity, and many traditions in this regard, it is the duty of the members of the family to clean their body and clothes, the furniture and the house as much as they can. As the Quran has recommended mutual cooperation based on kindness and piety, the man should help his wife in cleaning. Women are morally bound to clean the house, the furniture and clothes to please their husbands and God. This will also guarantee the family's health and will defeat pain, illness, distress and suffering. Housewives should remember that working at home to provide for the family's comfort is a form of worship and it certainly has divine reward.
Adopted from the book: "The Islamic Family Structure" by: "Husayn Ansarian"
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