Allah commands us to be clean and pure at all times.
The Holy Qur’an teaches us:
“Surely, Allah loves those who ask for His forgiveness, and He loves those who are pure and clean.”
The blessed Prophet Muhammad [s] also taught:
“Cleanliness and purity is half of one’s faith.”
This includes cleanliness and purity of the body, heart, mind and surroundings.
The Arabic word for cleanliness and purity is Taharah.
Taharah therefore means both cleanliness of the body and surroundings as well as purity of the heart and mind.
A clean and pure person or place is called Tahir.
Allah commands that we live our lives always observing Taharah.
As Muslims, we should therefore pay careful attention to the following:
Taharah of the Mind and Heart:
– Muslims are duty-bound to have pure thoughts and feelings.
– Pure thoughts and feelings lead to virtue and the performance of good deeds.
– On the other hand evil thoughts and feelings lead to sin and causing harm to others.
– Evil thoughts and feelings enter the heart through the eyes and ears.
– A Muslim must therefore not look at evil things nor listen to evil talk.
– Evil thoughts and feelings are forms of filth and impurity which stain the soul.
– These then cause the heart to become ‘dark’ and ‘rusty’.
– When the heart becomes covered in ‘darkness’ and ‘rust’ a person can no longer distinguish between good and evil nor do any good at all.
– The heart can then only be cleansed by tawbah (repentance), dhikr (remembrance of Allah) and doing some good deeds, like performing salah or giving charity.
– Dhikr and tawbah are like a polish which cleanses the heart and mind and causes them to shine ever so brightly.
Taharah of the Body and Clothing
– As Muslims, we should not allow any form of impurity or dirt to gather or remain on our bodies or clothing.
– The Arabic word for impurity and dirt is Najasah.
– The best way to keep the body free from Najasah is by performing ghusl (bathing) regularly and using water to cleanse after relieving oneself (ie. performing istinja’).
– It is also essential to avoid urinating while standing.
– Wudu’ is performed before very salah.
– This ensures that a Muslim washes the exposed parts of his body at least five times a day.
– A Muslim is also expected to brush his teeth regularly with a Miswak (toothstick) or a toothbrush.
– Clothing must be washed regularly too.
– White clothes are preferred to darker clothes as it is easier to notice any dirt on them.
– A Muslim is also expected to perfume and groom his body.
– Those who neglect this practice and have a bad body odour are not permitted to perform salah in congregation.
– Hair must be neatly combed and nails must be clipped regularly.
Taharah of the Home and Surroundings
– A Muslim home must be kept Tahir (clean) and tidy at all times.
– No form of impurity should be allowed into a Muslim home, for example, wine or pork.
– Dogs too should not be allowed into our homes as, apart from anything else, their saliva is impure and they often soil the rugs, floors and furniture.
– They may be kept outside in special kennels as guard dogs.
– A Muslim should remove his shoes before entering the home as they too may be soiled.
– A special shoe rack should be kept at the front door and visitors should be encouraged to remove their shoes too before entering.
– A Muslim home must be cleaned on a daily basis and perfumed with incense.
– A Muslim home should be beautified and made as pleasant as possible.
– Trees and flowers should be planted around the home.
– Children should also be made to participate in maintaining the home.
– Children should be taught from an early age to at least clean their own rooms.
– A Muslim treats his neighbourhood just as he does his own home.
– All public places, the parks, schools, museums, markets and shopping malls must be kept neat and tidy too.
– Dropping litter anywhere other than in a litter bin is wrong and must be avoided.
– Polluting the environment, the countryside, rivers, atmosphere and oceans are completely prohibited in Islam.
– A Muslim observes Taharah wherever he may be.
Taharah of the Masajid
– Of all public places the Masjid is the most important.
– The Masajid (ie. plural of masjid) must be kept very clean and well perfumed.
– Qur’ans and Islamic books must be neatly placed on shelves.
– Carpets and rugs must be regularly vacuumed and courtyards must be swept.
– The wudu’ area and toilets should be given special attention and kept dry and perfumed as odours could emanate from these areas and germs can very easily breed and spread too.
– The Masjid must be beautified and made as pleasant as possible.
Allah is pure and he accepts only that which is pure.
It is not possible to attain closeness to Allah without observing Taharah first.