Cleanliness is to purify our souls, manners, body, clothes, and environment form bad, dirty, and filthy things. There are two kinds of cleanliness:
1. PHYSICAL CLEANLINESSMatters that contain germs such as blood, urine, and pus are considered impure in our religion. Eliminating all kinds of dirt and filth from our body, clothes, and environment is called physical cleaning. The main subdivisions of physical cleaning are the following:
a. Keeping one’s hands clean:
Our hands are the most frequently used members of our body and therefore they get dirty most often. The dirt that gets into our hands results in an environment that facilitates germ growth. Those germs cause us to get sick by entering into our bodies via the food that we eat. Thus, in order to protect ourselves from germs and diseases, we must wash our hand before and after each meal. Also, after using the bathroom, we must thoroughly wash our hands with soap.
b. Keeping the face clean:
As our hands, our faces too get begrimed with dust and dirt. Washing our faces decreases our fatigue and remedies headaches associated with it. It energizes us and refreshes our health and looks. For this reason, we must wash our faces frequently.
c. Keeping the mouth and teeth clean:
The pieces of food that we eat accumulate mostly on our teeth and between them. When we don’t clean our teeth regularly, unfriendly bacteria start to thrive there. This causes bad breath and tooth cavities. Cavities are one of the principal reasons for many of the illnesses on our tonsils, stomach, and heart. In order to prevent these, we need to keep our mouths clean and brush our teeth at least twice a day. Outward cleanliness is very important but not sufficient. For this reason, I must also try to purify myself from the bad feelings, thoughts, and acts that God forbids. I truly believe that God will love me more when I succeed in that.
d. Keeping nails clean:
Clean nails complete clean hands and feet. We should never forget that our nails have the potential of becoming shelters for germs. When we think of our mouth, nose, eyes, and other parts of our body where our hands can touch, we should realize the risks associated with unclean nails.
e. Keeping the feet clean:
Our feet carry the burden of our whole body. Since we wear shoes, our feet may get sweaty and dirty. Washing our feet and in between our toes makes us healthier and more energized. For this reason, we must wash our feet and in between our toes very often. After we wash our feet, we need to dry them thoroughly in order to protect ourselves from fungi and similar diseases. We must pay attention to wearing clean socks and shoes as well.
f. Keeping the body clean:
Due to sweating and other reasons, our body gets dirty and starts to smell. Germs that populate our body endanger our health. The best way to clean our body from dirt and germs is to take a shower or bath with warm water and soap. To protect our health, which is the one of the most important gifts that God has given us, we should take a bath at least once a week. Also, before some ritual worship, we must absolutely clean ourselves from any physical filth such as urine, blood, or pus that are also called najasah (visible uncleanness)
g. Clean bathrooms:
All types of cleanliness start with clean bathrooms. For this reason, in terms of our health and worship, the most important cleanliness is bathroom cleanliness.
When entering a bathroom, the following prayer may be recited:
“O God! I seek refuge in You from dirt and filthy things.”
When exiting a bathroom, the following prayer may be recited:
“O God I seek your forgiveness! Praise be to Allah Who removes harmful things from me and gives me health.”
h. Keeping clothes clean:
When our clothes, which protect us from heat and cold, get dirty, they can be harmful for both our body and our environment. In order to prevent the harms of dirt and germs, we must regularly change and wash our clothes.
i. Keeping foods and drinks clean:
Germs generally enter our body trough food and drinks that we intake. For our health, we must wash fruits and vegetables before we eat. We must pay attention to the cleanliness of drinks as well.
j. Keeping the environment clean:
A clean environment starts with our immediate surroundings first of all. It is important to keep clean our house, our streets, our neighborhoods, our schools, the whole environment we live in and the air we breathe. A clean environment is important to prevent illnesses, for clean drinking water, and for the lives of other living organisms. By keeping our environment clean, we need to be considerate of others and not harm them. Our religion encourages keeping the environment clean. Our Prophet said: “A man while taking a walk saw a thorn bush and removed it from the street. God liked this act of his and forgave him.” (Muslim, Birr 127, Imare 164)
2. SPIRITUAL PURITY
Spiritual purity consists in purifying our hearts, feelings, and thoughts. Spiritual purity is composed of two main parts:
a) The Cleanliness of Hearts:
Societies that are composed of truehearted and well-mannered individuals become happy and peaceful. In order to establish a peaceful society, we must purify our hearts from bad feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that God prohibited such as selfishness, lying, hypocrisy, jealousy, and backbiting etc. We should stay away from grudge and hatred. We should not be jealous of others nor belittle them. A verse in the Quran says: “He who purifies the self has succeeded.”
Our beloved Prophet says:
“In the body, there is a piece of flesh, if it is good, the whole body is good, and if it is bad, the whole body is bad; truly it is the heart.” (Bukhari, Iman 39)
b) Cleaning from conditions
That are considered ritually impure. It consists in making ablution (al- Wudhu) or ritual bath (al-Ghusl) when necessary. Its purpose is to eliminate the conditions of being without ablution or with only partial ablution that prevents us from performing our worship. This is called cleaning to prepare for worship (al-Taharah min al-Hadath).