Tahara (Cleanliness or Purification)
Prophet Muhammad, upon him be Allah’s blessings and peace, advised Muslims to appear neat and tidy in private and in public. Once when returning home from battle he advised his army: “Soon you will meet your brothers, so tidy your saddles and clothes” (Abu Dawud, “Libas,” 25). On another occasion he said: “If I had not been afraid of overburdening my community, I would have ordered them to use a miswaq (to brush and clean their teeth) for every prayer” (Bukhari, “Iman,” 26).Islam requires physical and spiritual cleanliness. On the physical side, Islam requires Muslims to clean their bodies, clothes, houses, and community, and they are rewarded by Allah for doing so. While people generally consider cleanliness desirable, Islam insists upon it and makes it an indispensable fundamental of religious life. In fact, books on Islamic jurisprudence often contain a whole chapter on this very requirement.
Prophet Muhammad, upon him be Allah's blessings and peace, advised Muslims to appear neat and tidy in private and in public. Once when returning home from battle he advised his army: Soon you will meet your brothers, so tidy your saddles and clothes (Abu Dawud, Libas, 25). On another occasion he said: If I had not been afraid of overburdening my community, I would have ordered them to use a miswaq (to brush and clean their teeth) for every prayer (Bukhari, Iman, 26).
Moral hygiene also was emphasized, for the Prophet, upon him be Allah's blessings and peace, encouraged Muslims to make a special prayer upon seeing themselves in the mirror: Allah, You have endowed me with a good form; like-wise bless me with an immaculate character (Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 1:34, 6:155). He advised modest clothing, for men as well as for women, on the grounds that it helps one maintain purity of thought.
Being charitable is a way of purifying ones wealth. A Muslim who does not give charity (sadaqa) and pay the required annual zakat (the prescribed purifying alms), contaminates his or her wealth by hoarding that which rightfully belongs to others: Of their wealth take alms so that you may purify them (9:103).
All the laws and injunctions given by Allah and His Prophet, upon him be Allah's blessings and peace, are pure. Any law established by Divine guidance is just and pure.
The Purity of Water:
Pure water is used essentially in matters of purification or wudu (minor ablution) and ghusl (major ablution). Hence, the necessity to investigate waters purity, water has four essential attributes: smell, color, taste, and fluidity. Any pure and purifying water is judged according to whether it retains these attributes or not. As a result, water is classified into two categories: mutlaq and muqayyad water.
Mutlaq water is natural water, such as that which comes from rain water, snow, hail, sea water, and water from the Zamzam well.
It is subdivided as follows:
Water that is both pure and purifying (e.g., rain water, snow, hail, sea water, and water from the Zamzam well).
Water that drips from a person after he or she has performed the minor or major ablution, and therefore is considered used. It is considered pure, but cannot be used for another minor and major ablution.
Water that is both pure and purifying, but whose usage is disliked (makruh) (e.g., water left in a container after a cat, bird, or another allowed animal has drunk from it).
Water mixed with impure elements. Water whose taste, color, or smell has been altered by an impure substance cannot be used for purification. However, if the liquid is still considered water, meaning that the impure substance has not altered its taste, color, or smell, it can be used for purification.
Water that is pure but may or may not be purifying. One example of this type of water is the water that remains in a pot after a donkey or a mule has drunk from it.
Muqayyad water includes naturally muqayyad water, such as fruit juices and water that has been mixed with various substances (e.g., soap, saffron, flowers) or objects that the Sharia considers pure. Such water is considered pure until, due to being mixed with other substances, one can no longer call it water. In this case, the water is still considered pure, but it cannot be used for purification (minor and major ablution).
Types of Impurities:
Najasa refers to impure substances that Muslims must avoid and wash off after coming into contact with them. Allah says: Purify your raiment (74:4) and: Allah loves those who repent and who purify themselves (2:222).
Animals that died naturally (e.g., not killed in the Islamic manner) are impure, as is anything cut off a live animal. However, dead sea animals and those that have no flowing blood (e.g., bees and ants) are not impure. The bones, horns, claws, fur, feathers, and skin of dead animals, except for pigs, are pure.
Any blood that flows from a persons or an animals body (e.g., blood from a killed animal or menstrual blood) is impure. However, blood that remains in the veins is permissible. Also, any blood that remains in edible meat, livers, hearts, and spleens is not impure, provided that the animal was sacrificed in the Islamic way.
A persons vomit, urine, excrement, wadi (a thick white secretion discharged after urination), mazi (a white sticky fluid that flows from the sexual organs when thinking about sexual intercourse, foreplay, and so on), prostatic fluid, and sperm is impure. However, according to some, sperm is not impure but should be washed off if it is still wet, and scratched off if it is dry. Any part of human flesh is impure.
The urine, saliva, and blood of all animals whose meat is prohibited, and the excrement of all animals except birds whose meat is allowable, are impure.
The excrement of poultry (i.e., geese, hens and ducks) is impure.
Pig and alcohol are impure.
Dogs are considered impure. Any container that a dog has licked must be completely washed and sterilized. If a dog licks a pot that has dry food in it, what it touched and what surrounds it must be thrown away. The remainder may be kept, as it is still pure. A dogs hair is considered pure.
The impurities mentioned are considered gross impurity (najasat al-ghaliza). Any amount of them contaminates whatever it touches. However, if it is on persons body or clothes when he or she is praying or on the ground or mat where he or she is praying, its amount is taken into consideration. Any solid filth weighing more than 3 grams, and any liquid more than the amount that spreads over a persons palm, invalidates the prayer.
The urine of horses and domestic or wild animals whose meat is allowed to eat is weak impurity (najasat al-khafifa). When more than one-fourth of a limb or one-fourth of ones clothes is smeared with it, the prayer is in-validated.
The Ways of Purification:
Purifying the body and clothes; If these are contaminated, they must be washed with water until no impurity remains. This is especially so if the impurity is visible, such as blood. If some stains remain after washing, such as those that would be extremely difficult to remove, they can be overlooked. If the impurity is not visible, such as urine, wash and wring whatever it has contaminated three times.
Purifying the ground; Purify the ground by pouring water over it. If the impurity is solid, the ground will become pure only by its removal or decay.
Purifying contaminated butter and similar substances; If a dead animal has fallen into a solid matter but has not swollen or disintegrated, whatever the corpse touches and what is around it must be thrown away, provided that one can make sure that it did not touch the rest of the matter. If it fell into a liquid substance, the majority say that the entire liquid becomes impure.
Purifying a dead animals skin; Tanning purifies a dead animals skin and fur. The Prophet said: If the animals skin is tanned, it is purified (Muslim, Hayz, 105).
Purifying mirrors and similar objects; Mirrors, knives, swords, nails, bones, glass, painted pots, and other smooth surfaces that have no pores are purified by removing the impurity.
If an unknown liquid falls on a person, there is no need to ask about it or to wash ones clothes.
If a person finds something moist on his or her body or clothes at night and does not know what it is, he or she does not need to smell it in order to identify it.
Clothes that have street mud on them do not have to be washed.
If a person finishes praying and sees some previously unseen impurity on his or her clothes or body, or was aware of but forgot about them, his or her prayer does not have to be repeated.
If a person cannot determine what part of his or her clothes contains the impurity, the whole garment should be washed, for if an obligation can be fulfilled only by performing another related act, that act also becomes obligatory.
If a person mixes pure clothes with impure clothes (and cannot tell them apart), he or she should investigate the matter and pray once in one of the clothes.
It is not proper to carry something that has Allah's Name upon it while going to the bathroom, unless he or she is afraid of losing it or having it stolen.
One should not talk in the bathroom, respond to a greeting, or repeat what the muezzin is saying. One may speak if there is some necessity. In the event of sneezing, one should praise Allah silently by moving his or her lips.
One should neither face nor turn his or her back on the qibla while answering a call of nature, especially if in an open area.
One should seek a soft and low piece of ground to protect against any impurity. The Prophet said: When one of you urinates, he should choose the proper place to do so.
One should avoid shaded places and places where people walk and gather.
One should not answer a call of nature in bathing places or in still or running water.
One should not urinate while standing, though some allow it.
One must remove any impurities from ones clothes and body after relieving oneself.
One should not clean himself or herself with the right hand.
One should remove any bad smell from ones hands after answering a call of nature.
One should enter the bathroom with the left foot, saying: I seek refuge in Allah from noxious male and female beings (devils), and exit with ones right foot, saying: O Allah, I seek your forgiveness.
After a man has relieved himself, he should wait until the urine stops completely and make sure that none of it has fallen onto his clothes. This is called istibra (seeking full purification). Ibn Abbas related that the Messenger of Allah, upon him be Allah's blessings and peace, passed by two graves and said: They are being punished, but not for a great matter (on their part). One of them did not clean himself from urine, and the other used to spread slander. (Tirmidhi, Tahara, 53) To erase all doubt, the person should sprinkle his penis and underwear with water.
Acts That Correspond to Human Nature
Allah has chosen certain acts for all of His Prophets and their followers to perform. These acts, are known as sunan al-fitra (acts required by human nature), are as follows:
Circumcision. This prevents dirt from getting on ones penis and also makes it easy to keep clean. The Shafii scholars maintain that it should be done on the seventh day, although it is permissible to do it later.
Shaving pubic hairs and pulling out underarm hairs. Doing so is sunna. However, it is enough to trim or pull it out.
Clipping fingernails, trimming and shaving the moustache, and keeping the beard tidy. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be Allah's blessings and peace, said, Five things are part of ones fitra: Shaving the pubic hair, circumcision, trimming the moustache, removing any underarm hair, and trimming the nails. (Muslim, Tahara, 49) A moustache should not be so long that food particles, drink, and dirt accumulate in it. If one grows a beard, it should not be untidy.
Honoring and combing ones hair. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, upon whom be peace, said: Whoever has hair should honor it (Abu Dawud, Tarajjul, 3:4163). Cutting ones hair off is permissible, and so is letting it grow if one honors it.
Leaving gray hairs in place. This applies to both men and women. Amr ibn Shuayb related, on the authority of his father from his grandfather, that the Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, said: Do not pluck the gray hairs, as they are a Muslims light. A Muslim never grows gray in Islam except that Allah writes for him, due to that, a good deed, raises him a degree, and erases for him, due to that, one of his sins (Ibn Hanbal, 2:179; Tirmidhi, Adab, 56).
Dyeing ones gray hair. According to the accepted opinion, dyeing ones gray hair by using henna, red dye, yellow dye, and so on is permissible, provided that the dyes are religiously allowable.
Using perfume. Using musk and other perfumes that are free of alcohol and similar forbidden things is highly advisable, for they are pleasing to the soul and beautify the atmosphere.