Body Cleaning which is Sunnah

It is mustahab (recommended) for Muslims to have a bath for material cleaning at least once a week apart from wudu and ghusl, which are fard. The following is stated in a hadith:

“It is the right of Allah on each Muslim to have a bath once in seven days.”

This cleaning is recommended to be done on Friday; thus, a Muslim will join the congregation for the Friday prayer spotlessly clean, freed from dirt and bad smell.

There are many hadiths reported from the Messenger of Allah about the body cleaning on Friday.

There are some organs and sensitive parts in the human body that need special care in terms of cleanliness. They are as follows:

a. Hair: The hair is one of the most important places to be paid attention in the body cleaning. The hair must be washed frequently. The Messenger of Allah took care of his hair and cleaned them thoroughly. He sometimes put oil in his hair and combed it. He did not like unkempt dirty hair.   

One day, a scruffy man with unkempt hair came to the presence of him. When he saw the man like that, he said,

“Did this man not have enough water to wash his hair and enough oil to straighten it? What a mess it is!”

b. Mustache: The Messenger of Allah advised his Companions to trim their mustache, especially the parts that hung down on the lips.

Trimming the mustache will prevent the food from touching the mustache while eating and prevent the unpleasant view.

Traditionally, it is not appropriate to cut the mustache too much and to make it very thin.

It is better to trim the ends of the mustache extending on both sides. That trimming should not be too much and should not pass the end of the mouth.

It is not a sunnah to have a shaggy mustache. What is sunnah is to trim the mustache in a way that will not be rough. It is more appropriate to the sunnah to trim the mustache so that the skin under it will be seen. Large and shaggy mustache is only allowed during wars in order to seem dreadful and to intimidate the enemy.

c. Cleaning the Armpits and the Groins: It is mustahab to pluck or shave the hair in the armpits and in the groin once in 10-15 days, if not possible, at least once in 40 days. This cleaning existed in the sunnah of all of the prophets. It is makruh to do it when one is in the state of janabah. It is appropriate to do it before ghusl is fard for a person. Every part that leaves the body should leave when the body is clean. 

It is necessary to keep the materials and equipment used for cleaning the body in a separate place, in special containers so that they will not be infected. During the cleaning, there may be cuts and bleedings. Microbes in the unclean materials and equipment may infect the body through the blood; a major disorder may take place due to a minor neglect. . 

d. Cleaning the Nails: It is recommended to trim the nails before they become long so that the ugly appearance and the accumulation of dirt under the nails will be prevented. If possible, nails should be trimmed once a week. One should trim his nails when he is clean; one should avoid trimming nails when he is in the state of janabah. 

The nails that have been trimmed and the hair that has been shaved should not be thrown away haphazardly; they should be buried in the ground if it is possible. If not, they should be wrapped in something and thrown into the bin. 

e. Cleaning the Mouth: The cleaning of the mouth has a separate and important place in the body cleaning. The mouth and the organs in it like the tongue and the teeth should be spotlessly clean. In terms of health, it is important that we do not put everything into our mouth and we often rinse our mouth to keep it clean. 

The first thing that comes to mind in the cleaning of the mouth is the cleaning of the teeth because teeth have an important role in both eating and speaking.

The most important issue regarding the health of the teeth is to keep the teeth clean and to avoid very hot, very cold and very hard food and drinks because they damage and scratch the teeth and cause decays by cracking the dentine. It has been proved by medicine that a tooth may cause important disorders in many parts of the body, primarily in the liver, heart, stomach, digestive system, urinary bladder and joints.

The Messenger of Allah acted very sensitively and cautiously about the cleaning and care of the teeth. He often warned his ummah about the cleaning of the teeth. Some of those warnings are as follows:

“If it were not difficult for my ummah, I would order them to clean their mouth and teeth whenever they made wudu.”

“Miswak (organic toothbrush from a tree) cleans the mouth and makes one reach the consent of Allah.”

“Four things are among the sunnahs of prophets: to be circumcised, to use miswak, to wear nice scents and to marry...”

“Do not come to my presence with yellow teeth. Use miswak.” (Bazzar)

The Messenger of Allah cleaned his teeth using miswak. Miswak is a kind of toothbrush produced from the branches of a tree called arak (salvadora persica) in Saudi Arabia. It has been understood as a result of the medical analyses that it has many benefits and that it is the best material for the health of the teeth. The toothbrushes used today can be used instead of miswak. However, the nylon brushes should be preferred not the bristle ones produced from animals. Animal bristles have tiny channels in them and it has been determined that microbes settle in those channels. Besides, it should not be forgotten that some bristles are produced from pigs. Nylon toothbrushes do not have the risk of being produced from pigs and they are more appropriate for health. 

One of the issues that puts a person in difficult situations in the society is the bad breath. The role of uncared and decayed tooth in bad breath is great. If the cleaning and the health of the teeth are given enough care, the problem of bad breath will be eliminated.  

The cleaning of the mouth should not be considered in the form of material cleaning only. A believer should give importance to the spiritual cleaning of his mouth, tongue and teeth along with their material cleaning. Instead of the words that cause sins like telling lies, cursing, uttering bad language, gossiping, slandering, sacred words dhikr, tasbih (glorifying Allah), takbir and nice words, avoiding putting haram food into the mouth are more important issues than the material cleaning of the mouth.  

f. Cleaning the nose: The nose has important effects on our life and health in that it is the organ of both smelling and breathing. The harmful particles and microbes in the air are filtrated through the tiny channels, hairs and mucus in the nose and the clean air is sent to the lungs. Therefore, our nose gets dirty frequently. For this reason, it must be cleaned very often. If the matter in the nose does not flow out, it causes sinusitis.

The orders of the Messenger of Allah about cleaning the nose are as follows:

“When one of you starts to make wudu, he should take water into his nose and blow his nose.”

“When one of you wakes up, he should take water into his nose and blow his nose three times...”

It should not be forgotten that one should try to clean his nose quietly, without making much noise and producing disgusting sounds. It is not appropriate to throw up mucus or phlegm on the roads and places where people can see. Islam is a religion of cleanliness but also a religion of kindness.

It is violation of etiquette and an ugly bad habit to pick one’s nose or to pluck the hair in your nose in the presence of other people. It is also harmful in terms of medicine. The inside of the nose is covered with delicate membranes and capillaries. It is dangerous to pick your nose unnecessarily and to pluck hair.

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