What is Taharah (Cleanliness)?

Cleanliness in Islam

What is Taharah?

The Importance of Cleanliness in Islam

Why is Cleanliness Regarded as a Necessity of Belief?

How Many Types of Cleanliness are there?

What does Cleanliness from Najasah Mean?

What does Cleanliness from Hadath Mean?

How Many Types of Hadaths are there?

Impurities and Decrees about them

What is the Amount of Najasah Ghalizah that Prevents the Validity of a Prayer?

What Things are Regarded as Najasah Ghalizah?

What is the Amount of Najasah Khafifah that Prevents Prayer?

What Things are Regarded as Najasah Khafifah?

Is it Permissible to Eat, Drink and Make Wudu from Silver and Gold Receptacles?

Ways of Cleaning Dirt

What is Istinja?

What is Istinja Made with?

What is Istibra?

What can be done to stop the traces of urine from coming out?

What happens if one makes wudu without making istibra?

Manners of Istinja and Istibra

What are the Makruhs of Istinja?

Body Cleaning That is Sunnah

 

Cleanliness in Islam

"Islam was built on the foundation of cleanliness." (Hadith)

 

What is Taharah?

Lexically, taharah means cleanliness and purification.

In religious terminology, it means to be purified of material impurities called najasah and virtual impurities called hadath preventing worshipping. 

 

The Importance of Cleanliness in Islam

Islam gives great importance to cleanliness and renders it as an indispensable condition, preliminary and key to certain kinds of worshipping. 

The Prophet states the following in a hadith:

"The key to prayer is taharah, that is, cleanliness, the opening of it is takbir and the complement of it is salutation."

 Cleanliness is a preliminary condition for some kinds of worshipping and an indispensable element of health and hygiene. It is also a means of increase of sustenance. The following is stated in a hadith:

"Keep cleaning yourself and your environment so that your sustenance will be increased."

 It will be wrong to regard cleanliness as the cleanliness of the body only. The cleanliness of the heart, good intentions and high ethics are as important as, and even more important than the cleanliness of the body. As a matter of fact, the worship of a person whose intention is not good will not be sincere; therefore, it will not be accepted in the eye of Allah.

Therefore, the cleanliness of the heart and the body must be combined in a Muslim; it should be known that if both of them are kept clean, a person will be a perfect Muslim.

The cleanliness of the body and the heart is the foundation and a basic principle of Islam. As a matter of fact, the Messenger of Allah pointed to these two issues in the following hadith: 

 "Islam was built on the foundation of cleanliness."

 Another hadith reminding us Islam's principle of cleanliness is as follows: "Allah is clean and He likes clean people."

 Some hadiths and verses showing the how much importance Islam gives to cleanliness are as follows:

 "Islam is clean. Then, you need to clean yourselves because only the clean ones will enter Paradise." (Hadith)

 "Cleanliness is half of belief." (Hadith)

 "Cleanliness is of (the perfection and light of) belief." (Hadith)

 "Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean." (al-Baqara, 222)

 "Allah doth not wish to place you in a difficulty, but to make you clean, and to complete His favour to you, that ye may be grateful..." (al-Maida, 6)

 "He caused rain to descend on you from heaven, to clean you therewith..." (al-Anfal, 11)

 

Why is Cleanliness Regarded as a Necessity of Belief?

Allah Almighty imposed a great law of cleanliness on the universe and ordered all creatures to obey this law. When we have a look at the things around us, we see that this law of cleanliness is dominant on everything, from atoms to the sun, from particles to stars.

The red blood cells eliminate the harmful microbes and other things that enter the body, obeying that order; the breath that we always inhale and exhale cleans the blood, showing that it surrenders to the same law. The eyelids wipe the eyes. The flies clean their wings, showing that they obey that order; the big clouds in the sky and the air obey it, too. The air blows the rubbish consisting of dust and dirt that land on the earth and cleans it. The cloud sprinkles water like a wet sponge on the ground and makes the dust settle. Then, it moves away by collecting the rubbish so as not to make the sky dirty. It leaves the beautiful face of the sky in a clean, wiped and shiny state.

They are all examples showing how regularly the law of cleanliness that Allah has imposed on the universe works.

This general cleanliness in the universe is the manifestation of the name al-QUDDUS (the Pure One) of Allah Almighty.

All beings, from atoms to stars, obey this law of cleanliness in the universe, which is based on al-Quddus, one of the names of Allah, and pay great attention to their cleanliness; so, it cannot be thought that human beings are exempt from this universal and divine law.

As a matter of fact, Allah Almighty also addresses man, who is the most honorable and superior creature, regarding the order of the cleanliness that He imposed on the universe and orders him to pay attention to for material and immaterial cleanliness.

It is definitely big heedlessness and rebellion that man does not heed this law, which all of the living and non-living beings obey, and opposes the order of the Lord of the earth and the skies. It is great oppression inflicted on the rights of Allah and His creatures. 

The reality of cleanliness is based on the name al-Quddus, one of the greatest names of Allah; therefore, cleanliness is regarded as a part of the light and perfection of belief in the hadith. The material and spiritual cleanliness is indicated as a means of attaining the love and consent of Allah in the verses.

 

How Many Types of Cleanliness are there?

Taharah, that is cleanliness, is mainly divided into two:

1 - Taharah (Cleanliness) from Najasah.

2 - Taharah (Cleanliness) from Hadath. 

 

What does Cleanliness from Najasah Mean?

Material dirt and impurities are called "najasah". The substance that is not clean and is dirty is called "najis". Cleanliness from najasah means cleaning the najis substance on the body or clothes.

Some dirty substances are dirty essentially. Others are actually clean but become dirty due to being polluted by some dirt. We can give urine and clothes polluted by urine as examples. Urine is dirty essentially; a garment is essentially clean but it becomes dirty due to the urine that smears on it.     

 

What does Cleanliness from Hadath Mean?

Hadath is a state of virtual impurity that prevents a person from performing certain kinds of worship. Lack of wudu, janabah, menstruation and puerperium are examples of hadath. Cleanliness from hadath is possible through making ghusl or wudu. 

 

How Many Types of Hadaths are there?

There are two types of hadaths:

(a) Minor hadath: It is the state of hadath that is eliminated by making wudu. Wudu is invalidated when blood flows from an organ like the mouth and nose, etc; and the state of minor hadath occurs. Wudu is enough to end the state of minor hadath.

(b) Major hadath: It is the state of hadath that occurs due to janabah, menstruation and puerperium

 

Impurities and Decrees about them

It is seen in fiqh books that the things that are not regarded as clean but regarded as najis (dirty) are examined in two parts:

1 – Heavy Najasah (Najasah Ghalizah),

2 – Light Najasah (Najasah Khafifah).

This differentiation does not depend on whether the dirt is little or much but whether it invalidates the prayer or not.

Whether the dirt is little or much does not matter; they both pollute things. For instance, if a small amount of najasah, whether ghalizah or khafifah, falls into the water, it makes the water dirty. From then on, making wudu with that water will not be valid.

 

What is the Amount of Najasah Ghalizah that Prevents the Validity of a Prayer?

The amount of najasah that invalidates prayer depends on whether the najasah is something wet or dry as follows:

If the najasah ghalizah is a dry, it should be lighter than one dirham, that is, three grams. If it is more than three grams, it invalidates the prayer.

If it is wet, it should not cover an area greater than the palm of a hand. The najasah that has wetted an area greater than the palm of a hand invalidates the prayer. It is fard to clean that najasah in order to be able to perform a prayer.

Najasah ghalizah less than the amount mentioned above does not invalidate the prayer. However, it is sunnah to clean that najasah – if possible.

 

What Things are Regarded as Najasah Ghalizah?

We can list the items that are regarded as najasah ghalizah as follows: 

1 – Anything that comes out of a human’s body and that necessitates wudu or ghusl: urine, feces, sperm, madi, wadi, blood, purulence, mouthful puke, menstrual blood, puerperal blood and istihadha blood...

According to Shafii and Hanbali madhhabs, the sperm is clean and it does not make the place that it smears dirty.

2 – The urine, saliva and feces of the animals whose flesh are not eaten… However, the feces of the animals like kite, eagle and sparrow hawk although their flesh is not eaten are regarded as najasah khafifah.

Only the saliva of the cat among the animals whose flesh are not eaten and its leftover are regarded as clean. Since the cat is usually together with human beings, and it always touches the things in the house and it licks man’s hand, etc, Allah has not regarded its saliva and mouth as dirty so as not to make life difficult for man. Thus, He made it easy for us. As a matter of fact, the Messenger of Allah said: “The cat is not dirty. It walks around you a lot.”

3 – The flowing blood of all animals...

4 – The feces of animal fowls like the chicken, goose, duck and turkey, whose flesh is eaten...

The feces of birds like the sparrow and pigeon that drop feces while they are in the air are regarded clean.

5 – The carcass or carrion called “mayta”, that is, the dead bodies of animals that live on land and that were not slaughtered by the name of Allah and their raw hide...

If an animal has been slaughtered in a way that is not in accordance with the Shariah, it is also regarded as mayta and dirty; its flesh cannot be eaten; for instance, when a person does not utter basmala deliberately while slaughtering the animal. However, if he forgets to utter basmala, there is no problem.

6 – Wine is also regarded as najasah ghalizah. All fiqh scholars agree on it. There are three different views about the alcoholic drinks other than wine regarding their state of najasah. Some scholars regard them as najasah ghalizah and some as najasah khafifah; yet, according to some others, they are clean due to the matter they contain.

It should be paid attention that the disagreement about the alcoholic drinks other than wine is about whether their matter is clean or not. All of the scholars agree on the fact that they are haram (forbidden) to drink.

Is it permissible to use alcoholic substances like tincture of iodine, eau de cologne and spirit?

According to those scholars who regard alcoholic drinks other than wine as clean, alcoholic substances like eau de cologne, spirit, and tincture of iodine are clean. It is permissible to use them, that is, to spread them on your body or clothes, to pour them on you, to have them in small bottles on you are permissible. They do not invalidate the prayer.

According to the two decisions made by the Consultation Board of the Presidency of Religious Affairs (of Turkey) in 1943 and in 1948, although it is haram to drink things like spirit and eau de cologne, it is not haram to use them. They do not make the place where they are poured dirty.

Elmalılı Hamdi Yazır states the following on page 762 of the first volume of his interpretation:

“Spirit, beer and similar alcoholic drinks that are not produced from wine cannot be drunk, but, it cannot be claimed that they will invalidate the prayer when they are spread on the body or the clothes. Abu Hanifa holds the view that the substance and drops of alcoholic drinks other than wine are not najis.”

According to those who regard alcoholic drinks other than wine as najis (dirty), eau de cologne and spirit are najis, too. Therefore, the places that are wetted by eau de cologne and spirit are regarded as najis. If a place as large as the palm of a hand is wetted by them, one cannot perform a prayer unless those parts are washed. It is not enough for a place wetted by eau de cologne to be clean when the eau de cologne is volatilized by the wind or heat. That part must be washed, just like the place wetted by urine. Even if the place wetted by urine dries, that place is not regarded as clean unless it is washed. 

In conclusion, we can say that it is the best way to avoid things like eau de cologne, which are disputable in terms of cleanliness. However, when it is difficult to avoid them, it will be appropriate to think that there are some scholars who say to use spirit and eau de cologne is not haram but permissible and to act accordingly.

 

What is the Amount of Najasah Khafifah that Prevents Prayer?

The criterion for najasah khafifah is covering one-fourth of the garment or the organ. If the amount of dirt is less than one-fourth, it does not invalidate prayer. If it is more than one-fourth, it invalidates prayer; it becomes fard to wash it.

However, even if it is less than the amount that invalidates prayer, it is better for taqwa to clean all kinds of najasah whether ghalizah or khafifah.

When our Prophet said, “cleanliness is of belief”, he indicated that those who give importance to cleanliness have a strong belief.

Therefore, we should try to clean the dirty places as much as possible whether the najasah is ghalizah or khafifah; the amount does not invalidate the prayer but we still want to worship with a clean body and clean clothes. Besides, it is written in some fiqh books that it is wajib to clean the najasah although its amount is not so much as to invalidate the prayer.

 

What Things are Regarded as Najasah Khafifah?

1 - The urine and feces of horses and domestic or wild animals like sheep and deer whose flesh can be eaten... The feces of mule and donkey are controversial. There are some scholars who regard them as najasah ghalizah and others who regard them as najasah khafifah.

2 - The feces of the wild birds like hawks, kites and eagles that shit while flying... We had mentioned that the feces of the animals like pigeons and sparrows whose flesh can be eaten were clean.

Is it permissible to eat and drink water from the plates or cups of polytheists and People of the Book, who are regarded as najis by the Shari'ah? For it is possible that they cooked pork and boiled wine in them.

It is regarded permissible to eat and drink water from the plates or cups of polytheists and People of the Book if it is not obvious that or if we do not know that there was something that Islam prohibited in those plates or cups. It is not permissible to eat from them if it is known that they were dirtied with najasah.

The Messenger of Allah drank water from the water-skin of a polytheistic woman. He also ate food from the plates of the People of the Book.

However, it is necessary not to eat and drink from the plates and cups like those unless one has to; for, it is not completely away from karahah.

 

Is it Permissible to Eat, Drink and Make Wudu from Silver and Gold Receptacles?

It is definitely not permissible to use golden and silver receptacles in order to eat, drink or make wudu. However, women can use them as ornaments. Men are allowed to wear only silver rings. There is no objection to using things made of materials other than gold and silver.

If the thing is not pure gold or silver and if it consists of some other materials, the material which is in majority is taken into consideration. If gold or silver is in majority, that plate or receptacle cannot be used. Accordingly, it is obvious that it is permissible to use plates or receptacles that were dipped in aqua regia because the amount of gold or silver in those plates is less than the other materials.

 

Ways of Cleaning Dirt

Various ways and methods are used to clean dirty things based on their nature. The main ways of cleaning are as follows:

 

1 - Cleaning Through Washing with Water:

* Material dirt can be cleaned with absolute (mutlaq) water like rain, stream and sea water; it can also be cleaned with some kinds of qualified (muqayyad) water like sap, rose water, vegetable and fruit juice. If there is no other water, used water can be used for making wudu and ghusl.

* Visible dirt is cleaned by washing the traces of the dirt; that is, it is washed until it, its smell and color disappear. It does not matter how many times it is washed.  

 * If the dirt is something that is not visible and that does not leave any trace when it dries like urine, the part of the garment that is smeared by urine is washed in a container 3 times with different water separately and the garment is wrung in order to get the water out of it.   

 However, if the dirty thing is something that cannot be wrung (like a mat, carpet, felt, etc) it is washed three times in a container 3 times and it is dried after each washing. They are hung until the falling drops end; thus, they are regarded to have dried. If something like that is not washed in a container but in a stream or by pouring water on it, it is regarded to have been cleaned if no trace of dirt remains. It does not have to be wrung and dried.  

 

2 - Cleaning Through Boiling in Water:

* Liquids like milk, treacle, honey, jam, etc which have been smeared by something dirty become clean when they are boiled with clean water 3 times separately. 

 * If tripe is put into boiling water before it is washed, it does not become clean again. However, if it is put into water that has not boiled yet, it is cleaned by being washed afterwards. If it is taken out of the boiling water before boiling water penetrates into it, the same decree is valid. That is, it does not become irrevocably unclean. It becomes clean when it is washed.

* Chickens and similar animals that have been slaughtered in accordance with religious rules but that are put into boiling water in order to remove their feathers without removing their intestines become dirty if the dirt inside comes out and smears the flesh. Therefore, after slaughtering such an animal, the flowing blood on it and the inner parts should be removed and washed; and then it should be put into hot water. However, if the animal is put in water that is not hot enough for the dirt in it to penetrate into the flesh, it is not regarded as dirty.

 * The way of cleaning an animal which becomes dirty by being kept in hot water is to clean the inside of the animal and to boil it in hot water three times separately and to pour the water away each time after it is washed. Thus, the dirt in the flesh of the animal is removed with the boiled water and it becomes clean.

 

3 - Cleaning by Fire:

* Things made of dirty mud like pitchers, glasses, bowls are cleaned by burning them on fire.

* Cow dung and similar impurities become clean when they are burnt in fire and turn into ash.

 

4 - Cleaning by Wiping:

* If things like a knife, glass, polished wood, marble and tray are dirtied by wet or dry impurities, they can be cleaned by wiping with a wet cloth, sponge or soil. However, one should feel sure that the impurity has been removed.   

* Engraved and embroidered things cannot be cleaned by wiping; they can be cleaned by washing.

 

5 - Cleaning by Scraping or Rubbing:

* If the sperm that has smeared the underwear or garment is dry, it can be cleaned by only rubbing without washing. The trace left on the garment after rubbing does not invalidate worshipping. If the sperm that has smeared the garment is wet, it will be regarded clean only after it is washed.

The sperm that has stuck on the body is not cleaned by rubbing; the body will be regarded clean only after it is washed.

* If some dirt falls onto frozen fat, the fat is regarded clean after the part on which the dirt fell is scraped and removed. 

 

6 - Cleaning by Drying and Disappearance of the Trace of the Dirt:

* When the ground and things that are fixed on the ground like trees, grass, etc are dirtied, they are regarded clean when the dirt on them dries. That drying can be through the sun, fire or wind. Praying can be performed on such a place but tayammum cannot be carried out by them because they are clean but they cannot be used to clean things.

 * Dirty soil is regarded clean after sufficient water is poured onto it to remove the dirt or by laying enough clean soil on it to eliminate the smell of the dirt.

 

7 - Cleaning Through the Flowing of the water or Disappearance of the Water:

* A small puddle (for instance the basin of a bath) into which some dirt has fallen is regarded clean when clean water is poured into it and the dirty water overflows; in this case, the puddle is regarded like running water.

* A polluted well becomes clean if its water disappears spontaneously or if the well is emptied by drawing its water with buckets.

 

8 - Cleaning Through Changing State:

* A dirty substance becomes clean if its nature changes. For instance, if wine is transformed into vinegar through a chemical added into it, it becomes clean because its nature changes.

* Dirty olive oil becomes clean when it is transformed into soap. However, dirty milk does not become clean when it is transformed into cheese or yogurt because its nature has not changed.

 

9 - Cleaning Through Cutting and Tanning:

* The skins of the animals that can or cannot be eaten except the pig are regarded clean unless some dirt like blood, etc smears on them. Prayers can be performed on such a skin.

* The skins of all of the animals except the pig are regarded clean when they are slaughtered or when they are tanned. The skin of an animal that died spontaneously without being slaughtered can be used after it is cleaned through tanning.

According to what is reported from Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him), one of the goats of Sawda bint Zama, one of the wives of the Messenger of Allah, died spontaneously. She said to the Messenger of Allah:

“O Messenger of Allah! My goat died”. The Messenger of Allah said to her:

“Why did you not take its skin?”

Sawda said:

“What shall I do with the skin of a dead animal?” Thereupon, the Prophet said:

“Allah states: ‘If you tan the skin of a dead animal, it becomes halal for you and you can use it.”

Hazrat Sawda sent someone to flay the animal and then she tanned it on her own.

She used that skin as a lyster bag until it was torn.

* Tanning can be applied in two ways:

1. Real Tanning:

 Tanning through chemicals and medicine like alum, salt, etc.

2. Virtual Tanning:

Tanning the skins and hides by sprinkling soil onto them or drying them by laying them under the sun air or wind.

 The skin is regarded clean after tanned by either method. Prayers can be performed on it.

* The skins that are known to be tanned by some dirty substance in foreign countries can be cleaned by being washed 3 times.

If it is not definite whether a skin was tanned by some dirty substance or not, it is regarded as clean. However, it is better to wash it in order to get rid of doubts and delusions. In fact, if there is no clear sign or state causing doubt, there is no need to search more. The skin is regarded as clean.

 

What is Istinja?

Lexically, istinja means desiring to be cleaned from dirt. As a religious term, it means to clean the private parts after having a bowel movement or urinating. This cleaning is sunnah al-muakkada.

The following narration from Ibn Abbas and Abu Hurayra is remarkable in that it shows the importance and value of cleanliness in the presence of Allah:

“When the verse, “In it are men who love to be purified” (at-Tawbah, 108) was sent about the people of Quba, the Messenger of Allah asked them:

– Why does Allah praise you?

They answered:

– When we finish having a bowel movement or urinating, we clean ourselves with water; we make istinja.”

 

What is Istinja Made with?

Cleaning after having a bowel movement or urinating (istinja) can be made with water or with small stones when there is no water. However, it is makruh to make istinja with bones, pieces of glass, written pieces of paper, expensive pieces of fabric like silk and zamzam water. It is necessary to show respect to clean unwritten paper.

When there is no water, istinja can be made with worthless pieces of cloth and cotton, paper that is not water absorbing and not used for writing (toilet paper).

In fact, it is better to make istinja with water and then to dry using something that is water absorbing.

 

What is Istibra?

To wait for the leakage of urine to stop completely after urinating for men is called istibra. It is wajib to do it.

The leakage of urine happens in every person. However, it stops more quickly in some people; in others, it goes on a bit longer. Everybody must try to stop that leakage before they make wudu by taking his own situation into consideration.

 

What can be done to stop the traces of urine from coming out?

There are various ways of stopping the traces of urine from coming out: To walk for a while, to cough or to move the feet, etc after urinating and then to make wudu can make the last traces of urine come out. Everybody can apply one of those methods by taking his own situation into consideration. What is important is to stop the traces of urine.

 

What happens if one makes wudu without making istibra?

Istibra is applied after urinating in order to stop the traces of urine that invalidates wudu. If a person makes wudu without istibra immediately after urinating and if traces of urine come out after he makes wudu, his wudu becomes invalidated without his noticing; and the prayer performed in that situation will not be valid. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to istibra.

The following is stated in a hadith:

"Beware of urine because most of the punishment in the grave is due to it”; thus, Muslims are asked to pay attention to making istibra after urinating.  

Istibra is not necessary for women. It is sufficient for them to wait for a while after urinating before they make wudu.

Istinja and istibra have medical benefits, too.

 

Manners of Istinja and Istibra:

It is necessary to know the rules of going to toilet and having a bowel movement or urinating.

* When entering the toilet, it is necessary to leave the pages containing some parts or verses of the Quran outside or to have them in the pocket as wrapped in cloth or nylon. If a person is wearing a ring with the name of Allah written on it, it is enough to turn the ring so that the name will face the palm.

* It is recommended (mustahab) to say bismillah and read the following prayer before entering the toilet:

“Allahumma inni audhu bika mina’l-khubthi wa’l-khabaith.” (O Allah! I seek Your protection against filth and impurities.).

* It is necessary to enter the toilet with the left foot and exit with the right foot.

* One should not face the qiblah in the toilet and should not turn his back directly to the qiblah. It is makruh (abominable) to do it. However, if the toilets in the homes were built as facing the qiblah, there is no objection to it because it is an obligation.

According to Shafiis and Malikis, there is no drawback to turning to the qiblah in the toilets in the closed buildings. Turning or not turning to the qiblah is in question in the open areas in the countryside.

* One must not talk in the toilet unless it is obligatory. One must not answer the greeting of another person while he is in the toilet.

* It is one of the manners of the toilet not to spit or not to blow your nose, causing an unpleasant view in the toilet.

* It is one of the manners of the toilet not to urinate while standing unless there is an obligation. According to what Hazrat Umar narrates, once the Messenger of Allah saw him urinating while standing and said to him, “O Umar! Do not urinate while standing.” Hazrat Umar never urinated while standing after that. However, when there is an obligation and when it is possible to be protected from being soiled, it is permissible to urinate while standing. Some of the Companions saw the Messenger of Allah urinating while standing. This situation was interpreted as obligation and protection from being soiled.

Urinating while sitting is better in terms of cleanliness, too. The urinary bladder is emptied better this way, and the leakage lessens.

One should not look at his private parts and the dirt that comes out of the body when he is in the toilet.

* It is one of the manners of toilet to say the following when you come out of the toilet:

“Alhamdu lillahi’lladhi adhhaba anni’l-aza wa afani. (Praise be to Allah, who relieved me from the suffering and gave me health.)"

 

What are the Makruhs of Istinja?

* It is makruh (abominable) to urinate against the wind and into the lakes or rivers. It is also regarded makruh to have a bowel movement or urinate under the fruit trees, in shady places where people sit to have a rest, crop fields, into the ant and insect nests and on the roads. To pollute the roads where people walk, shady places where people sit to have a rest, picnic areas were severely prohibited by a hadith and it was stated that it would cause people to damn and curse due to the troubles that they suffered.

* Another thing to avoid is leaving the toilet without cleaning it after having a bowel movement. It will also cause people trouble and hatred. It is included in the scope of the prohibition in the hadith.

* The left hand is used for the cleaning after urinating or having a bowel movement. The following is stated in a hadith: "Do not hold your organ with your right hand while urinating. Do not wipe your private parts with your right hand." Acting upon this hadith, Islamic scholars regard cleaning with the right hand in the toilet as makruh.  

* The water must not be splashed severely and one must try not to soil his clothes with urine.

* Istinja is abandoned if there is a risk of one's private parts being seen by others.

* It is not appropriate to urinate in the same place where one has a bath or a shower. It may cause delusion. However, if the urine flows away and does not remain in the place where one has a bath, it is regarded permissible by some scholars. However, it is better to avoid it.

* A person who is too old to make istinja can abandon istinja if his wife or her husband cannot help. It is not permissible for non-mahram people to help one make istinja.

 

Body Cleaning That 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.

Apart from washing the whole body, cleaning the visible dirt and impurities and eliminating the smell of sweat, 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 mouths and teeth whenever they made wudu.”

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

"Clean your teeth because it is sheer cleanliness. Cleanliness is of belief. A person with belief is in Paradise."

“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 put 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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