Cleanliness is next to Godliness and Islam considers it to be a part of faith. In order to be able to understand and apply the teachings of Islam fairly, what matters the most is one’s purity; of mind and body.
So let’s look into this aspect in a little detail:
Taharat; what is it?
Taharat means purity; the opposite of najāsa- the state of being ritually impure.
Purity of one’s body and his surroundings is an essential part of a Muslim’s life.
Not only does the physical cleanliness matter but it’s important that we purify ourselves from within as well.
Inner purification can be achieved by encouraging the five pillars of Islam.
(The viewers can refer to my videos from last year’s Ramadan to understand these five pillars in detail)
Having clean and pure thinking, avoiding sins, making a lot of dhikrs and most importantly making sure the heart is pure of spiritual affliction such as anger, hatred, relying on other people than Allah, pride, arrogance, etc. are necessary to acquire a healthy mind.
Then comes the outer or physical purification:
It is achieved by first removing physical impurities (for example, urine) from the body, taking care of personal hygiene like regular bathing and brushing teeth, and then removing ritual impurity by means of wudu or ghusl.
Everyone must refrain from eating and drinking things that are Najis.
Then, for the clothes that one wears during worshipping Allah, that is while offering Salat, they must be clean.
Now, how can one achieve ritual taharat?
There are 3 ways to it:
1. Wudu is the Islamic procedure for cleansing parts of the body, a type of ritual purification, or ablution.
Wudu involves washing hands, mouth, nostrils, arms, head and feet with water and is an important part of ritual purity in Islam.
As Surah Al-Ma’idah, verse no.6 states:
یا أَیهَا الَّذینَ آمَنُوا إِذا قُمْتُمْ إِلَی الصَّلاةِ فَاغْسِلُوا وُجُوهَكُمْ وَ أَیدِیكُمْ إِلَی الْمَرافِقِ وَ امْسَحُوا بِرُؤُسِكُمْ وَ أَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَی الْكَعْبَین
“When you stand up for prayer, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows, and wipe a part of your heads and your feet, up to the ankles.”
It is a simple, certain and obligatory pattern of washing one’s body parts, a Muslim is expected to perform before offering his prayers, and reciting the Holy Qur’an and it’s recommended that a person of taharat always lives in the state of wudu.
Cleanliness is important not only for the religious perspective but it’s scientifically proven that wudu is the most appropriate practice to purify the organs of a human body.
2. Now we move to ghusl, the second method to taharat.
Ghusl is a term in fiqh that refers to the Islamic ritual bath of the whole body from the head to the feet in accordance with the qualifications made by the Divine Legislator.
There are two types of ghusl: obligatory (wajib) and supererogatory (mustahab), remember these terms from the first video? I hope you do!
According to Shiite fiqh, there are six types of obligatory ghusls:
1. ghusl al-Janaba (ritual bath after sexual intercourse or seminal discharge)
2. ghusl al-Mayyit (ritual bath of a corpse)
3. ghusl Mass al-Mayyit (ritual bath after touching a corpse)
Three specific ghusls for women:
1. ghusl al-Hayd (Purification from the impurity caused by menstruation)
2. ghusl al-Nifas (Purification from the impurity caused by post-natal bleeding)
3. ghusl al-Istihada (Purification from the impurity caused by irregular bleeding)
Ghusl is a major ablution as opposed to wudu which is a minor ablution. In Islamic laws, ghusl is considered an act of worship.
Qur’an has signified the importance of ghusl in certain places such as
•for ritual purification from Janabah;
-as in Surah An-Nisa, verse 43, which says:
ياأيها الذين آمنوا لا تقربوا الصلاة … ولا جنبا … حتى تغتسلوا
O you who have believed, do not approach prayer … or in a state of janabah, … until you have washed [your whole body].
-And then, in Surah Al-Ma’idah, verse 6, Allah says
وإن كنتم جنبا فاطهروا
“And if you are in a state of janabah, then purify yourselves.”
Sometimes ghusl might be obligatory by vow (Nadhr) or oath; for example, if one vows to always perform the ghusl for a Ziyarah, then it will be obligatory for him/her.
According to most scholars of fiqh, all obligatory ghusls are not obligatory in themselves; rather they are just obligatory in order to do something else that requires purity, such as daily prayers.
There are many sorts of mustahab ghusls as well. Some scholars have mentioned as many as one hundred such ghusls. Here are the most important mustahab ghusls:
Ghusl of Ziyarah
Ghusl in the nights of the Ramadan month
Ghusl on special days, such as Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, and Eid al-Ghadir.
Finally, the third practice to attain taharat is tayammum.
Well, tayammum refers to the Islamic act of dry ritual purification using a purified sand or dust, which may be performed in place of ritual washing if no clean water is readily available or if one is suffering from moisture-induced skin inflammation or scaling.
Tayammum may be substituted for wudu or ghusl when access to water is restricted or impractical namely:
1. When sufficient amounts of water for ritual washing are not available, and using it for wudu or ghusl would leave it insufficient for drinking.
2. When obtaining water is hazardous or possess a health risk.
3. When the water available is impure.
Tayammum is permitted on all items which have thick dust on them, like baked but unglazed earthen pots, clay, limestone, the ابخش stone, taahir (pure) earth, and walls of mud, stone or brick.
However, it’s certainly not permitted on the things that are not earthen, such as things that burn and turn into ashes or can be melted by heat.
For example, grass, trees, wood, plastic, glass, metals like iron and gold, etc.
Following these methods, one can purify himself entirely, stay healthy and fit to devote his self to the Almighty! I hope we all now know the utter importance of cleanliness, so let’s apply these teachings in our daily lives and aim to become better Muslims!
Dear brothers and sisters, tomorrow, Insh’Allah we shall catch up on the topic of Salah in a comprehensive manner.
With that being said, Wassalam