Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Guidelines about cleanliness and purity

Guidelines about cleanliness and purity

Islam is the one religion which has the solutions to all the problems of all spheres of life.  In the same way, Islam has detailed rules about personal and familial life.  Islam lays great stress upon cleanliness.  The guidelines about cleanliness and Taharah are being presented in detail.

There are various methods of purification:

One method of purification is washing.  The substances, which can be used for washing are the following:

Pure water, everything which is pure and flows, rose water, vinegar, the water of coconut and watermelon.

On the contrary, impurity (Najaasat) cannot be removed with milk, oil, etc. because oiliness is found in these.

Things which have any impurity on them can be purified through washing and those things which are themselves impure e.g. urine, stools cannot be purified.  (But if their inherent nature is changed, then they may become pure)

The second method of purification is changing of its state or if it is changed by mixing anything like drug/medicine in it.  By this every impure thing becomes pure and clean regardless of whether their impurity is inherent or temporary.

The third method of purification is wiping with wet hands or wet cloth or any wet thing.  Those substances which do not absorb water can be purified with this method e.g. mirror, sword, knife, iron and any such thing.  If they have any impurity on then, by wiping with a wet cloth the impurity can be removed.

The fourth method is burning it completely.  Stone, soil and those things which cannot absorb water can be purified by burning also.  In this way their impurity is removed.

The fifth method is to remove the impurity by rubbing, scratching, scraping or any such method.  This method is only for purifying the body and cloth on which the semen is there.  The condition is that the semen should be dried and should come off.  If the semen is not dried up then the cloth or the body part cannot be purified until it is washed.

The sixth method is peel off and rub using knife or nails or any such thing which is used to rub on the ground.   Things which are made from leather/hide, etc. are purified with this method like shoes, socks, gloves, etc.

The seventh method is to dig or turn over, i.e. digging the land and turning it over completely in a way that the impurity and/or effects should not be felt in the bottom layer.

The eighth method is to dry.  Those things which grow on land can be purified by drying them in sunlight, fire or air provide it should still be attached to the land e.g., trees, grass, wooden pillars, door, threshold of the door.

The ninth method is to draw water from a well or tank, etc.  If any impurity, human being, animal or bird falls in a well and dies than first the impurity or dead body should be removed.  Then after drawing the required quantity of water from the well or tank, its water, its walls and even the soil/mud in it is purified.

Some miscellaneous issues about cleanliness

Standing and urinating

Standing and urinating is Makruh (undesirable).  It is better to avoid using these kind of bathrooms.  But if there is no other arrangement, then it is permissible to use them.

How to clean oneself after answering the calls of nature?

After relieving oneself, first wash the left hand.  Then, Istinja should be performed with the back of the fingers (not with the inside part of them) and no more than 3 fingers should be used.  First wash the organs of urination, then the organs of defecation.  First the middle finger should be raised than others, then the finger next to it, then the little finger.  While cleaning, water should be poured slowly, so that droplets of water do not fall on the clothes.  As given in Fatawa A'alamgiri, Vol.1, Kitab Ut Taharah.

Cleanliness after having intercourse with spouse:

The state after intercourse is called "Janabah."  It is permissible to eat/drink in Janabah.  In this state, a bath should be taken as soon as possible.  If something is to be had before bath, then the mouth should be rinsed and the hands should be washed.  As given in Fatawa A'alamgiri, Vol. 1, Kitab Ut Taharah.

Should we bathe immediately after having sex or we can sleep and have a bath before Fajr?  The Shariah rule here is that it is not necessary for an unclean (janabi) person to bathe immediately after sex, but it is Mustahsan (i.e. according to the Sunnah) to perform wuzu.  The person can have a bath before Fajr as per convenience.  As given in Fatawa A'alamgiri, Vol 1, Pg No: 16.

Changing clothes before bathing:

If the dirt/filth on the body is cleaned so thoroughly that there is no trace of it, then the clothes worn before bathing do not become unclean.  The uncleanliness of the body in a state of Janabah (i.e. when one is without Taharah) is not actual, but virtual (Hukmi in Urdu).  In this state, if there is no visible dirt/filth on the body and the clothes used are clean, then these clothes are not affected in any way.

If sweat falls in food?

If some droplets of sweat fall into the food, then as per the Shariah, the food does not become unfit for eating, but naturally we dislike it.  However, there is no prohibition in the Shariah about food in which droplets of sweat fall, but as Islam is a religion of purity and cleanliness, special care should be taken while cooking.

 Urinating on the road?

The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) has declared removing a hurtful thing from the path as a branch of Iman (faith).  The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said:

Translation of Hadith: Iman has 70 and some branches or 60 and some branches.  Thus, the most excellent branch is saying: La Ilaha Illallah and the least excellent branch is removing a hurtful thing from the path and modesty is a great branch of Iman.  (Sahih Muslim, Hadith No. 162)

Urine/defecation on the path, which people use is a source of harm for them.  This creates pollution and spreads diseases.  In light of this, urinating/defecating on the road is Makruh (undesirable).

However, there is an allowance to relieve oneself away from the population in a plain or the like, as there the chance of spreading diseases is negligible and people also don't consider it to be wrong.

As given in Noor Ul Izaah, Pg. No. 32.

Mujhe jannat say zyada masjid mein bethna acha lagta hai 
kyun ke jannat mein mera nafs khush hoga, 
jab ke masjid mein mera rabb khush hoga
.    Jab tum namaz na padho to matt socho ke waqt nahi mila, Balke ye socho ke tumse kaunsi galti hui ke, ALLAH ne tum ko apne saamne khada karna pasand nahi kiya.............
.    Har koi chahta hai k mujhey KAMIYABI mil jaye, lekin jab masjid sey din main 5 dafa awaz ati hai "HAYYA ALAL FALAH",, "Aao Kamiyabi ki Taraf".... to us taraf janey ki hum zehmat nahi kertey... afsos k jis cheez ko wo sari zindagi har jagah talash kar k bhi hasil nahi ker saka, wo to khud usey apney paas bula rahi hai ....... 
Zuni Ayesha

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