Tuesday 9 July 2024

Why Islam equates Cleanliness to Half of the Faith (Understanding Islam)

The concept of "cleanliness is half of faith" underscores the significant emphasis Islam places on both physical and spiritual cleanliness. It encourages Muslims to live a life of purity in all aspects, reflecting their faith through their actions and habits. This principle is deeply rooted in the Quran and Hadith, making cleanliness a fundamental part of a Muslim's daily life and spiritual practice.

The phrase "cleanliness is half of faith" (الطُّهُورُ شَطْرُ الإِيمَانِ) is derived from a hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), which emphasizes the importance of cleanliness in Islam. This concept is rooted in both the Quran and the Hadith, reflecting the comprehensive nature of cleanliness in a Muslim's spiritual, physical, and social life.

Abu Malik at-Ash'ari reported: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: Cleanliness is half of faith and al-Hamdu Lillah (all praise and gratitude is for Allah alone) fills the scale, and Subhan Allah (Glory be to Allah) and al-Hamdu Lillah fill up what is between the heavens and the earth, and prayer is a light, and charity is proof (of one's faith) and endurance is a brightness and the Holy Qur'an is a proof on your behalf or against you. All men go out early in the morning and sell themselves, thereby setting themselves free or destroying themselves. (Sahih Muslim, Book 2, Hadith 432)

حَدَّثَنَا إِسْحَاقُ بْنُ مَنْصُورٍ، حَدَّثَنَا حَبَّانُ بْنُ هِلاَلٍ، حَدَّثَنَا أَبَانٌ، حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى، أَنَّ زَيْدًا، حَدَّثَهُ أَنَّ أَبَا سَلاَّمٍ حَدَّثَهُ عَنْ أَبِي مَالِكٍ الأَشْعَرِيِّ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ "‏ الطُّهُورُ شَطْرُ الإِيمَانِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ تَمْلأُ الْمِيزَانَ ‏.‏ وَسُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَالْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ تَمْلآنِ - أَوْ تَمْلأُ - مَا بَيْنَ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَالصَّلاَةُ نُورٌ وَالصَّدَقَةُ بُرْهَانٌ وَالصَّبْرُ ضِيَاءٌ وَالْقُرْآنُ حُجَّةٌ لَكَ أَوْ عَلَيْكَ كُلُّ النَّاسِ يَغْدُو فَبَائِعٌ نَفْسَهُ فَمُعْتِقُهَا أَوْ مُوبِقُهَا ‏"‏ ‏. 

Let us examine this Hadith in detail in light of Quran and Hadith:

Spiritual Cleanliness: Purity of the Heart and Soul: Cleanliness in Islam is not limited to physical cleanliness but also includes spiritual purity. Muslims are encouraged to purify their hearts from malice, envy, and hatred.

وَيَسْـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلْمَحِيضِ ۖ قُلْ هُوَ أَذًۭى فَٱعْتَزِلُوا۟ ٱلنِّسَآءَ فِى ٱلْمَحِيضِ ۖ وَلَا تَقْرَبُوهُنَّ حَتَّىٰ يَطْهُرْنَ ۖ فَإِذَا تَطَهَّرْنَ فَأْتُوهُنَّ مِنْ حَيْثُ أَمَرَكُمُ ٱللَّهُ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلتَّوَّٰبِينَ وَيُحِبُّ ٱلْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ 
They ask you ˹O Prophet˺ about menstruation. Say, “Beware of its harm! So keep away, and do not have intercourse with your wives during their monthly cycles until they are purified.1 When they purify themselves, then you may approach them in the manner specified by Allah. Surely Allah loves those who always turn to Him in repentance and those who purify themselves.” (Surah 2. Al-Baqarah 2:222)

Physical Cleanliness
  • Personal Hygiene
    • The teachings of Islam place great emphasis on personal hygiene, including regular washing, grooming, and cleanliness of clothing and surroundings. ("Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves." (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:222) 
    • Hadith: "Five practices are characteristics of the Fitra (natural disposition): circumcision, shaving the pubic hair, cutting the mustache short, clipping the nails, and plucking the armpit hairs." (Sahih Bukhari 5889)
  • Ritual Purity (Taharah)
    • Ablution (Wudu): Muslims perform wudu before prayers to maintain a state of ritual purity.
    • Quranic Verse: "O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles." (Surah Al-Ma'idah 5:6)
    • Hadith: "No prayer is accepted without purification." (Sahih Muslim 224)
Environmental Cleanliness:
  • Community and Environmental Cleanliness: Islam encourages the maintenance of cleanliness in public spaces and the environment.
    • Quranic Verse: "Indeed, Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves." (Surah Ar-Ra'd 13:11)
    • Hadith: "Removing harmful things from the road is an act of charity (sadaqah)." (Sahih Bukhari 2989)
Comprehensive Understanding
  • Holistic Approach: Cleanliness in Islam covers a holistic approach that includes cleanliness of the body, purity of the heart and soul, ritual purity for worship, and environmental cleanliness.
  • Integral Part of Faith: Considering cleanliness as "half of faith" signifies its integral role in a Muslim’s life, affecting daily rituals, personal habits, and social responsibilities.
  • Path to Piety: Maintaining cleanliness is a means to attain piety (taqwa) and righteousness, aligning with the overall objective of Islamic teachings to lead a pure and morally upright life.
In view of the above references form Qur'an and Hadith, we understand that cleanliness is not restricted to bodily cleaning, rather it covers a very wide spectrum of our lives. From inner purity to bodily cleaning to community and environmental hygiene, Islam emphasises that unless one has cleansed himself as individual and ensured that he helps in maintaining a clean and hygienic environment, his faith in Allah is not complete. 

Likewise the spiritual purity is equally important in addition to physical hygiene and cleanliness. Maintaining cleanliness is a means to attain piety (taqwa) and righteousness, aligning with the overall objective of Islamic teachings to lead a pure and morally upright life. The spiritual purity leads to purity of the heart and soul and ritual purity for worship.

May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 

وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.


For more Q&A about Understanding Islam, please refer to our reference page: Understanding Islam - Frequently asked Q&A

If you like Islam: My Ultimate Decision, and to keep yourself updated on all our latest posts to know more about Islam, follow us on FacebookYou may also refer to our Facebook  Group Islam: The Ultimate Truth for more on Islam and Da'wah.

Please share this page to your friends and family members through Facebook, WhatsApp or any means on Social Media so that they can also be benefited by it and better understand Islam and the Holy Qur'an - Insha Allah (Allah Willing) you shall be blessed with the best of both worlds.


Post a Comment

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More