Cleanliness in Islam

By | April 8, 2005

Muhammad Mahdi Nashatizadeh, M.D.

Islamic laws and decrees are established by Almighty God due to His absolute knowledge and utmost consideration for humanity as He assists us in our material and spiritual journey. The wisdom behind some recommendations and commands is obvious: almost everyone appreciates the basic aspects of a rule such as washing one’s hands prior to eating. The philosophy behind other rules is not so readily apparent. Some of these “dos and don’ts” allude to unknown outcomes or associations: making Wudhoo’ (ablution) before a meal is said to increase one’s Rizq (provisions).

رَسُولُ اللَّهِ (ص): إِنَّا مَعَاشِرَ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ أُمِرْنَا أَنْ نُكَلِّمَ النَّاسَ عَلَى قَدْرِ عُقُولِهِمْ

The Holy Prophet (SAW) has stated:

“We, the Company of Messengers, are compelled to speak to people at the level of their understanding.”

For example, the single term Shaitaan (Satan) was used in several situations as to indicate the presence of certain harmful or dangerous phenomena, such as bacterial organisms or even meteorites striking the earth’s atmosphere.

وسائل‏الشيعة: إِلَى النَّبِيِّ (ص): قَالَ فِي السِّوَاكِ اثْنَتَا عَشْرَةَ خَصْلَةً :مَطْهَرَةٌ لِلْفَمِ وَ مَرْضَاةٌ لِلرَّبِّ وَ يُبَيِّضُ الْأَسْنَانَ وَ يَذْهَبُ بِالْحَفْرِ وَ يُقِلُّ الْبَلْغَمَ وَ يُشَهِّي الطَّعَامَ وَ يُضَاعِفُ الْحَسَنَاتِ وَ تُصَابُ بِهِ السُّنَّةُ وَ تَحْضُرُهُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَ يَشُدُّ اللِّثَةَ وَ هُوَ يَمُرُّ بِطَرِيقِ الْقُرْآنِ وَ رَكْعَتَيْنِ بِالسِّوَاكِ أَحَبُّ إِلَى اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ مِنْ سَبْعِينَ رَكْعَةً بِغَيْرِ سِوَاكٍ

The Messenger of God (SAW) has also stated:

The brushing of one’s teeth has twelve benefits:
1. purification of the mouth
2. satisfaction of the Lord
3. whitening of the teeth
4. removal of tartar
5. reduction of phlegm
6. an increase in appetite
7. multiplication of good behaviors
8. promotion of the (Prophet’s) tradition
9. an invitation for angels to draw near
10. strengthening of the gums
11. a pathway to (recitation of) the Qur’an
12. two Rak’at prayer after brushing is lovelier to God Almighty (SWT) than 70 Rak’at without brushing.