Ritual Purity & Hygiene

الحمد لله و كفى و سلام على عباده الذين اصطفى


The great Andalusian scholar of Qur’ān exegesis, Imām Qurtubī رحمة الله عليه, writes that in this āyah Allāh, Glorified and Exalted is He, praises those who love purification and prefer cleanliness. He further states that purification and cleanliness are human virtues and Islamic duties.[2] What āyah is he referring to ?

وَاللَّـهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُطَّهِّرِينَ
Allāh Tacālā says, “And Allāh loves those who purify themselves.”[1]

Muslims are encouraged to keep themselves clean, both spiritually and physically, and to remove any offensive bodily odors so that they do not cause harm to those around them, not the least of which are the angels.

Ṣalāh, one of the most important acts of worship, has as a precondition for its performance purification from both major and minor impurities. The Prophet ﷺ has mentioned in a ḥadīth:

لا تقبل صلاة بغير طهور
“There is no ṣalāh without purification.”[3]

According to Macārif al-Sunan, a commentary of Sunan al-Tirmīdhī, what is meant by purification in this ḥadīth is wudhū’.[4] None the less, one should bear in mind that making wudhū’when one is in the state of major ritual impurity will not put one in a state where they can perform ṣalāh. Wudhū’ will remove minor ritual impurity, but to come out of the state of major ritual impurity one must make ghusl.


Underarm & Pubic Hair

عن أبي هريرة عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم أنه قال

 الفطرة خمس الاختنان و الاستحداد و قص الشارب و تقليم الأظفار و نتف الإبط


Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه relates that the Messenger of Allāh ﷺ said,

“The Fitrā [5] are five:

  • Circumcision,[6]
  • Shaving the pubic hair,
  • Clipping the mustache,
  • Cutting the nails,
  • And [removing] the underarm hair.”[7]

In another narration it is mentioned that one should not let 40 nights pass without shaving the pubic hair, clipping the mustache, etc. The culamā have explained that this does not mean one is allowed to wait until 40 nights to trim any of these things, but that the period between one trimming and the next shouldn’t exceed 40 nights.[8]

It is mustaḥab to clip one’s nails [9], trim the mustache, remove the pubic hairs, and clean one’s body once a week, Jumcāh being the best day [for this]. [If not once a week, this should be done] every fifteen days. However, if there is a need or one’s hair/nails become long one will cut them before the above mentioned times. [10]

Pubic hair refers to the hair above and around the penis of a man, and that which is around the vagina of a female. In addition to this hair it is mustaḥab to remove the hair around one’s anus because it is possible that the najāsah exiting one’s body may become caught on it and not get removed during istinjā.[11]

 Also see here and here.


Ritual Purity & Hygiene:

   [1]  Sūrah Tawbah: 9, Ayah: 108.

   [2]  Al-Jāmic Li Akām al-Qur’ān Vol: 10, Page: 381.

   [3]  Sunan al-Tirmīdhī Vol 1, Page: 2-3.

   [4]   Macārif Al-Sunan Vol: 1, Page: 29.

   [5]  A practice of the prophets (Alaihis Salaam). (Fat al-Mulhim Vol: 2, Page: 500; cAwn al-Macbūd Vol: 1, Page: 79).

   [6]  This is not the practice of genital mutilation.

   [7]  aī Muslim Vol: 1, Page: 129.

   [8]  aī Muslim Vol: 1, Page: 129; Fat al-Mulhim Vol: 2, Page: 503.

   [9]  Cutting the nails refers to the removal of what grows over the fingertips because filth collects under it. (Fat al-Mulhim Vol: 2, Page: 503).

   [10]  Awja al-Masālik Vol: 16, Page: 254; Fat al-Mulhim Vol: 2, Page: 503.

   [11]  āshiyah aḥṭāwī Page: 527 with slight rewording.

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