January 16th marks World Hygiene Day. First celebrated in Turkey in 2011, World Hygiene Day aims to draw attention to the significance of hygiene in human life. In fact, cleanliness has been discussed and emphasized in hadiths (sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad) and Quranic verses for centuries. Let’s explore the place and importance of cleanliness in Islam in the context of World Hygiene Day.
Cleanliness in Islam
Hygiene, or “hıfzıssıhha” in Turkish, refers to all the activities and measures taken for a healthy life. In a more specific sense, the term is often used when discussing measures related to cleanliness. Cleanliness brings about beauty, health, and meticulousness, which in turn results in a more organized life. In people, places, and things, we seek cleanliness.
The cleanliness we seek in a person encompasses both physical and spiritual cleanliness. In Islam, we place significant importance on both physical and spiritual cleanliness, as evidenced by various hadiths and Quranic verses. The Quran states:
Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.(Al-Baqara, 222)
This verse highlights the importance of both physical and spiritual cleanliness. Physical cleanliness is considered a prerequisite for performing our religious duties. Spiritual cleanliness, on the other hand, is attained through good intentions, righteous deeds, and worship.
The Significance of Cleanliness
Cleanliness is an absolute requirement for a healthy life. The human body functions best when it is clean. For example, oral health problems and dental diseases often result from neglecting oral hygiene. Similarly, digestive disorders may arise from consuming impure or harmful substances. Islam not only emphasizes the importance of cleanliness but also reminds us to safeguard our health, highlighting that our bodies are a trust from Allah. As Muslims, we are encouraged to appear clean, orderly, and organized.
The words of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) underscore the importance of cleanliness: “Cleanliness is half of faith.”
In another hadith, our beloved Prophet tells us that Allah is pure and loves those who are pure. Therefore, being clean is a means to earn Allah’s love.
Looking at all of this, we can see the many benefits of cleanliness and the challenges that arise from a lack of hygiene. The emphasis on cleanliness in Islam serves as an incentive for us to maintain our own cleanliness, surrounded by cleanliness. With prayers for us to be clean and among the clean.