“ان الله يحب التوابين و يحب المتطهرين “
Truly Allah loves those who repent often and loves those who purify themselves (2: 222)
In this beautiful verse from the Holy Qur’an, Allah (God) declares His love for two kinds of people: Those who repent often and those who keep themselves clean.
Undoubtedly, cleanliness (tahāra) is very important in our religion. Nothing reflects this more than the famous hadith of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), in which he said:
الطهور شطر الايمان
Cleanliness is half of faith. (Sahih Muslim).1
As soon as a child is born, the process of cleaning is done swiftly as the newborn is bathed.
When a person dies, again cleanliness is of utmost importance. The body of every Muslim is given a thorough wash before burial.
New Muslims are asked to have a bath before they undertake their formal conversion as a means of renewal.
Certain forms of worship, including daily prayers (Salah) and the Hajj pilgrimage can only be completed in a state of cleanliness. For example, when we pray, we must ensure that three areas are clean (i) our body (via wudu) (ii) our clothing (iii) our place of worship.
Islam is the only religion that makes you have a bath at least once a week, usually on the blessed day of Friday. Moreover, we are rewarded for this.
Famed Islamic scholar, Imam al-Ghazali writes that tahāra has stages:
From this, one will appreciate that cleanliness (tahāra) in Islam is not merely keeping the outer clean; it is a process of purifying our inner state too. When a person does ablution, they are not merely cleaning their hands, face and arms; but purifying their inner state as well. A Muslim not only rid themselves of dirt and bacteria via wudu but sheds minor sins too.