Pillars of Islam 2 – Purity And Hygiene

Jamal Badawi


Channel: Jamal Badawi


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In the Name of Allah, the beneficence, the Merciful, the creator and the Sustainer of the universe, I greet you with the greetings of all the prophets from Abraham the Prophet Muhammad peace and blessings be upon him. Assalamu Aleikum, which means peace beyond you. I'm your host, Hamid Rashid. Welcome to Islam and focus. In today's program, we begin our second program in our fifth series. This series we'll be dealing with the five pillars of Islam, and today's program we'll be dealing with the second pillar, which is Salah are roughly translated to English prayers. I have joining me on the program, Dr. Jamal Badawi of St. Mary's University. Welcome, brother Jamal.

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For those perhaps who didn't see our first program in this new series, where we talked about the first pillar of Islam, I wonder if perhaps you could take a few minutes at the beginning of today's program just to highlight our discussion of last week. Okay, there were three basic points that we discussed last time. First, is the quotation from the saying of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him that the infrastructure or superstructure of Islam is based on five things, testimony, the prayer, the payment of poor do fasting, and pilgrimage once in a lifetime, if one is able to. A second major point we try to make is that many times, non Muslim writers about Islam.

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They present those pillars as if they were the entire Islam, which we thought was erroneous. And we made an analogy between a building and Islam. That is, you could have pillars for a building, but you can't have a functional building, just with the pillars. We need ropes, walls, partitions, installation, eating, and all.

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By the same token, also we cannot have really Islam as a complete way of life by simply talking about the pillars only. The parents are the bare minimum, upon which the remaining structure of Islam is being built.

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They are like mathematicians call it it is they are necessary, but insufficient conditions to have complete Islam.

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The other point also about the those pillars that even if you take just those five pillars, in much more depth than most writers treat them, you will find that they are not merely formal, or formalistic rituals. They are a lot more than that, because they give lessons that covers all aspects of human life, be it social, economic, or political. And this is something that will be forthcoming as we we go on discussing them.

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The third major point

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was to look briefly into the meaning of this first pillar of Islam the testimony. And we said that a person, in order to be a Muslim, must confess with conviction, without any compunction, that there is no deity or there is no God, but Allah, which means the one and only universal God of all humanity, and that Muhammad is His Messenger. We discussed why this testimony start with negation, rather than affirmation to show that there is rejection of any authority, ultimate authority or sovereignty other than the authority and sovereignty of God alone. We also explain briefly what it means in terms of both the meaning of the some of the divine attributes of God, being all powerful

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or merciful, close to mankind caring for them.

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Also, looking into very briefly, the meaning of prophethood that is the Muslim obligation to believe in all prophets from Adam to Mohammed, particularly the major five prophets, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and the last of them, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him through whom this revelation was completed, in the form of the final holy book, or the Quran. So this was the meaning and very brief way of the first pillar, and as he mentioned last time, they took about 40 programs to explore in some degree of depth, the meaning of that first and most fundamental pillar of Islam. Thank you brother for that summary. Let's move on now. into the

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To the topic of today's program, the second pillar of Islam or Salah, like to begin right there with the word Salah is the is this Arabic term, roughly equivalent to the English term prayer,

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roughly, but in fact, the term Salah in Arabic, which is the original for what is usually termed as prayer in English, is a lot more wider and more comprehensive than the English term prayer. See, when you check the dictionary pray, I mean something like supplication, petition and humbleness invocation.

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In that sense, the Muslim prayers includes that. But it includes more than that. Because prior to performance of those prayers, the Muslim must make certain acts of washing or cleaning is called ablution. Or we do an Arabic.

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In addition to that, the prayer is not merely supplication.

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After you prepare already for the prayers, there are certain movements, certain frustrations that goes with the prayers. So in a way, it's in the Muslim understanding of the term Salah the original term, it's a lot more than the meaning usually

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left with the word

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prayer, it's it's more wider than that. However, one should say also, in fairness, that the essence of Muslim prayer or Salah is actually petition and supplication to God. So it's a very rough term, but it may reflect somehow, one aspect one major aspect of Muslim prayer.

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Now, you mentioned that special washing is required before the one actually proceeds to perform the five daily prayers. Could you perhaps explain to us how this, this washing is done? Okay, this is called

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an Arabic, usually translated as ablution.

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And in the most common cases, the most normal cases, before the person perform the payor, by way of preparation, he has to wash at least and I'm just talk first about the bare minimum, should wash the face the hands,

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rub over his hair, wash and wash his feet, this four organs are the very bare minimum, even if it's washed only once.

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But the more perfect and complete form of ablution, as taught by Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him and as communicate them also through engine Gabrielle is to start off by washing First, the

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hands to the rest three times.

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This will be followed by rinsing the mouth three times by taking the water, preferably also brushing or cleaning the teeth, that is either with a brush or a finger if you don't have three times, and then cleaning the nostrils three times by sniffing the water in and out three times.

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And then washing the face three times provided that one should wash all the way from the forehead, to the chins, and from ear to ear to watch the whole face three times with fresh water

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and then washing the right arm first, again three times. And the perfect way again of washing is to take waters like this and the hand and let it flow towards the elbow three times and then repeating the same process for the left arm. And then watching the hand and just rubbing gently over the

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head. And then washing both ears with the index inside and the thumb from outside. So that that is to clean both inside outside same time and then washing the right foot first, and then the left foot. This is the most complete form of performing ablution or washing for the priests. I think people would want to know why this is done before one begins to perform the

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law or the prayer. And why is that it's there. This specific order followed in terms of why it's done. First of all, it is an act of worship. It's connected to prayer. So it's like a continuation really or preparation for the prayers. And in acts of worship usually what you do is to obey it and follow it as a divine command out of love of God and out of showing of obedience and submission to his well. In fact this evolution has been mentioned in the Quran itself in chapter

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Five in verse six, for example, mentioned that when you go for prayers, you wash and it mentioned before minimum organs to be washed.

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In addition to this,

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each of these acts of worship, even though it might be purely a matter of

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obedience and submission to the will of God, they do carry lots of wisdoms and reasons behind them. But the attitude of the believer is that he would say, all right, if this is a divine command, I follow it as it is. And then the revelation does not prohibit me from trying to seek some understanding of possible reasons. But a person would not put the reasons as a prerequisite or a precondition to following them. So one can proceed then with that assumption.

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If we really reflect on the meaning of this ablution, prior to prayers, you find that first of all, it's the kind of psychological preparation for prayers. In Muslim prayer, as we'll describe, it is the one of the most noble, if not absolutely the most noble act that any human can have, by communicating directly with God without any intercession or intermediary. And if we, as human beings considered it adequate, and polite, to get ready, when you meet somebody who's great,

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even among human beings, who are just mortals, when we are going to stand before God in prayer and supplication, then this is it is much more adequate and much more required, really, to have this psychological preparation.

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Secondly, that the Muslim prayer is performed five times every day. And a person will be busy doing lots of things. So this represents a kind of break from the routine, refreshment, and getting ready for the acts of the prayer. And the feeling of cleanliness itself would enhance the benefit that one would get from, from the prayer. But even if you address your other parts of the question in terms of why is evolution performed in this particular order,

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again, as human beings, we're not prohibited from reflecting on it. But if you look at it, you'll notice that first of all, before you watch any organ, you start by washing your hands, yes, because your hands will be used to watch other sites clean, then the washing would be more clean. Okay.

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As soon as your hand is washed, white, it's perfectly clean, you're cleaning your mouth and nostrils, then there is a logical order here that the face comes, for example, before the arms, the arms come before the feet, which is logically should be the last organ

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to be washed. Another interesting thing I was talking to,

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you know, some brothers in the medical profession.

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And when I described to them that this is the requirement and washing the arms, that one should take the water like this and let it flow towards the elbow. And they said, this is what they learn also, as doctors, that when you wash your hands with apparent operations, and so exactly what operations it's the water should flow this way, not this way. Because if you let the water flow this way, then the water with germs would come to your

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fingers, right? And of course, the germs could be the nails. But by washing this way, you're making sure that

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your hands away from it. Yes. So this is an interesting reflection, you know, that various people have get into the meaning of

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this evolution. That's why the Prophet very much emphasized the importance of evolution. But above that, also you can look at it as a spiritual act. As the Prophet says, when one of you gets ready for prayer, and he really makes his washing completely and perfectly before prayer. His sense, will get out of his body every time he washes those organs until it gets out of his fingernails.

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So in a sense, then, symbolically, when we get ready for the prayer, we are washing our faces, our eyes, which might have committed something that's not appropriate. So in a way, we're making and repeating this symbolical acts of repentance and purification. Because as you know, Islam does not believe in original sin, but repeats and constant attempt to cleanse ourselves and to pray to God always for forgiveness and for improvement in our Latin. After an individual has performed, well do our evolution, how many?

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How many times can he perform a lot or how many prayers can be done before the person who is required to do another evolution every time one says prayer must one do the the word or the evolution? No, not necessarily. The so long as the evolution is still

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valid, a person can do any number of prayers using the same abbreviation. But knowing our normal biological functions, it is virtually impossible for one to remain for example for the whole day without a need to renew his application. So there are certain things in Islamic law that are regarded as nullifying of what which means that you're required to have washing if this thing has happened before you can do any additional prayers. And this includes things like natural discharges, when person goes to the washroom for example, it includes deep sleep when you're really

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deeply sleeping or the case also where the person may get unconscious because of fainting or some other problem, then, in cases like this, the absolution is nullified and a person must have another evolution before he perform addition.

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Are there any concessions related to this question of water or evolution? Are there any special circumstances that one might become involved in which would exempt them from carrying out the the evolution? Yes, they are. In fact, this is one aspect of the flexibility the built in flexibility within the Islamic jurisprudence and static law.

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The This is based on a rule established in the Quran, the Word of God itself.

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For example, in chapter five, verse seven, it says, Now you read Oh, La Jolla, da da, da, da da minha. Raj. What can you read? Tony, what do you two minute metallicum Alana,

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that is Allah regard does not want to place burden on you. Rather, he wants to purify you and compete his his favors on your that you may be grateful. So the basic rule is not really ritualism. And it's said. But it's one aspect of getting training and getting purification physically and spiritually.

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There may be circumstances where evolution could be either impossible, or very, very difficult. An example of this would be a person who was starving for example, and he does not have enough water, or if he has, he might need it for drinking or cooking or giving water to animals or something like that. In cases like this, he did not use this precious precious water, it can simply strike on something cleaned by stone or sent something clean,

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blow the dust off and just symbolically rub over his face once and both hands and that will do it as a symbolical act of getting ready for the prayer.

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There may be cases where a person might have for example, a skin disease, where water would be quite harmful, or a person might be injured. And he might he may have a bandage in cases like this, you can do a pollution in parts that would not be hurt by water, and then just gently touch him with his hand and rub over it very gently, that would do it. Or if need be even just completely do this kind of symbolical act instead of actually using water.

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There's another thing that I found quite interesting and useful, which is there also an Islamic law and used to be used by the prophet, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him himself 1400 years ago, sometimes I wonder not most people would ask, how could you wash your feet? For example, if you're in the office, you see the five daily prayers extend over the whole day, how do you wash your feet, in most places, you don't have that

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facilities in order to wash your feet. But there is a solution also to that. If the person wakes up in the morning, makes a complete ablution including washing their feet and worse or puts on his stockings, for example.

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It would be permissible for the rest of the day, almost for 24 hours. In fact, for a resident or three days for the traveler, that whenever a person makes a volution you can just wash off everything but when it comes to the feet, you can simply wet his hand and gently rub over his right socks first and then his left socks and that would be substitution for washing the feet. So these are examples of solutions to problems that may arise from time to time, which shows like indicated before, that it is not just the ritual, the letter of the law really that matters, but the purpose behind it and if it's possible to achieve both fine if there are extenuating circumstances there's

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always some kind of flexibility. Following set includes Of course, you mentioned earlier in the program but in most circumstances all that is necessary in terms of preparation for salado for prayer is the

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Normal evolution as you've just described, right? Are there circumstances which could come up where evolution is? is insufficient? Oh, yeah, evolution alone, right. Yeah, that's why I think that in the most common or the most normal circumstances, there are cases like that, for example,

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there are situations where bathing or washing the entire body would be a prerequisite for performing Salah or prayers.

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For both

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males and females, for example,

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immediately after or after the intimate husband wife relationship, one cannot go to the prayer just by having abolition, one has to have a bath.

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for females, Muslim females immediately after the end of the monthly cycle, or after the postnatal resting period, which is usually defined as maximum 40 days, but could be less than that. Again, a Muslim woman can't directly pray or just use addition it has to have she has to have a full full bath. And for males also, after wet dreams, for example, a full bath would be required. So these are examples of the major cases where even abolition would not be enough. But as you know, these are not as repetitious as the other normal functions that simply require renewal of, of evolution, as described before.

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In addition, of course, one should say here that the same type of conditions that apply to evolution apply to bathing also, for example, if a person needs to take a bath, but there is no water available, or it may hurt him, because of some other health reasons, at least for a temporary period, then some of these conditions also could be applicable. But this ones that I described to you are only the minimum mandatory cases where a person must take a bath. But in addition to this, we find the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him taught Muslims that a person must at least once a week, love and clean his body and take a bath. He encouraged people, particularly on Friday, before

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going to the congregation and prayers to have a pass before festivals, and many other occasions. So there's also numerous other occasions where bathing would be a highly recommended act religiously, you know, just as a matter of

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cleansing as a part of also religious duty to be or maintain cleanliness.

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Some viewers who are watching the program, who may not be that familiar with, with Islam, and perhaps the first time that they've had any explanation of what's involved in terms of salado prayer for Muslims.

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might wonder if, if the injunctions in the the evolution as we just described is not things that are perhaps to detail and to involve? What would be your response to, to them? Well, it depends how one perceives, and understands the term religion.

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And this is where Islam stands by distinct

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for, for the majority of people, particularly in the West, the term religion seems to appear to be associated in many minds, with a set of dogmas of beliefs, spiritual and moral aspects. And that's just something some kind of otherworldly type of emphasis. To the Muslim. However, the word religion means simply a way of life, a complete way of life. Now, if Islam is a complete way of life, then it must provide also complete and comprehensive guidance to this human life doesn't just leave the person and come up with some beliefs without showing the way also how to conduct a life that would be pleasing to God and also satisfactory in the human sense that you can understand.

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So if if this is the case, then that religion must be capable of giving guidance in spiritual beliefs, moral,

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social aspects of life, political aspects of life, personal cleanliness, and hygiene definitely would be part of the things that

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Islam does not leave out even ecology as part of the whole picture. But simply the comprehensiveness, as a nature of Islam, or your approach to this is, is interesting and different. I wonder if perhaps maybe you could expand on the point and develop the point a little bit, just a little bit further in the closing minutes that we have of today's program. One that could be a separate topic, instead of that, just giving the time limitations that we have and

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I'll give you some

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points on this. To start with Islam does not view

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physical purity and spiritual purity as two opposing things are two different things. Why? Why should one of them be achieved at the expense of the other,

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the equivalent of the English term purity in Arabic is called taharah.

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Cleanliness or the state of being free from,

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from defilement.

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The word taharah or purity as used in the Quran is used both in the spiritual as well as the physical sense. Let me give you just a few examples of this. In the Quran in chapter nine, verse one or nine,

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it talks there

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are describes people who stand in prayers to God in mosques or places of worship, and to describe them as people who you have buena yetta tahara, who love to be purified. That's in the spiritual sense.

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And the second chapter in the Quran in verse 222-200-2222. It says also that God loves those who are repentant or returned to him constantly for repentance, and who love to keep pure. Allah you should put the web in or you should put matahari that this is a characteristic of the true believers.

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But the very same expression or derivatives of the word taharah or purity is used also for physical cleanliness. Why should it be contradictory or different? For example, we find that the Quran in chapter eight verse 11 describes that God University radical Minister, Mr. Martin Luther hirako can be that Allah was sent down from heavens or from the skies water, so that he cleanse you with. So the referring also to the physical claims that start with like I said, the physical and spiritual cleanliness or purity is not necessarily

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either all types are integrated. Exactly.

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And, and so far as others, teachings in Islam that are related to hygiene, there are plenty of them hygiene and ecology altogether. For example, the this is something perhaps I could describe to sculpt miswak Yes, it's a kind of twig from a special type of tree called a duck tree. And 1400 years ago, that's almost 1200 years before the invention of any toothbrush. Yes, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him recommended very highly, that people use that to cleanse and purify in the flesh their mouth. In fact, in one of his saying, as quoted in Muslim, he says, If I didn't think it would have been too hard for my people, I would have ordered them that as a mandatory requirement, that

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before every prayer they should clean their teeth with this. There have been some studies about the particular Miss whack, especially as the prophets recommended and it was found that it contains some kind of combination of natural oils and minerals, which are very effective in dental hygiene. And also, it's less abrasive than the toothbrush. It's more gentle. As such, it provides a nice stimulation for the for the gums. So this is another example like I said 1400 years ago about the

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cleanliness of the mouth.

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In addition to this, you find Islam, for example, require circumcision for men's for men's only it's mandatory,

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trimming the nails, shaving excess hair, from the body for cleanliness. The Prophet sallallahu Sallam

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forbade people from releasing themselves in waterways and sheds or in the roads of other people which again, in modern science, you can understand that this would be one way of preventing the spread of germs, a prohibition of drinking of alcoholic drinks or other intoxicating stuff that might hurt the hands or eating dead animals, except for fish of course and of the dies without being slaughtered, or pigmeat.

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there is no virtue in Islam in shabbiness. The prophet in numerous sayings indicated that cleanliness and tidy appearance is one of the characteristics of the believer he was talking particular about tidying the hair and cleaning it.

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Islam taught also that the person should wash his hands before food and after eating and to eat with his right hand

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encouraged physical fitness in various settings. Like I said, this could be a whole topic itself but if it shows anything

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It shows that God is interested in our well being moral, spiritual, even material and physical, I suppose is a catchphrase that people will be familiar with cleanliness is next to godliness. Right And on that note, perhaps we'll close our program for today. We want to invite you back next week we will go on and we've spent a lot of time today talking about preparation for a louder prayers. Next time we'll talk about how prayer is actually conducted. Join us next time once you Assalamu alaikum Peace be upon you.