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الثلاثاء، 9 أبريل، 2013

Purification is Equivalent to Half of the Faith

الثلاثاء, أبريل 09, 2013

Purification is Equivalent to Half of the Faith

By: Dr. / Zaghloul El-Naggar

Abu Malik al-Harith Ibn 'Asim al-Ash'ari (A.S.) narrated, "The Prophet (pbuh) said,

'Purification is half of faith. {The phrase} al-hamdulillah (All praise be to Allah) fills the scale. {The phrases subhanallah (Exalted be Allah) and al-hamdulillah (All praise be to Allah) fill what is between the heavens and earth. Prayer is a light, charity is a proof, patience and endurance is a brightness and the Glorious Qur'an is either an argument for you or against you (on the Day of Judgment). And everyone goes out in the morning to sell himself; he either sets it free or destroys it'."

Explanation of the Hadith

This Hadith may need pages to explain all the different issues mentioned in it as well as the implied scientific signs. But I shall only comment on the first phrase, in which the Prophet (pbuh) states that Tuhur (purification) is equivalent to half of faith.

  The word Tuhur as used here, refers to Taharah (purification) of one's body, clothes, shoes, home, roads, water streams, utensils, food and drink and all that man uses in his everyday life. It also refers to the purification of the heart, Nafs (oneself) and all that is related to a Muslim in his life concerning his family, society and the whole world. This applies to any Muslim, whether a man or a woman, a child, a teenager or a youth.

  The word Taharah then bears many implications, which go beyond the material cleanliness. It refers to many moral values and principles, such as avoiding all that is prohibited by Allah, whether man perceives the wisdom behind this prohibition or not. He obeys the orders of Allah because he has absolute faith in the Wisdom and the comprehensiveness of the knowledge of Allah as much as he realizes how imperfect and limited the knowledge of man is compared to that of Allah the Almighty.

  The concept of Taharah in Islam refers to material cleanliness from all dirt and impurity, as well as self-cleanliness from all that is Haram (unlawful) which is prohibited by Allah. Taharah refers to the purification of the heart and Nafs (self) from hatred, grudge, envy, hypocrisy, lying, betrayal, adultery and bad morals, as well as the purification of the society from social diseases such as dishonesty and self consciousness, bribery and patronage, cheating and misuse of power, spread of usury, adultery and evil sins. In brief, it refers to purifying humans and society from all that is evil whether explicit or implicit.

  Purification of the body and clothes, is considered as a condition for the performance of many rituals in Islam, such as praying, performing Tawaf (circumambulation) around the Ka'bah and reading Qur'an from the Mus-haf, because the purification of the body and clothes is considered as a preparatory action for the purification of the heart and self.

Allah the Almighty says in the Qur'an,

(O you who believe! When you intend to offer As-Salat (the prayer), wash your faces and your hands (forearms) up to the elbows, rub (by passing wet hands over) your heads, and (wash) your feet up to ankles. If you are in a state of Janaba (i.e. after a sexual discharge), purify yourselves (bathe your whole body). But if you are ill or on a journey or any of you comes after answering the call of nature, or you have been in contact with women (i.e. sexual intercourse), and you find no water, then perform Tayammum with clean earth and rub therewith your faces and hands. Allah does not want to place you in difficulty, but He wants to purify you, and to complete His Favour to you that you may be thankful. )

(Surat Al-Maidah (The table spread with Food):6)

   The Divine command that one should be fully pure before standing in front of Allah in prayer, performingTawaf (circumambulation) or reciting the Qur'an comes as a prerequisite for one to enter into a high spiritual state of humility and total submissiveness to talk to Allah, the Almighty. Therefore, it is an obligation for Muslims to perform ablution, total washing (in case of sexual intercourse) or dry ablution, when water is absent or one is sick, before performing these acts of worship. Spiritual purification in this Divine command is even stronger than material purification of the body and clothes, even though the latter is quite imperative. The evidence for this is that performance of dry ablution comes as an alternative to using water when the latter is missing. In the case of Tayammum, using dry dust, material purification is not really achieved as water is not used, however it is still an act of worship, which puts one into a state of spiritual and psychological purity, as one is getting ready for prayer. The fact that one should perform Tayammum for performing prayer, when water is missing, also shows how important prayer is for a Muslim, which should be performed under any situation and circumstances.

  In Surat Al-Maidah, other verses previous to the one relevant to ablution, refer to good food and good women, whom one could marry, which complements the same concept of material and spiritual purification, as Allah only accepts what is pure and lawful. At the end of the above mentioned verse, Allah, Glorified be He says,

  "Allah does not want to place you in difficulty, but He wants to purify you, and to complete His Favour to you that you may be thankful."
(Surat Al-Maidah (The table spread with Food):6)

  The Glorious Qur'an which holds purification in high esteem in its various senses, mentions purification in 31 verses, among which are,

  "Truly, Allah loves those who turn unto Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves (by taking a bath and cleaning and washing thoroughly their private parts, bodies, for their prayers)."

(Surat Al-Baqarah (The Cow):222)

And,

  "In it are men who love to clean and to purify themselves. And Allah loves those who make themselves clean and pure (i.e. who clean their private parts with dust (which has the properties of soap) and water from urine and stools, after answering the call of nature)."

(Surat At-Taubah (The Repentance):108)

   Purification here refers to the material and spiritual aspects, in the sense of purification from sins, and avoiding committing any acts of disobedience. Ablution as it is known in Islam, is a way for purifying one's body and clothes, which is obligatory for every Muslim. Ablution is also a prerequisite for the validity of prayer, which the Muslim performs five times a day (the obligatory prayers), in addition to the supererogatory. In certain cases of legal impurity, such as sexual intercourse or after menses, one needs to perform full ritual washing of the body with water, before he can resume performing his prayers.

  Allah the Almighty has honored man's body in his life and after death. During man's life, his body excretes many secretions due to continuous biological reactions, which requires persistent purification, and thus ablution and ritual washing are obligatory. Also, the Prophet (pbuh) recommended that one should perform five actions regularly when he said,

"Five things are parts of one's fitrah (human nature): Shaving public hairs, circumcision, trimming one's moustache, removing hairs from one's underarms and trimming nails."

   That is why the Qur'an and the noble Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) gave special attention to purification, even before man discovered bacteria and microbes and before the level of hygiene deteriorated to the extent that we see nowadays whether in the body, clothes, shoes, food and drink, homes, roads, water, streams, etc. The deterioration is the major cause of many diseases, and that is why it is well known that the Messenger of Allah(pbuh) was the cleanest and purest of all people, in himself, his sayings and actions. He was an example to be followed, as he said.

"Purify these bodies, may Allah purify you."

The Prophet (pbuh) recommended that one keeps his purity, even if he is not praying, performing Tawaf or reciting the Qur'an from the Mus-haf. He (pbuh) said to Anas Ibn Malik (A.S.),

"O son! If you could always be pure (i.e. having ablution) then do so, for whoever dies while he is pure, will be considered as a Shahid (martyr)."

  It has been proven medically that ablution is very effective in purifying the mouth and the nose, which are considered a major passage for bacteria, fungi and all sorts of germs into the body. The mouth and nose are purified at least 15 times a day during ablution. Rinsing the mouth with water and cleansing the nostrils of the nose by sniffing water and blowing it out, act as a purifying process for them from dust, food remnants, bacteria, fungi, germs and mucous that is secreted from the nose and the sinus. Any kind of contaminants which is present in the atmosphere, that is introduced into the body through the mouth and nose are cleared by this action.

  The Prophet (pbuh) also recommended the use of Siwak (a root taken from a small tree or a shrub called al-Arak) to clean and purify the mouth and teeth. Many narrations of the Prophet (pbuh) stress this point. It was narrated by Abu Hurayrah (A.S.) that Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said,

"If it were not too much a burden on my nation (the Muslims) or on the people, I would have ordered them to use the Siwak before every prayer."

'A'ishah (A.S.) also narrated that the Prophet (pbuh) said,

"(Using the Siwak is a purification for the mouth and it is a way of seeking Allah's pleasure."

  Muslims are also required to purify their clothes of all impurities and wash them immediately with water until they are removed. That is if the impurity can be seen, otherwise it is enough to wash one's clothes with water until one feels that they are clean.

   A Muslim is also asked to purify his food and drink of all contaminants, dirt, impurities and also all thatHaram (unlawful) such as alcohols and drugs as Allah the Almighty says,

"Forbidden to you (for food) are: Al-Maitah (the dead animals - cattle-beast not slaughtered), blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which Allah's Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering, (that which has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah, or has been slaughtered for idols) and that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the goring of horns - and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal - unless you are able to slaughter it (before its death)"

  (Surat Al-Maidah (The table spread with Food):3)

A related hadith is,

"If a dog laps the water from the utensil of anyone, purify it (the vessel) by washing it seven times, using earth for the first washing (or the last in another narration)."

The Prophet (pbuh) also prohibited that one urinates in stagnant water (water that is not flowing), as it will become a source of bacteria and germs. In addition to all of that, he (pbuh) considered clearing the street of any litter or harmful object as an act of charity, and commanded that houses and roads be kept clean.

  As mentioned earlier, the concept of purification in Islam goes beyond the material purification. It expands to include the purification of the Nafs (self) from Satan's whispers, which lead the person to disobey the commands of Allah and indulge in sins until he finally falls into disbelief that leads to the Hell Fire. Purifying the heart from evil and sin needs one's persistence in repenting and asking Allah the Almighty for forgiveness, everyday, as the Prophet (pbuh) said,

"O People! Repent to Allah, as I repent to Him hundred times everyday."   
           
      
"If it were not too much a burden on my nation (the Muslims) or on the people, I would have ordered them to use the Siwak before every prayer."
'A'ishah (A.S.) also narrated that the Prophet (pbuh)  said,
"(Using the Siwak is a purification for the mouth and it is a way of seeking Allah's pleasure."
  Muslims are also required to purify their clothes of all impurities and wash them immediately with water until they are removed. That is if the impurity can be seen, otherwise it is enough to wash one's clothes with water until one feels that they are clean.
   A Muslim is also asked to purify his food and drink of all contaminants, dirt, impurities and also all that Haram (unlawful) such as alcohols and drugs as Allah the Almighty says,
"Forbidden to you (for food) are: Al-Maitah (the dead animals - cattle-beast not slaughtered), blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which Allah's Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering, (that which has been slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah, or has been slaughtered for idols) and that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the goring of horns - and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal - unless you are able to slaughter it (before its death)"
  (Surat Al-Maidah (The table spread with Food):3) 
A related hadith is,
"If a dog laps the water from the utensil of anyone, purify it (the vessel) by washing it seven times, using earth for the first washing (or the last in another narration)."
The Prophet (pbuh) also prohibited that one urinates in stagnant water (water that is not flowing), as it will become a source of bacteria and germs. In addition to all of that, he (pbuh) considered clearing the street of any litter or harmful object as an act of charity, and commanded that houses and roads be kept clean.
  As mentioned earlier, the concept of purification in Islam goes beyond the material purification. It expands to include the purification of the Nafs (self) from Satan's whispers, which lead the person to disobey the commands of Allah and indulge in sins until he finally falls into disbelief that leads to the Hell Fire. Purifying the heart from evil and sin needs one's persistence in repenting and asking Allah the Almighty for forgiveness, everyday, as the Prophet  said (pbuh),
"O People! Repent to Allah, as I repent to Him hundred times everyday."

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