One only has to consider the lesser and greater purification requirements, Wudu and Ghusl necessary to perform the five daily prayers and what nullifies them requiring you to repeat the procedure, to realise the great importance placed on cleanliness of the body which also has a bearing on purifying the soul in Islam.
Careful consideration regarding body odour and interaction with colleagues in the workplace daily as well as attending regular collective Prayer in the Mosque etc. requires showering as a daily routine.
We are particularly encouraged to shower/bathe every Friday before congregational Prayer, and on the occasion of the two Eid Festivals. This was encouraged when the availability of water and suitable conditions where this could be carried out were in poor supply. Nowadays there is little excuse for us all to attend to such matters with ease.
Perfume is highly recommended especially when attending congregational Prayer in the Mosque and particularly at Jum'ah Prayer. Different kinds of incense can be used to make ones clothing smell fresh and beautiful and give a pleasant odor.
The mouth and the teeth require special attention. Regular use of a toothbrush and paste or the use of a miswak, (a teeth cleaning twig from the arak tree) at the time of Wudu, after meals or whenever you feel the need not only leads to fresher breath and feeling good but is also recommended dental care. Use of the Miswak, which is part of dental hygiene, should be restricted to the bathroom and it should not be used in public or allowed to hang from the mouth randomly as this is impolite.
Body hair in the underarm and pubic areas need to be trimmed or removed regularly. Modern conveniences have reduced both the time consuming and painful elements of this task. Finger and toe nails also demand special attention and should be kept trim and clean as they are a rich breeding ground for germs.
Some people regard the wearing of a beard for men as a Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh), something he did and that men must emulate, and therefore an obligatory act. While it is highly recommended it should be appreciated that there are men who find a beard irritating to the skin, do not wish to grow one or, as in the case of different cultural backgrounds, cannot grow one. These personal preferences must be appreciated and respected. For those who wish to grow it however, it should be kept clean, trimmed and tidy.
As a woman hair is a significant element of beauty and can be kept at a length that is the preference of the woman herself. It should always be kept clean and well groomed whether the Hijab, scarf is worn or not.
Particular attention is drawn to maintaining cleanliness after having relieved yourself in the toilet.
Toilet tissue can be used in the normal manner but you should cultivate the habit of cleaning yourself by carefully and thoroughly washing your private parts with water. The right hand is used for pouring while using your left hand for the washing process. This is called istinja and can be done using a water container, a bidet or a spray hose, all of which are familiar objects in Muslim homes and Mosques throughout the UK.
If water is not available, extra care should be taken to ensure cleanliness through the use of toilet tissue and or wet wipes.
It is always good to think about such things when planning to go out for the day, especially when in the company of children and keeping in mind that not all public conveniences are equipped with the necessary elements for meeting your needs. Wet wipes are particularly good on these occasions.
Keep in mind also that Muslims are forbidden to relieve themselves in waterways or in shady areas, which should be respected for public use and should always relieve themselves in privacy.
Tuesday 25th of April 2017