Islamic hygienical jurisprudence

Islamic hygienical jurisprudence includes a number of regulations involving cleanliness during salat (obligatory prayer) through Wudu and Ghusl, as well as dietary laws and toilet etiquette for Muslims. The fiqh is based on admonitions in the Qur'an for Muslims to be ritually clean whenever possible, as well as in hadith (words, actions, or habits of the Islamic prophet Muhammad).

Cleanliness is an important part of Islam, including Qur'anic verses that teach how to achieve ritual cleanliness. Keeping oral hygiene through cleaning the teeth with the use of a form of toothbrush called miswak is considered sunnah, the way of Prophet Muhammad. Ritual ablution is also very important, as observed by the practices of wudu (partial ablution), ghusl (full ablution), and tayammum (water-free alternative using any natural surface such as rock, sand, or dust).

In Muslim countries, bathrooms are often equipped with a Muslim shower situated next to the toilet, so that individuals may wash themselves properly. This ablution is required in order to maintain ritual cleanliness. The common Muslims practice of taking off shoes when entering mosques and homes is also based on ritual cleanliness, (although common to many Eastern cultures and not unique to Islam).

Islamic cleanliness and hygiene

Sunni Islam has its own hygienical jurisprudence. It is preferable for a Sunni Muslim to remove the hair directly below the navel and under the arms also as trimming the nails once a week. Leaving hair and nails is permissible after 15 days and disliked after 40 days.[1] The best day for removing needless hair and cutting nails is Friday. It is permissible to use shaving cream to remove needless hair. Needless hair and nails should be buried to prevent illnesses from spreading. Cutting eyebrows is permissible if they are too long. Sunni women should put their nails and hair removed from the head, below the navel and under the arms in a place where no non-permissible man can see it.[2]

Personal grooming is also a matter of focus in Islam.[3] Allowing a beard to grow while trimming the moustache is emphasized with it being seen as mandatory by all respected Sunni scholars from the four major Sunni Madh'hab.

Islamic dietary laws

Islamic dietary laws provide a set of rules as to what Muslims eat in their diet. These rules specify the food that is halāl, meaning lawful. They are found in Qur'an, the holy book of Islam, usually detailing what is unlawful, or harām.[4]

Islamic genitalia hygiene

Urine is forbidden to be on a Muslim during prayer times, as it is considered dirty. The foreskin is a possible spot where urine can accumulate. Circumcision is used to prevent this.[5][6]

Islamic toilet etiquette

The Islamic faith has particular rules regarding personal hygiene when going to the toilet. This code is known as Qadaahul Haajah.[7][8]

Issues of laterality, such as whether one uses the left or right hand and the foot used to step into or out of toilet areas, are derived from hadith sources.[9] The only issue which the Qur'an mentions is the one of washing one's hands especially after using the toilet which is mentioned in verse 5:6.

Examples of these rules include, but are not limited to:

  • It is strongly forbidden to make the toilet close to the flowing waters, or to be by flowing water whilst relieving yourself.
  • It is more preferable to step into the bathroom area with the left leg and step outside the bathroom area with the right leg.
  • One should remain silent whilst on the toilet. Talking, answering greetings or greeting others is heavily disliked.[7]
  • One should not face nor turn one's back on Qibla (the direction Muslims face to pray) whilst relieving oneself.[7]
  • When leaving the toilet one should also say a prayer, "O Allah! Bestow your forgiveness upon me."[7]
  • Use of toilet paper is acceptable, but washing with water is still needed for purity and to minimize germs present in feces from touching the skin.[10]

See also


  1. "Hadith - The Book of Purification - Sahih Muslim - - Sayings and Teachings of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم)". Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  2. "Sunnah of Trimming Hair / Nails - ZIKR". Retrieved 2015-11-17.
  3. "Ruling on trimming hair". Islam QA. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
  4. "What is Halal? A Guide for Non-Muslims | Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV)". Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV). Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  5. "Hadith - The Book of Purification - Sahih Muslim - - Sayings and Teachings of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه و سلم)". Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  6. "BBC - Religions - Islam: Circumcision of boys". Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  7. 1 2 3 4 Shu'aib, Tajuddin B. "Qadaahul Haajah (Relieving Oneself)". The Prescribed Prayer Made Simple. Compendium of Muslim Texts.
  8. Niamh Horan (April 8, 2007), Surgeons perform delicate operation for Muslims, Irish Independent
  9. Sachiko Murata (1992), "ch. 3 The Two Hands of God", The Tao of Islam, ISBN 978-0-7914-0913-8
  10. Israr Hasan (2006), Muslims in America, p. 144, ISBN 978-1-4259-4243-4

Further reading

  • QaraḍāwĪ, Yūsuf, and Waseem Yaqub. Islamic Concept of Hygiene as Seen by the Sunnah. Cairo, Egypt: El-Falah Foundation, 1997. ISBN 977-5813-26-3.
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