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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 04: Purification (Summary of the Chapter)


Chapter 04:
Purification (Summary of the Chapter):


Purification, though a necessary preliminary to prayer, is an independent subject and is dealt with as such in Hadith collections. The first three quotations from the Holy Qur'an given above require in general terms that the man who would turn to his Lord should be pure in body and garments. The purification of the body is thus made a preliminary to prayer so that by external purification a man's attention may be directed to the purification of the soul which is aimed at in prayer. V. 4 gives the details of ablutions which are necessary before prayer. Purity of the body is thus required as a preliminary to the purity of mind, and the Muslim who is required to say prayers five times a day must needs keep himself and his clothes always clean.

It is true that an intelligent man should know for himself what cleanliness is, but religion aims at giving directions to men in all stages of civilization, in early states as well as in the more developed ones. Moreover, the masses among all people stand in need of minute details, and hence while the Holy Qur'an simply gives the general directions to keep oneself in a state of cleanliness, Hadith gives the necessary details. As a matter of fact Islam directs attention to many details of personal cleanliness of which even the more civilized people are ignorant.

I have divided the chapter into five sections. The first deals with natural evacuations. Purification is called half the faith (h. 1) and the key to prayer (hh. 2, 3). It must not be forgotten that purity of the body is a prelude to the purity of the soul (h. 4). Full regard must be paid to personal cleanliness as well as public hygiene (hh. 5-13). Spitting in public places is forbidden (hh. 16-17).

The second section deals with tooth-brushing which occupies a very prominent place in the Muslim's cleanliness. It is spoken of as a means of purifying the mouth and seeking the pleasure of the Lord (h. 18), which is to show that God loves even bodily cleanliness. Great stress is laid upon its use (hh. 19, 20), and the minimum requirement is that the tooth-brush should be used after getting up from sleep (hh. 21, 22). A clean mouth is in fact the greatest help for the preservation of health. Its importance is further emphasized in h. 23.

The third section gives the details of ablution (hh. 25-36) and shows when a fresh ablution becomes necessary (hh. 37-41). A prayer directing attention to purity of the spirit must be offered when the ablution has been performed (h. 43).

The fourth section deals with total ablution or bath, which is made compulsory once a week (hh. 44-46). Particular occasions on which bath must be taken are mentioned in hh. 47-50. A person under an obligation to have a bath on account of janabah and a menstruating woman are not impure (hh. 51, 52). Some details are given in hh. 53, 54, and taking a bath naked in an open place is strictly forbidden (h. 55).

The fifth section deals with tayammum or wiping the face and hands with pure dust when water is not available for ablution or bath, though it may be available for drinking or domestic purposes, or when the use of water is likely to be harmful (hh. 56-58). This act is as it were a reminder that purification before prayer is an essential thing.

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Hadith Section > A Manual of Hadith > Chapter 04: Purification (Summary of the Chapter)

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