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Q & A on Water and Sanitation in Islam (Health)

Q & A on Water and Sanitation in Islam

Source: islamset

The following issues were discussed by the IOMS, The Fiqh Academy at Jeddah and WHO in various meetings held between the years 1980 - 2000.

Q: 1) What importance Islam gives to personal cleanliness?
A: Islam attaches great importance to cleanliness. This is clearly apparent in Islamic legislation which makes ablution and bathing a duty. Islam also requires to wash our hands before and after meals, and to wash our clothes to purify them. All these obligations are related to individual and collective acts of worship, emphasizing the Islamic concept which considers man's body and soul two parts of a single entity which are mutually complementary.

Q: 2) Is cleanliness a prerequisite for prayers?
A: Yes. God has made ablution an essential preliminary for prayers. He explains that: "God does not want to impose any hardship on you, but wants to make you pure" (5:6). Ablution is a divine obligation to be undertaken by everyone who wishes to pray. God says in the Quran: " Believers, when you prepare for prayer, wash your faces and your hands upto elbow, and wipe your heads and wash your feet up to the ankles (5:6). The Prophet (PBUH): "God does not accept any prayers which have not been preceded by ablution".

Q: 3) Are Muslims urged to perform ablution for purposes other than prayers?
A: Yes. A person who is in a state of ceremonial impurity, i.e. janaba, is encouraged to perform ablution if he wants to eat or sleep, though the state of janaba required taking bath in which one washes the entire body. However, Islam encourages a person in such a state to perform ablution if he delays taking bath. The Prophet (PBUH) was asked whether a person in a state of ceremonial impurity may sleep, eat or drink. He answered: Yes, if he performs ablution in the same manner as when he wants to pray".

Islam also requires a man who has had sexual intercourse with his wife and wants to do so again to perform ablution in the interval. According to an authentic hadith: "If any one of you has had intercourse with his wife, and wants to repeat it, he should perform ablution".

Muslims are also recommended to perform ablution before going to bed, and when one is in a state of anger or has touched or carried a dead person, and before reciting the Quran or reading the hadith, and for attending Islamic lessons, entering a mosque, calling for prayer, giving a sermon or visiting a graveyard.

Q: 4) Is taking a bath considered obligatory in Islam?
A: Yes, taking a bath is considered obligatory in Islam on a number of occasions, including the end of menstruation and post natal discharge, after sexual intercourse and wet dreams. In this connection, God says in the Quran: "If you are in a state of ceremonial impurity, purify yourself" (5:6). He also says: "Believers, do not come near prayers when you are drunk until you are aware of what you are saying, nor when you are in a state of ceremonial impurity, except during traveling, until you have taken a bath" (4:43).

Islam requires its followers to take special care to keep themselves clean by taking bath regularly, even in the absence of above causes. A Muslim is required to take bath before the weekly Friday prayer and for attending prayer on the two annual Islamic feasts. It is also recommended to bath frequently during the pilgrimage and the Umra and on such occasions as entering Mecca, prayer for rainfall, when there is an eclipse, on regaining consciousness after fainting, after having washed the body of a dead person, when one feels that one's body odour is becoming unpleasant, before retiring to a mosque for mediation and prayer, when entering Medina and before attending any gathering.

Source: islamset

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