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21 May 2019 CE | 17 Ramadhan 1440 AH
Explanation below

Hadith Explanation

Purity is Half of Faith

The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Purity (cleanliness) is half the faith.” [Muslim]

For the most important and fundamental pillar of Islam, five daily prayers, Allah has prescribed cleanliness of the body, cleanliness of the dress and cleanliness of the place of worship as preconditions.

Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) has ordained in the Quran that the purpose of the commands to acquire cleanliness or purity before every prayer by taking a bath or performing Wudhu is Allah’s desire to keep us clean and pure for which we should be grateful to Him. “Allah (by giving the commands in respect of Ghusl and Wudhu) does not wish to place you in difficulty, but to make you clean and complete His favour upon you, so that you may be grateful.” [Quran: Surah Al-Maida, Ayat 6]

It was because of these Islamic injunctions that to care for cleanliness was associated with Islam and Muslims.

To take a bath was considered by Christians to be such a sinful act that when Pope Innocent IV passed the verdict in 1250 AD against Frederick II, King of Sicily and Germany, of being a heathen, the first on his list of accusations was that he took a bath daily like Muslims.

Bathing was considered both sinful and dangerous for one’s health for many centuries in Europe. People either forwent bathing altogether or restricted their hygienic arrangements to washing hands, parts of the face, and rinsing their mouths. Washing one’s entire face was believed to cause catarrh and weaken the eyesight.

Member of the upper classes took full body baths a few times a year, however, King Louis XIV of France and Queen Isabel I of Spain are reported to have bathed only twice in their entire lives. As one Russian ambassador to France noted “His Majesty [King Louis XIV] stunk like a wild animal.”  Russians were not so finicky about bathing and tended to bathe once a month.  Because of this, they were considered perverts by many Europeans.

King Louis XIV stench came from the fact that his physicians advised him to bathe as infrequently as possible to maintain good health.  He also stated that he found the act of bathing disturbing. Queen Isabel I of Spain confessed that she had taken a bath only twice in her lifetime, when she was first born and when she got married.

A daughter of one of the French kings died of lice. Dysentery and scab caused fatal terminations to Popes Clement V and Clement VII correspondingly. Duke Norfolk neglected bathing for religious reasons. As a result of such disregard numerous abscesses dotted his body.
Pope Sixtus IV considered every Christian who took a bath daily to be a heathen (Muslim). To punish the heathens, the Pope established a religious court in 1478 AD that executed 2000 people in the first year alone by burning them alive and convicted and sentenced 17,000 to imprisonment and fines. [History of the Conflict between Religion and Science, by John William Draper]

When the Islamic State came to an end in Spain, King Philip II in 1598 closed down all public baths as they revived memories of Islam. He also removed the Governor of Isabel on the ground that he washed his face and hands daily. [Favours of Islam on Europe]

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