A healthy mind resides in a healthy body as they say, which may seem easy to practice but is often overlooked. Many of us are too occupied with the hurly-burly of city life that we neglect our peace of mind and physical health. But, good self-care is essential for improving your mood and reducing anxiety. Besides, every Muslim is entirely responsible for the health of both his\her body and soul: “and surely there are rights for your body over you” . To entirely commit to Allah’s commands and be able to worship Him devotedly, A Muslim requires a healthy and robust body. That is one of the reasons behind the importance of self-care and hygiene in Islam. Let’s see how one should take care of him\herself according to the Islamic guidelines.
Hygiene is a topic always emphasized in Islamic instructions. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) advised maintaining health by any means possible . And this manner was highly observed by all the prophets sent by Allah . Moreover, maintaining hygiene in Islam is introduced as a way to live a longer life . According to Islamic instructions, personal hygiene can be summarized as follows:
In this regard, there are many teachings from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). Washing the head and body is of the rights of Allah almighty over every Muslim . One should not sleep at night without having washed his hands . After getting up in the morning, one should not touch any dishes unless having hands washed three times . Imam Ali (AS) advised washing the body with water to eliminate unpleasant body smell and care about hygiene and sanitation . Imam Sadiq (AS) emphasized on cutting hair to remove any filth and dirt .
Brushing teeth is repeatedly stressed as an important part of hygiene in Islam. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) considered brushing the teeth as one of the significant hygienic manners  and said that if it were not difficult for his people, he would have ordered Muslims to brush their teeth before each prayer (Salat) . Respecting oral hygiene is so important in Islam that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said, if you do not have a toothbrush available, use one of the fingers to brush your teeth . He criticized those who came to him without having the teeth brushed and with the mouth smelling unpleasant .
Some benefits for brushing the teeth include cleaning the mouth, improving the eyesight, pleasing Allah Almighty, whitening the teeth, preventing tooth decay, strengthening gums, increasing the appetite, eliminating the Phlegm, improving memory .
Moreover, using a toothpick to remove the food that remains from between the teeth was advised from the time of the Prophet (PBUH&HP). He has praised those who use the toothpick along with doing ablution (Wudhu) and after each meal . Imam Ali (AS) had also urged his (AS) family to use toothpick .
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) advised Muslim men and women to clip their nails regularly as it is where the dirt and grime aggregate . It is also strongly advised to clip nails on Friday and to say the following after that: “Bismillah wa billah wa ala sunnat e muhammadin wa aale Muhammad” .
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has several pieces of advice in this regard. He encourages faithful men and women to remove unwanted body hair regularly . Imam Ali (AS) has advised removing armpit hair to maintain hygiene and avoid unpleasant body odor .
Finally, you may find these instructions very basic and elementary, impossible not to know them. It may be so, but mentioning these guidelines in such details in Islam uncovers its holistic and perfect approach to life, considering all the facets of human life. On the other hand, sometimes we even forget to do these apparently simple things, and Islam reminds us of their importance despite being easy to do.
- Ibn Babawayh “Uyoun Akhbar Al-Ridha”, vol. 2, p. 158.
- M. Suyuti, "Al-Jami' al-Saghir", vol. 2, p. 688.
- Shaykh al-Harrani, "Tuhaf al-Uqul", p.442.
- Shaykh Mufid, "Al-Amali", p. 60.
- M. Suyuti, "Al-Jami' al-Saghir", vol. 1, p. 579.
- Shaykh al-Tabarsi, "Makarim al-akhlaq", p. 425.
- M. Suyuti, "Al-Jami' al-Saghir", vol. 1, p. 69.
- Ibn Babawayh “Al-Khisal”, p. 620.
- Shaykh al-Kolayni, "Al-Kafi", vol. 6, p. 484.
- Ibn Babawayh, "Kitab Man La Yahduruhu al-Faqih", vol. 1, p. 53.
- Shaykh al-Kolayni, "Al-Kafi", vol. 3, p. 22.
- M. Suyuti, "Al-Jami' al-Saghir", vol. 1, p. 475.
- Kh. Al-Barqi, “Al-Mahasin”, p. 561.
- Shaykh al-Tabarsi, “Makarim al-Akhlaq”, p. 50.
- Qadi Nu'man, "Da'a'im al-Islam", vol. 2, p 120-121.
- Shaykh al-Tabarsi, “Makarim al-Akhlaq”, p. 153.
- Shaykh al-Tabarsi, “Makarim al-Akhlaq”, p. 66.
- Ibn Babawayh “Al-Khisal”, p. 391.
- Ibn Babawayh, "Man La Yahduruhu al-Faqih", vol. 1, p. 119.
- Shaykh al-Harrani, "Tuhaf al-Uqul", p. 101.
The one who converts to Islam or someone who has just decided to know more about Islam, you may have come across this dilemma as to which books are better to study and which would give you a fuller and more comprehensive view of Islamic matters.
In what follows we have suggested some of the most significant Islamic books which are essential for anyone who is interested in Islam or is looking for answers to his/her questions. The books in this list include basic pillars of Islam, the most important obligatory practices, as well as ethical, historical and philosophical matters related to the religion of Islam.
The intellectual miracle of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the Quran is the holy book of Muslims which includes many historical, ethical, spiritual and social matters brought through a unique, cohesive and capturing language. This book offers anyone who is in search of the truth with revealing and thought-provoking information and is a must-read book for converts to Islam.
Nahjul Balagha includes a series of sermons, letters, and sayings by Imam Ali (AS) and compiled by Allamah Sharif Razi which deal with many a wide variety of topics including our existence, our relationship with God, Islamic codes of ethics in all aspects of life whether personal or social. Reading this book helps you realize the deep moral concerns of Islam and the wisdom that lies behind this religion.
Written by an influential German scholar, Annemarie Schimmel provides us with unbiased, simple and introductory information about the religion of Islam. This book approaches Islam with a more historical attitude through which the pre-Islamic time, the emergence of Islam, the figure of Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUHHP) as the messenger of this religion and the process of Islam’s expansion are explained. It also includes some information about the Quran, the Islamic law, and tradition, the philosophy of Islam, different Islamic sects, mysticism, etc. It can be a very helpful guide for converts to Islam.
This brief e-book provided by Salam Islam explains the three significant steps before the action of converting to Islam. These include the belief in one God (Monotheism), belief in the prophets (Prophethood) send by God and the belief in the afterlife (Ma’ad).
This book, written in a relatively simple language, presents a summary of the teachings of Islam to provide some information for those who are not able to examine Islamic matters deeply and in a specialized manner. The book starts with a general reflection on the concept of religion and belief, explains the pillars of Islam and finally gives an insight into the practical principles of Islam.
This book is an attempt to bring a clearer understanding of the concepts that are mentioned in the Quran which is very helpful for converts to Islam. It starts with the ways the Quran can be understood, and it comprises of two main parts: Understanding the Quran analytically and Reason in the view of the Quran. Very thorough and interesting work.
Have you ever wondered about your existence? Why have you been created? What is the purpose of your life? This book discusses the goal of life from the viewpoints of the Quran and various schools of thought. The topics discussed throughout this book include the goal of creation, the basis of individual and social ethics, faith, schools of thought and world vision, Islamic faith, and human perfection, and the summary of Islamic monotheism.
This book offers a timely presentation of the core spiritual and social values of Islam: peace, compassion, social justice, and respect for the other. Seizing this unique moment in history to reflect on the essence of his tradition, Seyyed Hossein Nasr seeks to "open a spiritual and intellectual space for mutual understanding." Exploring Islamic values in scripture, traditional sources, and history, he also shows their clear counterparts in the Jewish and Christian traditions, revealing the common ground of the Abrahamic faiths.
Why do we need religion? What is the benefit of believing in a particular religion? This book written by one of the most significant Muslim scholars offers an in-depth discussion on the philosophy behind the concept of religion and how it shapes our lives toward perfection and happiness.
10. What is Hajj (the holy pilgrimage) and Why Do We Perform It? By Salam Islam
The ritual of Hajj or the Islamic holy pilgrimage is one of the most important occasions in the Islamic calendar. During this period Muslims from all around the world gather in the holy city of Mecca to perform certain rituals. In this e-book, you will get familiar with the basic rituals that must be performed during Hajj and know more about the philosophy behind these rituals.
Hijab in Islam is a common term that represents a range of personal and social codes of behavior and addresses women specifically while requiring specific actions on the part of men as well. In this e-book Hijab and modesty in Islam will be explained through six facts that reveal different aspects and reasons regarding this concept.
What are the rules and regulations that Muslims should observe in their eating habits? This e-book provides the converts to Islam with a brief and straightforward guide to the kinds of foods and drinks Muslims are allowed to use and those that are forbidden to them.
Why do Muslims perform the prayer (Salat)? What are the spiritual and mental benefits of this action? What are the secrets that lie behind the disciplines of Salat? This book offers a great insight into one of the most important obligatory practices of Muslims, prayer (Salat), and help new Muslims and converts to Islam to have a better understanding of this action.
Written by one of the converts to Islam, this book illustrates common challenges and issues faced by converts, the reasoning behind the conversion, analysis from a Western view of many controversial or misunderstood topics in Islam, and basic information needed by new converts.
Please note that here we have attempted to name a few most significant books that can give you a better insight into the religion of Islam and help you in your path toward converting to Islam. However, there are many other helpful and great books that approach Islamic matters sophisticatedly many of which you can find in Salam Islam’ s library and other online Islamic libraries.
Once Mu’aviah, the first Umayyad Caliph, ordered Sa’d ibn Abi-Waqass -a famous companion of the Prophet (PBUH & HP)- to insult Imam Ali (AS). Mu’aviah was the enemy of Imam Ali (AS) and would order people to say bad things about him in public. But Sa’d refused to do that.Mu’aviah said: why don’t you insult “Aba-Turab” (Imam Ali)? Sa’d replied: I won’t insult Aba-Turab because I remember him in three events that if those had happened to me it would be better for me than having so many red camels (symbol of richness) Sa’d narrated three stories about Imam Ali (AS) but, here, we mention the third one:
… Once this verse was revealed to the Prophet (PBUH&HP):
فَمَنْ حَاجَّكَ فِيهِ مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ فَقُلْ تَعَالَوْا نَدْعُ أَبْنَاءَنَا وَأَبْنَاءَكُمْ وَنِسَاءَنَا وَنِسَاءَكُمْ وَأَنفُسَنَا وَأَنفُسَكُمْ ثُمَّ نَبْتَهِلْ فَنَجْعَل لَّعْنَتَ اللَّهِ عَلَى الْكَاذِبِينَ ﴿٦١﴾
Should anyone argue with you concerning him (Jesus), after the knowledge that has come to you, say, ‘Come! Let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, our souls and your souls, then let us pray earnestly, and call down Allah’s curse upon the liars.’ (61) (The Holy Quran, 3:61)
The Prophet (PBUH & HP) called Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Hussain and then said: “O God! These are my family” (1)
When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP) sent messages to the kings around the world and invited them to Islam, he also wrote a letter to the bishop of Najran’s church (a city in Arabia).
They sent a group of priests and Christian scholars to talk with the Prophet (PBUH & HP) and discuss with him on the Message of Islam. They discussed on the question: Is Jesus the son of God or not?
Each side insisted on their beliefs and the Christians wouldn’t accept that their belief is wrong. Then this verse was revealed to the Prophet (PBUH & HP):
Indeed the case of Jesus with Allah is like the case of Adam: He created him (Adam) from dust, then said to him, ‘Be,’ and he was. (59) This is the truth from your Lord, so do not be among the skeptics. (60) Should anyone argue with you concerning him (Jesus), after the knowledge that has come to you, say, ‘Come! Let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, our souls and your souls, then let us pray earnestly, and call down Allah’s curse upon the liars.’ (61) (The Holy Quran, 3:59-61)
So Allah said to the Prophet (PBUH & HP) that the only way to clarify which side is telling the truth is Mubahala.
When two groups of people have an argument with each other, after so many discussions with no results, they come to a place and call down Allah’s curse upon the liars. They pray that Allah punishes the ones who tell lies right in the time. This is called Mubahala.
So, both sides agreed and promised to be present on a specific day (Du al-Hijjah the 24th) in the desert for Mubahala. In the morning of Mubahala day, the Messenger of Allah came to Imam Ali’s house and took Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain’s hands. The Prophet, Imam Ali, Lady Fatimah, Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain went to the desert.
When the Christians saw them, asked: who are those people with Muhammad?
They were answered: that man is his cousin and son in law. He loves Ali the most. Those children are his grandsons and that woman is his lovely daughter.
The Christians said: Muhammad is sitting there like the real Prophets. If he wasn’t right, he wouldn’t bring the closest ones with him for Mubahala. He must be so sure about his message. If we participate in this Mubahala, there will be no Christian left in Najran till next year.
So they refused to participate in the Mubahala and went back to Najran.
• Hakim an-Neisaboori, one of the most prominent Sunni scholars, says:
“There are so many historical records concerning this event that the Messenger (PBUH & HP) brought Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Hussain in the Mubahala day and then said: “these are our sons and our souls and our women so you (Christians) bring your sons and souls and women for Mubahala so that we call down Allah’s curse on the liars” (2)
• Ibn Kathir, another great Sunni scholar also admits that this verse is about Imam Ali, Lady Fatimah, Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain. He says that Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari (one of the most important companions of the Prophet) said:
“By ‘our souls’ Allah means the Prophet (PBUH & HP) and Imam Ali (AS)” (3)
Here soul, in Arabic culture, means that Imam Ali (AS) is so close to the Prophet (PBUH & HP) that there is no difference between him and the Prophet; it’s like they are one soul in two bodies. Obviously, the only difference is that Imam Ali is not a prophet but on the other levels Imam Ali and the Prophet are the same.
Sheik Mufid, one of the greatest Shiite scholars, narrates a dialogue between Imam Reza (AS) and Ma’moon (an Abbasid Caliph):
Once, Ma’moon asked Imam Reza (AS) about the best privilege of Imam Ali (AS) that the Quran has mentioned.
Imam Reza (AS) said: it is the event of Mubahala. In that day when the verse was revealed to the Prophet (PBUH&HP), he called Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain, who were his sons, Lady Fatimah, who was the woman mentioned in the Quran, and finally Imam Ali which was the soul mentioned in the Book.
Imam Reza (AS) also said: clearly the Prophet (PBUH & HP) is the most supreme person in the world. So it is obvious that his soul which is Imam Ali is also the most supreme creature.
Ma’moon said: why don’t you think that here soul means the Prophet himself and no one else?
Imam Reza (AS) said: because it doesn’t make sense to call yourself and bring yourself for Mubahala. When you call somebody or order somebody to come with you, it is obvious that the person is not yourself. And we all know that the Prophet brought no one except Imam Ali; so undoubtedly, Imam Ali is his soul.
Ma’moon said: with this answer, there is no question left! (4)
- Sahih Muslim, vol.4, Pg.1871
- Ma’rifah al-Olum al-Hadith, Hakim an-Neisaboori, vol.1, Pg.50
- Tafsir al-Quran al-Azim, Ibn Kathir, published by dar al-Kotob al-Elmiyah, vol.2, Pg.47
- Al-Fosul al-Mukhtarah, Sheik Mufid, vol.1, Pg.38