What is Taharah?
Taharah means purification. It is a means of attaining cleanliness. It is to remove the physical and the spiritual dirt from the place, body and the dress of a worshipper. Certain religious rites and duties require that the worshipper should be in a state of purity. Such rites include Salat, Tawaf, touching the Qur’an etc.

Cleanliness in Islam
  1. Islam requires that every Muslim should maintain cleanliness at all times. The Prophet Muhammad was reported to have said in Hadith 23 of Annawawis thus: ‘Purity is half of faith.
  2. 'It is therefore important for faithful Muslims to keep the rules of personal hygiene such as washing of hands after visiting the toilet, before and after eating; taking their regular baths, cutting of nails and keeping them neat and tidy, washing private parts after excretion, cleaning the teeth, putting on clean and tidy clothes etc.

Modes of Taharah
Taharah in Islamic studies is used for act of purification, which, depending on the state of impurity of the devotee may be any of the three modes:
  • Ghuslu – Ritual Bath
  • Wud’u – Ablution 
  • Tayammum – (dust/clay ablution)
  • The Qur’an chapter 5 verse 6 prescribes the modes:
O you who believe. When you prepare for canonical worship (Salat), wash your faces and your hands to the elbows; wipe over your heads and (wash) your feet to the ankles, if you are in a state of ceremonial impurity, bath your whole body, but if you are ill, or on a journey, or one of you is from the lavatory, or you have been in contact with women and you find no water, then take for yourselves clean sand and rub therewith your faces and hands. Allah does not wish to place you in difficulty, but to make you clean and to complete His favor on you, that you may be grateful.

In Qur’an 2 verse 222 Allah says:
‘…..Allah loves those who constantly turn to Him in repentance, and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean.’

Spiritual objectives of Taharah
The spiritual objectives are:
  • Submission to the commandment of Allah who ordered that the taharah be performed.
  • Faith in Allah which led to the submission.
  • Seeking the love of Allah.
  • Physical cleanliness/purification as a symbol and preparation for spiritual cleanliness of the soul. Purification from sins is thus attained, through prayers at every stage of the purification process.
  • Consciousness of Allah by constantly being in a pure state to communicate with Allah.
Social objectives of Taharah
  • Cleanliness which promotes good health.
  • Good health which makes life pleasant.
  • Acceptance by others in the society who will not like to interact with a dirty person.
Moral objectives of Taharah
Taharah indicates:
  1. Respect for Allah by maintaining cleanliness while he/she is before Allah in worship. The Qur’an demands such respectful appearance.
Be properly dressed at every time and place of Salat.
  • Abstention from sins and evils, which had been removed through purification, can be sustained through more cleanliness.
  • Determination to engage in things that are clean and means of live hood that is permissible by Allah.
Lessons from Taharah
  • Cleanliness is enjoined by Allah and so Muslims must maintain good hygiene and cleanliness.
  • Purification of the body should constantly remind one of the needs to purify the soul.
  • Certain acts of worship are acceptable only when the actor is in state of purification.
  • It is advisable to, as much as possible, maintain purification by constantly observing taharah.

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