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Purification of the Heart:

There is no doubt that Islam at the beginning started with the purification of the hearts (from Shirk). We have been asked to make our belief free from jealousy and dirt that could corrupt or stain it. The holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said pertaining the heart:

[أَلاَ وَإِنَّ فِي الجَسَدِ مُضْغَةً: إِذَا صَلَحَتْ صَلَحَ الجَسَدُ كُلُّهُ، وَإِذَا فَسَدَتْ فَسَدَ الجَسَدُ كُلُّهُ، أَلاَ وَهِيَ القَلْبُ].

[Verily, there is a piece of flesh in the body; if it becomes good (reformed) the whole body becomes good but if it gets spoilt the whole body gets spoilt, and that is the heart]. (Recorded by Al-Bukhari,1/20, and Muslim,3/1219).

The Prophet once informed his companions the result of a clean heart, stating that this purity of heart is one of the preconditions for entering into Paradise by Allah's will. and he, (peace be upon him) said to them:

["يَطْلُعُ عَلَيْكُمُ الْآنَ رَجُلٌ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ", فَطَلَعَ رَجُلٌ مِنَ الْأَنْصَارِ، تَنْطِفُ لِحْيَتُهُ مِنْ وُضُوئِهِ، قَدْ تَعَلَّقَ نَعْلَيْهِ فِي يَدِهِ الشِّمَالِ، فَلَمَّا كَانَ الْغَدُ، قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، مِثْلَ ذَلِكَ، فَطَلَعَ ذَلِكَ الرَّجُلُ مِثْلَ الْمَرَّةِ الْأُولَى. فَلَمَّا كَانَ الْيَوْمُ الثَّالِثُ، قَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، مِثْلَ مَقَالَتِهِ أَيْضًا، فَطَلَعَ ذَلِكَ الرَّجُلُ عَلَى مِثْلِ حَالِهِ الْأُولَى، فَلَمَّا قَامَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ تَبِعَهُ عَبْدُ اللهِ بْنُ عَمْرِو بْنِ الْعَاصِ فَقَالَ: "إِنِّي لَاحَيْتُ أَبِي فَأَقْسَمْتُ أَنْ لَا أَدْخُلَ عَلَيْهِ ثَلَاثًا، فَإِنْ رَأَيْتَ أَنْ تُؤْوِيَنِي إِلَيْكَ حَتَّى تَمْضِيَ فَعَلْتَ؟ قَالَ: نَعَمْ. قَالَ أَنَسٌ: وَكَانَ عَبْدُ اللهِ يُحَدِّثُ أَنَّهُ بَاتَ مَعَهُ تِلْكَ اللَّيَالِي الثَّلَاثَ، فَلَمْ يَرَهُ يَقُومُ مِنَ اللَّيْلِ شَيْئًا، غَيْرَ أَنَّهُ إِذَا تَعَارَّ وَتَقَلَّبَ عَلَى فِرَاشِهِ ذَكَرَ اللهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وَكَبَّرَ، حَتَّى يَقُومَ لِصَلَاةِ الْفَجْرِ. قَالَ عَبْدُ اللهِ: غَيْرَ أَنِّي لَمْ أَسْمَعْهُ يَقُولُ إِلَّا خَيْرًا، فَلَمَّا مَضَتِ الثَّلَاثُ لَيَالٍ وَكِدْتُ أَنْ أَحْقِرَ عَمَلَهُ، قُلْتُ: يَا عَبْدَ اللهِ إِنِّي لَمْ يَكُنْ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَ أَبِي غَضَبٌ وَلَا هَجْرٌ ثَمَّ، وَلَكِنْ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ لَكَ ثَلَاثَ مِرَارٍ: "يَطْلُعُ عَلَيْكُمُ الْآنَ رَجُلٌ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ" فَطَلَعْتَ أَنْتَ الثَّلَاثَ مِرَارٍ، فَأَرَدْتُ أَنْ آوِيَ إِلَيْكَ لِأَنْظُرَ مَا عَمَلُكَ، فَأَقْتَدِيَ بِهِ، فَلَمْ أَرَكَ تَعْمَلُ كَثِيرَ عَمَلٍ، فَمَا الَّذِي بَلَغَ بِكَ مَا قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَقَالَ: مَا هُوَ إِلَّا مَا رَأَيْتَ. قَالَ: فَلَمَّا وَلَّيْتُ دَعَانِي، فَقَالَ: مَا هُوَ إِلَّا مَا رَأَيْتَ، غَيْرَ أَنِّي لَا أَجِدُ فِي نَفْسِي لِأَحَدٍ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ غِشًّا، وَلَا أَحْسُدُ أَحَدًا عَلَى خَيْرٍ أَعْطَاهُ اللهُ إِيَّاهُ. فَقَالَ عَبْدُ اللهِ: هَذِهِ الَّتِي بَلَغَتْ بِكَ، وَهِيَ الَّتِي لَا نُطِيقُ].

[“There will appear before you a man from amongst the rightful dwellers of Paradise”. A man from among the Ansar (the helpers; the people of Madinah) appeared, drops of water coming from his beard after performing ablution, carrying his sandals in his left hand. On the following day, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said the same and that man appeared once again. On the third day, the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said the same and that man appeared again. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) left, Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al-Aas followed the man. He said to him; ‘I have had some words with my father and swore not to stay in my house for three nights. Please let me accompany you for the three nights. The man accepted. Abdullah spent three nights with the man. He observed that the man did not perform the night prayer (he performed the obligatory prayer Ishaa but not the voluntary prayers) but whenever he rolled over from side to side while sleeping, he used to glorify Allah. He did not get up except for the Dawn prayer (Fajr). Abdullah said; ‘I did not hear him saying anything but good. After the three nights had passed and I was about to look low on his deeds (of the minimal acts of worship), I said to him; ‘O servant of Allah! There was nothing between my father and I, but I have heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying: “There will appear before you a man from amongst the rightful dwellers of Paradise” three times, and you appeared in all the three times, so, I wanted to see what you do, so that I will do the same. But I did not see you doing much goodness. What is it that raised you to the rank of what the prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned?’ The man said; ‘It is nothing except what you have seen. When I went out, the man called me and said; ‘It is nothing except what you have seen. But  I do not cheat any Muslim and I do not bear in my heart the envy of a Muslim for what Allah has given him.’ Abdullah said to him; ‘Nothing made you reach that rank except this. And not all of us are able to do so]. (Recorded by Ahmad,20/124).

This man was able to attain the envious status in this world because he left his heart clean by forgiving and pardoning all those that might have offended him during the day before going to sleep, purifying his heart totally; literarily and spiritually from anything that might distance him from Allah. And this literal or moral purity of the heart is what Islam has so much encouraged as well as the physical purity of the body.

Purification - inwardly and outwardly – is half of faith:

Allah the Almighty has perfected the Muslim for his faith, and the perfection of faith cannot be attained without purification, which entails cleanliness. The prophet has said that:

[الطهور شطر الإيمان].

[Purity is a halve of faith]. (Muslim Hadith 1413).

This means that the Muslim should combine both the outward purity by performing ablution, bathing (the ritual and normal baths), and keeping his body and clothing clean, and the inward or innermost purification with the total faith in Allah without blemishes. By this, the eight gates to Paradise would be open to one after performing ablution and saying: "I testify that there is no deity beside Allah and that Muhammad is the servant and  Messenger of Allah", because, so doing, he has combined between the outward purity and the innermost by denouncing Shirk and announcing or declaring the Tawheed (the testimony of monotheist faith).

Summarily, Islam is a religion of purity and cleanliness in its widest or broadest meaning entailing the purification of one's belief from fables, superstitions and all forms of blemishes; the purification of one's morals from all forms of vices and immoralities; the purification of one's tongue from filthy and obscene talks, from disbelief and abuses; the purification of one's pen from lies, tyranny, immorality and perversity; the purification of one's body and clothing from all forms of dirt and filth, as well as the cleanliness of the mosques, roads and the house and its compounds and the purification and cleanliness of all other aspects of the daily human life in such a way that the Muslim becomes one to be looked up to among the people. 

Islam is a religion of cleanliness, kindness, beauty  and perfection. And purification is a preventative measure and also a basic pillar in avoiding all forms of ailments and communicable diseases. So, we should all endeavor to inculcate the Islamic morals and characters and cleaning our homes, bodies, clothing, and places of sitting and eating from the outside and the inside, because doing so is part of perfecting our Iman (faith) in Allah, and our morals. Cleanliness, beautification, good health and purification are basic elements every Muslim must have so that the Ummah would rise again up to its obligation. 

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