The concept of cleanliness and purity is one that is central and fundamental to Islam and Muslims. In one hadeeth, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “Cleanliness is half of imaan.” (Saheeh Muslim #534) Likewise, there are numerous ahaadeeth that enumerate various important aspects of cleanliness and hygiene. Hence, Islam is second to none with regard to purity, and there are no people in the world who cleanse their bodies as frequently or as thoroughly as Muslims.

At present, in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, much emphasis is laid on sanitization. Whether one is entering a grocery store, pharmacy or even a bank, one is required to first sanitize. In the same manner, many people sanitize their shoes, clothing, stationery, cell phones, shopping bags and even vehicles! However, in the case of sanitization, the focus is merely on cleansing the surface.

In contrast to this, together with external purity, Islam greatly emphasizes the aspect of internal purity, to the extent that acquiring spiritual purity has been declared as the yardstick of success in the Quraan Majeed. Allah Ta‘ala declares, “Indeed successful is the one who purifies his soul.” (Surah Shams v9) Therefore, when people currently sanitize at every juncture, be it on entry or on exit, or when giving or receiving something, in order to eliminate any potential virus, then imagine how much more we should be sanitizing our souls!

In this regard, we should recite istighfaar in abundance. After meeting a person, after concluding a deal, after a conversation – we should make it our habit to immediately repent to Allah Ta‘ala for the mistakes we may have knowingly or unknowingly committed. In doing so, we will immediately sanitize our soul by eliminating any potential virus of sin. In fact, the aspect of istighfaar is so vital that even our ‘ibaadah should be concluded with istighfaar – begging Allah Ta‘ala to forgive our shortcomings and our inability to fulfil the ‘ibaadah as it ought to be fulfilled.

Apart from regular istighfaar, the five daily salaah have a special ‘sanitizing’ effect on a person’s soul – provided the salaah is performed correctly and all the sunnats and etiquettes of salaah are observed. Hence, in one hadeeth, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) compared the five daily salaah to a stream flowing in front of a person’s door, in which he baths five times daily. (Saheeh Muslim #1523) In other words, just as bathing five times a day ensures that the body remains clean all the time, establishing the five daily salaah similarly assists the soul to remain pure.

Therefore, together with regular istighfaar and repentance, we must strive to establish the five daily salaah in our lives and thereafter improve the quality of our salaah. Furthermore, over and above the five daily salaah, there are also many other actions which have a ‘sanitizing’ effect on the soul. We should try to undertake these sanitizing actions as much as possible.

May Allah Ta‘ala assist us all with souls that are free from sins and impurities, aameen.