As-salaam Alaikum,

One of the most important practical aspects of Islam which is cleanliness. Islam is beautiful and that's why its followers are beautiful and clean.

The Muslim whom Islam wants to stand out among people is very clean. He has high standards of personal hygiene, bathing frequently in accordance with the guidance of the Prophet (saws) who encouraged people to wash themselves completely and wear perfume (men), especially on Fridays: "Have a bath on Fridays and wash your heads, even if you are not in a state of Junabah (impurity, e.g. following marital relations), and wear perfume (men).” (Al-Bukhari).

The Prophet (saws) placed such a great emphasis on cleanliness and bathing that some of the four Imams considered performing ghusl before Friday prayer to be obligatory (wajib). Abu Hurayrah (r) said: "The Prophet said: ‘It is the duty of every Muslim to take a bath (at least) once every seven days, and to wash his head and his body.” (Agreed upon)

The true Muslim keeps his clothes and socks clean, checking them from time to time, to be sure that they have no unpleasant smell. He also wears perfume to help keep him clean. It is reported that ‘Omar (r) used to say: "Whoever spends a third of his wealth on perfume is not being extravagant.”

The smart Muslim takes care of his mouth, for no one should ever have to smell an unpleasant odor coming from it. He does this by cleaning his teeth every day with a siwak, toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwashes. Aisha (r) narrated that the prophet (saws) "never woke from sleeping at any time of day or night without cleaning his teeth with a siwak before performing wudu.”

The Prophet's concern for oral hygiene was so great that he said, "If it were not for the fact that I did not want to overburden my Ummah, I would have ordered them to use the siwak before every prayer.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim). Aishah (r) was asked what the Prophet (saws) used to do first when he came home. She said: "Use siwak.” (Muslim).

Regrettably, some Muslims neglect these teachings that are at the heart of Islam, and do not pay heed to the cleanliness of their mouths, bodies and clothes. So you may see them going to the mosque or to other religious meetings and study circles, annoying their brothers and sisters with their unpleasant smell and offending the angels who surround these blessed gatherings. What is really strange is the fact that they themselves listen to and repeat the saying of the Prophet (saws) that whoever eats onions, garlic or leeks should not go to the mosque because his breath may disturb the angels and the people:

"Whoever eats onions, garlic or leeks should not approach our mosque, because whatever offends the sons of Adam may offend the angels.” (Muslim).

The Prophet (saws) banned those who had eaten these pungent vegetables from coming anywhere near the mosque, lest the people and the angels be offended by their bad breath, but these smells pale into insignificance beside the stench of dirty clothes, filthy socks, unwashed bodies and unclean mouths that emanates from some careless and unkempt individuals who offend others in any gathering.

Imam Ahmad and Imam al-Nisa'I narrate that Jabir (r) said: "The Messenger of Allah (saws) came to visit us, and saw a man who was wearing dirty clothes. He said, ‘Could this person not find anything with which to wash his clothes?'”

The Prophet (saws) did not like a Muslim to appear before people wearing dirty clothes, if he had the means to clean them. He encouraged Muslims always to dress in clean clothes and to present a neat and attractive appearance. He used to say: "There is nothing wrong with keeping two garments for Friday, apart from one's workaday clothes.” (Reported by Abu Dawud)

Islam frequently encourages its followers to be clean always, to perfume their clothes and to ensure that their bodies always smell fresh and clean. This is what the Prophet (saws) used to do, according to the report that Imam Muslim quotes from Anas ibn Malik, who said: "I have never smelt any ambergris or musk that had a better scent than the scent of the Messenger of Allah (saws).”

Many reports describe the cleanliness of the Prophet's clothes and body, and describe the sweet smell of his sweat. For example, if he shook hands with a man, his beautiful scent would remain on that man's hand for the rest of the day, and if he laid his hand on the head of a child, that child would stand out from others by virtue of his sweet smell.

How urgent is the Muslims' need to follow the guidance of this great Messenger in his command to take care of one's hair and keep it neat in accordance with the teachings of Islam. This is reported in the Hadith that Abu Dawud quotes from Abu Hurayrah (r), who said: "The Prophet (saws) said: ‘Whoever has hair, let him look after it properly.'”

Looking after one's hair, according to Islamic teaching, involves keeping it clean, combing it, perfuming it and styling it nicely.

The true Muslim takes good care of his clothes, so you will see him presenting a pleasant appearance, without being extravagant. He is pleasant to look at and to meet, and does not annoy people with his careless, disheveled appearance. He always checks himself before he goes out to meet people, and he makes himself look good, in moderation, for the Prophet (saws) used to make himself look good in from his Companions, as well as in front of his family. In his commentary on the ayah (verse), "Say: Who has forbidden the beautiful (gifts) of Allah, which He has produced for His servants, and the things, clean and pure, (which He has provided) for sustenance?….” (al-A''raf 7:32)

Al-Qurtubi said: "Makhul reported from Aishah (r): "A group of the Companions of the Prophet (saws) was waiting at the door for him, so he prepared to go out to meet them. There was a vessel of water in the house, and he peered into it, smoothing his beard and his hair.

(Aishah said:) I asked him, "O Messenger of Allah, even you do this?” He said, "Yes, when a man goes out to meet his brothers, let him prepare himself properly, for Allah is beautiful and loves beauty.””

The Muslim does all of this in accordance with the Islamic ideal of moderation, avoiding the extremes of either exaggeration or negligence.