Cleanliness during Hajj

The attainment of the optimal level of cleanliness and hygiene is quite difficult. Meanwhile, paying no (or not adequate) attention to preserve hygiene usually result in hazardous (sometimes incurable) health and environmental problems. Personal hygiene and public cleanliness acquire even higher importance in cases congestion, as is usually the case during Hajj season, with millions of pilgrims pouring into the Holy Sites. Owing to such congestion, with some people neglecting hygiene or place clean, the Hajj season usually witnesses outbreaks of some illnesses. So, dear Hajj pilgrim, it is important to ensure – as much as possible - the cleanliness of your body and clothes, proceeding the fact that “Cleanliness is next to godliness”, and is indispensible for the prevention of diseases.
Besides, it should not escape our notice that Islam has not only underscored the importance of hygiene, but also taught us how to best perform it, by making ablutions a stipulation for the validity of prayer, and making Washing (washing the whole body with the intention of purification) obligatory in some cases, and desirable in others. It prompts the cleanliness of wear as well. All this is well culminated in the Quraanic verse: ﴾O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes) while praying at every mosque﴿. Actually, many diseases (such as diarrhea, dysentery, viral hepatitis, and respiratory diseases) are caused by lack of cleanliness. For the purpose of prevention of such diseases, dear Hajj pilgrim, it is necessary to preserve:

Personal hygiene, be complying with the following tips:
  • Washing hands with soap and water, especially before and after eating, as well as after using the toilet or touching a sick person.
  • Having a daily shower with warm water and soap (must be non-perfumed during Ihram) in order for your body to be clean, in addition to opening the skin pores and stimulating the blood circulation.
  • Washing hair with water and shampoo to remove dust and the like.
  • Trimming nails and cleaning ears.
  • Brushing teeth after meals and before bedtime. Do not use the others' toothbrushes.
  • Using clean towels and napkins, and washing them regularly.
  • Changing underwear regularly, and ascertaining the cleanliness of your outerwear.
  • Avoiding bare-feet walking.
  • Avoiding the others' tools (combs, clothes, towels … etc.)

It has become common among Hajj pilgrims to use nasal and oral facemasks for prevention of Hajj diseases. Unfortunately, such muzzles are not intended for this purpose. On the contrary, these muzzles, if not changed regularly, might turn to be a source of dust and dirt.

House and Environment Cleanliness:
For a person to be clean, he has to not only preserve his personal hygiene, but the cleanliness of the house he lives at, and the surrounding environment as well. This can be accomplished through:
  • Cleaning the bed every day.
  • Avoiding eating in bed.
  • Cleaning the personal tools used by the pilgrim at his residence.
  • Avoiding throwing garbage on the floor, streets or any places other than those assigned to garbage. Garbage has to be filled in sacks, and put into garbage bins, so as to avoid the harmful insects that may transmit infections to (or among) pilgrims.
  • Cleanliness of Food and Drink:
  • Food is the fuel of your body, the secret of your survival, and the source of your power; why should you ever make it the source of your weakness and perishing? It is of crucial importance, dear pilgrim, to preserve the cleanliness of food and drink, by considering the following tips:
  • Try to choose the food that is clean and well cooked, from a reliable vendor.
  • In case of packaged foods, you have to ensure the expiry date.
  • Washing hands before and after eating.
  • Washing fruits and vegetables very well before eating.
  • Covering the dinnerware containing foods and vegetables, and avoiding exposing them to dust and insects, lest it should be contaminated with the effect that you might suffer from food poisoning.
  • Keep to buying well packaged foods, and keep away from eating uncovered foods on the wholes, especially from street vendors.
  • Keep away from buying foods from street vendors, to evade the hazards of food poisoning. And it is necessary to eliminate the leftover food rather than storing it.
  • Avoiding eating meat, chicken, fish and eggs that are not fully blown, or those of an unknown source.
  • It is recommended to drink pasteurized milk, bottled mineral water, and packaged juices.
  • Using clean plates and cooking pots.
  • Keep foods covered in the fridge.
  • Storing dry foods (grains and legumes, etc.) in closed packages, to be stored in a dry place.
  • Using clean water for drinking and cooking, and in case you suspect the cleanliness of water, you have to boil it.
  • Cooking food thoroughly to kill germs.
  • Avoid using insecticide during preparing (or eating) your food.

Shaving Cleanliness:
Dear Hajj pilgrim, in order to evade the diseased transmitted through wounds (especially during shaving), you ought to follow these tips:
  • Keep away from unauthorized and unclean barbers.
  • Choose the barbers known for cleanliness, especially holders of health certificates, because they are subject to regular supervision and inspection. This is necessary to evade blood infections.
  • Choose a proper place, away from street barbers!
  • Authorized barbers, working under the inspection of the Ministry of Health, are numerous, and spread out around the Holy Sites.
  • Ensure using a new shaving blade for each person, as well as cleansing the tools used.

Avoiding Overcrowding:
Overcrowding is a fertile environment for disease transmission, and endangers the pilgrims' lives, especially the elderly and disabled – they may die. Besides, it prevents the pilgrims from performing the Hajj rites easily and safely. Therefore, it is advisable, in order to evade such hazards, to keep away, as far as possible, from overcrowded places.
It remains to say in closing, cleanliness is not confined the barriers of some words. Rather, it is an immensely important concept, upon which depend many behaviors with profound impacts upon the society and environment. No doubt that cleanliness, if cared for, shall contribute, God willing, to the prevention of diseases; but, if neglected, will result in colossal health and environmental problems.
Last Update : 29 October 2011 08:59 AM
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