[10] Islam is the religion of mercy, love and compassion, and it forbids harshness. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“The All-Merciful shows mercy to those who show mercy. Show mercy to those on Earth, and you will be shown mercy by the One above the heavens. The womb is derived from my name Ar-Rahman. Whoever maintains its ties [of kinship], Allah will continue to have mercy on him, but whoever severs its ties, he will be severed from Allah’s mercy.” [at-Tirmidhi]

Mercy in the religion of Islam is not confined to humans; rather, mercy is shown to animals as well. A woman entered Hellfire because she tortured her cat. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

 “A woman was punished due to a cat. She imprisoned it until it died, so she entered Hellfire on account of that. She did not feed it nor give it drink; she locked it up, and did not set it free to eat the insects (and other things) of the earth.” [al-Bukhari]

Showing kindness and mercy to animals is a means of entering Paradise. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

 “Once a man was tending to some business and became very thirsty. He came across a well and descended into it and drank from it. [When he came out,] he saw a dog panting and rolling his mouth in dirt [in search of water] due to thirst. The man said, ‘This dog is as thirsty as I was.’ So he descended [once again] filled his boot with water and gave water to the dog. [Due to that] Allah rewarded him by forgiving him his sins.” One of those around the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “O Messenger of Allah, will we be rewarded on account of our well-treatment of animals?” He replied, “Yes indeed. For [the well-treatment of] every fresh liver (living thing) you will receive reward.” [al-Bukhari]

If this is the mercy Islam shows to animals, what is the status of mercy that it shows to humans, a creature Allah has preferred and honored over all other creatures? Allah (SWT) says:

 And indeed We have honored the Children of Adam, and We have carried them on land and sea, and have provided them with all lawful good things, and have preferred them above many of those whom We have created with a marked preference. [17:70] [11] Islam does not allow celibacy, monasticism, and the rejection of lawful worldly joys. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

 “Do not make things hard upon yourselves so that things will be made hard for you, for indeed a people made things hard on themselves and Allah made things hard upon them, and this is what is left of them from their places of worship and homes.” Then he recited the verse:

But the monasticism which they invented for themselves, We did not prescribe for them, but [they sought it] only to please Allah therewith, but that they did not observe it with the right observance.[57:27]

The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

 “Eat, drink, and give charity without going into excesses or pride and vanity. Indeed Allah loves to see the traces of His bounties on His slave.” [al-Haakim]

 At the same time, Islam does not permit a person to indulge in this materialistic life or engross himself in its desires and entertainments without any guidelines. Rather, it is a religion of moderateness which balances the individual’s life between this world and the next, making each complimentary to the other.

It orders that a person balance between the requirements of his body and soul. For example, when a Muslim is busy carrying out the requirements of his daily life, it orders him to remember the requirements of his soul through worship. Allah (SWT) says:

O you who believe! When the call is proclaimed for the prayer on the day of Friday, come to the remembrance of Allah and leave off business [and every other thing], that is better for you if you did but know! [62:9]

 Furthermore, when a Muslim is busy seeking his livelihood, it reminds him not to disregard his material needs and sustenance. Allah (SWT) says:

Then when the [Friday] prayer is finished, you may disperse through the land, and seek the Bounty of Allah (by working, etc.)[62:10]

 Islam praises those who gather the good of both aspects. Allah (SWT) says:

 Men whom neither trade nor sale diverts them from the Remembrance of Allah, or from performing the prayers, nor from giving obligatory charity. They fear a Day when hearts and eyes will be overturned (from the horror of the torment of the Day of Resurrection). [24:37]

Islam has preserved the rights of the soul, body and intellect as allocated in the Shari’ah, which is not extreme in any perspective. The Muslim is charged with safeguarding himself and taking into account everything he does, as is clarified by the words of Allah:

So whosoever does good equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an atom, shall see it. [99:7-8]

 He should not deny his body the lawful worldly pleasures, whether foods, drink, clothing, marriage, or work. Allah (SWT) says:

Say [O Muhammad (ﷺ)]: ‘Who has forbidden the adoration with clothes given by Allah, which He has produced for his slaves, and all kinds of good and pure things of His Sustenance?) [7:32]

  Islam has only forbidden filthy and harmful things, whether they cause harm to the minds, bodies, wealth, or society; for the human soul was created by Allah (SWT), and He made them successors on the earth in order to worship Him and implement His legislations. No one has the right to destroy or bring these things to an end, except if Islam grants him the right. Allah created a suitable and complete body for this soul so that it may fulfill the commandments of Allah in regards to worship, rights, and other obligations, as well as to develop this world. Allah (SWT) says:

Verily, We created man of the best stature.[95:4]

Due to this reason, Allah (SWT) ordered us to safeguard and take care of this body in accordance to the guidelines set in the Religion. Therefore, Islam has legislated the following:

  1. Purification: Allah (SWT) says:

 Truly, Allah loves those who constantly turn unto Him in repentance and loves those who purify themselves. [2:222]

 Allah has made ablution a condition for the validity of the prayer which a Muslim establishes five times a day. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

 “No Prayer is accepted without purification, and no charity is accepted from earnings made from impermissible sources.” [Muslim]

 Allah (SWT) also ordered that one take a complete bath after sexual discharge or intercourse, as in His (SWT) words:

   And if you have had sexual discharge, then purify yourself by bathing your whole body.[5:6]

 Allah has made having a complete bath highly commendable when performing congregational worship, such as the Friday Prayer, celebrations of ‘Eid, and Hajj and ‘Umrah (the greater and lesser pilgrimages).

  1. B) Maintaining hygiene, which is done through the following:
  2. Washing one’s hands before and after meals and washing one’s mouth after eating. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

 “After eating food, if one finds some food between his teeth, let him remove it, and if one of you finds some leftover in his mouth, let him swallow it. Whoever does that, does what is better and good, and whoever does not, then there is no harm.” [Abu &Dawood]

  1. Maintaining cleanliness of the mouth and teeth. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

 “Had it not been for the fact that I would overburden my nation, I would have ordered them to to use the siwak (tooth-stick) before every Prayer.” [al-Bukhari & Muslim]

  1. Cleaning the places that may become a breeding ground for germs and filth. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

 “There are five acts which are from the innate nature with which Allah created man: circumcision, shaving of the pubic hair, plucking the hair of the armpits, shortening the moustache, and clipping the nails.” [al-Bukhari]

  1. Eating and drinking only those things which are pure, lawful and wholesome. Allah (SWT) says:

O you who believe! Eat of the good and lawful things that We have provided you with, and be grateful to Allah, if it is indeed He Whom you worship. [2:172]

 The religion has laid out guidelines by which one can enjoy good and pure things in a way such that it maintains moderateness without going into excess, since it would be detrimental to health. Allah (SWT) says:

…and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not those who waste by extravagance. [7:31]

 The Prophet (ﷺ) explained how one should eat, saying:

 “Man does not fill a vessel worse than his stomach. It is enough for the child of Adam that he takes a few bites which will straighten his back. If you must [eat more] then a third [of the stomach should be allotted] for food, a third for water, and a third for breathing.” [at-Tirmidhi & ibn Maajah]

  1. Islam has prohibited consuming anything filthy or impure, whether it is food or drink, such as carrion, blood, swine, intoxicants, drugs, or cigarettes. One must preserve their health. Allah (SWT) says:

He has forbidden you only carrion and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for other than Allah. But if one is forced by necessity without willful disobedience or transgressing due limits, then there is no sin on him. Truly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. [2:173]

Allah (SWT) also says:

 O you who believe! Intoxicants, gambling, al-ansaab, and al-azlaam (arrows for seeking luck or decision) are an abomination of Satan’s handiwork. So avoid strictly all that [abomination] in order that you may be successful. Satan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from the prayer. So, will you not then abstain? [15:90-1]

  1. Taking part in beneficial sports, such as wrestling. The Prophet (ﷺ) himself once wrestled a man named Rakaanah. [al-Haakim]

Other beneficial sports include swimming, horseback riding, and archery. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (RA), the second Caliph and one of the closest companions of the Prophet (ﷺ), said:

 “Teach your children archery, swimming, and horse riding.”

  1. Seeking cure upon falling ill. The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“Indeed Allah has [created] diseases as well as cures. For every disease there is a cure, but do not seek cure in the prohibited.” [Abu Dawood]

  1. It orders that we establish worship. Acts of worship nourish the soul. A soul that is not nourished with acts of worship is one in agony. Allah (SWT) says:

Those who believe and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of Allah, Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest [13:28]

 Islam considers neglecting the needs of the body and denying it its right; such as rest, nutrition, and marriage a sin. Anas bin Malik (RA) said:

“Three people came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet (ﷺ) asking about the worship of the Prophet (ﷺ). When they were informed, they thought it was insufficient for them and said, “Who are we in comparison to the Prophet () for indeed Allah has   forgiven him his past and future sins.” One of them said, “As for me, I will pray the whole night.” Another said, “I will fast every day without rest,” and the other said, “I will stay away from women and never marry.” The Messenger of Allah (SWT) came [and when he heard this, he] said, “Are you the people who said such and such? As for me, by Allah, indeed I am the most fearing of Allah and pious amongst you, yet I fast and eat, I pray and sleep and I marry women. Whoever desires other than my Sunnah is not from me.” [al-Bukhari]

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