Purity is central to our faith. So what then is purity? Is it a physical state of the body or is it more? Before we discuss this matter further, let us use the following metaphor. Think of a house that looks very nice from the outside. It has fresh paint, sparkling windows and a nice lawn. At first you might think well of this house. After seeing the inside, however, you realize that this house is actually in poor condition. The foundation is damaged, the wood is rotting and the whole interior is filthy. What is your opinion of the house now that you have seen its interior? Would you want to live in such a house? Of course not! This same rule can be applied to understanding purity in Islam.
If we observe the laws regarding ritual or physical purity but do not at the same time pay any attention to the quality of our actions, our thoughts, and our feelings towards God and His creation, then are we really completing half of our faith? No, certainly not. Purity in Islam is deeper and more meaningful than having a clean body. Outward purity, or being clean for prayer does matter. It matters very much. But just like the example of the house, the condition of what is on our “inside” is what matters the most. So as we learn the rules and reasons behind outward or ritual purity in Islam, please keep in mind that this type purity is just one type of purity. The beauty of inward purity is more valuable in Islam than that of outward purity.
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