One of the beauties of Islam is that it does not only care for keeping ones inner beauty [soul] in good shape, but also ones outer beauty [body]. It is important to take care of ones body, by making sure one is clean from any impurities, smelling good and is in good shape. This was emphasized in the saying of the prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) when he said: “Purity is half of faith…”[Muslim] Some of the scholars said in explanation of this part of the hadith that “reward of purity is multiplied to reach half of the reward of faith”. Allah (SWT) says [what means]: “…Indeed Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.” Al-Baqarah: 222. In another verses He (SWT) also says [what means]: “…and Allah loves those who purify themselves.” At-Tawba: 108. Ibn kathir commented on this verse saying: people who stay away from dirt. [Tafsir ibn kathir]
It is worthy to mention that when Muslims perform prayer they MUST be in a state of purity, in other words, they should make ablution for minor ritual impurity, and ghusl [ritual bath] for major ritual impurity [ being in a state menstruation or Janabah (sexual impurity)]. Having mentioned the importance of being in a state of purity, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) set a time duration for performing ghusl as he (Peace be upon him) said: “It is a duty upon every Muslim to perform ghusl once every seven days, by washing his head and body.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim] Nevertheless, it does not mean that one should perform ghusl ONLY once a week.
Having mentioned the importance of keeping one self away from impurities and being in a state of purity, it is also important mention the punishment of those who do not keep themselves clean, especially when performing the acts of worship like prayer. Narrated from Ibn Abbas that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) once passed by two graves, and those two persons (in the graves) were being tortured. He said, “They are being tortured not for a great thing (to avoid). One of them never saved himself from being soiled with his urine, while the other was going about with calumnies (to make enmity between friends)…” Al-Bukhari
If we look at our best example and role model – Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) – He would use the siwak (a wooden stick used to clean ones teeth) before he would enter his home so that his mouth would smell good when speaking with his wives. He said in this regard: “If it were not too much a burden on the believers, I would prescribe that they use the siwak before each prayer.” Al-[Bukhari] Anas Ibn Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) said: “I never felt a silk cloth or pure silk, or any other thing softer than the palm of the prophet. Nor did I smell any musk or any other fragrance, more sweet smelling than the fragrance of his.” [Muslim]
In Islam it is part of ones hygiene to do these five sunan which is part of al-fitrah (natural disposition) as stated by the Prophet (peace be upon him): shaving the pubic hair, circumcision, trimming the moustache, plucking the armpit hair and trimming the nails.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]
So by doing these things with a good intention, to please Allah and follow His Messenger, Insha’Allah (god willing) we will earn tremendous reward and also earn blessings for following the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Always keeping this in mind, we will be able to maintain this concept of outer beauty and hygiene and be very keen in doing so.
And lastly, it is worth mentioning that we should not over burden ourselves with voluntary deeds that would cause our own body to be exhausted, because our body has rights over us, which is to give it some rest. Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin al-‘As narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: “O Abdullah! Have I not been informed that you fast all the day and stand in prayer all night?” I said, “Yes, O Allah’s Messenger!” He (prophet) said, “Do not do that! Observe the fast sometimes and also leave them (the fast) at other times; stand up for the prayer at night and also sleep at night. Your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you and your wife has a right over you.” [Al-Bukhari]