Difference between hygiene and ablutions


Nov 2019
Hi friends, Alláh'u'Abhá
Does anyone know if there is a certain quote that specifies the difference between washing in order of hygiene and ablutions for the obligatory prayer?
Jul 2018
Tarshish, bound for Nineveh

If you look in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, in the Questions and Answers section, there is a question related to this. The question is along the lines of whether or not ablutions need to be performed for obligatory prayer if directly after having bathed. The answer, is effectively that ablutions are still required.

Basically, there are two conditions required in the teachings related to your question. One is cleanliness of body and clothing, which is ideal for life, and not only for prayers and obligatory prayers. The second is ablutions prior to any of the obligatory prayers. The Medium prayer has ablutions as part of its verse and structure and so you wouldn't do ablutions before it, but rather as part of it. The other two, however, require washing the hands and face prior performing them. If, for some reason, one were performing two different obligatory prayers consecutively, you wouldn't do ablutions for the second (unless of course, the second one was the medium prayer that has ablutions with verses as part of that prayer).

The take away is that ablutions is a ritual and symbol of obligatory prayers and not related to cleanliness, even though cleanliness is also stipulated as another condition.

Feb 2019
Generally speaking, water has a cleansing effect on the body and calming effect on the mind. A normal person would feel refreshed after a good shower. So taking a shower before prayers and meditation can be helpful. But I don't know what purpose is served if ablutions are performed immediately after taking a shower. I would like to think that God cares more about the devotion of our hearts rather than perfect cleanliness of our bodies which always will carry impurities within no matter how much we clean them on the outside. People tend to get caught up in the minute details and ignore the big picture. I have seen Shia and Sunni muslims debate over the correct position of the hands during prayers. It sounded so silly to me. A few years ago, the Malaysian government convened a world wide group of Islamic scholars to come up with guidelines for one of their astronauts going in to space in a Russian space craft. The Islamic scholars were supposed to address challenges like performing ablutions in space where water is scarce. The astronauts would experience 16 sun rises and sun sets in a 24 hour period and 5 prayers between each sun rise and sun set would mean 80 ablutions every day and obviously there wouldn't be enough water. Also in weightless and floating state it won't be possible to turn to Mecca for prayers. The wise Islamic scholars were supposed to provide a solution to these challenges. They finally decided after a lot of discussion that the astronaut should do his best. A high school kid would have said the same thing - just use common sense and do your best.


Mar 2013
Edwardsville, Illinois, USA
Baha’u’llah addressed the issue of fasting at high latitudes where the length of the day becomes very long or short, and said it is permissible to use clocks to determine fasting times rather than sunrise/sunset. The same principle might apply to being in space. Anyway, the issue of ablutions is not really about hygiene, but a symbolic act that should be performed before obligatory prayer that symbolizes purification. I wouldn’t call it a ritual, but some people might call it that.
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Sep 2010
Normanton, Far North West Queensland
Hi friends, Alláh'u'Abhá
Does anyone know if there is a certain quote that specifies the difference between washing in order of hygiene and ablutions for the obligatory prayer?
Great to see you here RSU

I see that ablutions are required before we say any of the Obligatory Prayer, be it short, medium or long. The Medium has words that are required at that time, the short and long do not.

They are also required before the 95 Allah'u'abha are recited. It one says those at the same time of the Obligatory prayer then one set of ablutions is only required.

This link should help

Note if you have no water, the is a verse that an be repeated 5 times.

There is a spiritual significance in this requirement.

Hope to have a chat or two, good to meet you, Regards Tony