Cleanliness is a part of faith and Islam lays great importance on cleanliness and hygiene. Wudu, using the siwak, etc. are all a part of Islamic practices to keep us clean and tidy. Personal cleanliness and cleanliness of the surrounding is emphasized for example; when we pray, an important condition for Salah, is a clean place. The Muslims knowing the importance of cleanliness have contributed a great deal to the present hygienic practices and objects of the world during the golden age, so let us read about some of them.
- Al- Jazari wrote a book called The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices which included robotic wudhu machines, which resembles the current water taps. What you had to do is tap the head to make water pour in eight short spurts, which was enough for one to do Wudhu.
- They made soaps by mixing olive oil with al-qali (salt like substance), it was boiled and then left to harden.
- Al-Zahrawi in his medical book Al-Tasrif dedicated a complete chapter to cosmetics called The Medicines of Beauty. He described beautification of hair, skin, teeth whitening and gum strengthening all within the boundaries of Islam.
- Al-Zahrawi included nasal sprays, mouthwashes, and hand creams, perfumed sticks rolled and pressed similar to roll-on deodorants.
- He also named medicated cosmetics like hair-removing sticks, as well as hair dyes and lotions for straightening curly hair.
- He also discussed benefits of suntan lotions.
- Al-Kindi wrote a book on perfumes which contained hundred recipes for fragrant oils, salves, aromatic waters, and substitutes or imitations of costly drugs.
- Muslim chemists also distilled plants and flowers, making perfumes and substances for therapeutic pharmacy.
These processes and ideas of the Muslims filtered into Europe via merchants, travelers, and the Crusaders.
Now we know the forebearers of hygienic practices and innovations!