Basic Hygiene Etiquette
Islam requires Muslims to observe basic hygiene etiquette. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Five things are from natural disposition (fitrah) – removing the pubic hair, circumcision, trimming the moustache, plucking the armpit hair, and shortening the nails” (Sahih Muslim 221/1, Sunan al-Nasa’i 15/1).
Not only should Muslims look clean and well-groomed, they should smell good as well. It is important to shower regularly and use deodorant to combat perspiration. It is important to note, however, that women should only use fragrant perfumes within the home.
It is also sunnah to trim one’s nails every Friday. Nails should not be grown to such a length that impurities can collect in them, as this is unhygienic.
From the prophetic narration, we learn it is sunnah and an integral part of maintaining good hygiene to regularly remove pubic and underarm hair. Pubic hair includes any hair on the private parts and the surrounding area. This should be done at least once a week. If this is not possible, one should remove the hair at least once every 40 days. If one does not remove their pubic hair within this time-span, they will be sinful (Sahih Muslim 222/1, Abu Dawud 84/4).
It is recommended for females to remove the hair using wax or other similar methods which remove hair from the root and reduce hair growth. However, it is permissible to use electric trimmers, hair removal cream or to shave the area.
Using a Sanitary Pad
During the days of menstruation, a woman should keep herself as clean as possible. As usual, she should use water to cleanse herself, holding the water canister in her right hand and using her left hand to wash from the front to the back. It is important that she change her sanitary pad every few hours. When disposing of a liner or pad, it should be rolled up and then placed in either tissue paper or the wrapper before disposal. It is also important to wipe the toilet seat after use to ensure there are no drops of impurity left.
Many young girls ask about the range of products that are available. The ruling is that any product which will be inserted into the vagina is not permissible for an unmarried girl to use e.g. a tampon.
Keeping the Clothes Free from Impurity
The clothes a woman wears during menstruation are not intrinsically impure. However, if any blood gets onto her clothes, she should wash the blood or change her clothing.