Chapter 3: On Cleanliness and the Rules of Beautification

1. In al-Makarim: When the Holy Prophet (S) used to wash his head and beard; he would wash them with ‘Sidr’ (Lotus jujube).1

2. In al-Ja’fariyat: In his narration from Ja’far ibn Muhammad, from his fathers, from ‘Ali (as) who said: The Holy Prophet (S) used to comb his hair and would mostly comb it with water saying: “Water is enough of a perfume for a believer.”2

3. From al-Saduq in al-Khisal: Narrated from ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Hajjaj from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) in (his explanation about) the words of Allah (SwT)

“Put on your adornment on every occasion of prayer” (Surat al-A’raf (7): 31)

he said: “(It is) the combing of hair, for combing hair brings sustenance, improves the hair, fulfills the need, increases virility and stops phlegm. The Noble Prophet (S) used to comb below his beard forty times and from above it seven times and he would say: This increases the intellect and stops phlegm.”3

Note: This has been narrated by al-Fattal in al-Rawd’a with an incomplete chain.4

4. In al-Kafi: Narrated from al-Sakuni from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: The Holy Prophet (S) said: “It is the sunnah to trim the moustache until a little above the edge of the upper lip.”5

5. In al-Faqih: The Holy Prophet (S) said: “The Magicians cut off their beards and let their moustaches grow long, whereas we cut off out moustaches and let our beards grow.”6

6. Also: It has been narrated: Burying hair, nails and blood is from the sunnah.7

7. In al-Kafi: Narrated from Ibn ‘Uqbah from his father from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: “Clipping nails is from the sunnah.”8

8. In al-Faqih: In his narration from Muhammad ibn Muslim who asked Aba Ja’far (as) about the dying of hair, so he said: “The Prophet of Allah (S) used to dye his hair and here is some of his (dyed) hair which we have in our possession.”9

9. Also: He said: The Holy Prophet (S) and Husayn ibn ‘Ali and Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn ‘Ali  used to dye their hair with ‘Katm’ (a type of dye made from a special plant) and ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (as) used to dye his hair with henna and Katm.10

10. In al-Makarim: The Holy Prophet (S) would depilate the hair from his body. Someone would do this for him up to his waist-wrap and he would do the rest himself.11

11. In al-Kafi: From Hudhaifah ibn Mansur who said: I heard Aba ‘Abdillah (as) saying: The Noble Prophet (S) would depilate the pubic hair and the hair under the private parts every Friday.12

12. From al-Fattal in Rawd’at al-Wa’id’in: Abu ‘Abdillah (as) said: The sunnah regarding the use of a depilatory is to use it once every fifteen days. The one who has passed twenty days (because of not having money) should take a loan, to which Allah (SwT) will be the Guarantor, and depilate. The one who passes forty days without depilating (the excess body hair) is neither a believer not a disbeliever, and there is no dignity in this.13

13. In al-Faqih: ‘Ali (as) said: Removal of hair from the armpits eliminates bad odor and is hygienic. It is a sunnah which the virtuous one (S) instructed (his followers to perform).14

14. In al-Kafi: Narrated from Salim al-Fazari from someone from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: The Holy Prophet (S) would apply kohl with collyrium (to both his eyes) when he went to his bed, one after the other.15

15. Also: Narrated from Zurarah from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: The Holy Prophet (S) used to apply kohl to his eyes before going to sleep, four times in the right eye and three times in the left.16

16. In al-Makarim: He said: The Holy Prophet (S) used to apply kohl in his right eye three times and in the left twice ... and he had a container of kohl which he used at night. The kohl that he used was made from collyrium.17

17. From al-Husayn ibn Bastam in Tibb al-A’immah: Narrated from ‘Abdillah ibn Maimun from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: The Holy Prophet (S) had a kohl container from which he would take kohl every night and apply it thrice to both eyes before going to sleep.18

Note: The difference in the number of applications (of kohl) alludes to the difference in his (S) action at different times. The sunnah is the very action of applying kohl before going to sleep without doing it a specific number of times.19

18. In al-Faqih: al-Sadiq (as) said: Four (actions) are from the akhlaq of the prophets: Applying perfume, shaving (the head) with a razor, removal of body hair with depilatory and being intimate with one’s wife frequently.20

Note: There are numerous similar traditions. Some have already been mentioned and others will be mentioned in the coming sections.

19. In al-Kafi: Narrated from ‘Abdillah ibn Sinan from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: The Noble Prophet (S) had a container of musk and when he performed ablution he would take it with his wet hands. When he came out everyone knew that it was the Prophet of Allah (S) because of his scent.21

20. In al-Makarim: He (S) would never be offered any perfume but that he would take it and apply some on himself and would say: “It has a good scent that is easy on the wearer.” If he did not wish to apply it, he would just put (the tip of) his finger in the perfume and take a little from it.22

21. Also: He (S) would burn the incense of ‘Ud al-Qamari’ (a special type of incense).23

22. In Dhakhirat al-Ma’ad: Musk was the perfume that he (S) loved the most.24

23. In al-Kafi: Narrated from Ishaq al-Tawil al-’Attar from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: The Holy Prophet (S) would spend more on perfume than he would spend on food.25

24. Also: Narrated from Abi Basir from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: Putting perfume on the moustache is from the akhlaq of the prophets and a (way of showing) respect to the two angels who record your deeds.26

25. Also: Narrated from al-Sakan al-Khazzaz who said: I heard Aba ‘Abdillah (as) saying: “It is a must for every believer to clip his nails, trim his moustache and apply some perfume every Friday. When it was Friday and the Holy Prophet (S) did not have any perfume, he would ask for some of his wives’ perfume cream, which he mixed with water and put on his face.”27

26. In al-Faqih: When it was Friday, if the Holy Prophet (S) did not have any perfume, he would ask for a cloth that had been dyed with saffron and he would sprinkle it with some water and then rub his hands on it and wipe his face with it.28

27. In al-Kafi: Narrated from Ishaq ibn ‘Ammar from Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: When perfume was brought for the Holy Prophet (S) on the day of Fitr, he would start by giving some to his wives (before using it himself).29

28. Also: Narrated from ‘Isa ibn ‘Abdillah, from his father, from his grandfather, from ‘Ali (as) who said: The Noble Prophet (S) would never turn down perfume and sweets.30

29. From al-Ghazali in al-Ihya, in his recounting the akhlaq of the Holy Prophet (S): He loved perfume and disliked foul odors.31

Note: From the numerous different narrations it can be seen that he (S) used to use a variety of different types of perfumes.

30. In al-Makarim: He said: The Holy Prophet (S) used to like applying oil on his hair and disliked dusty disheveled hair. He would say: “Applying oil removes distress.”32

31. Also: He would apply different types of oil, and he would start by putting oil on his head before his beard, saying: “The head before the beard.”33

32. Also: He would oil his hair with oil of the violet and would say: “It is the best of oils.”34

33. Also: When he applied oil, he would start with his eyebrows, then his moustache, then he would put some in his nose and smell it, then he would apply the oil on his head.35

34. Also: He would apply oil on his eyebrows to get relief from a headache. He applied different oil on his moustache from the one he used for his beard.36

Addendum to this Chapter

1. In Tuhf al-’Uqul: From al-Rid’a (as): Good hygiene is from the akhlaq of the prophets.37

2. In al-Faqih: al-Sadiq (as) said: Four (actions) are from the sunnah of the messengers: Applying perfume, brushing teeth, (being close to) women and (using) henna.38

3. In al-Da’aim: The Holy Prophet (S) would use perfume so much that it would change the color of his beard and hair to yellowish color.39

Note: There is a similar narration in Qurb al-Isnad.40

4. In al-Makarim: The Holy Prophet (S) used to comb his hair with the ‘Midra’ (a type of comb) ... and he would sometimes comb his beard twice in one day. He would put the comb under his pillow after combing his hair with it.41

5. In al-Kafi: In his narration from Amr ibn Thabit from Abi ‘Abdillah (as): I said (to him): “They narrate that parting the hair is from the sunnah.” [He (as) said: “From the sunnah?”] I said: “They claim that the Noble Prophet (S) parted his hair.” He said: “The Holy Prophet (S) did not part his hair and the prophets (as) never kept their hair in this way.”42

Note: This hadith has also been narrated in al-Makarim.43

6. Also: From Ayyub ibn Harun: I asked Aba ‘Abdillah (as): “Did the Holy Prophet (S) part his hair?” He said: “No, because if the Holy Prophet’s (S) hair became long, it would reach his earlobes (and he would never let it grow more than that).”44

Note: al-Tabarsi has narrated this in al-Makarim.45

7. In the book al-Ta’rif of al-Safwani: When cutting his hair, he (S) would start from the front part of his head, as this is from the sunnah of the prophets (as).46

Note: Zayd al-Narsi has narrated it in his Asl, from Abi al-Hasan (as).47

8. In al-Kafi: In his narration from Abi Basir who said: I asked Aba ‘Abdillah (as): “Is the parting of hair from the sunnah?” He said: “No.” I said: “Did the Holy Prophet (S) ever part his hair?” He said: “Yes.” I said: “How is it that the Noble Prophet (S) parted his hair yet it is not from the sunnah?” He said: “If one goes through what the Holy Prophet (S) went through then let him part his hair as the Holy Prophet (S) parted his hair. It is only then that he has practiced the sunnah of the Holy Prophet (S) otherwise he has not.” I said: “How is this?” He said: “When the Holy Prophet (S) was turned away from the Ka’ba despite having already brought a sacrifice and worn the Ihram, Allah (SwT) showed him the vision that He informed him about in His book, when He said:

“Certainly God has fulfilled His Apostle’s vision in all truth: You will surely enter the Sacred Masjid, God willing, in safety, with your heads shaven or hair cropped, without any fear. So He knew what you did not know, and He assigned [you] besides that a victory near at hand.” (Surat al-Fath (48): 27)

Thus the Noble Prophet (S) knew that Allah would fulfill for him what He had shown him. It was after this that he let the hair on his head grow long when he wore the Ihram, waiting to shave it off in the Haram (in Makkah) as Allah (SwT) promised him. After he had shaved it, he did not let his hair grow again and he had not done so before this either.”48

9. Also: In his narration from Hafs al-A’war who said: I asked Aba ‘Abdillah (as) about dying the beard and the head – is it from the sunnah? He said: “Yes”.49

Note: al-Tabarsi has narrated this in al-Makarim.50

10. In al-Khisal: From ‘Aishah: The Holy Prophet (S) would order the burying of seven things from the human being: the hair, nails, blood, menstrual blood, placenta (after pregnancy), teeth and the clots (of miscarriage).51

11. In al-Kafi: In his narration from ‘Abdillah ibn Abi Ya’fur who said: We were in Madinah discussing with Zurarah about the plucking and shaving of armpit hair. I said: “Shaving it off is better.” Zurarah said: “Plucking it out is better.” So we sought permission to meet with Abi ‘Abdillah (as) and he permitted us to see him. He was in the bathhouse at the time, depilating his armpits. I said to Zurarah: “Does this suffice (as evidence that I am right)?” He said: “No, maybe he did this whereas it may not be permissible for me to do this.” He (as) said: “What is going on with you (two)?” So I replied: “Zurarah was debating with me regarding the plucking out and shaving of (hair from) the armpits. I said that shaving it is better and he said that plucking it out is better.” He (as) said: “You have arrived at the sunnah and Zurarah has missed it. Shaving is better than plucking out (the hair) and depilating it is better than shaving it.”52

Note: al-Shaykh al-Saduq narrated this in al-’Ilal.53

12. Also: In his narration from Yasir from Abi al-Hasan (as) who said: The Holy Prophet (S) said: My beloved Jibra’il said to me: “Apply perfume on alternative days and you must apply perfume every Friday without fail.”54

13. In al-Makarim: The Holy Prophet (S) said to ‘Ali (as): “O ‘Ali! You must apply perfume every Friday as this is from my sunnah. Good deeds will be written for you as long as the scent (of the perfume) is present from you.”55

14. Also: From Anas who said: When the Holy Prophet (S) was given an aromatic plant, he would smell its scent and return it, except for the Marjoram which he would not return.56

15. In al-Bihar from Risalah al-Shahid al-Thanii: He (S) would clip his nails and trim his moustache on Fridays before coming out for the Friday prayer.57

16. al-Shaykh Fakhr al-Din in al-Muntakhab, in a hadith from a Christian man: I asked some of his (S) companions: “What is the gift he prefers the most?” They said: “Perfume is what he likes more than anything else and he has a special relish for it.”58

17. In al-Khisal: In his narration form al-Hasan ibn al-Jahm who said: Abu al-Hasan Musa ibn Ja’far (as) said: Five things are from the sunnah concerning the head and five concerning the body. As for the sunnah concerning the head, they are: brushing the teeth, trimming the moustache, combing the hair, rinsing the mouth and clearing the nostrils. The ones concerning the body are: circumcision, shaving off the pubic hair, removing hair from the armpits, clipping the nails and cleaning one self of all impurities after visiting the toilet.59

18. Fiqh al-Rid’a (as): Be careful to practice the sunnah of Friday, and these are seven: intimacy with the wife, washing the head and beard with marsh mallow, trimming the moustache, clipping the nails, changing clothes and applying perfume.60

19. Al-Shahid al-Thani in Risalat A’mal Yawm al-Jumu’ah: He (S) used to clip his nails and trim his moustache on Friday before coming to the (Friday) prayer.61

20. Ja’far ibn Ahmad in the book ‘al-’Arus’: From the Noble Prophet (S) who said: My beloved Jibra’il said to me: “Apply perfume on alternative days, and on Fridays it is a must (to do so).”62

21. Also: From Abi ‘Abdillah (as) who said: It is from the sunnah to send salutations (salawat) on the Holy Prophet and his progeny every Friday one thousand times, and on other days a hundred times.63

Note: al-Shaykh al-Tusi has narrated this in al-Tahdhib in his narration from ‘Umar ibn Yazid from Abi ‘Abdillah (as).64

  • 1. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 32,
  • 2. al-Ja’fariyat: 156
  • 3. al-Khisal: 268, Makarim al-Akhlaq: 70
  • 4. Rawd’at al-Wa’id’in: 308
  • 5. al-Kafi 6:487, Tuhf al-’Uqul: 100, Makarim al-Akhlaq: 67, al-Khisal: The Four Hundred Hadith
  • 6. al-Faqih 1:130, Makarim al-Akhlaq: 67
  • 7. al-Faqih 1:128
  • 8. al-Kafi 6:490
  • 9. al-Faqih 1:122, Makarim al-Akhlaq: 84
  • 10. al-Faqih 1:122, Makarim al-Akhlaq: 80
  • 11. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 35
  • 12. al-Kafi 6:507
  • 13. Rawd’at al-Wa’id’in: 308, al-Kafi 6:506, al-Faqih 1:119
  • 14. al-Faqih 1:120, al-Khisal: The Four Hundred Hadith, Makarim al-Akhlaq: 60
  • 15. al-Kafi 6:493, Makarim al-Akhlaq: 46-47
  • 16. al-Kafi 6:495
  • 17. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 34, Collyrium is a certain stone that is used as kohl.
  • 18. Tibb al-A`immah: 83
  • 19. Bihar al-Anwar 76:95
  • 20. al-Faqih 1:131, Makarim al-Akhlaq: 63, Tuhf al-’Uqul: 442
  • 21. al-Kafi 6:515, Makarim al-Akhlaq: 42
  • 22. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 34
  • 23. Ibid.
  • 24. We did not find this in Dhakhirat al-Ma’ad, however al-Kulayni has narrated this in al-Kafi 6:515
  • 25. al-Kafi 6:512, Makarim al-Akhlaq: 43
  • 26. al-Kafi 6:510, Makarim al-Akhlaq: 42
  • 27. al-Kafi 6:511
  • 28. al-Faqih 1:465
  • 29. al-Kafi 4:170
  • 30. Ibid., 6:513
  • 31. Ihya ‘Ulum al-Din 2:358
  • 32. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 34
  • 33. Ibid.
  • 34. Ibid.
  • 35. Ibid.
  • 36. Ibid.
  • 37. Tuhf al-’Uqul: 442
  • 38. al-Faqih 1:52, Makarim al-Akhlaq: 49, al-Ja’fariyat: 16, Da`aim al-Islam 1:119, Lubb al-Lubab 2:531
  • 39. Da`aim al-Islam 2:166
  • 40. Qurb al-Isnad: 70
  • 41. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 33
  • 42. al-Kafi 6:486
  • 43. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 71
  • 44. al-Kafi 6:485
  • 45. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 70
  • 46. al-Ta’rif: 4
  • 47. al-Usul al-Sittata ‘Ashar: 56
  • 48. al-Kafi 6:486
  • 49. Ibid., 6:481
  • 50. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 83
  • 51. al-Khisal: 340
  • 52. al-Kafi 6:508
  • 53. ‘Ilal al-Shara’i
  • 54. al-Kafi 6:511, al-Mustadrak 6:48
  • 55. Makarim al-Akhlaq: 43
  • 56. Ibid., 45
  • 57. Bihar al-Anwar 89:358, al-Mustadrak 6:46
  • 58. al-Muntakhab: 64
  • 59. al-Khisal: 271
  • 60. Fiqh al-Rid’a: 128
  • 61. al-Mustadrak 6:45
  • 62. Ibid., 6:48
  • 63. Ibid., 6:71
  • 64. al-Tahdhib 3:4