What Does Being “Clean” Mean In Islam vs. Christianity?
In Islam, a person who is going to perform the five required ritual prayers for the day (salat, salah or namaz), must first be ritually clean. The cleansing or ablution process is called wudu or wudhu. Wudu is also required before touching the Qur’an. Under some circumstances a more thorough full body cleaning is required, known as ghusl.
The wudu process is a prescribed ritual involving washing the head, arms and feet in a particular sequence. A person’s wudu status is broken in the event of urination, defecation, passing wind, or sleeping while reclining, as well as for other defined reasons.
If suitable water is not available for washing, sand can be used instead. This is known as tayammum.
Followers of Jesus Christ pray often and study the Bible. Is wudu a requirement for Christians? No, not at all! But doesn’t God want his followers to be clean? Yes he does. The Lord wants his children to be clean on the inside. He wants us to be clean from the dirt of sin.
How then is cleansing accomplished for a Christian? Followers of Jesus are washed clean of their sin when they first trust in Jesus. Their cleansing is from above. This is known as justification, that is, to be viewed by God as righteous. The cleansing agent is blood, the blood of Christ that was shed on the cross at his crucifixion.
Another way Christians are washed is cleansing, on an ongoing basis, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This type of cleansing is known as sanctification, a life-long process of putting on the righteousness of Christ Jesus.
So for a Christian, cleanliness is not about external appearance or ablution rituals, but about being free of sin. This freedom arises from believing in Jesus, and accepting him as Saviour and Lord.
Here are some verses from the Holy Bible that inform us about the Christian perspective on being clean before God:
1 John 1:5-10
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
2 Peter 1:9
But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.
1 Corinthians 6:11
But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.