It is no secret that Muslims possess a level of cleanliness that far outweighs practicers of other religions, with Islam giving instructions on how to be clean in many different facets of life, covering areas from eating, bathing, sexual relations, and going to the toilet. Rather surprisingly, it is the latter of these which had a particular impact upon Sheikh Abdur-Raheem McCarthy in his discovery of Islam.
In a television interview where Sheikh Abdur-Raheem McCarthy gives his story on how he became a Muslim, he reveals that the common western practices of going to the toilet openly in front of other people, and it being considered manly to stand and urinate never sat right with him, and he always felt unease with these practices. Learning that Islam has a negative view of these practices had a profound effect on him, as if Islam was inline with his natural disposition.
These simple instructions from Allah are often taken for granted by Muslims, and we often do not realise the true beauty in them, their benefits to our health, and the effects that practicing them can have on non-muslims. This is evident in a story related by Sheikh Abdur-Raheem McCarthy, where a dedication to cleanliness touched the heart of a non-muslim.
He describes the story of an old woman who worked in the laundry of a UK University, washing and ironing the clothes of the students. One day she came across the clothes of a Muslim student, which she found to have no stains from going to the toilet. In her 25 years in the job she had never seen clothes this spotless, and after finding the same thing each time the student brought the clothes, curiosity led her to ask the reason. After being told of Islamic cleanliness, the lady declared that a religion like this has to be the religion of truth. This story should serve as a lesson to all of us that even the smallest practices can be powerful methods of Dawah.