BACKGROUND: All matters related to personal hygiene are crucial and fundamental in the religion of Islam. This is outlined in detail, both in the Quran and hadith (the sayings of prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) and narrations about his life). Since the 7th century, Islam has always placed a strong emphasis on hygiene. Other than the need to be ritually clean in time for the daily prayers through istinja (washing of private parts) and wudu (physical washing of specific bodyparts before prayer), there are a large number of other hygiene-related rules governing the lives of Muslims. In general, Quran advises Muslims to uphold high standards of physical hygiene and to be ritually clean whenever possible. There are no differences between sunni and shia muslims concerning the matter of personal hygiene as outlined in the Quran and hadith.
The importance of personal hygiene was revolutionized in the 1900-century through scientific progress, especially concerning hygiene policies in hospitals and health care institutions. Before the 1880`ies we did not know that microbes were the actual cause for infections, illness and disease, and that this could be prevented by means of thorougly handwashing, cut of nails, hair care as washing and combing, good oral hygiene as brushing and flossing teeth, and caring for gums. These grooming habits will reduce the threat of bacteria that constantly reside on the body. Most of these practices were developed in the 19th century and were well established by the mid-20th century. Today there is no doubt in the scientific world about the importance of personal hygiene in order to safeguard our health.
OBJECTIVE: Review litterature in order to investigate the given comparison between islamic hygiene guidelines and modern, upto date research. In addition to that I have worked out a comparison analysis as to wether there is a decrease in the incidents of nosocomial infections in muslim countries as compared to countries in the western socities.
METHODS: This assignment is based on a review of relevant studies in these two databases, Ovid Medline and Ovid Embase, and in addition to that evidence based medical literature. The holy scriptures in the religion of Islam, the Quran and hadith is also used.
RESULTS: There is to date overwhelming data confirming the fact that hygiene, both in public institutions and at an individual level, is fundamental and very important to prevent infections, illness and deseases. Scientific facts available today concerning personal hygiene do not contradict the Islamic norms, however with slightly differences which can be discussed. Regarding nosocomical infections, studies shows that there are not lower incidence of nosocomial infections in muslim countries compared to western countries. However, there was a slightly higher incidence in some nosocomial infections, specially regarding MRSA- infections in muslim countries.
.CONCLUSIONS: After comparing islamic hygiene norms to the modern standars, it can be said that the islamic procedures and policies in this matter do more ore less not conflict with the upto date scientific information and facts about hygiene.