Cleanliness is an important part of Baha’i life. One thing we must do to keep clean is to wash our hands, face and feet every day. When we grow up (reach the age of 15), Baha’u’llah asks us to wash our hands and our face before saying our obligatory prayers every day.
Prayers/readings for study
Be ye the very essence of cleanliness amongst mankind. (Baha’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas)
…[I]n all conditions, cleanliness and sanctity, purity and delicacy exalt humanity… (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Abbas)
Children divide a sheet of paper into two halves. On one half, they draw a person who exemplifies the Bahá’í standard of cleanliness (combed hair, clean face, neat and clean clothes, etc); on the other, they draw the same person, but who lacks cleanliness (dirty, smelly, smudged, dishevelled, etc.) Children could draw in ink (ball-point pen) first and then use water-based paint over ink, and could thus be taught how to use paints cleanly.
- Mirror flowers. Look for small mirrors in a craft store—the kind of mirrors you might find in a make-up box. Round ones would be best, but square or rectangular ones are OK too. Have the children cut out flower petals from foam sheets, and use adhesive to stick them onto the mirror, making a beautiful flower with a mirror in the middle. Similar to fun foam frames.
- Soap-making. Craft stores often sell soap blocks that are specially made for melting in a microwave oven and re-casting into homemade bars of soap with various shapes, scents and colours. Children can then bring them home and have something to help them remember to stay clean.
- Word search: Cleanliness (PDF).
- Written exercises: Staying clean and healthy (DOCX). See the downloads page for different languages.
“It hath been enjoined upon you to… bathe yourselves each week in water that covereth your bodies, and to clean yourselves with whatsoever ye have formerly employed…. Immerse yourselves in clean water; it is not permissible to bathe yourselves in water that hath already been used. … If the bather, instead of entering the water, wash himself by pouring it upon his body, it shall be better for him and shall absolve him of the need for bodily immersion.” (Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, pages 57-58)
“…Although bodily cleanliness is a physical thing, it hath, nevertheless, a powerful influence on the life of the spirit…. The purport is that physical cleanliness doth also exert its effect upon the human soul.” (`Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of `Abdu’l-Bahá, pages 146-147)
Ablutions are specifically associated with certain prayers. They must precede the offering of the three Obligatory Prayers, the daily recitation of ‘Alláh-u-Abhá’ ninety-five times…
The prescribed ablutions consist of washing the hands and the face in preparation for prayer. In the case of the medium Obligatory Prayer, this is accompanied by the recitation of certain verses.
That ablutions have a significance beyond washing may be seen from the fact that even should one have bathed oneself immediately before reciting the Obligatory Prayer, it would still be necessary to perform ablutions. (this above stuff is from Wikipedia – Ablutions)
Photo: Kid washing hands, by SuSanA Secretariat