In one of your responses, titled “Applying Spouse’s Urine on Oneself,” you contend that Islam not only advocates moral/spiritual cleansing, but also physical cleansing precisely because the latter is a part of the former. So important is physical cleansing, that a Muslim should avoid leaving even a drop of urine or even a particle of feces on his/her clothes.
However, in other responses, you argue that when Islam prescribes or prohibits actions, it does so when such actions conduce to or impede moral and spiritual cleansing, respectively. Whether or not something is physically deleterious is a secondary matter.
Thus, when the Qur’an prohibits the consumption of liquor, it does so primarily because such an action impairs man’s reasoning faculty, which in turn impairs his sapiential sense, thereby negatively affecting moral and spiritual cleansing. That liquor damages the liver or depletes brain cells (and so forth) is ancillary. You make a similar argument for the permissibility of marriage between first cousins.
I strongly suspect that there is/are assumption(s) you have made that I have not understood or appreciated, for I find these two views on physical cleansing incompatible. Are we to cleanse ourselves physically in all respects, so as to render our moral/spiritual cleansing complete? Or, can we adhere to the laws of the Shari’ah pertaining to physical cleanliness, and wherever the Shari’ah does not comment, make our own individual choices (i.e. choose to smoke tobacco, because the Shari’ah is silent, or overindulge in cheescake, because the Shari’ah is silent)?
I hope my question is clear.
The negative affects of liquor on liver or brain or the potential dangers of marriages between first cousins is not a part of physical ‘cleansing’. Physical cleansing relates to the cleanness of one’s body. All kinds of hygienic factors may or may not be part of physical cleansing. Physical cleansing is related more with factors that have generally been considered by man as unclean or dirty, rather than with factors that man has discovered to be potentially harmful.
As an example, physical cleansing is related to drinking or applying urine on the body, irrespective of how ‘physically beneficial’ this exercise may someday be discovered to be from a health perspective.
I hope the foregoing clarification will help understand the issue.
December 4, 2002