Observing the Tradition of Padusan Bathing in Welcoming Ramadan

By: Dr.K.H. Abdul Halim Sholeh, M.A.

UIN Lecturer Syarif Hidayatullah, Member of Central MUI Fatwa Commission

Among the preparations for welcoming Ramadan, among the people of Central and East Java there is a tradition called “Padusan”. Usually 1-2 days before the fasting month. Namely bathing together in springs, rivers, ponds, and other locations that can be used for the public. Mixed men and women. Some are using natural herbs or fragrance herbs. Intended to cleanse themselves physically and spiritually. So that when entering Ramadan in a holy and clean condition.

Minang people also have a ritual “Balimau” which is the tradition of special bathing before the fasting month. Use lemon or lime to clean yourself. Whereas in North Sumatra there is the tradition of “Pangir” or a bath of fragrance leaves. Also done together mixed men and women.

Because it is considered a tradition, so there are those who believe in Padusan or other such mass bathing, as a religious obligation that must be done before entering the holy month of Ramadan. Though there is no syar’i proposition from the Quran, the hadith of the Prophet, and examples from the Companions and Salafush-sholih.

Indeed, in terms of bathing to clean themselves. Certainly is a good thing. Even as a necessity, if the body is dirty. Especially the unclean. Even more, now, with the outbreak of the Corona virus that can cause fatal disease. One of the preventive therapies is to always maintain cleanliness, using clean water. Of course it must be done personally, in a closed place, such as a bathroom, so that it can maintain genitalia, not be seen by others. 

Ikhtilath is Forbidden in Islam

But when bathing is done together, mixed men and women who are not mahram, in one place, in the syara review ’is called” Ikhtilath”. And that is forbidden in Islam. So, as a tradition that lives in the community, if it is wrong, of course it must be corrected. It must be understood, a tradition or custom can be applied as long as it does not conflict with Islamic sharia. As for the traditions that violate the Shari’a or are not in accordance with the morality of the mercy, without doubt it must be corrected and must also be charged (as a form of Nahi Munkar).

In the Qur’an it is mentioned that ibroh and Mau’izhoh (lessons) from the story of the Prophet Musa: “And when he arrived at the source of the Madyan country he met there a group of people who were drinking (his livestock), and he met behind the crowd, two women who are inhibiting (herds). Musa said: “What do you mean (by doing that)?” The two women answered: “We cannot drink (our livestock), before the shepherds repatriate (their livestock), while our father is an elderly person who has aged.” (Qur’an, 26: 23).

When the prophet Moses arrived at a spring, he saw many men who took water for his livestock. But behind them there are two women who hold their cattle to drink in that place. So the prophet Moses also asked about their attitude. Then they explained that they had to wait for the men to finish drinking their livestock. Because usually his father (of the two women) who fetch water for his livestock, while they do not want to mix with men. So the scholars say that this verse is the forbidden proposition of ikhtilath (mixed men and women who are not mahram).

So the prophet Moses also helped the two women: “So Moses gave the livestock drink to (help) both, then he returned to the shade and prayed:” Yes, my Lord, I really need something good that you have sent down to me.” (Surah Al-Qashash, 28: 24).

Diinul Islam forbids approaching adultery strictly. Then all things that lead to and bring closer to the forbidden act is forbidden: “and do not approach adultery, it is really a heinous act, and a bad way.” (Surah al-Isra ‘: 32).

In interpreting this verse, Al-Hafizh Ibn Kathir said: “Allah Ta’ala forbids His servants from committing adultery and actions that bring them closer to adultery, which is to ikhtilath (mixed) with the causes and all things that are encourages adultery.” (Umdatut Tafsir: 2/428).

In terms of danger, of course ikhtilath has a great danger, which is to damage one’s heart so that it is motivated to think about adultery and even do it. Though the heart is a lump of flesh that determines the good or bad of one’s temperament, the danger of Ikhtilath starts from the eye’s view which then moves into the heart. And Allah commands that we keep our eyes: “Tell men who believe, that they guard their sight, and care for their genitals, which is more sacred to them. Indeed, Allah knows what they are doing.” (Surah An-Nur: 30).

Furthermore, Al-Hafiz Ibn Kathir said: “And when a view is an impetus to damage the heart, as some salaf say: (A view is an arrow that is poisonous to the heart), therefore as Allah commands to guard the genitals, Allah also ordered to maintain the view that is the driving force. (Umdatut Tafsir: 2/653), this was also mentioned by Syaikhul Islam ibn Taimiyyah in his Majmuah Fatawa.” (Majmuatul fatawa: 8/230)

Not Halal

A more strict prohibition in the hadith of the Rasulullah SAW with his saying: “It is not lawful (not allowed) for a man to see the nakedness of another man, and a woman must not also see the nakedness of another woman. A man cannot be united (mixed) with other men in one dress, and a woman must not mix with other women in one dress.” (Narrated by Muslim, Ahmad, Abu Dawud & Tirmidhi).

So, the Rasulullah SAW always tried to prevent the occurrence of ikhtilath and looked at each other between men and women, even including in the part of the earth that Allah loved the most, namely the mosque. By separating ranks between men and women. Then for male worshipers to remain in the mosque until female worshipers leave, then a special door is made in the mosque section for women. In the hadith mentioned, narrated from Umm Salamah he said, “Rasulullah SAW, if he greetings (finished prayers) then the women immediately rise when he finishes greetings, then he paused before awake.”  Ibn Syihab said, ‘I am of the opinion that the silence of his peace be upon him was so that the women had already been discharged, before being followed by male worshipers who were about to leave the mosque.” (Narrated by Bukhari, no. 793).

Abu Dawud narrated in the book of Ash-Shalat and given the title ‘Chapter of the exit of women before men after the prayer’: Narrated from Ibn Umar he said, the Rasulullah SAW said, “We should set this door for women.’ Nafi said, “So Ibn Umar never entered through that door until he died.” (Narrated by Abu Dawud, no. 484 in ‘Ash-Shalah, chapter Attitude on this subject).

If a problem like this is enforced in a mosque even though it is a holy place of worship, where men and women generally stay away from cases that can arouse lust, then enforcing this decree in a place other than that would undoubtedly be a more important and necessary thing.

In universal ethics it is also prevalent. Namely that in general, public toilets and showers for men are separate from those used for women. Especially if it is associated with the moment to welcome the holy month of Ramadan, then the sacred morals in the tradition of Padusan, or something like that, namely bathing to clean themselves, of course must be more prominent again. Bathing must be done in a special place that is closed, so that awrat can be maintained, and there is no ikhtilath between men and women who are forbidden in Islam. Keep in mind. (USM/YN)

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