memores acti prudentes futuri

Take off your shoes!!

“When you put on your shoes, start with the right shoe. When taking off the shoes, start with the left one. The right shoe is the first to be put on and the last to be taken off.”

When you are entering any mosque or Malay’s home, don’t forget to take off your shoes.  It is customary to remove your shoes at the outer part of the entrance of a Malay’s home.  As a general rule, one should take their shoes off unless asked by the host to keep them on. This is a rare occasion unless the house is very dirty due renovation work, etc.

Remove your shoes at an appropriate spot and set them in an orderly fashion.

Kicking off your shoes is no no.  It is considered rude and childlike.

Do not forget that the manner in which you put shoes on and take them off, is important. Take off the left shoes first then the right, and then when [preparing to leave] put on the right shoe first then the left.

If you are taking some time to remove your shoes, please do not bend with the 45 degree, it is considered ill mannered.  Instead you are expected to squad while taking them off or seat at any available place.

Imam Muslim (رحمة الله عليه) and other scholars narrated that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:

“When you put on your shoes, start with the right shoe. When taking off the shoes, start with the left one. The right shoe is the first to be put on and the last to be taken off.”

Before entering your house, or that of your bretheren look at your shoes. If they are dirty, remove the dirt or brush the shoes against the ground. Islam is the religion of cleanliness and courtesy.

The adab of entering should be in a gentle manner, reflective of our character. A Muslim should be gentle in every way, when he sells, when he buys, when he enters the house and every other area of life.Aisha (رضى الله عنها) narrated from the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم):

“Gentleness adorns every act. It’s absence will tarnish it”
(Sahih Muslim)

See Adab in Islam

The Traditional Way:

After removing one’s shoes, traditionally he or she is expected  to wash  feet with water from the   big earthenware jar called tempayan that holds water for the purpose. This is even cleaner.   But it is no longer being practised especially in  town areas.

Health Benefits:

The Malay's Chapal

The benefits of removing shoes are many, including:

  • Taking off one’s shoes at the door can be a simple celebration of everyday life, as easy as kicking off your shoes at the front door to symbolize leaving behind the harried outer world, then lighting incense and being soothed by the subtle aroma of lavender wafting through the house.
  • Less dirt and small rocks gouge our floors, gently buffed by bare feet in the warmer seasons and by softly slippered feet in the cooler months.
  • Bare feet are treated to the comforting sensation of walking on smooth wood, or other flooring, an uncommon experience in itself.
  • Less time is spent cleaning the floor.
  • Infants and young children with more sensitive immune systems inhale cleaner indoor air.
  • A healthier home is ensured because shoes track in lead, pesticides and other pollutants, contaminating carpets and floors, turning a home into a toxic place for pets and young children, especially, who spend more time on the floor.
  • Shoes in Japan are left in the foyer, and traded for house slippers, with the gesture being both symbolic and a conscious desire to leave behind the outer world by shedding, literally, the first obvious steps—shoes.
  • Home is seen as a separate, special place, a sanctuary.

Excerpt from Care

New & Practical:

Get your exercise and clean your home in one simple step: Slipper Genie. Just slip these comfortable, micro-fiber cleaning slippers on, and they’ll do the dusting for you as you go through your day. Works on all types of flooring, including hardwood, linoleum and tile. Chenille soles easily detach for machine washing. Fits women’s sizes 6–9. It costs USD9.90 per pair/.

Related Issues:

George Bush shoe attack: The symbolism of one of the biggest insults in the world.


Added: 4 months ago
From: itn
Views: 3,143,264

All Comments (10289 total)

link to Shoe Attack

GM: I have this peculiar hobby of collecting old items such as these ‘tempayan’.


Filed under: Customs & Etiquette

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