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The Dreaded Athlete’s Foot – Tinea Pedis

The Dreaded Athlete’s Foot – Tinea Pedis

Hazrat Abu Amaamah (radiyal laahu anhu) reported that Nabi(sal lal laahu alay hi wa sal lam) said, that a person who makes wudhu at home and goes to perform fard salaah.is like going for Haj with Ihraam.(Abu Dawood).

Hazrat Salmaan(radiyal laahu anhu) reports that Nabi(sal lal laahu alay hi wa sal lam) said,”He who peformd wudhu at home earnestly,and then comes to the musjid,he is the guest of Allah Ta’ala,and the hospitality-it is the right of the guest upon the host.” (Tabrani)

Hazrat Abu Huraira (radiyal laahu anhu) reports that Nabi(sal lal laahu alay hi wa sal lam) said,”When one of you performs wudhu at home and comes to the musjid,he is in salaah until he returns home.Therefore he should not intertwine the fingers of one hand with the fingers of the other hand during this time.”(Mustadrak Haakim)

Hazrat Jaabir(radiyal laahu anhu) reports that Nabi(sal lal laahu alay hi wa sal lam) has said:”The salaah of a man in congregation is increased by 25 times(in reward) than his salaah in his own house, or in the market place.This is when he makes wudhu, he makes his wudhu well. Then he goes out to the musjid and nothing but salaah takes him out. He does not take a step(towards the musjid) except that for every step a rank (in Jannah) is raised for him and a sin is wiped out for him.When he performs his salaah, angels make dua for him, as long as he is in his place of salaah saying: “Oh Allah! Send blessings upon him! Oh Allah! Have mercy upon him. And one of you continues to be in salaah as long as he waits in salaah.” (Bukhari/Muslim)

Tinea Pedis, or commonly called Athletes’ foot is a fungal infection caused by 3 or 4 different fungi which are specific to humans. They grow on our skin and under our nails and can occur anywhere on the body. They love to grow in warm, moist areas of the body, e.g. between the toes, on our sweaty feet, in our groins, in our armpits, under skin folds as under the breasts and fat folds. They are contagious, i.e. they can be passed from one person to another or from one part of the body to another. As they love warm or hot and moist places, they grow in our shower cubicles, in communal showers as in sports clubs (hence the name “Athletes’ foot”) and around a pool, especially if the pool is heated. They can spread to different family members using the same shower cubicle. Other bacteria can get into the skin through cracks in the skin and result in cellulites, especially in diabetics.

How common is it?

In a study in Durban, it was found that the general population (non-muslim office workers) had a prevalence of 41% and musullis from 5 masajid had a prevalence of 71%, that is, it was almost twice as common in musullis. Many Masajid now have paper towels available or blowers to dry the feet of the musullis.

The appearance

On the feet, their appearance can be as follows:

  1. Scaling between the toes, sometimes with moist, white skin.
  2. Fluid filled tiny “blisters” which later break to form a scaly rash anywhere on the sole, especially in the instep area.
  3. Scaly rash affecting the entire sole of the feet and spreading onto the sides of the feet.
  4. The scaling on the feet may look like dry skin. People may be unaware that it is a fungal infection.

The rash may be very itchy.

Infected nails are usually thickened, and may be either brown, black or yellow in colour. The nail may also lift up from its bed. It can affect part of the nail or the whole nail.

The treatment

Skin infections respond well to anti-fungal creams and gels applied to the feet. Terbenifine containing creams work the best, applied once a day at bed time. Treatment should continued for about 2 weeks. Gels penetrate thick skin better. Sometimes, tablets may be necessary when the infection is extensive or not responding to treatment. For this, a doctor must be consulted.

The treatment for the nails takes 2-3 months. Please consult with your doctor as a nail clipping needs to be taken to confirm the infection.

In our Masajid

In our Masajid (as shown in the Durban study), they grow in the wudhu area, where the towels are positioned and on the carpets throughout the Musjid. They come off the feet of those who have it and get onto the feet of others.


  1. It is sunnah to make wudhu at home.
  2. All musullis should examine their feet. If a fungal infection is suspected, it must be treated. If in doubt, consult a doctor. Those who have the infection should not make wudhu in the musjid to prevent the spread to other non-infected musullis until their infection has been cleared.
  3. Cotton socks should be worn by those who have the infection to prevent spreading the fungus. Cotton socks also help to prevent uninfected musullis from picking up the infection. Synthetic socks do not absorb moisture and can worsen the infection.
  4. Masajid should provide paper towels for musullis to wipe their feet.
  5. Hand driers can be installed at the feet level at the drying area so that the feet can be air dried.
  6. Masajid should vacuum the carpets daily.
  7. Masajid should have a dry, tiled area just after the wudhu area so that musullis do not go directly onto carpets with their wet feet. Fans should be installed over these tiled areas so that the area is air dried.
  8. A detergent must be used by the Masajid to scrub the wudhu areas and the towel areas daily.
  9. Posters must be put up permanently on Masajid notice boards informing the musullis about the prevention of this infection.

This fungal infection is a nuisance. It is up to all of us to prevent this infection and minimize it in our homes and in our masajid.

Dr. Farouk Haffejee

Ahadith of Rasulullah Sullullahi Alayhi Wasullum
Dr. N. Raboobbee, Prof. Jamila Aboobaker and Dr. A K Peer. Tinea Pedis et unguium in the Muslim community of Durban, South Africa. International journal of Dermatology. 1998. 37. 759-765.
Textbook of Dermatology. Rook, Wilkinson, Ebling. Blackwell Scietific Publications. Oxford. 1993.

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