In this modern yet another challenging epoch, the issue of cleanliness has become one of the major concerns that constantly stir the public interest from all walks of life regardless of hierarchy, origin and religious belief. Cleanliness in Islam is part of one’s faith and Islam in itself has long since put an utmost importance and deeply emphasizes the indispensable significance on the subject matter. This is crystal clearly exhibited through the multitude of actions or sunnah that were previously manifested and executed by our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Cleanliness is closely related and is somewhat similar to the concept of hygiene. A good conduct and practice of cleanliness in an individual can ensure his or her personal hygiene to be on par and in accordance with the teaching of Islam. As a muslim and a believer, the aspect of cleanliness should not be foreign in one’s daily life. This is because, in order to perform the daily prayers, one should free himself and his surroundings from dirts and any impurities. This is where the act of ablutions prior to obligatory and supplementary prayers and the act of ghusl come to light. It was narrated by Abu Dawud that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, “The key to the prayer is cleanliness, its beginning is takbir and its ending is Salam. ” Hence, cleanliness is a requisite aspect of one’s daily prayers and is therefore of vital importance in one’s daily conduct. In surah Al-Maidah verse number six, Allah S. W. T said that “Allah does not intend to inconvenience you, but He intends to purify you and perfect His favor to you, so that you may give thanks”. A good practice of cleanliness and personal hygiene can help improve one’s health and quality of life. Other than that, it also act as an image enhancer in an individual in which a person with a neat and clean appearance is more likeable and approachable than those who practiced poor personal hygiene thus further solidify and consolidate the immense importance of cleanliness. Besides, the act of circumcision in Islam is also one of the multifarious facets of cleanliness that offers vast arrays of health benefits. So, which of the favors of our Lord would we deny?
Allah the Almighty appointed us as a vicegerent to walk on this earth submissively so that we enjoined what is right and forbade what is wrong. However, on the contrary, being the ungrateful creature that we are, we gradually make the mother earth sicker day by day with our daily activities. Tons of rubbish were dumped in the ocean annually, robbing the lives of other creatures and threatening their very existence! Many lands are currently being transformed into the landfill sites to accommodate the increasing wastes that we generate every single day. At this rate, it is not alarming and surprising to see our beautiful mother earth metamorphosed into a huge reeking ball of rubbish, dross and junks in front of our very own two eyes. The urgency of this situation calls for an immediate attention and action from all ‘earthlings’ because the earth is our one and only home in this world. It is of an important essence to note that this earth that we lived in was not given to us by our predecessors but rather it is lend to us by our younger generations. Hence, we have to treat it well so that we are able to return it in a state that we wish for our children to grow up in. The focal root of all these predicaments and hassles comes from the poor practice of cleanliness of an individual in a society. Nowadays, it is a common and typical sight to see rubbish towering and piling up in every nook and cranny of our so-called beloved country. The spirit of patriotism gradually fades away and our country gradually becomes ‘a dumping site’.
It is not an overstatement to say that Malaysia, a muslim majority country fails to adhere and implement the true Islamic teaching while Japan, a muslim minority country successfully implement the values and virtues of cleanliness and hygiene that Islam tries to incorporate in the life of its followers. In other words, Malaysia has become a muslim country in the absence of Islam while Japan has become an Islamic country in the absence of muslim. In this sense, where and what are the virtues of calling oneself a muslim? The poor conduct of Islamic teaching will inevitably ensue and spark off lots of negative impressions on the religion as a whole. Indeed, cleanliness is the key principal in nurturing a healthy individual, building a strong society and paving the path towards a meritorious and respectable nation. What is then the underlying connotation that echoes behind this very Commandment? In this new dawn of civilization, both the emergence and re-emergence of infectious and contagious diseases surpasses and outweigh the contemporary researches and scientific development. By keeping oneself clean and one’s surrounding in a sanitary condition, it helps to alleviate and mitigate the outbreak of diseases thus preventing further occurrence of microscopic world war among the ultra-microorganisms. This can be achieved through a good conduct of cleanliness in one’s life encompassing from the most basic action such as washing hands with soap before and after every meals and many others to the network of intricate actions such as the proper aseptic technique used among the healthcare practitioners in order to minimize the risk of nosocomial infections. This philosophy of health and disease treatment has long since been offered in the field of traditional Chinese medicine. The wisdom of this philosophy was embodied in a special term used by the herbal healers which is ‘treating the undiseased’. Indeed, prevention is better than cure and veritably cleanliness is the mother of all preventions.
Islam accentuates and put a heighten emphasis on the umpteen significance of cleanliness in both physical and spiritual horizons. To have a good conduct of cleanliness and to be clean physically does not make one a good muslim if he has no intention to purify his heart from the indefinite number of sins that he inflicted and perpetrated towards himself and others. Cleanliness and purification of the heart and one’s soul is of an important essence and should be thrust into the limelight in this ever-changing societies where good moral conducts and virtues has become so rare even in the self-proclaimed muslim individual. This is because, our actions portrayed and reflected the state of our heart. Corrupted action comes from a corrupted heart and vice versa. Hence daily repentance is needed to purify our soul from the unfathomable numbers of freckles and dark spots in our hearts before it consumes and swallows us as a whole. It was reported by Anas ibnu Malik that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said that ‘every sons of Adam are sinners, and the best among them are those who repent’.
As a muslim student, one should perform the obligatory and supplementary prayers and read the Holy Quran daily no matter how busy or tight our schedule is. Indeed, knowledge is light and for that reason it does not enter the pitch black heart of those who forget their Creator for the mere sake of His creations. In the end everything belongs to Allah including the knowledge that we desperately try to specialize in and the examinations that we lose sleep in order to ace in. Always put Allah as our number one priority and watch how He unfolds our life in a way that we never imagine before for He is Allah, the All Knowing, All Wise.
All things considered, it can be summarized that cleanliness is part of one’s life and is part of muslim’s faith. The cleanliness and the beauty of inner appearances are of equal importance to the outer and physical appearances. Veritably, no man is perfect and free from sins except for our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). However, as a muslim, one should believe that Allah’s mercy is infinite and that His door is always open for those who repent and come back to Him with sincere and utmost repentance. Allah S. W. T says in the holy Quran in chapter 42, verse number 25 ‘And He it is Who accepts repentance from His slaves, and forgives sins, and He knows what you do’. So, which of the favors of our Lord would we deny?
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