Fruits for the Week

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Muslims should be people possess a remarkable way of practising healthy living. Islam appreciates and blesses every good thing that brings betterment to life, and dislikes and opposes things that bring destruction.  In stressing the importance of distancing oneself from any destruction, Allah (swt) says: “And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah, and make not your own hands contribute to your destruction but do good, for Allah loves those who do good.” (Al-Baqarah: 195)

In matters of food, our Prophet (saw) reminded the Muslims: “Eat of things which are good and do good deeds.” This is an echo of which Allah (swt) says: “O Mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and wholesome and follow not the ways of the devil.” (Al-Baqarah: 168). In this respect, Islam advises the Muslim to keep away from anything and everything that can cause him harm or jeopardise his health, and his physical, spiritual and social well-being.

Our Prophet (saw) further said: “Verily Allah is pure and loves the pure, is Cleanly and loves the cleanly.” He must be clean and healthy not only in body but also in mind and soul. A clean and healthy person can exude a strong character and personality. Our Prophet (saw) also said: “A strong Muslim is better and more beloved before Allah than a weak one,” and emphasized that “Cleanliness is half of faith.” 

The outward purity concerns with the body and the clothes we wear while the inward purity concerns with thought and the soul. Therefore, it becomes responsibility of the Muslim to be clean and healthy always. Allah says that “He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean.” (Al-Baqarah: 222) 

Islam teaches that by maintaining physical cleanliness, a person can obtain inner purity. It is this inner purity which embellishes one’s character. Therefore, it is important for the Muslim to be clean outward too. The Qur’an and the Hadith amply guide the Muslim in this aspect. For instance, for cleanliness before the shalah (prayer), our Prophet (saw) said: “The key to Paradise is shalah and that to shalah is ablution.” Allah (swt) says: “O you, who believe, when you prepare for your shalah, wash your faces and your hands up to the elbows and lightly rub your heads and wash your feet up to the ankles. And if you are unclean, purify yourselves.” (Al-Maidah: 6)

The wudhu or ritual washing is a prerequisite to the validity of the shalah. The ablution serves to purify him spiritually. Our Prophet (saw) said: “He who performs his ablution well purifies his soul.” The Muslim should not only be inwardly clean but also outwardly. Therefore, the act also has physical value. It has the effect of cooling and soothing the vital areas of the body, such as the face, ears, nostrils, neck, forehead, arms and legs. Done five times a day, it cleans and softens these areas and prevents premature wrinkling. The institution of the wudhu and the istinja’ (cleaning with water after relieving oneself) places emphasis on the importance of keeping one’s body clean not only for the shalah but that he must keep his body clean at all times.

The wudhu and istinja’ should also become indications for the application of cleanliness in other areas. At several places in the Qur’an, Allah mentions that He loves those who are clean. In this respect, it is good to see Muslims removing their shoes when entering homes and certainly mosques because the underside of the shoes worn outside the house is never free from filth, dust and dirt. And if not removed at the door, the floor of the house, or the mats or carpets would surely become soiled and dirty, bearing microbes or diseases. Removing shoes is an Islamic practice that helps to promote hygiene.

As Islam is a religion of purity, it points emphatically to cleanliness and hygiene in all aspect of a Muslim’s life. Therefore, no Muslim should have an excuse for being dirty and unhygienic. Not only should the body and body-wear be clean but also his surrounding, namely, home, place of work and public areas. In some poor Muslims in some countries are dirty; they are people who may not be aware that the essence of Islam is cleanliness.

Poverty is no excuse for being dirty. Old clothes can be washed for wearing. A house or a room need not be well-decorated to be clean. A person’s spitting on the ground or dirtying the place or littering, for instance, has nothing to do with being poor. People who spit or litter anywhere they like simply do not take the trouble to know about Allah’s command on cleanliness.

If each and every Muslim is aware of Islam’s position on cleanliness and practices it, there will be no such thing as dirtiness in a Muslim’s life, not even in his environment. Littering would also not be an issue for reminders or penalties for Muslims. Every Muslim child could also proudly stand up to say: “Islam taught me to make this place clean.”

(To be continued)

by Shaik A. kadir