Essay No. 204:
Cleanliness Next To Godliness: Cleanliness means to keep oneself away from dirt and filth. It stands for killing the germs of contamination, which could make human beings develop various kinds of bodily diseases. It includes the purification of our external organs against filth and excrement’s. Above all, cleanliness denotes the purification of human soul against the worldly impurities gathered in the soul in pursuit of over material desires.
The heart, according to the Holy Quran is the citadel where dwells the Divinity, needs to be purified by throwing away the mundanes accumulated in it through the frequent remembrance of Allah. Once the heart is cleansed of material impurities, it is then fit to receive divine signals.
Islam attaches a great importance to cleanliness. Before offering prayers, believers have to do ablution to ensure cleanliness of the different parts of human body. They are required to keep their clothes clean and tidy before bowing down to Allah to seek His special favors. The process is repeated give times a day to ensure cleanliness of the human body.
The entire way of life has to be kept clean by shunning the evil influence of worldly temptations. Corruption, bribery, exploitation of the weak for one’s personal interests, can sully the human soul. Avoidance of social evils is meant to keep one’s soul in a state of cleanliness. Cleanliness thus is symbolic of body and soul. Islam lays emphasis on the purification of the both.
Allah ordains believers to be tidy and clean ‘…. As He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean.’ (2:22). The human environment has to be kept clean. With the pollution of environments, human life is polluted. It is a matter of sad reflection that no proper attention is paid to contain pollution in Pakistan. Pollution is regarded as the consequence of industrialization.
The smoke through chimneys is thrown out, which causes different types of throat, lung diseases. The air is contaminated, which when inhaled causes damage to human beings, leading to respiratory troubles. While industrialization is a must for achieving high growth rate for a poor developing country like Pakistan, however, it calls for a program to arrest pollution through chemistry both at the public and private levels.
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Now there is a growing realization to combat pollution to save people from its ill-effects. The import of CNG buses and commissioning them in different big cities is a right step in the right direction. The idea behind the move is to reduce pollution, which means keeping the environment a bit clean.
Lanes in towns and cities are often the scene of garbage and rubbish. Sometimes choking of gutters results in splashing the dirty, foul smelling water on roads. That further throws away the accumulated water with the passing of a vehicle. Residents inhale the pungent smell much to their discomfort. The municipalities, corporations show a neglect towards the sanitation and hygienic problems.
Above all, people do not exhibit a healthy attitude inasmuch as they openly spit on roads and throw away dirty tissue papers wherever they like. They should develop an attitude of throwing away dirty things and garbage in dustbins stationed at different places. There is a need to engineer a healthy change in the attitude of people in this regard.
In my last visit to England, in 2004, I observed that people at their own level were the practitioners of cleanliness. I did not see any person spitting on roads. The West has accepted cleanliness as a creed as the environments are kept clean and tidy through individual and collective efforts. It was Charles lamb who said:
‘All endearing cleanliness
Virtue next to Godliness’
God love those who are pure and clean. Hence man should consciously endeavor to adopt cleanliness in life. It is a virtue of the highest order, which needs to be practiced by the Muslim believers. It has been enjoined upon them to wash their hands before and after taking meals, to take a regular bath especially on Fridays. Modern hygienic standards are to be observed most passionately to keep life safe from pollution and uncleanliness.
If running water is streams, nallas and rivers is contaminated, it would pollute the fish-population which further would create adverse effects on human stomach as and when the fish is consumed. It is thus incumbent on all of us to practice cleanliness which would get us near Godliness! We should beautify our body and should by observing cleanliness in different ways.