Where the religion of Islam has purified a human being from the filth of disbelief and polytheism and elevated him, by the same education and means it has purified the inner-self and outer-self of a human too and granted him honour. Whether it is the purity of the body or clothes, the outer appearance or one’s conduct, one’s home, belongings or mode of transport, Islam has taught and encouraged cleanliness of all these things.
The importance of cleanliness in Islam
Let us take note of three of the blessed sayings of the Holy Prophet صَلَّى اللّٰەُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم regarding the importance of cleanliness:
1 Cleanliness is half of Iman. (Sahih Muslim, pp. 140, Hadees 223)
2 Indeed, Islam is a pure and clean Deen. (In one narration it has been mentioned that Allah Almighty has based the foundation of Islam on cleanliness) so you should also adopt cleanliness, as the one who will enter Jannah will be the one who is clean (inwardly and outwardly). (Kanz-ul-‘Ummal, vol. 5, pp. 123, Hadees 25996; Jam’-ul-Jawami’, vol. 4, pp. 115, Hadees 10624)
3 Keep the clothes you wear clean and take care of your riding animals, and your appearance should be so clean that when you meet people, you are respected by them. (Jami’ Sagheer, pp. 22, Hadees 257)
‘Allamah ‘Abdur Rauf Manaawi رَحْمَةُ اللّٰەِ عَلَيْه has said: Meaning of this Hadees is that one should protect oneself against all those things which are classed as despicable and lowly in the eyes of humans. Particularly people in authority and the Islamic scholars should avoid these. (Fayd-ul-Qadeer, vol. 1, pp. 249, Taht-al-Hadees: 257)
When a child is born, soon after his birth, it becomes connected to cleanliness. Then until the child gets sensible, the responsibility of taking care of his hygiene and cleanness rests on the parents and guardians.
Once the child gets adult, certain rulings in Islam become necessary on him (such as Salah, etc.) for which keeping the body and clothes clean becomes necessary. Likewise, after death, Shari’ah has instructed to bathe and bury the body. Despite the great importance that Islam has given to cleanliness, a portion of the population has a lazy attitude towards it. Their clothing, bedding, shoes, socks, handkerchief, slippers, ‘Imamah (i.e. turban), chador, comb, mode of transport and everything that they use is screaming to get cleaned.
Examples of carelessness in cleanliness
1 Dining-mats in some homes smell so bad that when they are laid out, the stench emanating from them reveals that they have not been washed for many days.
2 The clothes and mouths of some people have such a bad smell that one cannot even stand with them for a moment.
3 Some people only have one handkerchief which they use to wipe sweat and clean their nose!
4 Some people are also careless with their footwear. The footwear that can be easily washed is used without washing and cleaning for many days. When this footwear and socks are taken off, a very strong foul smell emanates from them.
5 It is necessary for the bedding to smell fresh as well as being kept clean. Sometimes, the pillowcase smells like oil.
6 Sometimes when trimming the moustache, hair is left around the basin. When spitting or splattering out Paan, it (i.e. the basin) is not rinsed off.
7 Sometimes ages pass before the pocket or household comb is washed and it becomes black due to dirt. This is the same for the combs of barbers which are used by everyone on a daily basis.
8 The children’s bags and own bags should be cleaned every month or two, as sometimes food items are carried in them which develop a smell.
The religious and worldly benefits of cleanliness
If someone keeps themselves and their surroundings clean, this will facilitate him to attain a healthy body and mind. If one has a sound body and mind, then he can fulfil countless tasks of his life and Deen with excellence. When he worships, he will attain satisfaction, gain humility and devotion. Likewise, when one’s outer apparel is clean, it will have an effect on the inner self, as both things are connected to each other.
Birds of a feather flock together
If we ponder over, we will realize how much a person likes a clean and tidy individual. To associate and mingle with him is very pleasing. People of similar traits have a disposition towards each other. A hygienic person likes the company of a person having a similar trait. As it is said: ‘الجنس الى الجنس يميل’ Birds of a feather flock together.
Once, a crow and pigeon became friends. A person who saw this thought: what kind of pairing is this? They are both so different, how can a pigeon and a crow become friends? When he contemplated further over this situation, he came to know that the pigeon and crow were both lame. The quality of being lame had made them friends.
Take a look at your qualities. Whatever traits you find within yourself, you will attract the people having similar traits.
Once, Galen (a famous Greek physician) was going somewhere when an insane person approached him, sat with him and started talking with him. Galen went to his servant and asked him to bring a certain medicine, I will consume it. The servant humbly said, ‘You cannot take this medicine, it is for the insane.’ Galen replied, ‘If I am not insane, then why did this insane person come to me? Certainly, there must be some trait in me which attracted him to me!’
The above parable is for comprehension. If cleanliness, fragrance, tidiness and purity become a part of our disposition, we will have people with similar traits around us.
Excellence of keeping the Masjid clean
Keeping the Masjid clean is paving a way into Jannah. A woman used to pick up the splinters from the Masjid. When she passed away, news of her burial was not given to the Holy Prophet صَلَّى اللّٰەُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. When he صَلَّى اللّٰەُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was told (about her death), he صَلَّى اللّٰەُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, ‘When someone from among you passes away, inform me.’ Then he صَلَّى اللّٰەُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم performed Salah at her grave and said, ‘I have seen that woman in Jannah and the reason for this is that she would pick up the splinters from the Masjid.’ (Al-Mu’jam-ul-Awsat, vol. 6, pp. 143, Hadees 8220)
I request all devotees of the Prophet to check all your belongings and strive to keep yourself and your environment clean. You will see many blessings of this yourself, اِنْ شَـآءَ اللّٰە.