The Cleanliness of Believers
One day, Zafar was very excited. The teacher had given them homework about what it means to be pure. The teacher wanted them to gather information on this topic from whatever source they could find and to read what they had written to the class. Zafar brought to mind everything he knew about purity, but he could still not decide how to tell the class about it. Of course, there was a lot more he didn't know about the subject. Zafar then had a good idea. Since the teacher had said that they could gather information from whatever source they wanted, he would ask Uncle Hamid, who lived in his apartment building. Immediately he picked up his pen and notebook, got permission from his mother and went to Uncle Hamid's apartment. Uncle Hamid was very pleased that Zafar had come to see him about this subject and they began to talk:
"Uncle Hamid," asked Zafar, "everyone should be clean, but some friends of mine come to school in the morning without even washing their faces."
Uncle Hamid replied: "Zafar, in the Qur'an, Allah commands believers to be clean and to keep away from dirt. Those who do not practice the morality of the Qur'an, as in everything else, do not follow its teaching on cleanliness either, and they fall into this sorry state. Believers are physically very clean. Their bodies as well as their food, clothing and the place where they live are always amazingly spotless and well-ordered. They try to make every place where they are resemble the bright cleanness of paradise as described in the Qur'an. In the Qur'an, Allah tells believers how they should regard cleanliness:
… Do not associate anything with Me and purify My House for those who circle it, and those who stand and bow and prostrate. (Surat al-Hajj: 26)
You who believe! Eat of the good things We have provided for you… (Surat al-Baqara: 172)
Purify your clothes. Shun all filth. (Surat al-Muddaththir: 4-5)
Zafar then enquired: "So, what do believers have to do in order to practice the cleanliness that Allah reveals in the Qur'an?"
"Allah created water for people to clean themselves with," said Uncle Hamid: "Water is a great blessing and is a reason for us to be thankful to Allah. Among the most important things we do are washing our hands and face when we get up in the morning and taking a shower to begin the day totally clean. In the Qur'an, Allah tells us that He sent water down from heaven for human beings to clean themselves with: '[He] sent you down water from heaven to purify you and remove the taint of satan from you, and to fortify your hearts and make your feet firm.' (Surat al-Anfal: 11)"
"In this verse," Uncle Hamid went on: "Allah warns human beings that satan makes dirtiness look pleasant and tries to prevent them from cleaning themselves. Satan tries to take people away from the way of Allah and continually whispers suggestions into their minds about cleanliness. For example, he tries to make us put off brushing our teeth after a meal or taking regular showers by making it seem like too much trouble, so that later on we completely forget about it. Even if such occasional slips do not bring serious consequences, over time they may be damaging to a person's health and appearance. And this is exactly what satan wants. He resents human beings and tries to drag them to hell, and he really wants to see them living in filth, their appearance ruined by damaged skin and rotten teeth. But a person who practices the morality of the Qur'an is alert to these suggestions and careful not to be taken in by them. He does not show the slightest carelessness when it comes to cleanliness. He is aware of the importance of cleanliness under all conditions."
Zafar then asked: "Some people, even if they are clean and presentable, don't look the same all the time. For example, they may be clean and presentable on holidays and certain other days, but the rest of the time they look scruffy. How do they regard cleanliness?"
Uncle Hamid responded by saying: "Some people, although they don't practice the morality of the Qur'an, are very careful about cleanliness. But they are very different in their aims and intentions from those who believe in Allah. The aim of those people is not to be criticized by others and to look smart. Because they do not think of pleasing Allah when they clean themselves, they do not pay attention to their cleanliness or their appearance when they are by themselves or with people they care nothing about. But a believer attaches importance to cleanliness not to please other people but to please Allah and to obey His command. Even if he doesn't see anyone for days, he is always clean and well-groomed."
"Thanks for that information, Uncle Hamid," said Zafar: "I will think about what you have said and write my homework right away, and I will be more careful about my own cleanliness from now on."
Zafar went right home and began to write. He was really eager to read what he had written to his friends at school. The joy and eagerness he felt about telling his friends about the morality of the Qur'an is one of the signs of a believer that should be seen in every person of faith.