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     Volume 11 |Issue 27| July 07, 2012 |


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Cleanliness is next to godliness


There is this one thing I will never understand about these televised cooking shows, and there are so many of them these days – in posh kitchens, in the wilderness, on the road...We have caught yet another ball batted from across our boundaries, not necessarily immediate, but even from as far afar as down under. But then, in our country everything catches, except of course good manners, impeccable honesty, and reliable punctuality.

The amount of talking the cook and the presenter does to explain what the cook does while obviously salivating over the delicious recipes should drench the dish with more spit than gravy. It takes a lot of courage to taste those creations on TV without one's tongue wrapped in plastic. But they do. And some of them give points too.

While we are going clinically hygienic in looking after our health – hand wash, facemask, bottled water, plastic serving gloves – there they are talking so much and dribbling that they are bound to exchange what is reserved as a barter item between kissers. I suggest they use sign language and printed matter to communicate with the viewers

That reminds me of another show in which the members of the public are involuntarily drawn into. I also wonder if it is me that is the issue with these guys. Because often it happens that whilst passing past me, a total stranger starts a one-metre deep search in his gullet to find some cough in his coffer that he wished to contribute to the sidewalk or the wall. The more carefree ones would choose the road. I have tried different sorts of colognes, a friendly smile, and a brand new shirt (of course I had trousers on) but to no avail.

The only positive observation from my end (no pun intended) is that these champions of sanitation want to keep the inside of their house and workplace so clean that they wait for the opportunity to go out and do it. It is almost like walking the dog. So they choose to a dirty place which they have built over the years.

The obvious question that would crop up from deep inside you (I pray nothing else) is what do those people do who do not venture out in say the whole day or night? First of all, they have not the slightest reason to feel the urge in their well-maintained antiseptic environment, but occasionally when they open their windows or stand on a veranda or go for a dose of fresh air on the roof, the appalling situation outside makes them want to go. I would advise every self-respecting dry citizen to use an umbrella even when the clouds hide the sun, because it rains even then, and not from that high above. Neither is all of it only from organs above a humanoid's shoulders.

Now that the month of Ramadan is just around the corner, the practice to moisten the pavement is already on. While cleanliness is half of our Iman (faith), we are collectively guilty of ignoring the need to keep our community clean and thereby healthy. The situation is no different around masjids and temples, in parks, or next to an expensive restaurant.

Cleanliness is next to godliness. It is one of our prime religious obligations. Allah says in the Quran (2: 22),"Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean". Islam (and for that matter any religion) requires the Muslim (and for that matter any human being) to clean his body, his clothes, his house, and the whole community, for which act he is rewarded by Allah.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: "Removing any harm from the road is charity (that will be rewarded by Allah)." (Bukhari) In another instance, the Prophet (pbuh) warned mankind against impurities and filth, as it is one of the reasons to provoke Allah's curse and the people's curse, saying: “Beware of the three acts that cause others to curse you: relieving yourselves in a watering place, on foot paths or shaded places.” (Abu Dawud)

Every month of Ramadan is a blessed opportunity to train ourselves for the rest of the year to lead a life befitting the gifts bestowed by God. Shall we as a nation of devout religious practitioners avail this holy occasion to make a solemn vow to keep clean not only our body for prayers but also the environs wherein we dwell?

Let us begin now with a token gesture. Let us no more sully the street with our saliva. Let the chef shows continue but in mumbles and gestures.



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