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December 2005
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Muslim Perspectives

Bakrid - A Perfect Platform
By M. Hanif Lakdawala

Mobilising support from other communities, Muslims are utilising Bakrid as a perfect platform to launch a nation-wide Cleanliness Campaign.


Muslims of Mumbai are focusing on the forthcoming Bakrid and have launched a campaign ‘Safai Aadah Iman hain’. Muslim neighbourhoods such as Madanpura, Moha-mmed Ali Road and Kurla are being spruced up for action.


Instead of going alone, the local Muslims are mobilising the support of the other communities and forming the ALM (Advance Locality Management).


After forming the ALM, they intend to pressurise the police and Municipal Corporation to support the cleanliness drive. Students of Muslim- managed colleges and Muslim Trusts have come together to bring in some improvement in these localities.


The initiative is taken by the ‘Media Professionals for Community Development’, (MPCD), a NGO formed by the Muslim professionals. “For the campaign, we are distributing handbills, posters, banners and plastic sheets so that those who collect slaughter animal skins, can cover it and do not display it in open. We will donate these plastic sheets in the Muslim localities”, said, Sajid Baig, member MPCD.


MPCD campaign is based on the Quranic injunctions that are a beautiful blend of the physical and spiritual aspects of human life. The physical actions have a direct bearing on the mental make-up that ultimately determines the personality of a human being. A believer thus observes these principles as part of obedience to the Divine command. Cleanliness is also a constant process evident in nature. “And we send down pure water from the sky (free from all impurities)”. (25:48). The transformation of impure salt water present in the oceans by the hydrological cycle is a gift from the Almighty, without which the provision of fresh water so essential would not have been possible.


MPCD intends to educate the Muslims to implement the Quranic teachings regarding cleanliness in the Muslim localities. “There is a need to change the attitude of the Muslim masses about playing a pro-active role for maintaining the locality clean. The perception that Muslims are very dirty needs to be changed with a sustained campaign,” said Sajid.


All Islamic prayers, congregations are preceded by wudu (Ablution), which involves the cleaning of all exposed parts of the body. “God does not wish to place you in difficulty, but to make you clean and to complete His favour to you (By making you tidy and disciplined people) so that you may be able to express your gratitude to Him”. (5:6).


The Quran does not regard the body as an evil or an impediment to spiritual progress. The purity of mind, body and intention and matters relating to food and hygiene form an important part of this Quranic system, which ordains the believers to be clean and tidy at prayers and all other times. Bakrid can be a perfect platform to launch a nation- wide cleanliness campaign in the Muslim localities as enjoined in the Quran. Street plays, documentaries, corner meetings, involving the local Muslims can be an effective strategy. In fact, Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh) considered cleanliness to be half imaan (faith). Purity and cleanliness are not confined to the externals that are perceived by the senses. The Quran also says that the purity of body and mind is the hallmark of good human beings and is equally demanded from both man and woman. The basic concept of cleanliness is to have a clean body and mind. A person who knows the true worth of cleanliness should understand the sublime quality of a mind, clean of all unhealthy thoughts. Modern science also acknowledges the deep impact of clean healthy thoughts on the human personality.


A Muslim observes cleanliness not because he has received an academic course of instructions in hygienic principles, but because it is part of the discipline, which he has learnt at home during his early childhood. Even historically, Public Baths were a necessary attachment to the mosques and the wells in small towns and villages in earlier times.


(The writer can be reached at mh1964@rediffmail.com)