One way you can easily tell the difference between a western neighborhood and a South Asian one is through the standard of cleanliness. In any western town or residential area, you would not find any garbage heaps or dumps whereas in our case, any street or public place one may come across will have plenty of litter and trash thrown here and there. It is no wonder, it is often said that a basic criteria by which you can judge a nation is how clean its public toilets are. Finding any spick and span public toilet is almost a miracle these days.

Personal hygiene, sadly, is a neglected issue both at the personal and the public level. Perhaps as a people we have forgotten the meaning and essence of cleanliness and the fact that even our great religion enjoined upon us to observe cleanliness.

It goes without saying that the cleanliness of Prophet (PBUH) was exemplary; when he shook hands with somebody, his scent would remain on that man’s hand for the rest of the day, and if he laid his hand on the head of a child, that child would stand out from others by virtue of his sweet smell.

Cleanliness is something we would have to make a part and parcel of our lives and inculcate it as a quality with which we can be judged as a people. There’s more to hygiene than some might think; it speaks volumes about the person; it makes up the entire character.

Eesha khalique Sheikh,

Lahore, December 22.