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Second Rule: Neatness and Orderliness

Al-Hamdulillah in the last issue, the importance of cleanliness in our homes was discussed. Just as important as it is to keep our homes clean, so should we also keep it neat, tidy, orderly and well organized. The Hadith very emphatically teaches us to be neat and organized in whatever we do.

On one occasion Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said to the Sahaabah:

 

In this Hadith, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) explicitly commands the Sahaabah to straighten their saddles and neaten their clothes so as to look presentable in the sight of people.

The following are some points that should be considered:

Neatness in one's home: It should be the duty of every Muslim to keep his home and surroundings neat and tidy. If someone enters the house, he should find it pleasantly inviting. The woman of the house should be an example to her husband and children in keeping the house neat and tidy. In fact, all the members of the house should be taught to keep the house in this manner. Unfortunately, many a time people live in chaos and neglect their homes. It is unpleasant to find disorganized tables, shelves, and scattered clothes lying around everywhere. Wherever you look, there are signs of chaos and disorder. At times, household members remain in their pyjamas for the entire day. Children are sometimes left dirty and neglected. Certainly, these are against the morals of a Muslim and the Shari’ah.

In the life-style of the Ahlullah (the friends of Allah Ta'ala) we find many lessons of guidance. In his last illnes, Hadhrat Hakeemul-Ummah Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahmatullah Alayh) had become extremely weak. Hadhrat had, on one occasion, the need to go to the toilet in the late part of the night. In that era, in the rural parts of India, there was no electricity and the toilets were situated outside the homes. Furthermore since there was no running water, water had to be taken along for istinja (washing). In this condition of weakness and in the darkness of the night, Hadhrat carried his lota (water can) to the toilet. On his return from the toilet, he felt dizzy and fell unconscious for a while. When he regained consciousness, he dragged himself into the house and lay down to rest. He then realised that the lota had remained where he had fallen in the darkness. He could not bear the inconvenience that the next person, wanting to use the toilet, would experience in not finding the lota in its place. He got up, went outside, retrieved the lota and put it back in its proper place.

To maintain order in one’s home and to keep it neat and organized, the following points should be kept in mind by members of the household:

First: Everything at home should be organized and kept in its respective place. If any item is used, it should be put back in its place after use. Generally, if items (especially tools) are not put back in their proper places then in times of emergencies it puts one in great difficulty. 

Second: Members of the house should be taught not to leave their things lying around. Children especially should be made to clear up after playing with their toys, puzzles etc. In this way things will always be kept neat and tidy. 

Third: To inculcate the habit of neatness in ourselves as well as our children, each person should be taught to daily make their own beds even though one may have domestic servants who will do the job. After bathing or changing ones clothes, dirty clothes must be put into the washing baskets. This should be made a rule in the house.

The following is another incident worth considering. Hadhrat Hakeemul-Ummah (Rahmatullah Alayh) had established certain simple rules for the easy maintenance and smooth running of the khanqaah. Once in the darkness of the night a person neglected to move his bed to a safe place so as not to inconvenience others. Hadhrat (Rahmatullah Alayh) admonished him for his negligence. The main reason for the admonishment was that Hadhrat always wanted his mureeds to give due thought and consideration to every situation and at all times never to inconvenience any of Allah’s Ta'ala makhlooq. In fact Hadhrat considered this to be the essence of Tasawwuf. If a person neglected to observe this in the khanqaah, then he would hardly be expected to be mindful of this in his own environment. However, this person took offence at Hadhrat’s admonishment and left the khanqaah the next day. On his way home, he had to spend the night at a Madrasah in another town. When he arose in the morning, he stumbled on someone’s bed and injured his leg. Immediately he thought of his own negligence in the khanqaah and the wisdom of orderliness in one’s own surroundings.

 

Neatness in one’s vehicle: One should always keep one’s vehicle neat and clean. Have it washed and swept regularly. In the above Hadith Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) commanded the Sahaabah to straighten their saddles on their horses which were their vehicles.

 

Neatness in one’s appearance: Furthermore in the above Hadith Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) commands the Sahaabah to neaten their clothes and look presentable in the presence of other people. Hadhrat Ayesha (Radi Allahu Anha) once advised a woman to make herself look attractive for her husband while Ibn Abbaas (Radi Allahu Anhu) ordered a man to look handsome in the eyes of his wife in the same way that she looks attractive for him.

Many of our Akaabir (pious elders) were very particular in this regard. Their clothes would always be immaculately clean. They would be looking presentable and neat no matter which part of the day or night you visited them. Not only their appearance, but their homes were also very well organized. Despite many of them being very poor and simple, yet they were always neat and presentable in the presence of others. Often we confuse being simple with being untidy. It does not mean that if one is simple one must be untidy. Just as Islaam encourages one to be simple it encourages one to be neat.

Once a Sahaabi with long disheveled hair came to ask something from Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) was not pleased with his appearance. He asked him to adopt a neat appearance and comb his hair everyday (Nasai pg. 291).

As Muslims, we have been taught to comb our hair regularly, keep our beards neatly trimmed once it grows more than a fist length and to keep our moustaches trimmed as short as possible.

 

Neatness in one’s business: Similarly, one’s business should be kept neat and tidy. A proper account of the stock on hand should be kept. Things should not be kept lying all over the store. Being neat and tidy in one’s business makes shopping a pleasurable experience for customers. It makes the customers feel like coming back to visit the store. It is also important that our business premises and goods be maintained in a neat and presentable manner. Edible items should be more carefully and hygienically stored and displayed. There are obvious advantages in this as far as merchandising and sales is concerned.

In the same vein if one is working in an office, the shelves, cupboards and more especially one’s desk should be kept neat. A filing system should be put into place and as documents come in, they should be filed away in their respective places. At the end of each day before leaving the office one should neaten his desk and then leave. It should not be that the papers, files, pamphlets and documents are strewn all over the desk.

A well organised office makes easy and efficient accounting and bookkeeping. After all, the bottom line is receipts and payments. Proper cash flows can be maintained if records are properly kept.

It has been mentioned in the biography of Hadhrat Maseehul Ummah, Moulana Maseehullah Khan Sahib (Rahmatullah Alayh) that daily he would receive about forty letters from different parts of the world. Indeed it was an inspiration to note with what care and organisation these letters were received. These would be kept separately from those that Hadhrat was presently answering. Letters already answered were marked in a certain manner and kept separately to be posted off without delay. There was so much barakah in Hadhrat’s carefully organised system that for many years those Ulama who were close to Hadhrat noticed that, in spite of such a large number of letters arriving daily, Hadhrat always coped with his workload. It was nothing short of being a miracle. There has to be a lesson in this for us. Careful organisation and orderliness can produce much barakah in our efforts.

Neatness and orderliness in the house of Allah Ta'ala: Unfortunately gross disrespect is shown to the house of Allah Ta'ala. Many a time people drive into the Masjid parking-lot and park their cars in a disorderly manner, sometimes taking up the parking space of two vehicles. Musallis remove their shoes and neglect to place them in the shoe-racks provided. They choose to leave their shoes strewn about in the path of other musallis entering the Masjid.

There is much talking and disturbance in the proximity of the Masjid environment, which is totally against the aadaab of the Masjid. Musallies enter the Masjid with the smell of tobacco which cause much annoyance to other musallis and even the angels whom Allah Ta'ala sends to spread their blessings on the musallis. Thus the musallis are deprived of the barakah and blessings of the angels.

People are in the habit of bringing little children, who are still not conscious of the aadaab of the Masjid. In this way the sanctity of the Masjid is violated.

 

Conclusion

Hadhrat Moulana Maseehullah Khan Sahib (Rahmatullah Alayh) has stated, that it is easy to strive and make claims of piety. However the reality is that there is no insaaniyat left in insaan (humanity in humans). Every Muslim should be mindful at every step not to cause any kind of inconvenience to any person in any way.

May Allah Ta'ala give us all the taufeeq to practice. Aameen.



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