Since the germ theory of disease, cleanliness has come to mean an effort to remove germs and other hazardous materials. A reaction to an excessive desire for a germ-free environment began to occur around 1989, when David Strachan put forth the "hygiene hypothesis" in the British Medical Journal. In essence, this hypothesis holds that dirt plays a useful role in developing the immune system; the fewer germs people are exposed to in childhood, the more likely they are to get sick as adults. The valuation of cleanliness, therefore, has a social and cultural dimension beyond the requirements of hygiene for practical purposes.
Influence of cleanliness on an individual’s life
The significance of cleanliness and hygiene cannot be overlooked by any society. Every faith and civilization stresses the importance of cleanliness. Historically, cleanliness has been considered one of the important factors by which to judge a civilization’s or society’s development.
Islam places great emphasis on cleanliness and purity, both physically and spiritually. In Islam, spiritual purity is linked to physical cleanliness and purity. More importantly, cleanliness is termed an indispensable fundamental of faith.
However, this fundamental and powerful tenet of our faith, unfortunately, is not reflected in our society practically. Serious reflection is required on our individual as well as collective practices in order to make this valuable principle of Islam part of our lives.
There are many verses in the Holy Quran which reflect the importance of cleanliness. For example, Allah says “…Truly, Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean” (2:222). In the Quran worship and seeking Allah’s love is conditioned with cleanliness and purity as the Holy Book says “…In it [mosque] are men who love to clean and to purify themselves. And Allah loves those who make themselves clean and pure” (9:108)....