“Cleanliness is half of faith” – Sahih Muslim
This is a well known phrase amongst the Islamic community, but I didn’t really appreciate it until today.
I’m extremely lucky (one could argue unlucky at times) to have been raised by a clean freak mother. The house is always spotless, but at the same time, I’m always being yelled at for things like “why can’t you just clean the dishes immediately?” or “why can’t you just put your clothes in your closet right now?”
I recently moved into my first apartment this year, and honestly it’s been a pretty growing experience. All of a sudden, I started noticing my dining table wasn’t always spotless every morning. The pan that I forgot to wash immediately… would stay unwashed. The only time serious action would take place was if fruit flies started appearing, “Nadia, I think I need to throw away your oranges”. However, it was more than the fruit flies that was bothering me. My roommate didn’t mind the greasy stains showing on the table for days, or how there were leftovers living in the fridge for months, but after a while, I couldn’t take it anymore.
Friday afternoons have started becoming my cleaning days, where everything becomes spotless again. I was cleaning the bathroom, and that’s when I noticed it. Obviously, when thinking of cleaning the toilet, the toilet seat comes to mind, but you don’t really think about wiping down the tank immediately, because you don’t really use it other than for the flush. However, when I took the time to stare at my white toilet tank, I noticed that it was sort of covered in dust. And that’s when it struck me. Just because you don’t ever touch something doesn’t prevent it from getting dirty. The only way to keep anything clean is to actively take the time to clean it.
Cleaning is really a lifestyle. You take the personal initiative to block out time in your life and dedicate it to cleaning, simply because clean feels good. It’s an active mindset that I want to have all the time, not just every Friday afternoon. As I mentioned earlier, my mom is a clean freak, so one can imagine what an extremely active attitude she has. 24/7, she’s always making sure the house is spotless. I notice, now, that this state of mind of hers is actually present in all aspects of her personality. She takes out the time everyday to read the Quran, and leads a weekly Quran study group with her cousins. She takes out the time everyday to spend time with her kids and husband individually and together as a family. She makes time to work out, and the list can go on, but my point is that no one tells her she has to do all this. Fruit flies aren’t going to start erupting if she starts slacking off just a little bit. Yet, she stays on top of it. Why?
The way she cleans her house is the way she lives her life as well.
Living an idle and too chill life leaves you with a house full of tomato-sauce-stained placemats, greasy tables, and empty amazon boxes scattered across the floor. I’ve been pushing off studying for the MCAT for no good reason, and found myself relating to the dusty overlooked white toilet tank in my bathroom. At the end of the day, who’s satisfied with a dusty life when it can be more?
So here’s to becoming a more active cleaner not only in my apartment, but also in my life. Cheers!