Understanding Islam - Part II Morals, preservation and cleanliness
Muslims, followers of Islam, an eastern religion founded by the Prophet Muhammad, do not regard Islam merely as a religion. For them, it is a lifestyle. Everything they do and say are guided by Islamic principles and ethics.
Islam prohibits all evil and unkind deeds and utterances. It also orders and encourages all good morals and manners. In the Quran, Allah says, "Join not anything as equal with Him; be good to your parents; kill not your children on a plea of want. We provide sustenance for you and for them. Come not nigh to shameful deeds, whether open or secret; take not life, which Allah has made sacred, except by way of justice and law; thus does he command you, that you may learn wisdom."
The preservation of the environment in which we exist is key. The environment must be cared for and protected. Every form of pollution and the random killing of animals and birds are prohibited. Certain acts are, however, encouraged. These include the planting of beneficial trees and the removal of anything that might cause harm to people and their surroundings. Removing harm from pathways is regarded as charity. Islam also encourages the quarantining of people with harmful contagious diseases to protect the life of others.
Islam is a religion of cleanliness and purity. Allah is quoted as saying, "O children of Adam, take your adornment at every Masjid, and eat and drink, but do not waste: verily he does not love the wasteful." He said also, "Indeed, Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves." Purification is a requirement for prayer, if the prayer is to be regarded as valid. And Muslims pray at least five times throughout the day.
Islam also requires a full wash of the body before and after sexual intercourse, which is a manifest symbol of Islam. The reference from the Quran, Islam's holiest book, says in part, "O you who believe! When you rise up for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands up to the elbows, and wipe heads and your feet up to the ankles ... ."
Believers are encouraged to wash their hands before and after meals. The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, is quoted as saying, "Food is blessed when one washes his hands before and after it." And the mouth, in which food is eaten, as well as the teeth, is also encouraged to be kept clean.
Islam also encourages that believers cleanse and purify other parts of the body that become a breeding ground for germs, parasites and filth. Muhammad said, "There are five acts which are from the innate nature with which Allah created humans: circumcision, removing the pubic hair, plucking the hair of the armpit, shortening the moustache, and clipping the nails."