Essay on Different Approaches to Education: Cleaning

Banu Büyükçıngıl
4 minutes

Although many things are said about the new generation, I think the new generation needs to be educated on four issues. Each of these four pillars is crucial for raising individuals who are sensitive to themselves, others and their environment. Cleanliness, good morals, responsibility and the ability to understand and express what they read. In this first article, I will talk about cleanliness. What is the lack of cleanliness and what can we do during education to become a cleaner country and a cleaner society? I tried to answer your questions in my own way.

Cleanliness is the most important quality of a society. As a society, we are a nation that attaches importance to cleanliness. However, while everyone is careful about this at home, at school, in the classroom, in the garden, in the park, in the park, on the street, on the beach, in short, they throw their garbage freely wherever they do not own property, and factories see no harm in dumping their wastes into the sea. Of course, this does not apply to everyone, but unfortunately it is true to a considerable extent. Because in the school where I work, even very well-behaved children can throw the packet of the biscuit they eat at the next desk. But there are trash bins in the classroom and in the garden. The sad thing is that they feel no discomfort despite being warned. Perhaps children’s awareness is weak because their families behave in this way. Because this awareness is formed in the family. On the other hand, seeing what is not one’s property as a foreign place seems to stem from a perspective that lacks an understanding of wahdat, or unity. Is it thought that any place that we don’t pay for and don’t take the title deed for can be polluted? How much we envy countries with clean streets. Can our streets and public toilets be as clean? I think the answer to this question is definitely yes, and we can realize this through education at a young age.

In this context, Sufis draw attention to a verse, “Allah encompasses everything.”[1] Allah encompasses everything, not everyone. This means that we live in an environment surrounded by Allah. That’s why Sufis don’t bang on the table or walk with a hard foot on the ground, because it is God who encompasses things. Then what are we doing with every piece of garbage we throw into the environment, with our seas that we pollute with chemicals? Why do we say that we love God and yet we harm the things that he surrounds? Even if we are not a believer, why are we polluting a part of the universe?

The Prophet’s (PBUH) hadith “Cleanliness is half of faith” clearly states that cleanliness is indeed an issue that should be at the top of our agenda. Of course, as Imam al-Ghazālī stated in Ihyā’u ‘Ulūm al-dīnon this hadith, cleanliness should not only consist of external cleanliness. Because cleanliness on the outside is reflected on the inside. As Ibn ‘Arabi puts it, the way to the bāṭin is through the zāhir. An individual who attaches importance to external cleanliness and is in harmony with his/her environment may tend to experience an awareness of internal cleanliness over time, that is, the clarity of his/her thoughts and the purification of his/her heart from nafsani desires and wishes. In short, the purpose of cleanliness is to move from the outside to the inside. This is realized according to one’s fortune and effort.

Coming back to our topic, I think that with a few small additions in education, the concept of cleanliness can turn into a behavioral pattern. One day a week, from kindergarten to senior high school, each child can clean their own classroom. Every two weeks or a month, each class can clean the schoolyard. Children who clean their classrooms in this way may change their littering habits. Unfortunately, parents sometimes strongly oppose such activities. We may not see the importance they give to lessons in social responsibility areas. We even witness people complaining about such events.

I think the more parents who do not see their children as academic computers, but who care about their children becoming environmentally sensitive, responsible and well-adjusted individuals, the more we will be able to raise happy and successful individuals, no matter what they do.

[1] Nisâ 4/126.

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