A variety of oral hygiene measures have been performed since the dawn of time. This has been verified by various excavations done all over the world, in which toothpicks, chewsticks, tree twigs, linen strips, birds' feathers, animal bones and porcupine quills were recovered 1.
Tiny and hairy, being no more than 3mm in length, black seed originates from the common fennel flower plant (Nigella sativa) of the buttercup (Ranunculaceae) family. Nigella sativa is sometimes mistakenly confused with the fennel herb plant (Foeniculum vulgare).The plant reproduces with itself and forms a fruit capsule which consists of many white trigonal seeds. Once the fruit capsule has matured, it opens up and the seeds contained within are exposed to the air, becoming black in color (black seeds). Commonly known as the "seed of blessing," it has been used as a natural remedy in the Middle and Far East for more than 2000 years. Black seed provides nutritional support for the body's defense system. In 1959, the active ingredient in black seed, crystalline Nigellone, was first isolated and identified as providing many health benefits. Clinical trials have validated the efficacy of black seed in promoting health and wellness. The most pertinent point to be made about black seed is that it should be regarded as part of an overall holistic approach to health and ideally should be incorporated into one's everyday lifestyle. In this way, the many nutritional and healing properties contained in the seed can help build the body's immune system over time, supplying it with the optimum resources it needs to help prevent and fight illness.
USING THE BLACK SEED Black seed as a daily health supplement Most medicines work best when given a chance to run their full course, and this too, is the case with black seed. In cognizance of its substantial nutritional components, as well as its specific medicinal properties, the body's ability to maintain health and promote healing of a lasting nature is best increased through regular use of black seed. Black seed as an energy source Ibn Sina (980-1037), in describing the black seed as that which "stimulates the body's energy and helps recovery from fatigue or disspiritedness," still holds true for Tibb (Islamic Medicine) health practitioners today. The rich nutritional value contained in black seed as outlined by scientific analysis of black seed, also points to it as a great source of energy. From the Tibb health perspective, the black seed has an ability to maintain and restore body heat. Our Western diet, predominantly made up of cold foods -- ice in our drinks, yogurt, pizza, cheese -- all deplete the innate heat our body requires in order to optimally function. Tibb holds the view that a reduced metabolic rate (innate heat) is the cause of most illnesses. The body, in losing energy, also loses its ability to fight off toxins, resulting in a greater chance of contracting illness. Black seed and other medication Black seed may be used in conjunction with conventional or other forms of natural medicine. It is not recommended that black seed be used exclusively in the treatment of serious medical complaints which may require more immediate action. For example, conditions like bronchitis sometimes require conventional antibiotics to prevent the condition from becoming more severe. However, black seed may be used as a therapeutic aid together with this and other forms of treatment to help counteract any side effects experienced from the use of antibiotics or other potent, chemically based medicines. Pregnancy and lactation The black seed is not recommended during pregnancy, however during lactation. It is an excellent form of added nutrition for both mother and the growing child while its immune system boosting properties serve as a natural, safe way to build resistance against illness. In addition, as studies have shown, black seed helps increase milk production during breastfeeding. Initial trials have shown that black seed may have an ability to increase the male sperm count. Babies and toddlers In addition to its many nutritional components, black seed contains carotene, which is essential for infant growth. During the toddler years, black seed provides children with all the energy they require for this active stage of life. Regular usage of black seed, which increases its immune system strengthening effect on the body, will decrease the length and severity of natural childhood illnesses, particularly during winter when children are most susceptible to contracting colds and flu. Black seed for the elderly person Which its rich nutritional, energy-giving value, in combination with immune system strengthening properties, black seed is an ideal health supplement for the elderly person.
HOW DOES BLACK SEED BENEFIT? The majority of our health problems have the same causes- infection by micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. When using clinical (allopathic medicines) each symptom is treated individually and usually with synthetic chemically manufactured medicines that contain alcohol and other harmful ingredients. Black seed is effective at treating the body as a whole and fights the actual cause of the symptoms. Black seed regulates too weak or too strong reactions of the immune system, is excellent for treating chronic, allergic and hormonal diseases, black seed support metabolism, improve digestion, helps to lowers blood sugar levels. It is used to dispel worms and parasites from intestinal track. It is useful in soothing bronchitis and coughs, increase body tone, stimulates menstrual periods, increases the flow of breast milk, provides quick energy, increases sperm count, calms the nervous system, encourages hair growth and retards hair fall out, and prevents skin wrinkling.
"And your Lord revealed to the bee saying: Make hives in the mountains and in the trees and in what they build: Then eat of all the fruits and walk in the ways of your Lord submissively. There comes forth from within it a beverage of many colours, in which there is healing for men; most surely there is a sign in this for a people who reflect. (Surat an-Nahl, 68-69)
Honey is a sweet treat. In fact, it is man's oldest sweetener. It can be a good substitute for sugar in our drinks and food. But it is also good for many other things and treating many other conditions. Reliance on commercialized medicines which contains too much chemicals can become hazardous to our health. Alhamdullilah, Allah has given us the knowledge that Mother Nature can at least help to ease the pain we are suffering from. Honey is composed of sugars like glucose and fructose and minerals like magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium chlorine, sulphur, iron and phosphate. It contains vitamins B1, B2, C, B6, B5 and B3 all of which change according to the qualities of the nectar and pollen. Besides the above, copper, iodine, and zinc exist in it in small quantities. Several kinds of hormones are also present in it. Approximately one half of the human diet is derived directly or indirectly from crops pollinated by bees. Today honeybees are an essential part of a healthy agriculture economy. If you have allergies, honey can be beneficial. If you eat honey that is local to your area, it may prevent your seasonal allergies. Bees use the pollen from local plants and eventually it ends up in your honey. Honey may also be good for your skin. It has the ability to attract water. You can use honey instead of alpha hydroxy masks because of its high content of the acid. It is also safe for sensitive skin. You can also use it as a moisturizing mask for your skin as well as your hair. To use it as a conditioner, mix the honey with olive oil. Be sure to wash your hair thoroughly before you go outside. If you have a sore throat, take some honey.Due to its natural anti-inflammatory effect, it will help to heal the wounds more quickly.It also has different phytochemicals--chemicals found in plants and different foods--that kill viruses, bacteria, and fungus making it a good substitute for wound dressings. The taste may also take your mind off the pain. There is evidence that honey diluted in water will help with your stomachaches and dehydration.
Germ-Fighting Properties Do you have a cut? Honey is a natural antiseptic. Medical journals cite more than 600 cases in which honey was employed to treat wounds.By applying honey to your wounds, you prevent infections. Honey contains antimicrobial agents, which prevents infections by killing the bacteria in and around your wounds. When using honey it may help to heat it up before putting it on your wound (caution test the heat before you place it on the wound).Many types of bacteria can’t survive in honey, so wounds heal, swelling eases, and tissue can grow back. Honey may also be effective in the treatment of your ulcers.In Europe, honey has been used internally to help cure ulcers, particularly stomach ulcers. Burns, too, heal better with honey, studies show. The advantage of honey is that it not only prevents infections from occurring, it actually accelerates skin healing.. Since the sugar in honey absorbs water it helps to trap some of the moisture so that the bacteria and other microbes can’t grow as easily as in other food.
How Does It Help In Healing Wounds? When honey comes into contact with body moisture, the glucose oxidase enzyme introduced to the honey by the bee slowly releases the antiseptic hydrogen peroxide at a sufficient level to be effective against bacteria but not tissue damaging. Not only is honey anti-bacterial, it also draws body fluids and nutrients to the area and so assists cell growth and prevents a scar forming by drying out of the wound. The osmotic action of the honey draws out and provides a film of liquid between the tissues and the dressing, allowing the dressing to be removed painlessly, without tearing of the re-growing cells. There are reports in medical journals of large bed sores, otherwise needing skin grafts, that have healed without scarring after honey treatment. In treating diarrhea, honey promotes the rehydration of the body and more quickly clears up the diarrhea and any vomiting and stomach upsets. The anti-bacterial properties of honey, both the peroxide and non-peroxide, are effective in the laboratory against MRSA strains of bacteria which are notoriously resistant to antibiotics and are sometimes responsible for the closing of hospital wards.
Other Benefits of Honey Easily digested: Because sugar molecules in honey can convert into other sugars (e.g. fructose to glucose), honey is easily digested by the most sensitive stomachs, despite its high acid content. It helps kidneys and intestines to function better. Good source of antioxidants: It plays a big role in the prevention of cancer as well as heart disease. Has a low calorie level: Another quality of honey is that, when it is compared with the same amount of sugar, it gives 40% less calories to the body. Although it gives great energy to the body, it does not add weight. Rapidly diffuses through the blood: When accompanied by mild water, honey diffuses into the bloodstream in 7 minutes. Its free sugar molecules make the brain function better since the brain is the largest consumer of sugar, thus, reduces fatigue. Supports blood formation: Honey provides an important part of the energy needed by the body for blood formation. In addition, it helps in cleansing the blood. It has some positive effects in regulating and facilitating blood circulation. It also functions as a protection against capillary problems and arteriosclerosis. Does not accommodate bacteria: This bactericide (bacteria-killing) property of honey is named "the inhibition effect". Experiments conducted on honey show that its bactericide properties increase twofold when diluted with water. It is very interesting to note that newly born bees in the colony are nourished with diluted honey by the bees responsible for their supervision - as if they know this feature of the honey. Royal Jelly: Royal jelly is a substance produced by worker bees inside the beehive. Inside this nutritious substance are sugar, proteins, fats and many vitamins. It is used in problems caused by tissue deficiency or body frailty. It is obvious that honey, which is produced in much higher amounts than the requirements of the bees, is made for the benefit of man. And it is also obvious that bees cannot perform such an unbelievable task "on their own."
The Miracle of Zam Zam
Allah had commanded Ibrahim alayhis salaam to leave his wife, Haajar 'alayhas salaam, and their son, Ismail alayhis salaam, at the valley in which Makkah would be built. When their last supplies was depleted Haajar 'alayhas salaam became distressed, distressed not for herself but for her beloved baby. She dashed from as-Safa to al-Marwah in search of sustenance. She looked about and found nothing. She returned to al-Marwah. On her seventh trip, whilst she was on Marwa, she heard the Angel Jibreel and saw that a spring had emerged. According to some narrations it sprang from where the angel struck his wings according to another it was where the baby struck his heels. Haajar 'alayhas salaam feared the water would be depleted. She shouted, "Zam! Zam!" meaning, "Stop!" She also scooped sand around it. According to a Hadith, had she not done that it would have formed a river.
The Jurham tribe of Yemen was attracted to the water and founded the city of Makkah. Centuries later they were expelled from Makkah. Before leaving they closed the well which remained hidden for centuries. The grandfather of Rasulullah sallallahu â€˜alayhi wa sallam, 'Abdul Muttalib, rediscovered and opened the well.
The heart of the Rasulullah sallallahu â€˜alayhi wa sallam was washed with Zamzam water.
Many Saheeh Ahaadeeth have been narrated concerning its virtues, such as: "
The best water on the face of the earth is the water of Zamzam; it is a kind of food and a healing from sickness.â€ (at-Tabrani)).
It was reported that Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam drank it, performed wudu' with it and poured it on his head. He used to carry Zamzam water in small vessels and large containers in order to pour it on the sick and give it to them to drink.
One of the Sahaabah radiyallahu â€˜anhum said, "We used to call it al-Shabbaa'ah (satisfying) and it helped us to take care our families" i.e., it was filling and helped them to do without food, it was also sufficient to nourish children.
"The water of Zamzam is for whatever it is drunk for." (Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 3062;. Scholars and righteous people have experienced this â€“ they have drunk it with the intention of fulfilling some need such as healing from sickness or being freed from poverty and distress, and Allah fulfilled these hopes).
When Abu Zarr al-Ghifari narrates concerning when he first came to Makkah al-Mukarramah to meet Rasulullah sallallahu â€˜alayhi wa sallam, â€œI lived a month in which I had nothing to eat but for Zamzam.' Not only did he pass his time with relative ease but he states, 'I became obese, and due to my enlarged state creases had formed on my stomach. I also did not feel weak." (Muslim)
Enemies always seek to discredit Islam. One avenue is to attack the sacred Zamzam. The following 1971 report is by Tariq Hussain, a Pakistani chemical engineer who was then working with the Saline Water Desalination Corporation at the Jeddah plant.
Zamzam Water - A Miracle
By Tariq Hussain
Come the Hajj season, and I am reminded of the wonders of Zamzam water. Let me go back to how it all started. In 1971, an Egyptian doctor wrote a letter to the European Press, saying that Zamzam water was not fit for drinking purposes. I immediately thought that this was just a form of prejudice against the Muslims and that since his statement was based on the assumption that since the Ka`bah was a shallow place (below sea level) and located in the centre of the city of Makkah, the wastewater of the city collecting through the drains fell into the well holding the water. Fortunately, the news came to the ears of King Faisal, who got extremely angry and decided to disprove the Egyptian doctor's provocative statement. He immediately ordered the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources to investigate and send samples of Zamzam water to European laboratories for testing the portability of the water.
The ministry then instructed the Jeddah Power and Desalination Plants to carry out this task.
It was here that I was employed as a desalting engineer (chemical engineer to produce drinking water from seawater). I was chosen to carry out this assignment. At this stage, I remember that I had no idea what the well holding the water looked like. I went to Makkah and reported to the authorities at the Ka`bah explaining my purpose of visit.
They deputed a man to give me whatever help was required. When we reached the well, it was hard for me to believe that a pool of water, more like a small pond, about 18 by 14 feet (5.5 by 4.3 meters), was the well that supplied millions of gallons of water every year to Hajis ever since it came into existence at the time of Prophet Ibrahim (peace and blessings be upon him) many, many centuries ago.
I started my investigations and took the dimensions of the well. I asked the man to show me thedepth of the well. First he took a shower and descended into the water. Then he straightened his body. I saw that the water level came up to just above his shoulders. His height was around 5 feet, 8 inches (173 centimetres). He then started moving from one corner to the other in the well (standing all the while since he was not allowed to dip his head into the water) in search of any inlet or pipeline inside the well to see from where the water came in. However, the man reported that he could not find any inlet or pipeline inside the well.
I thought of another idea. The water could be withdrawn rapidly with the help of a big transfer pump that was installed at the well for the Zamzam water storage tanks. In this way, the water level would drop, enabling us to locate the point of entry of the water. Surprisingly, nothing was observed during the pumping period, but I knew that this was the only method by which one could find the entrance of the water to the well. So I decided to repeat the process. But this time I instructed the man to stand still at one place and carefully observe any unusual thing happening inside the well. After a while, he suddenly raised his hands and shouted, "Al-hamdu lillah! I have found it. The sand is dancing beneath my feet as the water oozes out of the bed of the well."
Then he moved around the well during the pumping period and noticed the same phenomenon everywhere in the well.
Actually the flow of water into the well through the bed was equal at every point, thus keeping the level of the water steady. After I finished my observations I took the samples of the water for European laboratories to test. Before I left the Ka`bah, I asked the authorities about the other wells around Makkah. I was told that these wells were mostly dry.
When I reached my office in Jeddah, I reported my findings to my boss, who listened with great interest but made a very irrational comment that the Zamzam well could be internally connected to the Red Sea. How was it possible when Makkah is about 46.6 miles (75 kilometres) away from the sea and the wells located before the city usually remain dry?
The results of the water samples tested by the European laboratories and the one we analyzed in our own laboratory were found to be almost identical. The difference between Zamzam water and other (city water) was in the quantity of calcium and magnesium salts. The content of these was slightly higher in Zamzam water. This may be why this water refreshes tired Hajis, but more significantly, the water contains fluorides that have an effective germicidal action. Moreover, the remarks of the European laboratories showed that the water was fit for drinking.
Hence the statement made by the Egyptian doctor was proved false. When this was reported to King Faisal, he was extremely pleased and ordered the contradiction of the report in the European Press. In a way, it was a blessing that this study was undertaken to show the chemical composition of the water. In fact, the more you explore, the more wonders surface and you find yourself believing implicitly in the miracles of this water that Allah bestowed as a gift on the faithful coming from far and wide to the desert land for pilgrimage.
Some of the Features of Zamzam Water
This well has never dried up. On the contrary, it has always fulfilled the demand for water. It has always maintained the same salt composition and taste ever since it came into existence. Its portability has always been universally recognized as pilgrims from all over the world visit the Ka`bah every year for Hajj and `Umrah, but have never complained about it. Instead, they have always enjoyed the water that refreshes them. Water tastes different at different places.
Zamzam water's appeal has always been universal. This water has never been chemically treated or chlorinated as is the case with water pumped into the cities. Biological growth and vegetation usually take place in most wells. This makes the water unpalatable owing to the growth of algae causing taste and odour problems.
SMOKING: The Islamic Perspective
|The Islamic Ruling|
Many Ulama (Islamic scholars) are of the view that smoking is harâm. This view is substantiated by those verses of the Holy Qur'ân and Ahâdith of Rasûlullâh Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam which prohibit harming one's physical well being, causing distress to others and squandering wealth
The primary basis of this ruling is that a smoker slowly destroys the body that Allah has granted him. The human body is a trust from Allah and has to be safeguarded and protected at all costs. A strong healthy believer is better than a weak one. One who smokes, inevitably destroys one's good health. Rasûlullâh Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said that one should cherish one's good health before one's illness. The harms of smoking are very well-known today, especially when every cigarette advertisement warns of the harms of smoking.
Allah states: "And do not throw yourself into destruction with your own hands." (Qur'ân 2: 195)
Most medical authorities agree that smoking is a major cause of lung cancer among men and women. Smoking also causes cancer of the larynx, lip, oesophagus and urinary bladder. Smoking greatly increases die risk of dying from chronic bronchitis and emphysema. in another verse of the Holy Qur’ân, Allah says: "And do not kill yourselves. (Qur'ân 4: 29)
Nabi Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said: "Whoever drinks poison, thereby killing himself, will sip this poison forever in the fire of Jahannam."
Cigarettes consist of many poisonous substances. Furthermore, the smoker indulges in a slow suicidal act by smoking this poison.
Composition of Cigarettes
Cigarettes comprise of many poisonous ingredients of which nicotine is not the only poisonous ingredient as many people misconceive, but includes other harmful ingredients as well. From amongst its poisonous ingredients are:
During smoking, the larger particulates (tiny particles) get deposited on the mucus lining of the lungs. Over time, the large particulates and certain gases in the cigarette smoke scar the lungs and damage the cillia, thousands of little hairs that line the airways. In heavy smokers, the cillia are paralysed, and the pollutants remain in the lungs. As a result, a smoker's chances of developing bronchitis and influenza increases. Deposits of small particulates in the smaller airways of the lungs can lead to a lung disease called emphysema. When a person becomes enslaved to the habit of smoking, it has a very harmful effect on the smoker's health, especially to his heart. As a result, his heart beat and blood circulation becomes unstable and he experiences drowsiness from time to time due to the shrinking of his brain arteries. Sometimes during old age he suffers from high blood pressure and angina. Similarly his digestive and respiratory systems are harmed and the smoker loses his appetite. He is also afflicted by a cough which is known as the smoker's cough. When his nervous system is affected, the smoker feels a prickly sensation, a numbness in his limbs and also a pain in the nerves.
Allah Ta'aala describes the mission of Nabi Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam: "He commands them to do good and stops them from evil and makes halâl for them that which is pure and makes harâm upon them that which is impure." (Qur’ân 7:157)
This verse clearly shows pure things to be harâm and impure things to be harâm. An intelligent person would no doubt regard smoking to be from among the impure things.
Squandering of Wealth
Allâh says in the Holy Qur'ân:
"And do not squander (your wealth). Indeed those who are extravagant are the brothers of Shaytân." (Qur’ân 17:27)
Nabi Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam states: "And disliked for you is hearsay, excessive questioning and the squandering of wealth."
Nabi Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam also said: "Whoever eats garlic or onion (raw) should keep away from us, keep far from our masâjid and he should sit at home."
One partaking of these two vegetables was prohibited because of the foul odour caused by them, so what about the repulsive stench of cigarettes which harms the smoker and irritates other people? Its foul smell is more aggravating than the smell of garlic and onion.
Increasing evidence indicates that cigarette smoke also harms non-smokers. Research shows that non-smokers who for many years have worked closely with smokers suffer decreased lung efficiency.
Smoking is also an act that wastes one's precious time. Smokers are ill more often and miss more days of work than do non-smokers.
Some Ulama are of the opinion that it is makruh-tahrîmî which in reality implies that it is harâm in practice. Furthermore, to persist in doing something that is classified as makrûh also renders it as harâm.
Published by: Madrasah Arabia Islamia, Azaadville, Krugersdorp, South Africa.
Bismallah Ir-Rahman, Ir-Rahim
Medical practice in the United States is facing its most serious challenge in the past 100 years. While no medical system can be expected to have a monopoly on cures, to day allopathic medicine is facing an ever- growing number of unorthodox assaults, on top of the malpractice increase. And, these charges are being lodged despite the outstanding advances and cures which can be attributed to scientific medicine.
The chief complaints against the orthodox system are that it is often harmful, often ineffective, and often too expensive. Modern hospital medicine is vulnerable on all three counts. It uses techniques and drugs that are productive of many adverse reactions, cost too much and frequently do not cure. Indeed, Dr. Lewis Thomas, President of the Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center in New York, confessed in a recent interview, that all internists know that ninety percent of all illnesses get better by themselves.
In the late 1979's in modern and scientific America (and much of the rest of the developed world), there need be no concern for the plagues and diseases which leveled civilizations in the past: smallpox, poliomyelitis, cholera, measles, and especially systemic bacterial infection are simply not a threat to life. In one sense, then, men and women and children are much healthier than they have ever been in human life; yet, they are much more apprehensive and disappointed about their lives than ever before. The reports of unnecessary surgeries, suicides, drug abuse, sexual perversion, alcoholism and a wide array of "nervous" disorders, affect the entire population. What is more the causes of death for most people cancer, heart disease contain a clue as to the true source and cause of the problem, the gradual withering away and withdrawal of the life Force itself. Still, women abort their children, everyone seems quite willing to ingest substances known to shorten their life span, and engage in life habits and patterns which demonstrably build disease.
Coincident with this growing lack of true health, there is an assault upon the very integrity of the physician, and the substantial proportion of malpractice suits are rooted in the common misunderstandings about medicine and responsibility for health. Patients feel that the doctor has all the answers and the patient is but a passive participant in the relationship. Such an expectation is beyond the ability of medical science to satisfy. Physicians themselves have difficulty overcoming the psychological and financial temptations involved in assuming such a role. Thus, they too fall into the traps inherent in relationships based upon unjustified dependency.
It is at this critical juncture, when Man seems to be losing the physical and psychological underpinnings necessary for rational life-that we must turn to our Gracious and Merciful Creator, Allah t'ala, for the infallible remedy and vital prescriptions for our time.
Insha allah, in this presentation, I would like to suggest some conceptual framework within which we can begin to utilize the most Complete and thorough Medical Tradition, that of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (AS), and arrive at a renewed view of man as healer and man as patient.
Allah t'ala tells us in Surah An'am, verse 17:
"If God touch thee with affliction, none can remoe it but He;" (VIII 7)
And, again, in Surah Yunus, verse 57, we learn:
"O mankind! there hath come to you a direction from your Lord and a healing for the (diseases) in your hearts, -and for those who believe, a Guidance And a Mercy". (XI57)
And, once again, in Surah Bani Isra'il, this idea is even made more clear:
"We send down (stage by stage) in the Qur'an that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe... " (XVII / 82)
Similar revelations are contained in other verses in Qur'an, notably in Surah XXVI, verses 80 and 81; XLI, verse 44; Surah XVI, verses 53 and 69. These are the specific references to guide mankind to the revelation of the latest and complete code for the fit conduct of human life on earth, in order to maintain or regain health.
As Muslim physicians, there is a very special obligation upon us, to become models of human life lived in harmony with these commands of our Creator. To accomplish this, let us look for a moment at the very excellent and perfect example left to us by the Prophet Muhammad (AS), and conveyed to us in the Sahih Traditions of Muslim and Bokhaii. The first Appendix shows a preliminary listing of those topics having a direct bearing and relationship upon health, which is given with a specific instructions from our beloved Prophet (AS),
It is clear that far from being a general and vague guide to health, the Qur'an and Hadith of Islam, on the contrary, gives us most specific ordering of matters of healthy living, for all manner of public and private health, even to the contamination of food by pets!
As Muslims we are well aware of a fact kept hidden from the general public in the West, and this is that the most complete system of "natural medicine" ever devised has been extant for 1,400 years, presented in the fullest and miraculous order of Divine Commands from Allah, and lived out in example by the most profound human being in history. And it is by this example that the present health crisis may be met. For this is, above all, a crisis of faith, of faith in the physician, of faith in the human mechanism as healing process, of faith in the patient, but above all, a cynical loss of faith in God Himself. We have learned from the Hadith of the Prophet (AS), "We did not send down any disease, unless we have sent down the remedy with it." And so, as the disease is "loss of faith" in the ultimate sense, the cure is therefore "iman."
This does not allow for any incurable disease, including the so-called "terminal" cancers, for, by giving up hope and informing a patient of such "hopelessness" of their faith and hope. Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi has said in Fihi Ma Fihi, that "faith is superior to prayer", even, for faith is continuous, cannot be omitted for any excuse, and has its own benefit with or without prayer.
The main tenets of Tibb-i-Nabi, or "medicine of the Prophet," of course Proceed from this iman, and are contained first of all in the usual religious in-junctions known as the "Five Pillars of Islarn". We wish to review them briefly.
1. Shahadat. "Lailahailallah;Mohammadd-ur-rasoulallah." Imam Al-Ghazzali has Said, "Illness is one of the forms of experience by which man arrives at a knowledge of God; as He says, 'Sicknesses themselves are My servants, and are attached to My chosen. ' "If one is unable to have faith in the soul, in Allah, and in the seen and unseen worlds, then how could one expect to have any wellness in the fight with other "unseen" things, like microbes and viruses. It is in the first place precisely because people have turned away from the nurturing and feeding of the soul, that disease has taken hold and overpowered that pitiable and shruken soul.
2. Salat. The five daily obligatory prayers are the most magnificent form of food for our soul, as well as being a practical set of physical exercises which, if conducted regularly will banish so many of the common ailments such as lower back pain, arthritis, cervical misalignments, headache and other complaints-or at least greatly reduce their severity if they occur at all.
The recitation of prayers in Arabic language conveys an added benefit which can be described under the Science of Breath (nafas), which holds that the heart is the seat of manufacture of the breath, and the storehouse for the divine potentialities (sifat). These potentialities are conveyed about the body by various humours (akhlat), which must be kept in harmony.
The transmission of sound is important for maintaining or building health. After all, the Command for the Qur'an was, and is, "Recite!" For example, the long sound of aleph ('al' as in father) is known to vibrate i the heart plexus and stimulate the feelings of power, concentration, majesty and so forth.
The sound of "ya" or long 'c' in English (as in seen), travels up the nasal septum and stimulates the root of the pineal body, acknowledged by most Western biologists to be a vestigial remnant of a third eye, or light- sensitive organ. Even though its specific function is not known to science, a quick review of words and phrases in salat will show the place Allah t'ala has found for stimulation of this body throughout the day.
3. Ramadhan. "Fasting (sivawm) is the best medicine",is the claim of the latest natural food faddists, but this statement too comes from the comprehensive Tradition on Medicine of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (AS). The burden upon the digestive organs, stressed further by addition of so many chemical additives to food, stress toxins and consistient dietary indiscretion, places a very great labor upon the detoxifying systems for the body-primarily upon the liver-which may ultimately be seen to be the leading cause of degenerative disease.
4. Zakat. Every physician knows that if the subject of disease is looked into deeply enough, nearly all diseases can be said to originate in the mind. The psychological fears associated with not knowing if, or how, one is going to provide for one's dear ones, often leads to excessive drinking, depression, and suicide, among other things. The humane system of community preservation provided for by zakat, is a necessary component of any truly humane society, and therefore is incumbent upon all Muslims. In addition, there is the added benefit of increasing one's humility and preventing one from becoming selfish and greedy, characteristics so prevalent in modern society, which harm others by withholding something from the less fortunate peoples' needs and affections.
5. Hajj. The pilgrimage for every physically and financially able Muslim usually is performed by adults who have met their responsibilities in life, and have in one sense "earned" this final religious journey, It gives the mature in life a hope for the future, a very great and exalted final Purpose and direction, a final re-ordering and re-affirmation of iman as one approaches the transition from human life on earth. While it is surely the best provision against senility, even the young who are fortunate to perform the Hajj, the benefits are perhaps still greater.
Any interested person can go much deeply into these topics, and they are repeated here only to suggest a mere glimpse of the superior benefits to be gained from following the injunctions of the way of life known as Islam. Advanced study of Islam yields rich source material in any field of human thought and behavior.
What needs to be stressed here, is that even if all of these acts were not called by the name "Islam", they would, if prescribed and enforced as a mode of treatment, produce profound effects entirely beneficial. In my own work, I often suggest to non-Muslims who come for health guidance, the movements of salat, cleanings of wazu, and certain elements of fasting, under the rubric of "health building". The results under such a regimen, which is nothing more than suggestion Islam, have been truly astonishing, with recovery of many serious chronic and degenerative diseases recorded.
The Appendix I gives the list from Hadith on health-related topics, but from a broader perspective we can gain even more, to include some of the giants of Islamic medicine as it has developed from the example of the Prophet Muhammad, when applied by the advanced Muslim minds to fields of scientific endeavor during various periods of human history.
While there are many physicians who command our utmost respect there is one man who stands out above all others, who is responsible for nearly all of today's pharmacology methodology, much of the nature therapeutics, and whose medical theories have maintained their authority through seven centuries of medical practice.
Abu Ali Al-Husayn ibn Sina-known in the West as Avicenna-was one of the illustrious physicians in recorded history. He was born in 980 A.D. near Bokbara in present-day Afghanistan. Though that was the center of learning of the time, he had exhausted all teachers of the day by the time he reached his teens, and in fact explained logic to his master. He received no formal education in the sciences or medicine, but had physicians working under his direction at the age of fourteen.
He is perhaps less known for his medical genius than for his philosophy. His book Kitab-ul Ansaaf (The Book of Impartial Judgement), in which, at the age of twenty-one, he answered 28,000 questions on theology and metaphysics, remains a significant and undisputed contribution to human thought.
Avicenna was extremely active in all realms of life, serving several times as a court minister and on more than one occasion was caught up in intrigues which led him to flight or to prison. He wrote whenever he could- in prison, on horseback, or in the wee hours of the night after working all day. He wrote in verse to instruct his pupils, and produced important works on Sufi doctrines and behavior. He never had a library and wrote primarily from memory. He is (credited by scholars with an astounding outpouring of 276 works, touching on all aspects of human endeavor-medicine, natural history, physics, chemistry, astronomy, mathematics, music, economics and oral and religious questions. Among them is the greatest classic on medicine, the eighteen-volume Qanun-ul-Tebb (Canon ofMedicine), which covers and orders aU medical knowledge in the world up to his time. The Qanun has maintained its authority in medical practice and teaching for more than seven hundred years, and today remains the "bible" of medicine for practitioners in India (both Muslim and Hindu) and throughout the Near and Middle East. Large medical schools are devoted to teaching Avicenna's and huge warehouse complexes are strategically located to dispense remedies from the Qanun ...
The London Dispensary revealed considerable influence of Avicenna up until the end of the eighteenth century, and use of his remedies continued widespread into the nineteenth century, especially in rural parts of North America which rely upon "home remedies". It remains for Westem medicine to become familiar with and study this rich source of knowledge as one of the greatest sources of rational medicine ever devised.
Translations of Avicenna's Qanun remain incomplete. A British doctor translated and provided a commentary for the first volume, but the remaining volumes are locked in Arabic and Persian with some translations into the Romanic languages.
Western medicine, nor science, has not a figure to compare with Avicenna, and it seems unlikely that one would be produced from the present moulds, rather, a researcher becomes "known" for some so-called discovery, which passes out of fashion quickly, or the drug he devised becomes too dangerous for human use. How many chemical drugs are in use today, that were in use 25 years ago?
Can we now construct-with the foregoing as a foundations model for the Muslim spiritual physician, or simply, the hakim in the fullest and deepest sense of that work, as a new, or reborn figure who can function not only to meet the specific needs of the ever-growing numbers of Muslims in the West, but also as a model for the medical paraprofessional to work with modern doctors to the benefit of the patient? To what extent can modern allopathic medicine be allied with such a model? What are the educational and licensing criteria which can reasonably be established for the modern hakim in the West?
The first need is to establish a pilot training program for Muslim hakims. This would include the primary areas of Isclamic religious knowledge, of shariat, of the medical bases inherent in the application of what as usually taken as religious duties, and to present these subjects-these measures and rules for living-in a framework which satisfies the highest standards of academic criteria in the American model. This can be accomplished during a training period of two years of class work, with the basic curriculum to include anatomy and physiology, organic chemistry, botany and plant pharmacoloty (herbology), ligamentous tissue adjustment, dietetics and training in first aid and acute symptomology.
To answer such a need, primary textual materials must be developed from those already in use, but keyed to an selected for the Islamic basis of the instruction. Translation of more than one of the classic Islamic medicine tests is a sine qua non, which may be easiest from the Urdu materials which are widely available and already in use in hakimi curricula in Pakistan. Moreover, Works of such import as Qarabaadin-e Kabir, Qanun-ul- Tebb, the Formulary of Al-Samargandy and a few other works are an immediate need. Such texts could be available within twelve months if funding were made available, Insha allah.
In addition to the more or less bard science aspects of such a curriculum, the ideal of Muslim physicians-spiritual physicians-must be taught by example, by precept. For this purpose, practicing hakims from predominantly Muslim countries can be brought in as visiting professors on a one to four semester basis. Likewise, it would be a value to the students, to visit and observe traditional hakims at work in Islamic cultures.
The second Appendix provides an outline for just such a two year training program. It is suggested that following the two year program of education in the hard sciences and other course work, that at least three years be spent under direct supervision of a practicing hakim, to ensure that each student has gained a mastery of fundamentals before undertaking independent practice.
The application of this training to practice in and among, Muslim communities can best be effected in the context of the Masjid, in each city. It is well-known that the mullah or imam is the most frequently visited person in the pathway to health among traditional Muslim cultures. A recent study in Afghanistan showed that for each single visit to a modern pharmacy or medical doctor, the patient visited the mullah ten times.
There exists a very special role for those Muslim physicians who have been trained in Western medicine, and are licensed for its practice. For the ordinary American doctors reject out-of-hand any religious basis for treatment, and the use of herbs are considered in the realm of the "quack." But, there is overwhelming scientific support for using herbs and natural religious modalities for treating the sick.
The intention of establishing a specific Islamic modality in America, is not to compete with or disparage medical doctors. It is rather to provide the supportive counseling and day-to-day guidance as an integral part of one's deen, which cannot be practiced under existing models of medicine. The diseases of alcoholism and mental illness, for example, will respond well to natural herbs, detoxification and spiritual counseling, but the requirements in terms of time are severe. A hakim can fill this need better than any institutional form of therapy, or any known drug therapy. For the diseases of today are the diseases of the soul, and demand folly supportive environ
ments and an Islamic way of life to effect a true cure. Drugs can never remove the causes of loneliness, estrangement of family members, lack of self-worth, pressures of environment-but Islamic medicine can. Medical doctors must be available for consultation by patient and hakim, whenever concern for pathology arises.
The question of licensing requirements for hakims trained under this program arises. The first amendment to the Constitution of the United States exempts the "practice of religion", from regulation, and the Supreme Court has consistently held that Congress shall make no laws regarding the practice of religion. Lesser judicial bodies, and statutory laws, have also exempted religious practice from medical practice acts. Since the hakims would be an integral part of the Islamic religious community, in fact at its very core, there would be no interference from regulatory agencies of the state. As the training of initial classes proceeded, there may be developed some form of recognition certificate from the IMA or similar bodies. In any event, criteria for practice would be well established.
A glance around the society we live in compels one to realize that there must be developed some alternative therapeutics to the allopathic model as it currently exists. There has been a proliferation of a truly amazing array of "natural" therapies, some of which are clearly based on wrong assumptions, and mislead people into further degeneration of the mental and physical health. As Muslims, we possess the latest and most complete Medical Tradition and are rapidly approaching the time when we may be in error to fail to actively promote this system and way of life. We cannot assume that all of the edifice of research of Islamic Medicine is simply rank superstition, based as it is upon the Holy Qur'an? There will no doubt need to be some adjustments made in the time manner and places where we choose to present this system, but can any excuse be offered as valid to delay, when the cost is life itself, and the suffering- of so many people.
In Tucson, Arizona, in conjunction with the Chishti Mission and Masjld Tucson, we have successfully implemented a pro-ram according to the outline given here, and it is an active and thriving model in our community. This arose initially out of necessity, to serve those whom modem medicine failed, and from small success, Allah the Merciful has guided us along, Subhan allah.
We would therefore like to ask this 11 th Annual Convention of the Islamic Medical Association of the United States and Canada, to take an historic and forward-moving role, and formalize a program to implement the goals and ideals outlined heretofore in the field of lslamic Hakimi medicine.
Eventually, with a fully-functioning Islamic Medical Research Institute, along with the many dozens or hundreds of Muslim hakim practitioners, Muslims in America and the West can create the model of medical treatment for the future, secure in the knowledge and promise of Allah t'ala, that it is the only fit conduct for our lives on this earth, to follow His commands, and nature this tendency in our fellow men, in our children and in ourselves.
The utilitarian social,and medical systems pass out of vogue because they are based upon the ideas of man, and the ideas of man can never be eternal, cannot cover the whole ground of man's existence and nature. But ours is an Ideal, of true healing and remedy of the, soul and body, exemplified by the last and greatest of prophets, Muhammad (AS). Islamic medicine takes up the individual, but in his relation to the Infinite.
We therefore see that there is an indisputable necessity for a religious basis to work in healing and health, and this will continue to be so if mankind wishes to be successful and happy. All else is a mirage, misleading and absurd, empty rhetoric. in light of the matured experience of our ancestors in the faith of Islam.
What is needed today, more than all the advancements of science, is a return to the simple, eternal laws for living, as shown in the way of life of Islam. Resurrection of our health, of body, mind and soul, utilizing the medical traditions of Islam, as shown by the light of Islam the Prophet Muhammad (AS), is the true need for the salvation of the plagues which now disturb the souls of men.
In this uphill task, everyone will be required to make concessions and sacrifices, to earn the goodwill of mankind, and blessings of Allah.
This paper was presented at the 11 th annual convention of The Islamic Medical Association which was held in Dearborn, Michigan during September 22-24, 1978.
Ya Shafee! Ya Kafee! Zul Jalal Wal Ikram! Salaamm Alaikum!
1. Every person has cancer cells in the body. These cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to billions. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size.
2. Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a person's lifetime.
3. When the person's immune system is strong the cancer cells are destroyed and prevented from multiplying and forming tumours.
4. When a person has cancer it indicates the person has multiple nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic, environmental, food and lifestyle factors.
5. To overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, one should change one's diet and include supplements. This will strengthen the immune system.
6. Chemotherapy involves poisoning the rapidly-growing cancer cells. It also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells in the bone marrow, gastro-intestinal tract etc, and can damage organs like liver, kidneys, heart, lungs etc.
7. Radiation while destroying cancer cells also burns, scars and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs.
8. Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often reduce tumour size. However prolonged use of chemotherapy and radiation do not result in more tumour destruction.
9. When the body has too much toxic burden from chemotherapy and radiation the immune system is weakened or destroyed. The patient can therefore succumb to various kinds of infections and complications.
10. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy. Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites.
11. An effective way to battle cancer is to starve the cancer cells by not feeding it with the foods it needs to multiply.
Foods which can promote cancer
a. Sugar is a cancer-feeder. By cutting off sugar one cuts off one important food supply to the cancer cells. Sugar substitutes are made with Aspartame which is harmful. A better natural substitute would be honey or molasses, although in small quantities Chemicals are added to table salt to make it white in colour. Sea salt is a healthier alternative.
b. Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus. By cutting off milk and substituting it with unsweetened soya milk one starves the cancer cells.
c. Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment. A meat-based diet is acidic and it is best to eat fish, and a little chicken rather than beef. The Islamic prohibition of the highly acidic pork leads to a healthier body. Meat also contains livestock antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites. These are all harmful, especially to people with cancer.
d. A diet made of 80% fresh vegetables and juice, whole grains, seeds, nuts and a little fruits help put the body into an alkaline environment. About 20% can be from cooked food including beans.
Fresh vegetable juices provide live enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to cellular levels within 15 minutes to nourish and enhance growth of healthy cells. To obtain live enzymes for building healthy cells try and drink fresh vegetable juice (most vegetables including bean sprouts) and eat some raw vegetables 2 or 3 times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 40 degrees C.
e. Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high caffeine. Green tea is a better alternative and has cancer-fighting properties. The best water to drink is purified water or filtered water. This is to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap water. Distilled water is acidic, avoid it.
f. Meat protein is difficult to digest and requires a lot of digestive enzymes. Undigested meat remaining in the intestines become putrefied and leads to more toxic build up.
g. Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By refraining from or eating less meat it frees more enzymes to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body's killer cells to destroy the cancer cells.
h. Some supplements build up the immune system (IP6, Flor- ssence,Essiac, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, EFAs etc.) to enable the body's own killer cells to destroy cancer cells. Other supplements like vitamin E are known to cause apoptosis, or programmed cell death, the body's normal method of disposing of damaged, unwanted, or unneeded cells.
Attitude, Environment & Exercise
Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor. Anger, unforgivingness and bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn to have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life.
Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment. Daily exercise and deep breathing help to get more oxygen down to the cellular level. Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells
The Giver of Harm
Allah is an-Naafi' (Giver of Benefit), al-Daarr (Giver of Harm) and ash-Shaafi (the Giver of Cure). Over and above these advices a Muslim should always have his attention focused to Allah. Health, cancer and all other diseases are in His hands. Rasulullah Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam has advised that we pray, "Allahumma inni asalukal 'afwa wal 'aafiyah," (O Allah I ask You for pardon and ease). May Allah guide us to remember Him and supplicate unto Him and to be patient during afflictions and tests.
Breakfast can help prevent strokes, heart attack and sudden death. Advice on not to skip breakfast!
For those who always skip breakfast, you should stop that habit now! You’ve heard many times that “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Now, recent research confirms that one of the worst practices you can develop may be avoiding breakfast.
Because the frequency of heart attack, sudden death, and stroke peaks between 6:00a.m. and noon, with the highest incidence being between 8:00a.m. and 10:00a.m.What mechanism within the body could account for this significant jump in sudden death in the early morning hours?
We may have an Answer.
Platelet, tiny elements in the blood that keep us from bleeding to Death if we get a cut, can clump together inside our arteries due to Cholesterol or laque buildup in the artery lining. It is in the morning hours that platelets become the most activated and tend to form these internal blood clots at the greatest frequency.
However, eating even a very light breakfast prevents the morning platelet activation that is associated with heart attacks and strokes. Studies performed at Memorial University in St.Johns, Newfoundland found that eating a light, very low-fat breakfast was critical in modifying the morning platelet activation. Subjects in the study consumed either low-fat or fat-free yogurt, orange juice, fruit, and a source of protein coming from yogurt or fat- free milk. So if you skip breakfast, it’s important that you change this practice immediately in light of this research. Develop a simple plan to eat cereal, such as oatmeal or Bran Flakes, along with six ounces of grape juice or orange juice, and perhaps a piece of fruit. This simple plan will keep your platelets from sticking together, keep blood clots from forming, and perhaps head off a potential Heart Attack or stroke. So never ever skip breakfast.
Simple remedies for Common Ailments
- Honey is a rare gift in the treatment of any illness. For a com-mon cold mix a teaspoonful of limejuice with half a cup of boiling water. Add enough honey to sweeten it. Drink it hot and take rest. The effect is almost immediate.
- For a sore throat, mix honey and lime and smear it over the depression below the Adam’s apple on the throat.
- Indigestion and pain in the stomach are due to overeating or taking improper food. One can free oneself from these ailments in the following manner.Mash a raw piece of ginger and squeeze out the juice by adding some hot water. Add honey to the juice and drink it warm.Keep some powdered dry ginger in an air-tight bottle. For this you must dry the ginger, pound it and strain through a piece of muslin. Take a teaspoonful of this powder, mix it with a few drops of honey and eat it. It is better not to drink water immediately after taking this. This takes away all feeling of sickness and creates desire for food.
- In case any insect gets into ear put a few drops of salt solution in the ear. Immediately the insect dies or comes out.
- For any throat infection you can gargle with a teaspoonful of salt solution in a glass of warm water.
- Salt fermentation is useful when pricked by a thorn or when one has stepped over a sharp stone. Take a clean piece of cloth and tie some common salt within it.Heat some gingili oil, dip the bundle of salt in it and foment the afflicted part. Repeat the treatment till the pain disappears completely.
- In the kitchen, salt water is an unfailing aid for burns and scalds. At once apply salt water to prevent thin bubbles on the skin and other complications.
- Neem oil can be used in cases or rheumatism, arthritis, chest infections and especially in fits. The whole body should be massaged with warm neem oil.
- Severe earache is relieved by dropping few drops of warm neem oil. A few pods of garlic should be added while heating. A fresh piece of garlic should then be put in the ear to block the hole.
- Garlic roasted in the fire without removing the outer skin and then peeled and eaten gives relief for heart burn and gas trouble.
- After confinement a halva is made with milk and garlic. This is given to pregnant mothers as a special nourishment.
- Take a few cloves of garlic and rub them over a stone adding a few drops of water. Heat the paste in a spoon and smear it over the forehead with bearable warmth. Dry ginger may also be ground to a paste, heated and applied in the same manner. This treatment will give some relief to a person having headache.
- A decoction made out of pepper and jaggery or honey is a check on influenza.
- A piece of camphor placed on some coconut oil kept in a saucer and lighted gives a good medicinal oil to cure a sick person. When rubbed over the chest it relieves congestion. It is very useful in the case of small babies.
- Strong tea without milk or sugar is a treatment for dysentery.
- For insect bites and stings a half cut onion rubbed over the offending spot takes away the poison immediately. Lime is also good. When smeared on the particular spot reduces swelling and relieves pain.
Islam is a complete system of guidance. If a Muslim follows the laws of Allah, as demonstrated by His Rasul sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, his 24 hours become worship even when he is engaged in mundane acts. One such act is eating. Not only Muslims, but deniers of Allah and even animals eat. The distinction is brought in following the directives of Divine guidance. Islam not only teaches us what we can eat in terms of Halal and Haram, but also teaches us method and quantity. Al-Allamah ash-Shami has discussed this matter in an extremely academic manner. An adapted version is presented for the benefit of people in general...
When is it compulsory to eat?
It is fard (compulsory) to eat to gain nutrition and to drink to quench one's thirst. It is also fard to cover one's private parts and to protect oneself from cold and heat. The obligation to eat remains even if one does not have permissible foods. Thus to save oneself from destruction one must then eat whatever is available, even if it be Haram such as carrion. Or the available food might be Halal in essence but legally unlawful for him when the lawful owner has refused permission. In such a case when he has fully exhausted all legal avenues of acquiring food and is on the verge of dying, he must forcibly acquire the food. This however does not absolve him from compensating the legal owner. This is established from the Hadith. Al- Bazariyah states that if one fear death by starvation and one's companion has food he should seize that amount which will save his life from hunger and pay him the market value. Similarly he should take that amount of drink which will save him from thirst. If the other refuses he may fight him without weapons. If the companion fears that he himself might die of hunger or thirst he should leave some for him.
If someone fears death due to thirst and has wine he must drink to the extent that his thirst will be quenched. He should only do this if he knows that the wine does in fact quench thirst. When forced to choose between wine and urine opt for the wine.
Human flesh is not allowed even in forced circumstances due to the nobility of humanity. Thus one should not accept a human organ when one's companion offers to amputate it for one's consumption.
In taking these measures of maintaining one's life, one is rewarded even when forced to eat Haram as discussed. Rasulullah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said, "Verily Allah Ta'ala recompenses everything, even the morsel His slave lifts to his mouth."
What minimum quantity is compulsory to eat?
It is compulsory to eat that amount which will prevent a human from losing his life. If one leaves food and drink resulting in death one is a sinner. Self- destruction is prohibited. The ruling of medication is different. If one abstains because one has no conviction that the medicine will help and then dies he is not a sinner.
In addition one must eat that amount which will enable one to fulfil one's obligations such as salah et al.
What is the maximum permissible quantity one may eat?
The permissible amount to eat is that which satiates and gives strength. In eating this amount one is neither rewarded nor punished. There is however a distinction between reckoning and punishment. One should bear in mind that when eating above the minimum obligatory amount one may be accountable on Judgement Day even if it is not a punishable sin. The Hadith states, "You will be accountable for everything except the robes to covers your private parts; bread to avert your hunger; shelter to protect you from heat and cold." Also, "Sufficient for the son of Adam are little morsels which straighten his back. He will not be blamed for subsistence eating."
What quantity is Haraam to eat?
It is Haram to eat after satiation. It is a waste of money and causes illness. The Hadith states, "The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than the stomach. If there is a necessity then a third is for food, a third for water and a third for air. The people who will be the longest punished are those who ate the most."
The same rule applies to drinking.
Some scholars have added further categories. It is mandub "Recommended" when one eats with the intention of gaining strength for optional worship, study and teaching. It is Makruh "Disliked" when one eats a little more than that which fills one. In doing so one does not feel humility and does not incline to worship.
Eating for pleasure and enjoyment
A Muslim should not intend mere pleasure and enjoyment when eating. Allah has condemned the unbelievers for their eating out of pleasure and enjoyment, "Those who disbelieve frolic in pleasures and eat like cattle eat. The fire is their abode."
Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others have narrated that Rasulullah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said, "A Muslim eats with one intestine. A non-Muslim eats with seven intestines."
"Seven," refers to exaggeration and excess. It is said that it is an analogy of Rasulullah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam for a believer and his abstention; and an unbeliever and his greed. The believer thus eats to the extent of his need while an unbeliever eats lustfully and greedily, seeking pleasure. A little suffices the first; a lot is insufficient for the second.
As for the first aspect of extravagance Allah says, "Do not be extravagant."
An exception (to eating after satiation) is if one intends to gain strength for the coming day's fast or wishes to avoid embarrassing one's guest or some similar reason. This exception obviously applies to the above interpretation (of eating more than a third). Overeating to the extent of damaging one's intestines or sickening oneself cannot be permissible.
Al-Qahstani says that not embarrassing the guest refers to having eaten to his need and then a guest arrives.
What is the minimum one may eat?
It is not permissible to undertake an exercise of such minimal food which weakens him from the fulfilment of compulsory 'ibaadah (worship). Included in this restriction is that the compulsory 'ibadah must be fulfilled in its complete form e.g. Salah whilst standing. If it does not weaken him it is permissible to subsist on the minimal diet.
What is the ruling of dessert?
There is no sin in eating different types of fruit/dessert. However, to leave it is better. Indulgence in luxuries is detrimental to one's spiritual station. This is alluded to in what Allah says, "You have received your pleasures in your worldly life already." Extras should rather be given in charity to increase good deeds.
What is the ruling of eating several dishes at one sitting?
To have different dishes at a single meal is extravagance. To place unnecessary amounts of bread on the table is also extravagance. The exception is if one he intends gaining strength for worship or to entertain guests.
What are the Sunnahs of eating?
The Sunnah of eating is to recite, "Bismillah," in the beginning and praise Allah in the end. If one forgets one should recite, "Bismillahi 'ala awwalihi wa akhirihi." He should recite, "Bismillah," aloud to remind his companions. He should not say, "alhamdulillah…" aloud until they too have completed eating. This is to avoid embarrassing them that they are still eating. "Bismillah," must only be recited if the food is Halal. When forced to eat Haram one does not recite Bismillah. "Alhamdulillah," must be recited under all circumstances.
The hands should be washed before and after eating. Washing before eating prevents poverty. Do not wipe the hands on the cloth so that the effect of washing remains. Washing after eating removes insanity. The cloth may be used to remove the remaining food. It has been narrated that blessings of food is in the remainder. There is however no harm in removing the little from the hand.
Rinsing the mouth is not Sunnah like the washing of the hands. It is however Makruh for a Junubi (one who is required to take a compulsory bath) to eat before rinsing. The case of a menstruating woman is different. It is not Makruh for her to eat before rinsing her mouth.
Youngsters should begin washing hands before eating and elders should begin after eating. Youngsters eat more and elders less. The Hadith states, "He who does not honour our elders is not of us." Letting them wash first is honouring them.
It is Makruh to put the salt container or bowls on top of bread or to wipe one's hands or knife with bread. Bread should not be left lying on the dining cloth. There is no harm in eating and leaning or eating bare headed. However, Rasulullah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam did not lean and eat.
It is wasteful to only eat the centre and leave the crusts or to only eat fluffy parts unless someone else is going to eat the leftovers then there is no problem. This would then be the same as eating a roll and leaving another.
Included in the honour of bread is not to wait for the curry when the bread is already present. A morsel which falls from the hand should not be abandoned. That is waste. Rather it should be eaten first.
Part of the Sunnah is not to eat from the centre of the dish because blessings descend on the centre. If the food is of one kind one must eat from one place. If there is a variety (e.g. fruits) in a single dish one may eat from the various places. All these are established from narrations.
Another Sunnah is to stretch the left leg and raise the right. The food must not be hot and one must not blow in it. It is also said that it is not Makruh to blow into food except if a sound accompanies the blowing.
It is disliked to remain silent while eating for that is the way of Fire- Worshippers. Speech should however be on good matters.
Rasulullah sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said, "When one licks the dish clean after eating from it the dish prays - may Allah free you from the Fire just as you freed me from Shaytan." Another narration states, "The dish seeks forgiveness for him."
Another Sunnah is to begin and end with eating salt. In fact therein is a cure for seventy diseases. The plate and fingers should be licked before wiping them with cloth.
[Reference :Raddul Muhtar: Book of Restrictions and Allowances: pp338-41: al-Imam Muhammad Amin bin 'Abidin ash-Shami, commentary of Ad-Darr al-Mukhtar]