And We rendered the sky a guarded ceiling...
“And We rendered the sky a guarded ceiling” (21:32)
The human being has a tendency to take everything for granted. One example of this is the atmosphere that we have come to rely on to provide the air we breathe, among many other things. When we stop and reflect on the Quranic verse used in the title of this article, we realize how fortunate we are. We know now that, following God's precise design, the earth's atmosphere blocks out all the harmful short wavelength, high-frequency photons, shielding us from the potentially deadly effects of ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma rays. Life on earth has evolved beneath a protective blanket of air. Without it, we would hardly last a day, for the influx of high-energy photons (primarily from the sun) would prove lethal. We find almost no high-energy photons in our local environment, and must go beyond the upper atmosphere to encounter these.
All of us should count ourselves fortunate to have an atmosphere that protects us from the electromagnetic waves that would otherwise destroy us. The most important part of this protection consists of the shield against ultraviolet waves, which the sun produces in great amounts. This atmospheric shield arises from one of the most famous and least understood of all molecules, ozone.
A molecule consists of two or more atoms held together in a single unit. The air that we breathe consists mainly of oxygen molecules (oxygen atoms linked together in pairs, hence the notation 02), and nitrogen molecules (pairs of nitrogen atoms, or N2). These molecules provide some protection against streams of ultraviolet radiation from the sun and (much, less important) from other astronomical objects. Although some ultraviolet photons will disappear when they strike oxygen and nitrogen molecules, most would penetrate the atmosphere and strike the earth's surface, were it not for the ozone layer.
Ozone is a relatively rare type of molecule, formed when three oxygen atoms link together (03) rather than in pairs. Not much attention would be paid to ozone, were it not for the fact that ozone molecules prove remarkably efficient at absorbing ultraviolet photons. Because of this efficiency even a' relatively tiny number of ozone molecules, high in the stratosphere, is sufficient to remove almost all the ultraviolet radiation that streams toward the earth.
"The One who made the earth habitable for you and the sky a structure ..." (Quran, 2:22)
Ozone molecules are formed from oxygen atoms that are broken apart by the high-energy ultraviolet photons. Some o the individual oxygen atoms recombine to form 03 (ozone) rather than 02 (oxygen molecules).
"Not even an atom's weight is out of your Lord's control, be it in the heavens or the earth ..." (Quran, 10:61)
Ozone layer is a region in the earth's stratosphere - between 7 and 30 miles above the surface. It absorbs much of the harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Ultraviolet radiation is one of the causes of skin cancer. Other types of atoms and molecules in the atmosphere screen out all X-rays and gamma rays that reach to the atmosphere.
As if all this protection from harmful radiation was not enough, God in all His mercy and wisdom allows selected waves to pass through the atmosphere. These waves are not harmful to living organism but instead are of great value to the day-to-day life on earth. Examples are the radio waves, sometimes subdivided into "microwaves" (the same ones used in microwave ovens) and "ordinary" (longer wavelength) radio photons. Today's daily living would have been quite different without this phenomenon. The radio, radar and satellite links are just a few more examples of today progress in technologies gained through these wavelength photons. God with His grace taught the humans to harness all this.
"He taught Adam all the names then presented them to the angels, saying, "Give me the names of these, if you are right" (Quran, 2:31)
All this, and much more, have been established for the inhabitants of earth by God ... for the purpose of distinguishing those among you who would do better ... (Quran, 67:2)
By Ijaz Chaudry.
Q & A on AIDS - (Islamic perspective)
The following issues were discussed by the IOMS, The Fiqh Academy at Jeddah and WHO in various meetings held between the years 1980 - 2000.
Q: 1) What is AIDS?
A: This is an acronym of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome caused by a virus or HIV. It results in extensive destruction of the body immune system which leads to increasing inability of the body to resist all types of infection, even those which are not normally associated with infection.
Q: 2) How the AIDS virus is transmitted?
A: It is transmitted from one person to another through body fluids such as sexual fluids (semen, fallopian and vaginal fluids) and blood. It is , therefore, passed during sexual intercourse among both heterosexuals and homosexuals, or through the blood in cases of blood transfusion or via syringes or injection needles.
Q: 3) How does the AIDS virus spread?
A: It spreads by three main causes -
1). By sexual intercourse which accounts for 90% cases. Promiscuity, sodomy, prostitution and sex with partners affected by venereal diseases contribute to increase in the rate of AIDS infection.
2). Through blood transfusion or the use of infected needles and syringes, especially among drug addicts.
3). Through infected mother to unborn babies.
Q: 4) What does the Islam say about the unlawful sexual act?
A: The Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is reported to have said that " A person would be devoid of faith when he, or she, is committing an unlawful sexual act".
Q: 5) What are the Islamic approaches for protection against AIDS?
A: There are three measures recommended by Islam, as part of its moral code, which are essential for the prevention of AIDS. These are - (a) marriage, (b) proscription of sexual promiscuity, and (c) deterrence.
(a) Marriage: This is an effective means to protect individuals especially young people, from indulging in illicit sexual activity. The teachings of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) urge Muslims to make marriage affordable and easy for all members of society. He said: "When a man comes to you seeking marriage and if you are happy with his religious and moral integrity and honesty, give him your daughter; otherwise, immorality and corruption would spread among you all."
(b) Proscribing promiscuity: This is achieved through the following measures -
(i) Urging men and women to control their sexual urge and avoid the lewd gaze which could rouse sexual desires and lead to unlawful sexual contact. Allah says in the Quran: "Tell the believing men and women to lower their gaze and protect their chastity, for that is bound to render them purer. Allah is aware of all that they do." (An-Noor:30)
(ii) Advising women to dress modestly in public. Allah instructs the Prophet (PBUH) to tell believing women: "Not to show their adornments, except those that are ordinarily outward, and to cover their bosoms with their veil". (An Noor: 31). They are also urged: "Not to walk tantalizingly, with the intention of revealing their beauty." (An-Noor: 31). Women are taught to wear loose, plain and non-transparent clothes that preserve and enhance their dignity and modesty.
(iii) Discouraging men and women who are not barred from marrying from being together on their own in private, in order to avoid the temptation of sexual attraction.
(iv) Fighting permissiveness and loose social mingling between the sexes outside the inner family circle.
(v) Urging boys and girls as they come of age not to invade the privacy of their elders and peers without their permission.Allah says in the Quran: "Believers, do not enter the dwellings of others until you announce your presence and have greeted those inside them." (An-Noor: 27)
(vi) Forbidding all provocative activities such as pornography, provocative singing, dancing, music and films, that tantalize and arouse sensual feelings Allah says in the Quran: "Some people indulge in frivolous activity, so that they may, in their ignorance, lead others away from the path of Allah and hold it up in ridicule. These will receive a shaming punishment." (Luqman: 6).
(c) Effective deterrence: When education and upbringing fail and other preventive methods prove ineffective in stamping out permissive behaviour in society, resort must then be made to punishment, as a deterrence to others. However, such punishments must be prescribed under very stringent conditions of proof. In case of illicit sexual acts, for example, punishment cannot be meted out without either a full admission by the accused, or the unanimous testimony of four eye witnesses who must agree on every detail of the misdemeanour.
According to Quran, illicit sexual acts are punishable by one hundred lashes for offenders. It says: "Each woman or man who engages in illicit sexual acts shall be given a hundred lashes. Let no pity for them dissuade you from obeying God 's commands, if you truly believe in God and the Last Day and let their punishment be witnessed by crowd of believers." (An-Noor: 2)
Q: 6) What is the view of Islam on Sodomy and homosexual acts?
A: Quran severely condemns these practices. Allah says: "when our judgment came to pass we turned it (the city of Sodom) upside down and showered it with a torrent of claystones bearing the tokens of your Lord." (Hud: 82-83)
Q: 7) What is the Islamic Punishment for deliberate transmission of AIDS?
A: As no cure from the AIDS is, as yet, available, the premediated transmission of the virus is tantamount to poisoning/killing. And, killing with insidious means is a capital offence, and is not different from killing with a material instrument, and thus leads to capital punishment.
Q: 8) What is the Islamic point of view regarding the marriage involving AIDS carriers?
A: Any one who knows that he or she is an AIDS carrier must not enter a marriage relationship without disclosing the facts, for transmitting the disease is criminal and hiding the fact would be fraudulent, and both acts are objectionable.
Q: 9) Is annulment of marriage permissible in Islam if the infection is discovered after marriage?
A: Yes, Islamic law allows the annulment of marriage under such a condition.
Q: 10) Should an infected couple be allowed to marry?
A: They may be allowed to marry whether they choose to use condome during sexual intercourse or not. But since the risk of passing the virus from the mother to her baby is high, they should take all precautions to prevent conception.
Q:11) Is there right of sexual intercourse among infected spouses?
A: If one of the spouses is an AIDS patient, the other can refuse sexual intercourse. However, if healthy spouse agrees, then adequate precaution must be taken to reduce the risk of infection and conception.
Q: 12) Has the healthy spouse right to divorce or separation?
A: Yes, either spouse has the right to separate from another who is an AIDS carrier, whether the infection occurs before or after marriage.
Q: 13) What are the obligations of separation of spouses?
A: If the wife is the carrier, she will not receive entitlements of a divorced wife. The husband has the full right to reclaim the dowry he had paid or its equivalent if the marriage had already been consummated. However, if the husband is the carrier, the wife will receive her deferred dowry and the muta'ah or compensation.
Q: 14) Can an AIDS-infected fetus be aborted?
A: No, the baby cannot be aborted, as the AIDS sufferer should not be deprived of treatment and whose life must not be deliberately terminated.
Q: 15) Should a baby be aborted for the sake of an AIDS infected mother?
A: If the baby's continued presence in the womb threatens mother's life, the baby may be sacrificed for the sake of the mother because the baby's chance of life is much less than that of the mother.
Q:16) Can an AIDS suffering mother nurse her healthy baby?
A: As long as the mother takes the necessary precautions of hygiene and health care vital to prevent transmission of AIDS Virus, she can nurse her baby.
Q: 17) Are the AIDS sufferers terminally ill patients?
A: No, they cannot be considered terminally ill until the full symptoms of the disease are apparent and the patients begin to display signs of total disability and are no longer able to lead reasonably normal life, subsequently culminating in death.
By Health & Science Staff
One of the best ways to protect one’s teeth is the siwak, which was mentioned in several sayings of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). Siwak are the wicks that are used to rub inside the mouth, and they get their name from the Arabic word “yudlik,” which can be roughly translated to mean “massage” (i.e., massage the inside of the mouth). It means more than “tooth brush.”
The best type of siwak is that which comes from the araak tree. The siwak of the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) was from that tree. The siwak is a natural twig fortified with natural minerals that help clean the teeth, other inhibitors that prevent gums from bleeding, cleaning agents that kill microbes and germs and a scent that gives breath a naturally fresh smell. The siwak is an ideal, natural brush that has been endowed with more than any artificial toothpaste could ever have.
Like a toothbrush, the wicks on the siwak clean between the teeth and do not break under any amount of pressure; rather, they are flexible and strong. The small wicks bend to the appropriate shape to get plaque and leftover food out from in between teeth while avoiding any damage to the gums.
The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) taught us more than 1,400 years ago to use the siwak to clean our teeth and mouth and give it a nice scent. Anas (RA) quoted the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) as saying: “Whenever the Angel Gabriel (AS) would visit me, he would advise me to use the siwak.”
The leftovers of food found between teeth provide an excellent environment for the festering of millions of bacteria, which can lead to painful and bloody gum disease and cysts. In the worst cases, there can be inflammation of the jawbones.
Bacteria also produce damaging enzymes that eat away at the calcium of the teeth, which causes cavities. In severe cases, the bacteria produce gases that emit nasty stenches from the mouth. Recent studies have found that siwak has natural minerals that kill microbes and germs and remove plaque.
The Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) used to rub the siwak over his tongue, teeth and gums. Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (RA) said, “I visited the Prophet (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), and the siwak was at the edge of his tongue.”
Chemical Breakdown Of A Siwak
Siwak has 19 beneficial ingredients in it. Most important among them are:
* Antibacterial acidic inhibitors that fight decay and diarrhea. They are natural disinfectants and can be used to stop bleeding. They disinfect the gums and teeth and close any microscopic cuts that may have existed in the gums. On first usage, the siwak will taste harsh, and maybe even burn, because of a mustard-like substance found in it, but this is the ingredient that fights decay in the mouth and kills germs.
* Minerals such as sodium chloride, potassium, sodium bicarbonate and calcium oxides. These clean the teeth. For instance, the American Dental Association considers sodium bicarbonate to be a preferred ingredient in toothpastes.
* Natural scented oils that taste and smell nice, give the mouth a nice smell. They make up about 1% of the siwak.
* Enzymes that prevent the buildup of plaque that causes gum disease. Plaque is also the no. 1 cause of premature loss of teeth.
* Anti-decay and anti-germ ingredients that act as a penicillin of sorts, decreasing the amount of bacteria in the mouth, which means cleaner teeth and cleaner air when breathing through the mouth.
Some researchers have found that tooth decay is rapid when a dry brush is used, and that wetting one’s toothbrush mitigates the damage. So the siwak should be dampened before usage. If there is no alternative, one’s saliva will suffice to dampen the stick. Siwak also has chemicals that cause the mouth to produce extra saliva, which is the mouth’s organic defense and cleaning mechanism.
Both the Qur'an and Hadith contain descriptions of Paradise as being filled with green:
These it is for whom are gardens of perpetuity beneath which rivers flow; ornaments shall be given to them therein of bracelets of gold, and they shall wear green robes of fine silk and thick silk brocade interwoven with gold, reclining therein on raised couches; excellent, the recompense; and goodly, the resting place (18:31).
Reclining on green cushions and beautiful carpets (55:76).
Accounts in the Hadith mention that Prophet Muhammad's (SAW) turban was green as well as the flag of Islam. Even the Encyclopedia Britannica notes that, in some countries, a green turban usually denotes a "Sharif" or descendant of the Prophet (SAW).
While many people may brush away any significance of the mention of colors in the Qur'an, the colors that we choose are actually an important part of our lives. The Qur'an (30.22) gives us a hint of this when it says, "And one of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the diversity of your tongues and colors; most surely, there are signs in this for the learned."
One of the first things to be noticed upon entering mosques anywhere around the world is the green and blue surroundings. The mosques in Iran are famous for their blue tile work. In Saudi Arabia, blue and green stained glass is used in the more modern mosque designs while in the deserts of Egypt, some mosques are painted completely blue or green and are decked in green neon at night time. In Istanbul, the most famous mosque is even called The Blue Mosque.
Although the colors of these mosques were chosen for their religious significance or their symbolic meanings in ancient cultures, over time modern science has found that there is a sound basis for the choices of blue and green in places of worship.
In the Encyclopedia of Healing Therapies, Anne Woodham and David Peters relate that these colors have contained significant meaning for people since prehistoric times. In ancient history, green was the color of growth, and blue was thought of as the color of the sky and of heavenly peace.
An Indian named Dinshah P. Ghadiali is the first scientist to be documented as having tried to explain the power of color. He claimed that the secret to the power of colors lay in the fact that they transmit vibrations that in turn transmit certain moods as well as healing.
Modern scientists have built on this theory, and have discovered that the sun's rays form an entire spectrum of electromagnetic radiation that forms visible white light. Light travels in wavelengths, and its different wavelengths are perceived as different colors. Each color also has a certain frequency at which it vibrates. When blind people claim to "see" color, what they really perceive is these various wavelengths and frequencies.
This is also what sighted people perceive on a subconscious level when they are affected by colors. In fact, many scientists believe that this perception can occur within the deepest levels of the interior of the body.
While doctors often agree on the psychological effects of color therapy, they typically ignore the physical effects. However, the science of color therapy has been exploring both psychological and physical effects of different colors. Color therapists believe that touching or being exposed to a color can provide the same benefits as looking at it since colors work according to their vibrational wavelengths rather than the brain's interpretation of that color. The faster the vibration, the warmer the color; the slower the vibration, the cooler the color. Research into the effects of color has shown that people who are blind from birth can learn to differentiate colors through their fingertips by picking up on the vibration of the different colors.
Practitioners of color therapy also believe that the cells and organs of the body have vibrational frequencies that can be affected by certain vibrational frequencies in colors.
Professor J. L. Morton of the University of Hawaii's School of Architecture who also serves as an international lecturer and consultant for companies such as Eastman Kodak reports conclusively that the skin CAN see color. She states that 4,000 years ago, the Egyptians built healing temples of light because they had learned that bathing patients in specific colors of light produced varying effects. Noted neuropsychologist, Kurt Goldstein, confirmed this fact. In his modern classic, The Organism, he notes that stimulation of the skin by different colors leads to different effects. He states, "It is probably not a false statement to say that a specific color stimulation is accompanied by a specific response pattern of the entire organism."
Because of the findings of such research in color therapy, many studies have been done to demonstrate which colors produce which effects on the human psyche. Many people are familiar with studies conducted in 1948 in West Germany that showed that the use of the colors yellow, orange, and red in the classroom raises student IQ levels. Further studies in the U.S. in 1973 showed that red light causes the blood pressure and heart rate to rise and that orange causes hunger pangs; hence, many restaurants use the color orange in their decor and their dishes to stimulate appetite. Many advertisers also use the theories of color therapy to promote their products.
Blue and green are good choices for promoting a "spiritual life." Blue is said to correspond to the throat of a person and green to the heart. Coincidentally, these are the two tools we use to worship when we recite and pray.
Blue has been shown in studies (U.S., 1973) to lower blood pressure and heart rate; decrease hunger; and inspire relaxation, peace, and tranquility. It is often used in color therapy to treat insomnia, an overactive thyroid, and panic attacks.
Blue is the color of honesty and loyalty. In fact, in the field of web design, blue is thought to be "the safest global color." For Jews, it indicates holiness; in the Middle East, it signifies protection; for Hindus, it has a religious significance through Krishna; in China, it is associated with immortality and in Colombia, it is associated with cleanliness.
In The Ultimate Healing System, Donald Lepore says that he uses blue when he lectures because it energizes the vocal area, and causes people to respect what he says more. This may be one of the reasons that a 'khutbah' given in a blue mosque is so much more effective than one recorded on cassette tape.
Blue is also noble, as in the concept of "Blue Blood." Mary (mother of Prophet Isa - AS) is usually portrayed in Christian icons as wearing a blue veil or robe for this is the color of serenity, perfection, and protection. It is also a cooling color that is good for wearing on very hot days, which may explain some of its significance in the Middle East. Physically, it is good for patients suffering from shock, inflammation, and nervous breakdowns. Blue helps control feverish conditions, stop bleeding, with nervous irritations, and with burns. However, too much blue can leave a person cold, depressed and sorrowful; therefore, it should be balanced with the use of orange.
Green invokes the feelings of harmony, balance, sympathy, and devotional love as well as relieving nervous tension. According to Dr. Lepore, green provides the natural balance between the powers of red and blue. Green also balances blue (a highly spiritual color invoking a sense of awe in most people as they gaze at the sky or sea) and yellow (said to be a very "mental" color that, in studies, affects subjects' abilities to study and learn). As the combination of these two colors, it helps people to merge their spiritual "heavenly thought" with their earthly "mental thoughts."
Green is the color of self-esteem. It may be disliked by persons just experiencing trauma because as it seeks to balance, it may cause aspects of the trauma to surface. Creating harmony and hope, it helps with the heart area and is good for tired nerves as it balances the emotions and brings a feeling of calmness. It stimulates growth so it is good for helping to heal broken bones, and re-growing tissue of all kinds. However, exposure to too much green can deprive us of the challenges that we need in order to evolve and thrive. Its bluer tones suggest optimism and hope and are more spiritual than its other tones.
Next time you visit the mosque, reflect on the healing inherent in the colors around you, for indeed, Allah has sent us cures in many things - even in many places where we would not expect to find them.
By Karima Burns, MH, ND
Taken from islamonline
The following issues were discussed by the IOMS, The Fiqh Academy at Jeddah and WHO in various meetings held between the years 1980 - 2000.
Q:1) Artificial insemination (Test Tube Babies) is it lawful or prohibited in Islam?
A: Such practice is lawful under the following conditions:
a) If it only involves a married couple
b) During the marriage life.
c) Sufficient & meticulous care is taken to avoid lineage confusion
d) The practice is unlawful if it involves an alien party, whether in the form of semen, an ovum, an embryo or a womb.
Q:2) If a woman is ovulating but does not have uterus, could she inseminate and incubate this fertilized ovum in the uterus of another women?
A: According to Islamic Sharea, it is not lawful.
Q:3) If the above happened, who is the real mother?
A: This fetus has two mothers. One is the owner of the ova and the other one is the surrogate. According to Islam, the surrogate is the lawful mother. The Quran says: "If any men among you divorce their wives by Zihar (calling them mother), they cannot be their mothers: None can be their mothers except those who gave them birth. And in fact they use words (both) iniquitous and false: but truly God is One that blots out (sins), and forgives (Again and again)". --(Al-Mujadila:2)
"And we have enjoined on man (To be good) to his parents: In travail upon travail did his mother bear him, and in years twain was his weaning: (hear the command), show gratitude to Me and to thy parents: to me is (thy final) goal". (Luqman: 14)
Q:4) Is the Surgical Contraception (Sterilization) either on individual basis or on mass level lawful?
A: It is agreed that surgical contraception is lawful on the individual level in cases of necessity as determined by a trustworthy Muslim Doctor and when other alternatives have been exhausted. On the level of the Muslim Nation at large it is unlawful and the scholars denounce turning sterilization into a general campaign and warns against its exploitation in demographic wars that aim at turning Muslims into minorities in their own countries or in the world as a whole.
Q:5) Is Abortion lawful? What is its condition from the Islamic point of view?
A: The Muslim Jurists and earlier Fiqh Scholars unanimously forbid abortion. Going over the views expressed by earlier fiqh scholars, with the keen insight and sound judgment they demonstrate, and noting that they unanimously forbid abortion after the breathing in of spirit,i.e. after the first four months of pregnancy, and that they differ over abortion before spirit is breathed in, with some opting for categorical prohibition or considering it reprehensible, and other prohibiting it after the first forty days and allowing it before that, with some difference over the necessity for justifying reasons; and benefiting from a review of contemporary medical and scientific advances as established in papers and by modern medical technology; the seminar concludes that an embryo is a living organism from the moment of conception, and its life is to be respected in all its stages, especially after spirit is breathed in. Aggression against it, in the form of abortion, is unlawful except in cases of maximum necessity. Some participants, however disagreed and believe abortion before the fortieth day, particularly when there is justification, is lawful.
Q:6) I am a lady. I feel shy whenever I visit any male Medical Doctor. Could you tell me, whether the medical examination by the other sex is lawful from the Islamic point of view?
A: It is lawful for a medical member of one sex to look at the awra ( a prohibited part of body to opposite sex, except face and hands) of a member of the other sex for purposes of medical examination, treatment, and medical education. Exposition, however, should be limited to what the need calls for.
Q:7) What is the individual or national opinion on Fetal Sex Selection from the Islamic point of view?
A: There was an agreement from the Islamic legal viewpoint is that fetal sex selection is unlawful when it is practiced at a national level, while on an individual basis, some of the scholars participating in the seminar on " Human Reproduction in Islam " believe that there is nothing legally wrong with the attempt to fulfill the wish of a married couple to have a boy or a girl through available medical means, while other scholars believe that it is unlawful for fear that one sex might outnumber the other.
Q: 8) What is the Islamic view on mixed Human Milk Banks?
A: The setting up of banks of mixed human milk is to be discouraged. If medical need calls for them, banks of human milk may be set up for premature babies. A group of participants believe, on the basis of the opinion of the majority fiqh scholars, that the collection of milk should be done in a way that guarantees the identification of each donor and each baby receiver. The nursing should be written down in records that are kept, and everyone involved should be notified to avoid the marriage of persons who have a milk relationship entailing the prohibition of their marriage.
Others, however, believe that there is no need to identify the donors and receivers, on the basis of the opinion of Al-Laith Ibn Sa'd who opine that milk relationships occurs only when a baby sucks the breast of a milk mother.
Eat well, work well, live well !!
(importance of a balanced diet in Islam)
Apart from adhering to the numerous other injunctions regarding nutrition (such as moderation, eating according to Sunnah etiquette, eating only Halaal, etc.), Islam also enjoins the importance of a good, balanced diet. "O Messengers! Eat of the wholesome things and perform virtuous deeds" the Qur'an orders. A wholesome, balanced diet is an integral part of Islamic life. Analysis of various verses from the holy Qur'an clearly show that the foods spoken about in it, will fulfil one's daily protein, carbohydrate, fat and vitamin requirements.
Qur'anic verses speak about the importance of, among other things:
Other than Qur'anic verses, we have the authentic Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu-alaihi-wasallam) which also testifies to the importance of a balanced diet. The fact that Nabi (alayhis-salaam) would at times eat cucumber together with dates in order to balance the opposing hot and cold effects in these foods is a proof of this. Many other examples can be cited here as well. For greater information, the detailed works of Hadith such as Shama'il-Tirmidhi can be consulted.
Suffice it to say that extremes in diet were not the practice of our noble Rasul (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and are not recommended in Islam. It is amply clear then that clinging to vegetarianism or only some foods as a diet pattern to the exclusion of other important foods should not be the practice of a Muslim. This is the practice of other nations, not Muslims. Abstaining from some of Allah's favours (for no valid reason) is like turning away from all of His favours! This is a serious thing. In fact, Allah Ta'ala warns us in the Qur'anic verse: "O ye who believe! make not unlawful the good things which Allah has made lawful for you..." 5;90. At another juncture, He says:
"Why should you not eat of meats on which Allah's name has been pronounced, when He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden for you..." 6;119
Islam itself is a balanced way of life that is pure from all forms of excesses. A balanced diet fits beautifully into the balanced teachings of Islam. It is a natural corollary to Islam. The Islamic way of life is a natural lifestyle suited to the temperament of mankind at large. Islam is opposed to extremes in the physical as well as spiritual matters of life. Islam always promotes the middle path and this Ummah has been declared in the Holy Qur'an as being "the nation of the middle path". So long as Muslims adhere to this general principle of Islam in every matter of their lives, they can look forward to not only good physical health but even an excellent mental, psychological and spiritual state of well being, by the Will of Allah.
Let all believers in the Qur'an endeavour to introduce all of the above mentioned foods into their daily diet patterns. After all, there has to be some very special importance in these foods if Allah Ta'ala chose to mention them in His Holy Book or they are to be found in the Hadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu- alayhi- wa- sallam)! These will, Insha-Allah prove to be the key to a good, healthy life. Let Muslims adopt these and encourage their children to adopt these as a lifelong diet pattern, Insha-Allah!
Mufti Zubair Bayat
Everyone forgets things from time to time. But for some people, poor memory can be a perennial problem. The brain never actually loses a memory. It records each one like a computer.
However, problems with recall begin when we don't practise retrieving this information and so the memories we had become lost. The brain, like other parts of the body, needs physical and mental exercise, together with particular nutrients, to increase the power of memory. Here are 10 things to remember to do in order never to forget anything ...
1 – Eat Soya
According to Professor Sandra File, head of the psychopharmacology research unit at Guy's Hospital in London, isoflavones, the natural plant oestrogens in soya foods, might act on oestrogen receptors in the human brain, particularly those in the hippocampus, a crucial area for memory.
As a result, new nerve connections form more readily. Medical trials revealed that those fed a high soya diet showed improvements in verbal and non-verbal memory and in mental flexibility, all of which are controlled by the brain's frontal lobes. Soya can be added to the diet through natural products such as soya milk or through a recommended daily 50mg soy isoflavone supplement.
2 - Take memory Minerals
Studies at Kings College, London, and the University of Rochester in New York showed that a reduced iron intake can have a detrimental effect on IQ levels and cognitive function.
This is because of lack of iron causes low haemoglobin levels, which affect the supply of oxygen to the brain. Iron also plays an important role in the transmission of signals in the brain. A deficiency of zinc, found in oysters, red meat and peanuts, can also interfere with memory. Take a supplement of 7 to 9mg daily.
3 – Drink Coffee
Caffeine can improve mental and memory performance because it stimulates many regions of the brain that regulate wakefulness, arousal, mood and concentration.
Researchers at the University of Arizona found that older adults who drank half a pint of coffee just before a memory test saw a large improvement in performance compared to those who drank decaffeinated coffee. However, the benefits might be confined to regular coffee drinkers. Others could suffer side effects such as shakiness, anxiety or impaired concentration.
It's still best to drink no more than six cups of coffee a day – those with heart problems should drink less. Too much brewed or percolated coffee can raise blood cholesterol – instant or filter coffee are better choices.
4 – Mental Exercise
Research has shown that mental stimulation keeps the brain healthy and increases the strength of memory.
As we age, it is normal to have changes in memory, but keeping the mind active does diminish weaknesses. Clinical psychologist Ron Bracey suggests using techniques such as puzzles, crosswords and widening cultural and social interests, all of which create different pathways in the brain.
5 – Physical Exercise
Half-an-hour of activity three times a week is enough to bring about significant increase in brain power; says a study at the Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina.
Exercise improves the heart’s ability to pump blood more effectively. Memory benefits from improved blood flow to specific regions at the front of the brain whose functions include planning, organization and the ability to juggle different intellectual tasks.
6 – Chew Gum
Japanese researchers found that activity in the hippocampus, an area of the brain important for memory, increases while people chew. Recent research suggests that insulin receptors in the brain may be involved too, as chewing releases insulin because the body is expecting food.
But, says Dr Andre Scholey of the University of Northumbria, the simplest reason could be that chewing increases the heart rate, thus improving the delivery of oxygen to the brain and enhancing its cognitive powers.
7 – Take Ginkgo biloba
Ginkgo is the world’s oldest living tree. It has been used for memory enhancement in Eastern cultures for thousands of years.
Dr George Lewith, complementary health consultant to Boots, says Ginkgo improves blood circulation to the brain by dilating blood vessels and increasing its oxygen supply.
Ginkgo also mops up harmful compounds known as free radicals, which are thought to damage brain cells. Advised supplement dose is 120mg a day.
9 – Eat oily fish
Omega 3 fatty acids, found in oily fish, are essential components of brain cell membranes, and their role in cell structure is thought to improve the powers of memory. High concentrations of Omega 3 in the brain and nervous system not only boost learning powers and age-related memory, but also greatly enhance mood.
Omega 3 is a particularly important during foetal development, so pregnant women should have a regular supply. Good sources include fish such as sardines, salmon, herring and mackerel. Sardines are also a rich source of the nutrient choline, which is a key brain chemical associated with memory. Try to eat three portions of oily fish a week or take a supplement of 330mg three times a week.
9 – Rosemary and sage
Essential oil made from rosemary and sage can stimulate the memory, strengthen clarity and awareness and help to relieve mental fatigue. Psychologists at the University of Northumbria tested essential oils from rosemary on memory attention and mood and discovered it made volunteers feel more alter and enhanced their long-term memory by around 15%. Some studies have found that volunteers’ ability to remember lists of words improved by more than 10% if they had taken a capsule of sage oil.
10 – Take vitamin B
B vitamins deliver oxygen to the brain and provide protection against free radicals. They help to sharpen senses and boost memory. Niacin or B3 is particularly good for brain enhancement, while B6 is essential for the manufacture of neurotransmitters, especially mood-enhancing serotonin.
B12 is important for overall health of brain cells. B vitamins are also needed to help the body form acetylcholine, a key brain chemical needed for memory – Daily Mail.
Source :The Star – April 12 2002
25 Ways to Deal with Stress and Anxiety
by Abdul Malik Mujahid
Stress is life. Stress is anything that causes mental, physical, or spiritual tension. There is no running away from it. All that matters is how you deal with it. This article does not deal with the factors of stress, anxiety, and depression, nor is it a clinical advice. If you feel depressed, you are not alone. It has been estimated that 75 to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians in America are for stress-related problems. This is why it is wise to consult a doctor if you are having physical symptoms of stress. However, here are some tips that can help from a spiritual perspective. Please send us your feedback so that we can improve this article Insha Allah.
Torture. Beatings. Loss of property. The death of loved ones. These were just some of the enormous challenges the Muslims of Makkah faced in the seventh century following their acceptance of Islam in fiercely tribal and polytheistic Makkah.
Detention. Harassment. Beatings. Discrimination. Loss of Job. Profiling. Hate Crimes. Constant media attention. Surveillance. These are just some of the challenges Muslims in America today face, post-9/11. Like our predecessors in Makkah, we have begun to face great stress, anxiety, and pressure, more than ever in our recent history on this continent, although Muslims who were brought here as slaves faced worse than what we can even imagine.
1. Ask Him. He Listens: Dua
Turn each anxiety, each fear and each concern into a Dua (supplication). Look at it as another reason to submit to God and be in Sajdah (prostration), during which you are closest to Allah. God listens and already knows what is in your heart, but He wants you to ask Him for what you want. The Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) said: Allah is angry with those who do not ask Him for anything (Tirmidhi).
The Prophet once said that in prayer, he would find rest and relief (Nasai). He would also regularly ask for God’s forgiveness and remain in prostration during prayer praising God (Tasbeeh) and asking for His forgiveness (Bukhari).
Allah wants you to be specific. The Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) advised us to ask Allah for exactly what we want instead of making vague Duas. Dua is the essence of worship (the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) as quoted in Tirmidhi).
"Call on your Lord with humility and in private: for Allah loveth not those who trespass beyond bounds. Do not make mischief on the earth, after it hath been set in order, but call on Him with fear. And longing (in your hearts): for the mercy of Allah is (always) near to those who do good" (Quran 7:55-56).
2. Tie your Camel: Do your Part
One day Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it. He asked the Bedouin, "Why don't you tie down your camel?" The Bedouin answered, "I put my trust in Allah." The Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) then said, "Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah" (Tirmidhi).
Muslims must never become fatalistic. Although we know only Allah is in control and that He has decreed all things, we are each responsible for making the right choices and doing the right thing in all situations of our lives. We must take action (link to planning articles on SV). We must work to alleviate the hardships we, our families and our communities face.
Ask yourself the following questions if you are worried about the state of the world: are you part of the peace movement? Is your Masjid part of the peace movement? Are you part of an interfaith group with an agenda of peace and justice? Are you working with a group fighting discrimination? If your answer is no, it is time that you sat down to plan your share of time and money in finding solutions to the problems you face. "Verily Allah does not change men’s condition unless they change their inner selves" (Quran 13: 11).
Turn each worry into a Dua and each Dua into an action plan. That will show your commitment to your request and will focus your energy in the right direction.
3. Remember that human responsibility is limited
While we need to carry out our duty to the best of our abilities, always remember that you don't control the outcome of events. Even the Prophets did not control the outcome of their efforts. Some were successful, others were not. Once you have done your duty, leave the results to Allah. Regardless of the results of your efforts, you will be rewarded for the part you have played.
However, never underestimate your abilities. Understand the concept of Barakah (blessings from Allah) and remember that Allah can and Insha Allah will expand them if you are sincerely exerting your energies for the right path.
4. Leave the world behind you five times a day
Use the five daily prayers as a means to become more Hereafter-oriented and less attached to this temporary world. Start distancing yourself as soon as you hear Adhan, the call to prayer. When you perform Wudu, keep repeating Shahada, the declaration of faith, as water drops slip down your face, hands, arms, and hair. When you stand ready to pray, mentally prepare yourself to leave this world and all of its worries and stresses behind you.
Of course, Shaytan will try to distract you during prayer. But whenever this happens, go back and remember Allah. The more you return, the more Allah will reward you for it. Also, make sure your Sajdas (prostrations) are talking Sajdas, in which you are really connecting to God and seeking His Mercy, praising Him, and asking His forgiveness. (link to Sajda article…ramadan page)
5. Seek help through Sabr
Seek help through Sabr and Salat (Quran 2:45). This instruction from Allah provides us with two critical tools that can ease our worries and pain. Patience and prayer are two oft-neglected stressbusters. Sabr is often translated as patience but it is not just that. It includes self-control, perseverance, endurance, and a focussed struggle to achieve one’s goal. Unlike patience, which implies resignation, the concept of Sabr includes a duty to remain steadfast to achieve your goals despite all odds.
Being patient gives us control in situations where we feel we have little or no control. ‘We cannot control what happens to us but we can control our reaction to our circumstances’ is the mantra of many modern-day self-help books. Patience helps us keep our mind and attitude towards our difficulties in check.
6. Excuse Me! You are Not Running the World, He is.
It is important to remind ourselves that we don’t control all the variables in the world. Allah does. He is the Wise, the All-Knowing. Sometimes our limited human faculties are not able to comprehend His wisdom behind what happens to us and to others, but knowing that He is in control and that as human beings we submit to His Will, enriches our humanity and enhances our obedience (Uboodiah in Arabic) towards him. Read the story of the encounter of Moosa(A.S.) with the mysteries behind Allah’s decision (Quran: 18:60-82). Familiarize yourself with the 99 Names of Allah, which are also known as His Attributes. It is a powerful way of knowing Him.
"God-there is no deity save Him, the Ever-Living, the Self-Subsistent Fount of All being. Neither slumber overtakes Him, nor sleep. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth. Who is there that could intercede with Him, unless it be by His leave? He knows all that lies open before men and all that is hidden from them, whereas they cannot attain to aught of His knowledge save that which He wills them to attain. His eternal power overspreads the heavens and the earth, and their upholding wearies Him not. And He alone is truly exalted, tremendous." (Quran 2:255).
The Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) recommended reading this verse, known as Ayat al kursi, after each prayer, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him. Once Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, approached the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) during a difficult time and he found the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) in Sajda, where he kept repeating "Ya Hayy Ya Qayyum", words which are part of this verse.
7. Birds Don’t Carry their Food
Allah is al Razzaq (the Provider). "How many are the creatures that carry not their own sustenance? It is Allah Who feeds them and you, for He hears and knows all things (Quran 29:60)." By reminding yourself that He is the Provider, you will remember that getting a job or providing for your family in these economically and politically challenging times, when Muslims are often the last to be hired and the first to be fired, is in God’s Hands, not yours. As Allah says in the Quran: "And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if anyone puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish His purpose. Verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion (Quran 65:3).
8. God controls Life and Death
If you fear for your physical safety and security, remember that only Allah gives life and takes it back and, that He has appointed the time for it. No one can harm you except if Allah wills. As He says in the Quran: "Wherever you are, death will find you out, even if you are in towers built up strong and high!" (Quran 4:78).
9. Remember that life is short
It's easy to get caught up in our own stress and anxiety. However, if we remember that our life is short and temporary, and that the everlasting life is in the Hereafter, this will put our worries in perspective.
This belief in the transitory nature of the life of this world reminds us that whatever difficulties, trials, anxieties, and grief we suffer in this world are, Insha Allah, something we will only experience for a short period of time. And more importantly, if we handle these tests with patience, Allah will reward us for it.
10. Do Zikr, Allah, Allah!
"… without doubt in the remembrance (Zikr) of Allah do hearts find tranquility" (Quran 13:28).
If you commute, use your time in Zikr. Pick any Tasbeeh and do that instead of listening to the radio or reading the newspaper. Maybe you can divide it up between Zikr and planning. Personally, I recite the Tasbeeh of "Subhana Allahe wa be hamdihi, subhan Allahil Azeem" 100 times as I drive. The Prophet taught us these two short phrases which are easy to say but will weigh heavy on our scale of good deeds in the Hereafter.
When your heart feels heavy with stress or grief, remember Allah and surround yourself with His Zikr. Zikr refers to all forms of the remembrance of Allah, including Salat, Tasbeeh, Tahmeed, Tahleel, making supplication (Dua), and reading Quran.
"And your Lord says: ‘Call on Me; I will answer your (prayer)…" (Quran 40:60)
By remembering Allah in the way He has taught us to, we are more likely to gain acceptance of our prayers and His Mercy in times of difficulty. We are communicating with the only One Who not only Hears and Knows all, but Who can change our situation and give us the patience to deal with our difficulties.
"Remember Me, and I shall remember you; be grateful to Me, and deny Me not" (Quran 2:152).
11. Relying on Allah:Tawakkul
When you awaken in the morning, thank Allah for giving you life after that short death called sleep. When you step out of your home, say 'in Your Name Allah, I put my trust in Allah, and there is no power or force except with Allah' (Bismillahi Tawakal to al Allah wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah). At night, remember Allah, with His praises on your lips.
Once you have established a plan you intend to follow through on to deal with a specific issue or problem in your life, put your trust in the most Wise and the All-Knowing. "When you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah" (Quran 3: 159).
Rely on Allah by constantly remembering Him throughout your day. When you lay down to sleep, remember that sleep is death. That is why one of the recommended supplications before going to sleep is "with Your (Allah's) Name I die and become alive".
12. Connect with other human beings
You are not alone. Muslims are not alone. We are not suffering in silence. There are millions of good people who are not Muslim with beautiful hearts and minds. These are people who have supported us, individually and collectively, post-9/11, by checking up on us and making sure we are safe. These are individuals and organizations who have spoken up in defense of Muslims as we endured harassment and discrimination.
We must think of them, talk to them, connect with them, and pray for them. Through our connections, we will break the chain of isolation that leads to depression and anxiety.
13. Compare your dining table with that of those who don't have as much as you do
The Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) said: Whenever you see someone better than you in wealth, face or figure, you should look at someone who is inferior to you in these respects (so that you may thank Allah for His blessings) (Bukhari, Muslim).
Next time you sit down to eat, eye the table carefully. Check out the selection of food, the quality, the taste, the quantity, and then think of the millions of others who don't have even half as much. The Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam)'s Hadith reminds us of this so that we can appreciate and thank Allah for all that we have.
Also remember that the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) only encouraged us to compare ourselves to others in two respects: in our Islamic knowledge and level of belief in God (Deen). In these two areas, we should compare ourselves with those who have more than what we do.
14. Say it Loud: Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar: Takbirat & Adhan
Find a corner of a lake, go out in the wilderness, or even stand on your lawn at your home and call the Adhan with your heart. While driving, instead of listening to the same news over and over again, say Allahu Akbar as loudly as you can or as softly as you want, based on your mood. Year ago, I remember calling Adhan on a Lake Michigan shore in Chicago after sunset as the water gushed against my knees. I was calling it for myself. There was no one else accept the waves after waves of water with their symphony. It was relaxing and meaningful. Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar.
15. Pray in congregation (Jamat)
Pray in congregation instead of alone If you are away, establish Jamat in your own family. During the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam)'s time, even though the Muslims endured great persecution, including physical beatings, they would sometimes meet on the side of a mountain or valley and tried to pray together. This is a great morale booster.
16. How is your Imam's Dua?
Does the Imam at your local mosque make Dua silently or out loud? Ask him to supplicate with the whole congregation. Suggest Duas for him to make. Ask him to make Dua for other people.
17. Work for the Unity of Muslims
Bringing Muslims together will not only help the Muslims, but it will also encourage you to focus your energies on something constructive versus zeroing in on and consistently fretting about difficulties you are going through.
Invite Muslims from other ethnic groups to your functions. Visit Masjids other than yours in your city. When you meet a Muslim leader, after thanking him for his efforts, ask him what he is doing for Muslim unity. Ask Imams to make Dua for this. These are just small ways you can help yourself and the Muslim community.
18. Sleep the way the Prophet slept
End your day on a positive note. Make Wudu, then think of your day. Thank Allah for all the good things you accomplished, like Zikr and Salat. Ask yourself what you did today to bring humanity together and what you did to help Muslims become servants of humanity. For everything positive, say Alhamdu lillah (Praise be to Allah). For everything negative say Astaghfirullah wa atoobo ilayk (I seek Allah's forgiveness and I turn to You [Allah]). Recite the last two chapters of the Quran, thinking and praying as you turn on your right side with your hand below your right cheek, the way the Prophet used to sleep. Then close your day with the name of Allah on your tongue. Insha Allah, you will have a good, restful night.
19. Begin the Day on a Positive Note
Get up early. Get up thanking Allah that He has given you another day. Alhamdu lillahil lazi ahyana bada ma amatana, wa ilaihin Nushoor (Praise be to Allah Who gave us life after death and unto Him will be the return). Invest in an audio tape driven alarm clock so you can get up to the melody of the Quran. Or Let Dawud Wharnsbay's joyful notes put you in a good mood. Sing along if you like. Develop your to do list for the day if you didn't do it the night before. Begin with the name of Allah, with Whose name nothing in the heavens or the earth can hurt you. He is the Highest and the Greatest. (Bismillahillazi la yazurru maa ismihi shaiun fil arze wa la fis samae, wahuwal Alee ul Azeem). The Prophet used to say this after every Fajr and Maghrib prayers.
20. Avoid Media Overexposure: Switch from News to Books
Don't spend too much time checking out the news on the radio, television or internet. Spend more time reading good books and journals. When you listen to the persistent barrage of bad news, especially relating to Muslims nowadays, you feel not only depressed, but powerless. Cut down media time to reduce your stress and anxiety. It's important to know what's going on but not to an extent that it ruins your day or your mood.
21. Pray for Others to Heal Yourself.
The Prophet was always concerned about other people, Muslims and non-Muslims, and would regularly pray for them. Praying for others connects you with them and helps you understand their suffering. This in itself has a healing component to it. The Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wasallam) has said that praying for someone who is not present increases love.
22. Make the Quran your Partner
Reading and listening to the Quran will help refresh our hearts and our minds. Recite it out loud or in a low voice. Listen to it in the car. When you are praying Nafl or extra prayers, pick it up and use it to recite portions of the Quran you are not as familiar with. Connecting to the Quran means connecting to Allah. Let it be a means to heal your heart of stress and worries. Invest in different recordings of the Qur'an and their translations.
"O humanity! There has come to you a direction from your Lord and a cure for all [the ills] in men’s hearts - and for those who believe, a Guidance and a Mercy" (Quran 10:57).
23. Be thankful to Allah
"If you are grateful, I will give you more" (Quran 14:7).
Counting our blessings helps us not only be grateful for what we have, but it also reminds us that we are so much better off than millions of others, whether that is in terms of our health, family, financial situation, or other aspects of our life. And being grateful for all we have helps us maintain a positive attitude in the face of worries and challenges we are facing almost daily.
24. Ideals: One step at a time
Ideals are wonderful things to pursue. But do that gradually. Think, prioritize, plan, and move forward. One step at a time.
25. Efforts not Results Count in the Eyes of Allah
Our success depends on our sincere efforts to the best of our abilities. It is the mercy of Allah that He does not demand results, Alhamdu lillah. He is happy if He finds us making our best sincere effort. Thank you Allah!
The anathema of masturbation is very common among young and adolescent boys. One reason for this habit is the unrestricted movement of women on the streets, in the market places and at recreation centres. Women go about in tight-fitting and revealing garments, unmindful of the presence of men.
Obscene scenes in plays and films promote sexual self-indulgence. Periodicals and magazines that contain romantic and sexual matter lead young boys and girls to shamelessness and immodesty.
Youngsters who are not inspired by the fear of Allah Ta'ala and of the consequences of their actions, are apt to gratify themselves by committing fornication and other unlawful acts, or by resorting to self-indulgence. These harm the body, the mind and affect one's psychological health.
A person who masturbates becomes weak and thin, palpitation increases and his memory becomes weak. The digestive system is impaired and inflammation of the lungs occurs. One may also become anaemic.
Impotency is the natural outcome of masturbation. A boy who has indulged in the habit of masturbation is not capable of marriage when he grows up. If he does marry, his wife hates him and often husband and wife may divorce. If the woman is pious, she will become depressed and if she is not, she will resort to unlawful acts.
Psychological and Mental Health
A person who masturbates will suffer psychological problems and is liable to mental illnesses like forgetfulness, loss of memory, weak determination, preference for solitude, extreme shyness and fear, being sorrowful and possibly contemplate some serious crime or even suicide.
Injunction of Shari'ah in this regard
The act of masturbation is despicable. It is a grave sin and is unlawful. The noble Qur'aan commands the guarding of private organs. With the exception of sexual intercourse with one's wife, all forms of sexual satisfaction are unlawful and these include fornication, adultery, homosexuality and masturbation, or any other sexual perversion. On the day of Qiyaamah, the perpetrators of such acts will suffer a dreadful punishment and will be deprived of the Mercy of Allah Ta'ala.
The remedy for this disease
Early marriage is a perfect, beneficial and natural remedy for this dangerous addiction.
If, for some reason, it is not possible to marry at an early age, voluntary fasts may be kept. By fasting, lustful thoughts are curbed and thus one's sexual urge is reduced. Further, fasting promotes fear of Allah Ta'ala and creates humility.
There are various kinds of voluntary fasts. One is the Sawm-e-Daawood [the fast of Daawood - Alayhis salaam] which means fasting every alternate day. Fasts can also be observed on Mondays and Thursdays, six days during the month of Shawaal, the ninth and tenth of Muharram, or any other day (besides the five prohibited days).
Shun whatever excites sexual thoughts
Young people destroy themselves when they pursue things that incite emotions and become like animals in fulfilling their desires. It is essential for young people to keep away from gatherings and opportunities that may arouse their sexual passions, or where they may come across women in revealing or tightfitting attire. They must abstain from listening to romantic tales or reading pornographic novels and magazines, hearing music and indecent songs or viewing such films.
Engage in fruitful pursuit
Adolescents and teenagers should not sit alone when they have nothing to do. This will allow their imaginations to run wild and sexual passions will be aroused. They should spend their time properly so that they do not get arousing and lustful ideas. They can keep themselves busy with physical exercise, pure recreation, sensible reading and religious lessons.
It is important to select good and pious friends and companions. Such friends may guard us from erring and although they are rare, they are found everywhere. Search for such company and let yourself spend time with them. Remember that people imitate their friends. Therefore, to strengthen your Imaan, character and physique, keep away from evil companions and adopt the company of virtuous people.
Act on medical advice
Doctors of medicine give the following suggestions on how to restrain lustful desires and sexual urges:
Have cold baths in summer.
Pour cold water on the penis in other seasons.
Engage in physical exercises and sports (some doctors recommend special exercises to curb lustful desires)
Abstain from spices and all types of food that excite sex
Cut down on tea, coffee and invigorating beverages
Reduce intake of meat and eggs to a minimum
Do not lie down flat on the back or on the stomach. Rather lie on the right side in compliance with the Sunnah.
Fear Allah Ta'ala
When fear of Allah Ta'ala is rooted in a person, all sinful and evil acts will be shunned. One will then realise that Allah is always watching, and is aware of everything, whether apparent or hidden. One will take account of every act of disobedience and omission of duty and will know that Allah will punish the disobedient from His Creation.
Young people must attend gatherings where Allah Ta'ala is eulogised. One must offer one's Fardh Salaat and make it a habit to offer nafl Salaat and recite the Qur'aan on a regular basis. One must cultivate the fear of Allah, the habit of muraaqabah (meditation), and the realisation of Allah's Majestic Powers. This is possible when one accustoms oneself to rising in the latter portion of the night for the tahajjud Salaat, keeping optional fasts, listening to the chronicles of the Sahaaba [Radhiallaahu anhum], spending time with pious people, keeping contact with the righteous and remembering death and the Hereafter. Therefore, develop such habits so that you are not drawn into temptation and sensuality. Remember that the punishment for disobedience and sinning is the fire of Jahannam.
By Dr Habibullah Mukhtar
Muslims and Weight Loss
An English proverb points out, "Some men walk through the forest yet see no firewood." As Muslims, we should be careful of falling into this proverbial truth.
Muslims often seek outside help to lose weight, although the Qur'an and Hadith provide guidance on many ways through which we can combat being overweight. They include periodic cleansings, eating simple and whole foods and herbs, avoiding excess, drinking plenty of water, praying and seeking guidance from Allah, seeking the help of others, and being persistent and patient.
Ramadan is a time for physical cleansing as well as spiritual cleansing. A prophetic tradition (Hadith) states, "Fast the month of Ramadan so to heal your bodies from disease." If we strive to eat only pure, simple and light foods during Ramadan, we can undergo a physical as well as a spiritual cleansing. Since there is such a strong scientifically proven correlation between our spiritual, mental and physical health, to purify all systems at the same time provides the ultimate and most powerful detoxification fast that we have available today.
To eat purely means to eat the whole, unprocessed and pure foods that Allah has provided us such as whole wheat breads, grains, beans, vegetables and fresh fruits. These are perfect foods and we do not need to improve them with colors, chemicals and preservatives. The Qur'an (5:4) says, "They ask thee what is lawful to them as food. Say, 'Lawful unto you are all things good and pure.'" And (50:7), "And the earth we have spread out, and we have set firm mountains on it, and have made every kind of beautiful growth to grow on it."
The Qur'an also says (7:31),"Eat and drink, but waste not by excess for God loves not the prodigals." Prophet Muhammad (SAW) emphasized this in Hadith when he mentioned that, "The stomach is the home of disease, and abstinence the head of every remedy. So make this your custom." It is easy to eat in excess since foods once reserved for royalty are now readily available in every supermarket. However, there is a hidden cost to excess consumption that keeps them expensive. Livestock pay this hidden cost by being injected with hormones and chemicals to increase the production of meat, cheese, milk and cream. The earth pays an even higher price when we consider the amount of grain and water used to raise the excess number of cattle for meat consumption.
Eating breakfast is also an important part of weight loss as it speeds metabolism of the body. The Hadith say, "Eat your meal at dawn, for there is blessing in the meal at dawn," and, "There is blessing in three things: the early morning meal, bread and soup."
Also, we must not ignore the benefits of the many herbs that Allah has provided us. Sahih Bukhari relates that, "For every malady Allah created, He also created its cure. Whoever acquires such knowledge shall benefit from it, and one who ignores it will forgo such benefit."
Another gift that Allah has given us in the battle against excess weight is water. The Qur'an says (15:45), "The righteous will be amid gardens and fountains of clear-flowing water," and (21:30), "We made water essential for all life." Muslims wanting to lose weight would benefit by drinking ten glasses of water a day, at least one half hour before and after meals.
As well as their spiritual benefits, the five prescribed daily prayers also provide physical toning benefits to the body. And patience is often the greatest test we face when we decide to lose weight. However, the Qur'an says (2:155), "Give glad tidings to those who exercise patience when struck with adversity and say, 'Indeed, we belong to God, and to Him is our return.' Such ones receive blessings and mercy from their Lord, and such are the guided ones."
Lastly, we cannot forget the power of prayer and support from others. The Qur'an says (26:80), "... And when I sicken, then He (Allah) heals me." Abu Hurairah relates, "Allah never inflicts a disease unless he makes a cure for it." Weight gain is often caused by excess, and the weakness of one or more organs of the body. A Hadith even says, "The origin of every disease is cold. So eat when you desire and refrain when you desire." Many people have lost weight simply by warming up their bodies with herbs and warm foods, and reducing heavier, colder foods and those that clog and chill the system.
"Oh, Lord! Advance me in knowledge..." The Qur'an says, and the Prophet has stated, that we should, "Seek knowledge, even in China." Along these lines, we can also obtain wisdom from people all around the world in the subject of weight loss. Utilizing the support of programs such as Weight Watchers or information provided in magazines can be beneficial - as long as we turn to the Qur'an as our ultimate inspiration.
by Karima Burns (MH, ND)
1. Prevents urinary tract infections throughout life, most importantly in infancy
2. Prevents HIV/AIDS infection and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
3. Prevent cervical cancer in female partners of uncircumcised men
4. Prevents cancer of the penis
5. Prevents infected/unretractable foreskin and penile skin disease
6. Promotes Lifetime ease of cleanliness
7. Women's sexual preference
8. Overall medical summary statement. Medicial proof of circumcision benefits.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), Kidney Infections:
Uncircumcised boys are about 10 times as likely to get serious kidney infections in the first year of life as are circumcised infants; even in adults circumcision protects against UTIs. These kidney infections are most dangerous in the first 3 months, during which time they often lead to hospitalization and can result in overwhelming blood infection and other serious infections. Kidney scarring has been shown to occur later. There is concern that future kidney failure and high blood pressure may follow infantile UTIs. Abnormal kidney function and hormonal secretion can occur with infant UTIs. Fecal contamination of the moist inner foreskin layer with bacterial attachment leads to these kidney infections.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Infection/AIDS:
Uncircumcised men were first shown to be more likely to acquire heterosexual HIV infection over a decade ago, in articles in the leading medical journals "Lancet" and "New England Journal of Medicine". Since then over 40 separate studies have shown that uncircumcised men are more likely to become infected with HIV on heterosexual exposure. The ease with which the foreskin tears during intercourse, leaving mini-abrasions through which the virus enters, can lead to the infections. It has recently been shown that certain specialized cells in the foreskin, Langerhans cells, can trap the HIV virus and promote infection.
Sexually Transmitted Disease (STDs):
As with HIV, mini-abrasions of the foreskin during intercourse is the explanation for the fact that uncircumcised men are more likely to acquire certain (though not all) STDs. The STDs for which uncircumcised men are at greater risk include syphilis, chancroid and genital herpes, all of which involve ulceration of the penile surface through which the infection enters.
Cervical cancer in female partners of uncircumcised men:
It has long been known that in population groups where circumcision is performed e.g. -Jews and Muslims - cancer of the cervix is rare and penile cancer almost nonexistent. In recent years the role of human papilloma virus (HPV) in both penile and cervical cancer has been proven, and these cancers are now being thought of as sexually transmitted diseases. A recent study of over 1900 couples in 5 countries found that penile HPV infection is about 3 times as common in uncircumcised males as in circumcised males and there is about a 2.5 fold increased risk of cervical cancer in women whose sexual partner is uncircumcised and has had multiple partners.
Invasive Penile Cancer:
It has been known for over 100 years that circumcised men almost never get invasive penile cancer, a devastating disease which is more deadly than breast cancer (higher 5 year mortality rate). About 1400 U.S. men get this disease and over 200 die annually, almost all of them uncircumcised.
Local Problems- Phimosis, Balanoposthitis, and Genital Hygiene:
Local foreskin infections (balanoposthitis) can occur at any age in uncircumcised males, but is most common at age 2-5 years, an age when the foreskin has often not yet completely separated, cannot be fully retracted, and genital cleanliness is more difficult to accomplish. In addition between 0.5% and 1% of boys will never be able to retract their foreskin due to a pinpoint opening at the end (phimosis) and will have to be circumcised at a later date when the procedure is more complex and difficult, and about 10 times more expensive. Newborn circumcision leads to improved genital hygiene throughout life, but most importantly in infancy, early childhood and old age when personal hygiene may be inadequate.
Women's Preference, Sexual Activity, Psych Effect:
Sexual function is not adversely effected by NC. On the contrary, published evidence shows that circumcised men have a wider variety of sexual activity, and women prefer circumcised men, mainly because of better genital hygiene.
For documentation see Reference Section, pages 124-135 from the book "Ed Schoen, MD on Circumcision Timely Information for Parents and Professionals from America's #1 Expert on Circumcision, RDR books, 2005."
What is the Islamic ruling for woman who gets pregnant quite often? Can she have intervals between births and if so, how long should she wait? Jazakum Allah khayran.
In fact, the preservation of human species is unquestionably one of the primary objectives of marriage, and such thing requires continued reproduction. Accordingly, Islam encourages having children. However, it allows the Muslim to plan his family due to valid reasons and recognized necessities.
Among the valid reasons for birth planning are the fear that the new pregnancy or a new baby might harm a previous suckling child due to frequent pregnancy and the fear that the pregnancy or delivery might endanger the life or health of the mother. This means that Islam recommends working out a strategy to improve birth spacing in order to lengthen the time between births and improve the health of mothers and their babies.
Referring to the ideal period for birth spacing or having interval between births, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi mentioned in his book The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam that:
“The ideal birth spacing is thirty months, or, if one wants to nurse the baby for two full years, then thirty-three months. Referring to this, Allah Almighty says: “Mothers shall suckle their children for two whole years; (that is) for those who wish to complete the suckling. The duty of feeding and clothing nursing mothers in a seemly manner is upon the father of the child. No one should be charged beyond his capacity. A mother should not be made to suffer because of her child, nor should he to whom the child is born (be made to suffer) because of his child. And on the (father's) heir is incumbent the like of that (which was incumbent on the father). If they desire to wean the child by mutual consent and (after) consultation, it is no sin for them; and if ye wish to give your children out to nurse, it is no sin for you, provided that ye pay what is due from you in kindness. Observe your duty to Allah, and know that Allah is Seer of what ye do.” (Al-Baqarah: 233)"
In this context, Sheikh Ja`far At-Talhawi, a prominent Al-Azhar scholar, adds the following:
"There is nothing wrong if the spouses plan their family by having intervals between the births for the following several reasons: (1) This enables the mother to have an adequate period for rest to recover and return her strength, and (2) enables the child to complete the period of suckling for two years. It is well-known that frequent pregnancies without considering this spacing affect both the mother and the infant. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "…gheelah (pregnancy during the period of breastfeeding) overtakes the rider and throws him from the horse." (Reported by Abu Dawud, this means that the child who nurses from a pregnant mother will suffer from it in later life like a horseman who is thrown from his horse.)"
Skin Grafting - Islamic Perspective
The following issues were discussed by the IOMS, The Fiqh Academy at Jeddah and WHO in various meetings held between the years 1980 - 2000.
Q:1) Is skin grafting permissible in Islam?
A: Yes, it is permissible subject to the fulfilment of certain conditions.
Q: 2) What are the conditions which make the skin grafting permissible in Islam?
A: Following conditions are necessary for the permissibility of skin grafting -
i. The skin transplantation is the only effective method of treatment.
ii. The harm, if any, caused to the donor, in case of donation, by the process of removal is within the standard acceptable limits.
iii. The operation is promising i.e. the likelihood of success is far more than that of failure.
iv. The skin is not acquired by sale, intimidation or deception. However, if no volunteer is available then there is no objection to obtaining necessary skin in exchange of price.
Q: 3) Are the patches of skin obtained from the person undergoing trans- plantation or another human, live or dead, juridically clean?
A: Yes, these patches are juridically clean according to Shariah.
Q: 4) Is skin graft from an animal lawful?
A: Yes, skin grafts from an animal which is lawful to eat and is slaugh- tered according to Islamic specifications are lawful in Shariah. However, skin grafts taken from a nonslaughtered animal carcass or from a living animal are unclean according to Shariah; so, their use is impermissible except in the case of necessity.
Q: 5) Is skin graft from pig permissible in Islam?
A: No, grafts from pig skin are not permissible except for dire necessity and where no lawful alternative is available.
Q: 6) Is setting up of 'Human Skin Bank' permissible in Islam?
A: Yes, it is permissible subject to the following conditions -
i. The bank is controlled by the state or by a reliable and trustworthy agency supervised by the State,
ii. The stock is proportionate to the real or expected needs,
iii. Surplus human skin remaining after operations is buried as a mark of respect to human remains and are not thrown up with wastes.
Q: 1) What importance Islam gives to personal cleanliness?
A: Islam attaches great importance to cleanliness. This is clearly apparent in Islamic legislation which makes ablution and bathing a duty. Islam also requires to wash our hands before and after meals, and to wash our clothes to purify them. All these obligations are related to individual and collective acts of worship, emphasizing the Islamic concept which considers man's body and soul two parts of a single entity which are mutually complementary.
Q: 2) Is cleanliness a prerequisite for prayers?
A: Yes. God has made ablution an essential preliminary for prayers. He explains that: "God does not want to impose any hardship on you, but wants to make you pure" (5:6). Ablution is a divine obligation to be undertaken by everyone who wishes to pray. God says in the Quran: " Believers, when you prepare for prayer, wash your faces and your hands upto elbow, and wipe your heads and wash your feet up to the ankles (5:6). The Prophet (PBUH): "God does not accept any prayers which have not been preceded by ablution".
Q: 3) Are Muslims urged to perform ablution for purposes other than prayers?
A: Yes. A person who is in a state of ceremonial impurity, i.e. janaba, is encouraged to perform ablution if he wants to eat or sleep, though the state of janaba required taking bath in which one washes the entire body. However, Islam encourages a person in such a state to perform ablution if he delays taking bath. The Prophet (PBUH) was asked whether a person in a state of ceremonial impurity may sleep, eat or drink. He answered: Yes, if he performs ablution in the same manner as when he wants to pray".
Islam also requires a man who has had sexual intercourse with his wife and wants to do so again to perform ablution in the interval. According to an authentic hadith: "If any one of you has had intercourse with his wife, and wants to repeat it, he should perform ablution".
Muslims are also recommended to perform ablution before going to bed, and when one is in a state of anger or has touched or carried a dead person, and before reciting the Quran or reading the hadith, and for attending Islamic lessons, entering a mosque, calling for prayer, giving a sermon or visiting a graveyard.
Q: 4) Is taking a bath considered obligatory in Islam?
A: Yes, taking a bath is considered obligatory in Islam on a number of occasions, including the end of menstruation and post natal discharge, after sexual intercourse and wet dreams. In this connection, God says in the Quran: "If you are in a state of ceremonial impurity, purify yourself" (5:6). He also says: "Believers, do not come near prayers when you are drunk until you are aware of what you are saying, nor when you are in a state of ceremonial impurity, except during traveling, until you have taken a bath" (4:43).
Islam requires its followers to take special care to keep themselves clean by taking bath regularly, even in the absence of above causes. A Muslim is required to take bath before the weekly Friday prayer and for attending prayer on the two annual Islamic feasts. It is also recommended to bath frequently during the pilgrimage and the Umra and on such occasions as entering Mecca, prayer for rainfall, when there is an eclipse, on regaining consciousness after fainting, after having washed the body of a dead person, when one feels that one's body odour is becoming unpleasant, before retiring to a mosque for mediation and prayer, when entering Medina and before attending any gathering.
Circumcision lowers risk of cervical cancer
By Rita Rubin, USA TODAY
04 / 10 / 2002
Women whose sexual partners are circumcised are less likely to develop cervical cancer than the partners of uncircumcised men, concludes a report out today.
The difference was statistically significant only in the partners of men considered to be at high risk for infection with human papillomavirus, or HPV, according to the study in The New England Journal of Medicine. Such men had had at least six sexual partners in their lifetime, beginning before age 17.
HPV causes genital warts in men and women, and certain strains cause virtually all cervical cancers. HPV also has been linked to cancers of the vagina, anus and penis.
The new report is based on 1,913 couples in five countries. All were married or in a stable relationship for at least six months. Half of the women had cervical cancer, and 370 of the men were circumcised. Worldwide, an estimated one in four men are circumcised.
Researchers interviewed all of the men and got samples of penile cells from 1,524. The scientists tested the samples for HPV.
After accounting for such factors as age at first intercourse and lifetime number of sexual partners, circumcised men were only about a third as likely as uncircumcised men to test positive for HPV. The authors speculate that circumcision, which involves removal of the foreskin, minimizes the area of the penis vulnerable to HPV infection.
On the whole, partners of circumcised men were about 25% less likely to have cervical cancer than partners of uncircumcised men, a difference that was not statistically significant. But among women in relationships with men at high risk for HPV, those with circumcised partners were 80% less likely to have cervical cancer.
Co-author Keerti Shah, a virologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, notes that other research suggests that circumcision also reduces men's risk of infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
"This may be something that may be true for many sexually transmitted infections," Shah says.
He and his co-authors write that more research is needed to determine whether routine circumcision could reduce the risks of HIV, HPV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Source: USA Today