Tuesday, June 27, 2017
THE COVER GIRL
Retaining Our Spirituality After Ramadhaan
We enrolled 30 days in a course called Ramadhaan to reach "Taqwah"(Fear of Allah Ta'ala Ta'ala). It was a time of renewal and re-establishment of our commitment to our Beloved ALLAH TA'ALA and HIS beautiful Deen-ul-Islaam. Al-Hamdulillah! Many have graduated with flying colours – embracing them with positive Deeni (Islamic)changes. Now is a crucial time to put it into practice!
We fasted, gave charity, read the Qur'aan Kareem and performed the Qiyamul Layl (Tahajjud) especially the last ten, standing in prayer before ALLAH TA'ALA. We avoided gossip, slander and every evil that would invalidate our fasting. But now that Ramadhaan has bid us farewell, many of us, regrettably, will put the Qur'aan Kareem back on the shelves, will suspend fasting until next year and will overlook the night prayer. This is not the way it should be, because all of these acts of worship carry rewards and are of benefit to us throughout the year, in addition to the fact there is no divine prescription limiting them to Ramadhaan.
What is it that happens in Ramadhaan to make you so motivated to change your life around and how can you get that spirit back to make long lasting, sustainable changes in your life? What is it that ALLAH TA'ALA puts into your life to enable you to make all those changes in Ramadhaan? If we could examine that, maybe we'll find clues to work out how we can make the Ramadhaan spirit last for more than 30 days, so you can make major sustainable changes in your life!
ALLAH TA'ALA TA'ALA give us an amazing purpose, a powerful reason for fasting, HE says it so beautifully:
"All the deeds of the son of Aadam (Alaihis Salaam) are for him: the good deeds will be multiplied ten times to seven hundred times, except fasting, which is for ME and I will reward it accordingly." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Al-Hamdulillah! He gives us all hope of His Reward for abandoning food, drink and intimacy for HIS Sake in Ramadhaan.
2. Long Term Vision
HE also gives us a long-term vision of what we will achieve if we follow HIS Orders and avoid the things that HE has forbidden – HE could grant us, according to our intentions, the highest place in Jannah.
3. Structure and Organization
HE gives us clear rules and a daily structure for Ramadhaan to give us a specific rhythm to the month – with a few exceptions and some flexibility such as a change in the pattern of the days for the last 10 nights – but there are definite targets that we have to fulfil throughout.
4. Challenging and Slightly Unrealistic Goals
The non-Muslims often look at what we do in Ramadhaan and say that we are being extreme, that we shouldn't be as harsh on ourselves as we are. But we are able to rise above their criticism and not pay attention to what they say, because we know that ALLAH TA'ALA never asks us to do anything that would be harmful for us. We are convinced of the value and benefits of our fasting and Qiyaam and that enables us to stretch ourselves.
In Ramadhaan, it's not only our bodies that are cleansed through fasting, our spirituality is also improved through increased Salaah and reading of the Qur'aan Kareem. Our finances are cleansed through Zakaah, our social relationships are improved through coming together for Iftaar, and our social contribution is increased through extra Sadaqah (Charity). The Ramadhaan spirit is developed through a balanced increase in every area of life, with each aspect having its own timing, amount, and purpose.
In welcoming Ramadhaan and bidding it farewell are some points of reflection for the Mu'mineen (True Believer): Is there for us in fasting an abundance portion of effort to reform ourselves and mend our ways? Yes! It is indeed an excellent period of reflection if one ponders over the sincerity of his/her intention and appropriateness of his/her acts of worship during the blessed month.
A whole new beautiful chapter in your life has opened – of peace, happiness, blessings and mercy with an elated feeling of spirituality, connecting with ALLAH TA'ALA and being immersed in HIS love, Subhaan-ALLAH. Fear ALLAH TA'ALA as HE should be feared for, the fear of ALLAH TA'ALA is the best treasure for you. Obey ALLAH TA'ALA and keep away from HIS restrictions, you will achieve HIS pleasure and be saved from HIS torment. On tasting the sweetness that comes with obedience, there is no desire to return to any form of disobedience.
A sinful desire is like a rose from afar, we get allured by its fragrance, become blinded by its beauty, and overlook the thorns.
Don't allow Shaitaan to be an anchor and halt your spiritual journey. Raise the sails of Imaan to reach the beautiful shores of Jannah. Would you rather invest for short term returns, or would it be more sensible to invest for everlasting returns? Don't let the chains of desire (naffs & shaitaan), bind us to Dunya whilst restraining our soul from pursuing Jannah. May ALLAH TA'ALA make our hearts the throne upon where our Imaan will sit, and let it rule over our Naffs(desires) before it tries to enslave us...
Ways to maintain the good habits you picked during Ramadhaan:
► Make Du'a
It was ALLAH TA'ALA who gave you the ability to keep the good habit in Ramadhaan, and only HE can help you maintain it afterwards. Make Du'a that ALLAH TA'ALA helps you not only keep the habit, but that HE accepts it and makes it a way for you to grow in closeness to HIM.
► Make it a Habit
If you want to keep good habits, you've got to make sure they remain part of your daily schedule. For instance, fasting. Our beloved Messenger (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) encouraged fasting on Mondays and Thursdays? He said: "A man's deeds are reported (to ALLAH TA'ALA) on Mondays and Thursdays and I prefer that I should be fasting when my deeds are reported." (Hadith-Tirmidhi)
► Evaluate yourself Weekly
This helps you see the bigger picture. You'll be able to evaluate on a more long-term level how well you've been keeping your habit in practice. You can do the same thing on a monthly and yearly basis.
► Don't fall apart once you make one Mistake
The beauty of Taubah (repentance) in Islaam, is that ALLAH TA'ALA blesses us with this opportunity to return back to HIM after doing something wrong. We should remember that we are humans and that we will err. Only ALLAH TA'ALA is Perfect.
► Ask yourself WHY you kept the habit
Niyyah or intention is a key to ALLAH TA'ALA'S acceptance of our good deeds. If we developed a habit to impress others, for instance, we may be able to keep the momentum for a while, but most probably it'll wear out afterwards.
But if we maintained a habit sincerely for the sake of ALLAH TA'ALA, Inshaa-ALLAH , not only will we be rewarded for it, but our intention will help us maintain the necessary motivation to continue to do good.
► Work your Way up slowly
Aa'ishah (RadhiAllah Ta'alau Anha) reported that Rasulullah(pbuh)said: "Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and remember that you shall enter Paradise only through ALLAH TA'ALA'S Mercy, and also remember that the most beloved deed to ALLAH TA'ALA is that which is regular and constant even if it is little." (Hadith-Al-Bukhari)
The wisdom in this Hadith is tremendous and it is one way of keeping up good habits you have picked up in Ramadhaan.
For example, let's say you were motivated to read Qur'aan Kareem for half-an-hour on a daily basis in Ramadhaan. But now that it's over, you feel sluggish, lazy and want to give it up. Yet, you had wanted to maintain this habit after the blessed month was over.
Instead of trying to read Qur'aan Kareem for the same amount of time, reduce the time period to as much as you are initially able to do, even if it's just ten or twenty minutes a day.
If you keep up this 'ten minutes a day' habit, Inshaa-ALLAH TA'ALA, you will see the amount of Qur'aan Kareem you read will increase slowly but gradually, perhaps even surpassing your Ramadhaan maximum in the long-term, Inshaa-ALLAH !
Be steadfast and upright upon the Deen of ALLAH TA'ALA at all times, for you do not know when you'll meet the Angel of Death. Beware of him taking you while you are in a state of sin. Forgiveness is always billowing around us, but we must raise the sails of remorse and repentance, to feel it. Now is the time to reprogram your life, rise up and get rid of the negativities, develop your potential, plan and execute, change and get changed, and you will become one of those gain happiness and blessings in this life and enjoy the bliss of the Hereafter, Inshaa-ALLAH TA'ALA! Be sure that reform is possible, seek help from our loving ALLAH TA'ALA, and do not feel unmotivated or lacking in strength.
May ALLAH TA'ALA accept our fasting, our Ibaadah and other righteous actions, that our condition after Ramadhaan be a better one, the state of our Ummah improves and that we are granted honour and submit to HIS obedience. ..Aameen
Enjoy your Eid by remaining consistent on the those good deeds and keep away from undesirable things that are capable of removing ALLAH TA'ALA'S favours from you. One of our righteous predecessors said:
"Each day in which no act of disobedience to ALLAH TA'ALA is committed is Eid and each day a believer spent in acts of obedience to his Lord is Eid."
Emma is a lawyer
And so is Aisha too
Colleagues going into court
At about half past two
Its 1 O'Clock right now
Aisha prays before the trial
They chat about this and that
Conversing with a smile
Aisha is in full hijab
With a loose all over Abaya (Cloak)
Emma's in her business wear
With accessories and other gear
Emma's really quite bemused
At Aisha's Godly ways
She looks Aisha in the eyes
And very firmly says
You're a smart girl Aisha
Why do you wear that across your hair?
Subjugated by "man"-kind
An object of despair
Take it off my sister
Let your banner be unfurled
Don't blindly follow all around
DECLARE YOUR FREEDOM TO THE WORLD
Aisha is amazed
But not the least bit shy
She bravely puts her milkshake down
And gives Emma the reply
My dear sister Emma,
Why do you dress the way you do?
The skirt you're wearing round your waist,
Is it really you?
Now that we've sat down
I see you tug it across your thighs,
Do you feel ashamed?
Aware of prying eyes?
I see the way you're sitting,
Both legs joined at the knees,
Who forces you to sit like that?
Do you feel at ease?
I'll tell you who obliges you,
To dress the way you do,
Gucci, Klein, and St. Laurent
All have designs on you!
In the market, its designer labels for real,
Who dictate the whims of fashion,
Generating all the garb,
To incite the basest passion
"Sex Sells" there is no doubt
But who buys with such great haste,
The answer is likes like you,
Because they want to be embraced...
They want to be accepted,
On a level playing field
Sure, with brain and intellect
But with body parts revealed
Intelligence and reason
Are useful by and by
But if you want to make a mark
Stay appealing to the eye
You claim your skirt is office-like
A business dress of sorts
Would we not laugh at Mike?
If he turned up in shorts?
His could be the smartest of pants
Pinstripe from Saville Rowe
But walking round like that my friend
He'd really have to go
Why do you douse yourself in creams
To make your skin so milky?
Why do you rip off all your hair
To keep your body silky?
A simple shower's all you need
To stay respectable and clean
The time and money that you spend
Is really quite obscene
Why do you wake up at dawn,
To apply a firm foundation,
Topped with makeup and the like,
In one chaotic combination?
And if you should have to leave the house
Devoid of this routine
Why do you feel insecure
That you should not be seen?
Be free my sister Emma
Escape from your deep mire
Don hijab today my friend
And all Islam's attire
Avoid all those sickly stares
Or whistles from afar
Walk down the street with dignity
Take pride in who you are
Strength lies in anonymity
Be a shadow in the crowd
Until you speak and interact
When your voice will carry loud
You're a smart girl Emma
Wear this across your hair
Don't be subjugated by "man"-kind
An object of despair
To use your very words my friend
Let your banner be unfurled
Don't blindly follow all around
DECLARE YOUR FREEDOM TO THE WORLD
Saturday, June 3, 2017
There is Joy in giving!
Just a few weeks ago business dictated that I make a trip passing through country roads and sleepy country towns, landmarked by massive agricultural silos. It was at that time of the year the country landscape is decorated by vast green maize plantations while the road is, on either side, fringed with tall bushes of cosmos bursting forth in yellow, white and different shades of pink both announcing the imminent passing of summer with all it's greenery while also heralding the coming of winter.....
Driving along such quiet, quaint and scenic routes offers an ideal opportunity for deep thought and contemplation and for one to be alone with one's self and thoughts, in spite of the odd pothole here and there.
"Verily in the creation of the heavens and the earth are signs and in the alternation of night and day are signs for those who have understanding" (Ale Imraan, Verse 190)
A few years ago a motor manufacturer's advertising line read
'life's a journey, enjoy the ride'.
For many of us though it seems that
'life's a destiny, miss the ride'
Our lives have become hectic and frantic characterised by a continuous race against time. In so doing, we have opted for the 'highways' instead of the 'byways' little realising the beauty of the byways...we enjoy the selfish exhilaration of speeding down this 'highway' called life, with the wind blowing through our hair and our fancy shades, little realising that these shades have obstructed our view of the scenery the 'byways' of life have to offer...the mountains, rivers and the colourful array of flora and fauna. Our 'speeding', our focus on racing against time - this deadline, that deal, the end result, the 'destination' - has caused us to focus only on finding the 'shortest road', the 'highway', thus preventing us to sit back and take in the beauty that the 'byways' have to offer. The irony is that our 'speeding' is in pursuit of that happiness and contentment which, strangely enough, lies in 'slowing down' and 'taking' in the scenery.
In the context of life what is this scenery?
It is the people that we come into contact with or are in contact with in our daily lives. They are those who we know, family and friends, as well as those that we do not, strangers.
Given the 'speed' at which we are travelling we often take for granted those that care for us and our well being and who go out of their way to make our lives comfortable, to make us smile and strive to make us happy. They are those whom we 'receive' from. If, for a moment, we ponder and acknowledge them, then we would appreciate their act of giving. When doing so we would realise how much joy they bring to our lives because of their 'giving'. This, would in turn, spur us on to give.
Know that the joy of giving supersedes that of receiving and accumulating because giving brings an inner contentment while accumulating only provides an apparent contentment beneath which lingers the fear of loss. Knowing that some seemingly insignificant word or action has brought happiness and joy to the heart of someone provides more satisfaction than money and wealth can ever bring. It is, in fact, the very essence of kindness to spread goodwill and uplift the heart.
What do we give?
A starting point would be acknowledgment in word, deed (if and where possible) and in prayer (Dua) for those that make some sort of difference to our lives and give meaning. Thereafter we should strive to make a positive difference and impression in the lives of all others that we come into contact with.
More often than not we have programmed our minds to understand that only that which is 'big, substantial, financial and material' would be considered an act of giving and, in doing do deprive ourselves of the great joy and satisfaction that even a small act of kindness can provide. As a matter of fact The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) has mentioned that,
'Do not belittle any good deed, even if it be meeting your brother with a cheerful face' (Hadith-Muslim)
'Every good deed is sadaqah(charity). To meet your brother with a smiling face (is sadaqah)' (Hadith-Bukhari)
There is also an incident mentioned in the seerah where Sayyiduna Usama bin Zayd (RA) on one occasion, did not have anything material and financial to contribute in the path of Allah. At the time of Tahajjud he awoke and beseeching and crying unto Allah (SWT) he said,
'Oh my Lord, I do not have any financial means to contribute for your sake. Instead, Oh my Lord, I forgive and overlook all those upon whom I have a right/s due'
The next morning The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) gave him glad tidings and said,
'Oh Usamah! Rejoice for verily Allah (SWT) has accepted your charity of the night'
From the above it is evident that Islam, while encouraging the giving of material, has not limited the act of 'giving' to that which is material. So start giving today, whether it is a kind word to someone, an acknowledgment of a favour to a benefactor, a little prayer (Dua) for a friend or loved one, giving a loaf of bread to a hungry one or just a smile, for it could be to some the only sunshine that they enjoy today!
There are so much positives in our lives due, directly or indirectly, to those who care and have concern for us. Let it not be that, when we start to care we realise that those who have done so all along, have stopped.
Before lamenting and complaining of having no time...make the time!
We need to decide... are we driving? or are we driven?
Stop existing and start living!
The pea is a splendid plant. It proudly displays its strong green Hijab. It protects it from the hot and cold weather and guards it from insects. Allah has blessed the pea with a special Hijab, because without it, the seeds would scatter, dry up and die.
The orange keeps itself within its shiny orange Hijab to protect its delicious fruit. Otherwise it loses its taste too.
So are the banana, the coconut and the pomegranate. Each one has an elegant and unique Hijab, which protects it from disease and destruction.
The jewel of the sea, the pearl, has been given a very tough and rugged Hijab - oyster shell. It protects it from sea animals and keeps it sparkling and shining inside.
The delicacies and exotic chocolates of this world are covered to protect it from bacteria and preserve their taste. Besides being so elegant it adds to its value!
However, the most beloved of Allah in all His creation is the Muslim girl who wears the Hijab. She knows it is a gift from Allah. It protects her from harm, injury and mischief. She wears it knowing it gives her dignity, beauty and respect. So precious she can be that she hides herself beneath her Hijab.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Preparing For Ramadhaan-The 'Month Of Mercy'
By Sister S Bemath
As the dawn of Ramadhaan approaches, offering us glimpse of its golden rays of purity, every Muslim around the world prepares to experience the warm ambience which only this month can bring. From Suhoor to Iftaar to Taraaweeh Salaah, Ramadhaan brings together brothers, sisters, parents and children. In order to derive the utmost benefit from the sacred month of Ramadhaan, it is crucial to recognize the spiritual significance and importance of this month. Fasting during this month should be only for ALLAH TA'ALA, and that HE will give the reward for it, for the reward of ALLAH, the Bountiful and Munificent, is greater and vaster than anyone could imagine, Subhaan-ALLAH!
A Hadith so beautifully encapsulates:"The reward for every good deed of Adam will be multiplied anywhere between ten and seven hundred times. ALLAH said: 'Except for fasting, because it is for ME and I MYSELF will give recompense for it. He gives up his food and his passion for ME.' For the one who fasts, there are two times of rejoicing, one when he breaks the fast, and one when he meets his Lord. Verily the smell that comes from the mouth of one who is fasting is more pleasing to ALLAH than the scent of musk." (Hadith:Bukhari and Muslim)
Beloved Reader! This is a month which ALLAH TA'ALA has designated for the revitalization of the soul and one's spiritual ascension after a year full of sin and spiritual retrogression. However, all this will only be possible if we value this precious month and prepare for it accordingly. It is reported that Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) used to commence His preparation two months prior to Ramadhaan by reciting the following supplication at the beginning of Rajab, "O ALLAH! bless us in Rajab and Sha'baan and make us reach Ramadhaan" .This shows the importance of conditioning oneself mentally and spiritually for the advent of this month. Ramadhaan is a long- awaited celestial guest; accordingly, we ought to prepare the grandest reception in appreciation for all of it's beautiful blessings and barakah. It is only through such yearning and longing that the significance of Ramadhaan will develop in our hearts serving as a catalyst to increase our good deeds and to fulfil the objectives of Ramadhaan.
Therefore, we should strike a balance, during this all-too-short blessed month, between our domestic duties and the opportunity this month brings, to draw closer to ALLAH through worship and good deeds. Do not let our household chores and other work distract us from performing the obligatory Salaah at the appointed times or from reading the Qur'aan Kareemf or Nafl Salaah. Nor should we let traditional late-night family gatherings keep us from performing Qiyaam al-Layl and making Du'a. There are three main objectives to attain from this blessed month, namely absolution of one's sins, attainment of piety and enhancing one's communion with ALLAH TA'ALA. In regards to absolution of sin, Muhammad (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) mentioned, "Whoever fasts and stands for worship in Ramadhaan out of faith and anticipation of reward, all of his previous sins will be forgiven." (Ibn Majah)
The main element mentioned in this Hadith is that our effort and striving in worship throughout the month should be with the zest of Imaan and zeal of reward. The recompense of this will be a thorough effacement of sins. The veil of inhibition that impedes a person from his or her Rabb will be removed and the doors to a life of spiritual bliss, ecstasy and harmony will be flung open. Subhaan-ALLAH!
ALLAH TA'ALA states,
"O you who believe, fasting has made compulsory upon you as it made compulsory upon those before you so that you may become ALLAH fearing." (Quran:2:183)
Alhamdulillah! Fasting is one of the best spiritual exercises to establish piety, patience and a perpetual consciousness of ALLAH TA'ALA and the reward for true patience is Jannah. In this beautiful month four things you should continue to perform in great number, two of which shall be to please your Rabb, while the other two shall be those without which you cannot do. Those which shall be to please your Rabb, are that you should in great quantity bear witness that there is no diety to worship except ALLAH (i.e. recite the Kalimah Tayyibah Laa Ilaaha Illallaah) and make much Istighfaar (beg ALLAH'S forgiveness with Astaghfirullaah)." And as for those without which you cannot do, you should beg of ALLAH, entrance into Paradise and ask refuge in HIM from Jahannam(Hell)." Once a person feels the bliss of being completely pardoned and relieved from the burden of sins coupled with the feelings of ALLAH'S Omnipresence, he or she would have reached a very high pedestal of divine communion. This pedestal is what referred to as the stage of Ihsaan; where a person worships ALLAH as if he or she is seeing HIM or with the full conviction and cognizance that ALLAH is watching him or her.
Beloved Reader! The Mubarak month of Ramadhaan requires special preparation because it requires complete dedication on part of the Mu'min. Below are a few easy ways to Inshaa-ALLAH (ALLAH willing) help prepare our minds and hearts for this upcoming Month of Mercy.
1. INTENTION TO PREPARE:
One of the most essential elements of preparing for the arrival of Ramadhaan is to make the intention for preparation for verily "every action judged by it's intention"(Hadith-Bukhari). The preparation begins the day you start practicing humility and patience and learn how to control your nafs (desires) and anger.
2. PERFORM REWARDING ACTIONS:
In the spirit of Ramadhaan, it is best to start preparing for the blessed month by performing actions that are rewarding and appreciated by our beautiful ALLAH. According to a Hadith, "If a person says, "SubhaanALLAH"(Glory be to ALLAH) 100 times, a thousand good deeds are recorded for him and a thousand bad deeds are wiped away."
3. INCREASE THE WORSHIP:
To start preparing for the blessed month of Ramadhaan, it is best if you start increasing your worship. This will allow you to adjust your routine for the arrival of Ramadhaan. Increase all forms of Ibadah(worship) such Fasting,recitation of Qur'an, Zikr, Sadaqah(Charity) , Nafl (voluntary) Salaah etc
4. DETERMINE SPECIFIC DAYS FOR FASTING:
To adjust your body to fasting, it is best that you start fasting beforehand. You should define specific days for fasting. For example, if you fast every Monday and Thursday, you will be more fully prepared for Ramadhaan making the adjustment much easier.
5. READ THE MUBARAK QUR'AAN REGULARLY:
For individuals who have not prepared for reading and reciting Qur'aan during Ramadhaan, Qur'aan Kareem recitation while fasting becomes difficult. It is best if you start reading the Mubarak Qur'aan after Fajr salaah on a daily basis just to prepare for the Ramadhaan spirit.
6. ADJUST SLEEPING HABITS:
Ramadhaan teaches us to adjust the way we lead our life. Therefore, before the arrival of Ramadhaan, it is ideal if you start adjusting your sleeping habits. You should start off by going to bed early and rising early. If you are used to this routine, you will not feel sleepy and tired when Ramadhaan arrives.
7. DEFINE OBJECTIVES:
Ramadhaan is the ideal month to embark on your journey to fresh objectives. If you are a smoker and want to quit this habit, you should start off with this month. If you want to be an early riser, still Ramadhaan is the perfect month for you.
In essence, Ramadhaan is the most blessed and rewarding month. Therefore, all Muslims should try their best prepare for this auspicious month of Ramadhaan. Regular recitation of Qur'aan, voluntary charity and recitation and offering prayers will help you prepare for the Ramadhaan spirit. Inshaa-ALLAH!
O Beloved Reader! Let us embellish our Akhlaaq(character) in this beautiful and blessed month with gifts presented by the Prophet of guidance (Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam). Let us make this Ramadhaan a means of gaining nearness to Allah Ta'ala and preparing for the eternal journey that each and every one of us must traverse.
"Super Foods"…for Ramadaan
By Umme Faatimah (B.Dietetics Univ. of Pretoria)
The modern world has swept us off our feet in so many ways… our dressing, our lifestyles and most noticeably our eating habits. We have so casually adapted the western culture of unhealthy eating, moving further and further away from the Noble teachings of the Quraan and Sunnah of The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him).
Yet, the newest nutritional research continues to discover the benefits of certain foods, labelled as "Super Foods". They have also unravelled the great benefits of certain eating habits, such as washing the hands before and after meals, eating with the hands, not drinking with meals…just to mention a few. However, all of this has already been outlined in the Holy Qur'an and Sunnah more than 1400 years ago.
We are certainly the losers if we do not make an effort to practice upon the Sunnah in our homes and kitchens. What better time to bring about these changes than now? Our beautiful Deen offers us the opportunity during the beautiful month of Ramadhaan, to bring about positive changes in our lives- changes that benefit us mentally, physically and spiritually which Insha Allah (Allah Willing) can be sustained for the future.
Physically, fasting gives the digestive system a much needed rest. Energy normally used for digestion is now directed to body detoxification, tissue repair and system healing.
With that in mind I have chosen to highlight just a few of the favourite foods of our The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). With the special month of Ramadhaan fast approaching, we can all ensure we have these foods on our shopping lists. InshaAllah, by us adopting the lifestyle of The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) we will be rewarded enormously… Ameen.
Dates are the most mentioned fruit in the Quraan. They are high in energy, fibre, iron, vitamins and minerals. The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)said: " The home with no dates is like the home with no food".(Hadith- Sahih Muslim)
The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)used to break his fast with fresh dates and a few sips of water. If he did not find fresh dates, he would use dried dates. He (pbuh) said: "When one of you breaks the fast let him do so with dates, for they are a blessing and if he cannot find dates then with water for it is a purification" (Hadith-Tirmidhi)
He often consumed dates with cucumber, butter, cream or bread. A dessert called "Haisa" made with ghee (butter), dates, cheese and yoghurt was also prepared.
Tips: At iftaar (breaking fast) time, dates can also be used to prepare date milkshakes, date chutney, date desserts as well as sprinkled over salads. For sehri (pre-dawn meal), dates can be used as a softened spread over bread or added into muffins, rusks etc.
Dieticians and nutritionist the world over have been advocating the use of olive oil for its excellent cardio-protective, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Ongoing research is revealing more and more great benefits on the consumption and application of olive oil.
The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)said: "Eat the olive and use it as an ointment as it comes from a blessed tree".(Hadith-Tirmidhi)
Tips: During Ramadhaan, olive oil is best used raw as a dip for breads or as a salad dressing. The lighter olive oils are well suited for cooking and baking purposes. Whole olives can be added to salads as well as de-pitted and added to breads, muffins, pies and pizzas.
A recent Readers Digest article highlighted barley as one of the five healthiest foods we tend not to eat. Yet it was barley that was one of the staple foods in the diet of our The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). Modern research is discovering that barley has a very high soluble- fibre content. This helps to keep the arteries clear and healthy. It has an extremely low glycaemic index (GI), which means it takes a longer time to digest, keeping one fuller for longer.
It is mentioned that The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) consumed barley in the following ways:
SAWIQ – a coarse broth prepared from ground wheat and barley - very much like a haleem (soup)
THARID – Barley bread covered in gravy cooked with meat
TALBEENAH – A porridge prepared using barley and milk
A Hadith in Mishkaat narrates that The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)never used sifted flour in his lifetime. We should take lesson from this, as we are all moving to consuming more refined and processed foods where all the beneficial nutrients have been stripped off. Allah SWT mentions in the Holy Quraan grains with their husks, amongst His many gifts to us. Un-sifted flour as used by The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)contains all the valuable nutrients found in the bran and germ layers and has a lower GI.
Tips: During Ramadhaan, barley can be added to soups and broths or prepared as a drink by boiling and straining mixture. A hadith in Bukhari mentions that The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) consumed "Sawiq" at iftaar. Barley flour can be used for preparing breads and rotis. Substitute 1.5 cups barley flour for every 3 cups regular flour. Cereals containing barley flakes like muesli can be purchased, or barley flakes can be added to biscuits, muffins, breads and other cereals.
Barley can be prepared as a filling porridge for sehri -Talbeenah. Soak 1-2 tablespoons whole barley overnight in a flask filled with rapidly boiling water. At sehri time, strain water out and prepare porridge with honey and milk. (Store bought "pearled barley" has been polished with some of the bran layer removed).
Modern research has been abuzz with the myriad of health benefits associated with honey- anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, energising tonic….to name a few.Our beautiful Deen has encouraged the use of honey 1400 years ago. The Holy Quraan mentions"there comes forth from the bee's belly, a drink of varying colours, wherin is a healing for men".(Qur'an 16:68-69)
The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) further said " Make use of two cures- honey and the Quraan"(Hadith-Ibn Majah)
The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) loved drinks that were sweet and cold and often consumed honey water.
Tips: Honey can be used to sweeten items like tea, fresh juices, milk drinks and cereals etc. Raw honey which is thicker and creamier has a lower GI, and can be mixed with cinnamon and used as a spread on toast for sehri.
GRAPES AND RAISINS
Grapes have been found to contain resveratrol- a powerful antioxidant that protects the body on a cellular level from damage. The seeds are rich in flavonoids which lower the risk of fatty plaque accumulation on the lining of blood vessels to the heart.
The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) loved eating grapes. Hadith in Abu Dawood mentions The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him )often consumed a drink "Nabeez"- prepared from soaked raisins. Nabeez can be prepared by soaking raisins after Esha (evening) prayer in clean water covered with a plate. The following morning the water can be drunk and the soaked fruit eaten or just use the blender to obtain a beautiful cloudy Nabeez. And, if you soak in the morning, drink in the evening. Nabeez should be consumed within twelve hours of soaking to prevent fermentation.
Tips: Nabeez or fresh grape juice can be prepared as a drink after Taraweeh (evening prayer in Ramadaan). Grapes can be served as part of salad or dessert. Raisins eaten with nuts can be enjoyed as a healthy munch after taraweeh salaat.
The Sunnah way of eating is the healthy way of eating. InshaAllah, let us all strive to revive and bring alive the Sunnahs of The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) in our homes this Ramadhaan. I have highlighted just a few. Make an intention to eat on the floor, share eating utensils and to fill a third of your stomach with water, a third with food and a third left for air.
Besides the immense health benefits outlined above our greatest rewards really lie in following the Sunnah, as it comes in Hadith mentioned by The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him):
" The person who follows my Sunnah is the one who truly loves me, and will be with me in Jannah" (Hadith-Tirmidhi)
Allah Ta'ala said to His Messenger (pbuh)"Say (to mankind), if you love Allah, follow me – Allah will love you and forgive your sins." (Qur'an:3: 31)
Wishing you all healthy eating, the Sunnah way………………….Ramadhaan Mubarak!