By Al-Arabi Abu Hamzah
Islam brought knowledge when the whole world was engulfed in utter ignorance. The first Verse the Prophet of Islam received from Allah was:
Read! in the Name of your Lord Who has created [all that exists]. He has created man from a clot [a piece of thick coagulated blood]. Read! And your Lord is the Most Bountiful, Who has taught [writing] by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not. (Al-`Alaq 96:1-5).
This verse represents the first spark ever to dispel the darkness of ignorance in which the world had been immersed. It awakened in man the faculty of thinking and urged him to worship the true God. It is through knowledge that we can understand Allah better and serve Him better. The Prophet, peace be upon him, states in a tradition that Allah does not like to be worshipped out of ignorance. The early generation of Muslims became in a matter of a few years a nation knowledgeable in religious as well as in worldly matters, after having groped in the darkness of ignorance for centuries. Allah reminds the Muslims of His immeasurable bounties when He:
…raised among the unlettered people a Messenger from among themselves, reciting unto them His Verses, purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom. And verily they had been before in manifest error. (Al-Jumu`ah 62:2)
Knowledge is of two types: religious, which has to do with the understanding of the religious duties one is required to carry out, and temporal, which has to do with the matters of this world. A Muslim is required to acquire both types of knowledge. Religious knowledge is must because without it one will not be able to discharge the enjoined duties in the prescribed manner. The Prophet (PBUH) says:
“Allah will grant the knowledge of Islam to whoever He wants good for him.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).
Islam encourages the acquisition of knowledge and makes clear its great reward. The Prophet, peace be upon him, says:
“Allah makes the way to Paradise easy for him who treads the path in search of knowledge.” (Muslim)
“He who goes forth in search of knowledge will be in Allah’s way until he returns.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
“He who follows a path in quest of knowledge, Allah will make the path to Paradise easy for him. The angels lower their wings for the seeker of knowledge, being pleased with what he does. The inhabitants of the heavens and the earth and even the fish in the depth of the oceans seek forgiveness for him. The superiority of the learned person over the devout worshipper is like that of the moon over rest of the stars. The learned are the heirs of the Prophets; the Prophets bequeath neither dinar nor dirham but only knowledge, and he who acquires it has, in fact, acquired an abundant portion.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
Beneficial temporal knowledge is also a must and Muslims are encouraged to acquire it in order to benefit themselves and their fellowmen. When the early Muslims understood this fact, they excelled all other nations and carried the torch of knowledge for many centuries. As T.W. Wallbank and A. Schrier put it:
“In medicine, mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, and physics, Muslims’ achievements were particularly noteworthy. Well-equipped hospitals, usually associated with medical schools, were located in the principal cities. At a time when superstition still hampered the practice of medicine in western countries, Muslim physicians were diagnosing diseases, prescribing cures and performing advanced surgery… probably the greatest of all physicians was the 9th-century figure Al-Razi, known in the West as Rhazes. He was the author of scores of scientific work, including a comprehensive medical encyclopedia and a pioneering handbook on smallpox and measles. A 10th-century physician, Avicenna, compiled a huge Cannon of Medicine which was considered the standard guide in European medical circles until the late 17th century…Important advances were made in algebra, analytical geometry, and plane spherical trigonometry.”
In Islam, anything that is considered to be beneficial in one’s spiritual or worldly advancement is encouraged and advocated.
After all, the acquisition of knowledge is, as the Prophet of Islam made it clear, “an obligation upon every Muslim man and Woman.“(Ibn Majah)
Allah commands the Prophet to invoke Him to advance him in knowledge:
Say: ‘O my Lord! Increase me in knowledge. (Ta Ha 20:114)
It is a fact that Faith makes all people equal before Allah, but there is leadership and rank and degree, joined with greater or lesser responsibility, and that depends on true knowledge and insight, namely the knowledge of religion:
Allah will exalt in degree those of you who believe and those who have been granted knowledge. (Al-Mujadilah 58:11)
 Living World History, Scott Forseman and Company, 1990, pp. 191-2.
Al-Arabi Abu Hamzah is the author of the book: A Glimpse at the Beauty of Islam.
By Dr. Ali Al-Halawani
No excessiveness, nor penny-pinching
A faithful Muslim should do his best to control and balance his financial activities and make them all go in conformity with shari’ah-based obligations and ordinances. The best way to do this and to make sure that one is not trespassing the boundaries of Allah is: to scrutinize one’s earnings and make sure that they are all of lawful sources; to be moderate in terms of spending; to fulfill one’s obligations and give others their due rights; to pay off one’s due debts willingly and beautifully.
Balancing as well as controlling one’s financial activities have become significantly important as there are many common negative financial transactions and commercial activities that may lead to the destruction of all senses of trust and brotherhood among individuals and groups alike. In a similar vein, controlling and verifying one’s financial activities is considered as a real indicator and measurement of his/her fairness and integrity. It was reported that Caliph Umar ibn Al-Khattab once commented on a man’s praise for another as he wondered as saying to him: “Maybe you saw him while he was prolonging his bowing and prostration in prayer!” The man replied: “Yes I did.” Umar asked: “Have you dealt with him with dirham and dinar?” (i.e., were there any financial transactions or commercial activities between the two of you?!) The man replied: “No, I haven’t.” Umar concluded: “Then, you do not really know him!”
Allah the Almighty ordains upon us and enjoins us, all of us, to be fair and to control and balance all our financial transactions and commercial activities. He (Glory be His) says in His Ever-Glorious Qur’an what may mean,
“O you who have believed, when you contract a debt for a specified term, write it down.” (Al-Baqarah 2: 282)
In a similar vein, Allah the Almighty warns us against betraying or breaking our trust. He (Glory be His) says in His Ever-Glorious Qur’an what may mean,
“O you who have believed, do not betray Allah and the Messenger or betray your trusts while you know [the consequence].” (Al-Anfal 8: 27)
Some manifestations of financial discipline:
- No excessiveness, nor penny-pinching
A faithful Muslim should be neither spendthrift nor mean or penny-pinching. Instead, one should always be moderate and fair in all his dealings with others including one’s own family and even with himself. Allah the Almighty says in His Ever-Glorious Qur’an what may mean,
“And [they are] those who, when they spend, do so not excessively or sparingly but are ever, between that, [justly] moderate.” (Al-Furqan 25: 67)
- Not to run into debts except of necessity
A real and faithful Muslim should flee from and avoid running into debts. He should plan for his life and should live by what he already has. A real and faithful Muslim does not run into debts merely for obtaining luxuries; he resorts to debts only in times of absolute necessity and/or dire need. He does not like the accumulation of wealth and riches but earns what may suffice him and nothing more. A real and faithful Muslim is always keen to pay off his debts – if any – as soon as possible as he aspires to meet Allah the Almighty after death while he is as pure as a sunshine (with no debts whatsoever). ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn Al-‘As (May Allah be pleased with them both) said: The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Allah forgives every sin of a martyr, except his debt.” (Sahih Muslim)
Another narration in Sahih Muslim reads: The Messenger of Allah (Peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Being martyred in the Cause of Allah expiates for everything, except debt.” (Sahih Muslim)
- Avoid earning unlawful gains
When Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) was sent down by Allah the Almighty to guide all humanity to the way of truth and the straight path of true faith, the Arabs of his time had many sorts of financial transactions and commercial activities. They had several sorts of buying, selling and trading among themselves and with others. Many of these financial transactions and commercial activities were not shari’ah compliant or fair; therefore, the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) announced all such activities as unlawful as per Islamic shari’ah (i.e., the regulations of Islamic Law). As for those transactions that were fair and shari’ah compliant, the Prophet endorsed and approved them all. He was ordered by Allah the Almighty to declare any and all transactions that may do harm to the individual and/or the community as unlawful and prohibited lest these should incur severer atrocities or harmful consequences.
In short, for a Muslim to be financially disciplined, one should …
- Avoid running into debts except of necessity;
- Avoid the accumulation of debts and schedule them – if any – to facilitate their payment;
- Avoid buying things in installments whenever possible;
- Avoid giving yourself up to luxuries and nonessentials;
- Avoid becoming penny-pinching or mean with your household or others;
- Avoid dealing with conventional or interest-based banks.
Dr. Ali Al-Halawani is Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Translation, Kulliyyah of Languages and Management (KLM), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He was Assistant Professor and worked for a number of international universities in Malaysia and Egypt such as Al-Madinah International University, Shah Alam, Malaysia (Mediu) and Misr University for Science & Technology (MUST), Egypt; Former Editor-in-Chief of the Electronic Da`wah Committee (EDC), Kuwait; Former Deputy Chief Editor and Managing Editor of the Living Shari`ah Department, www.islamOnline.net; Member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS); and member of the World Association of Arab Translators & Linguists (Wata). He is a published writer, translator, and researcher. You can reach him at [email protected].
By Abdul-Lateef Balogun
– G.I.S. Analyst – Malaysia
Whether a slight or great deviation, the key issue seems to be the actual effort and level of sincerity displayed in trying to figure out the right direction of the Qiblah.
For millions of Muslims around the world, traveling is part of their routine. Whether for studies, business or pleasure, the need to embark on long-distance journeys arises continuously and with this comes the challenge of determining the correct direction of the Qiblah while on such trips.
The importance of identifying the Qiblah (direction towards the Ka`bah in Makkah) lies in the obligation of performing the five daily Prayers in the life of a Muslim. Making a sincere attempt to face the Qiblah is one of the conditions for the validity of Prayer.
When a mosque is accessible in their respective home countries many Muslims hardly bother about this since the Qiblah is already identified inside their mosques. However, when one is traveling and cannot find a mosque (or is unfortunate enough to land in a mosque where the Qiblah is not correctly positioned,) knowing how to find the Qiblah becomes a handy skill.
An Age Old Problem
Precise observation, as well as an uncanny ability to derive new solutions to ancient problems, was perhaps what made Muslim scientists outstanding in the Middle Ages. It, therefore, did not come as a surprise when they embarked on the arduous journey of mathematically determining the Qiblah.
The puzzle was to devise a means of finding the direction of the Ka`bah in Makkah at all times. By employing advanced trigonometry, they eventually came up with medieval Qiblah tables, which had a high degree of accuracy.
However, the sophistication of these tables, which even European geographers at that time couldn’t fully comprehend, limited their use (Lunde). Another popular instrument that was used for determining the Qiblah then became the Astrolabe.
Initially designed mainly for astrology, navigation, and surveying, astronomers from the Islamic world soon found another use for it. By adding special tables to the existing ones at the back of the conventional astrolabe, it had the added functionality of finding the direction to Makkah, and consequently the Qiblah. (Winterburn)
Life Made Easier
With the rapid spread of Islam came the demand for more accurate, easier-to-use instruments with which the direction of the Qiblah could be determined almost effortlessly. It was necessary to cater to the needs of the growing Muslim population that had spread far beyond the Arabian Peninsula thereby making the determination of the Qiblah with the available instruments a more challenging task.
In the 13th century AD, the introduction of the compass to the Islamic world revolutionalized the entire Qiblah finding process (Winterburn). By incorporating it into the astrolabe, it was possible to find Makkah from anywhere around the Islamic world. Further advancements saw the compass being used alongside other Qiblah indicators such as the Sundial and the Persian Qiblah indicator, all of which were quite famous during the 18th century.
In the late 20th century compass-based tools were made to help Muslims quickly find the Qiblah. A compass specially marked and coded for major cities around the world and with the Ka`bah drawn inside its dial became popular at one point. A similar compass stuck to a portable prayer mat also became commonly sold around the world. But in this present century, things couldn’t have gotten better for the Muslim Ummah.
With the proliferation of smartphones and other digital gadgets, the usual problems faced while trying to find the Qiblah are fast fading away. Be it a wristwatch, mobile phone or hand-held GPS device, the most important thing is to ensure they are equipped with either a compass or a relevant map to be able to perform the needed function of finding the Qiblah in real-time.
The latest trend has become the use of Location Based Services (LBS). LBS involve software solutions configured to work with a handheld mobile device, which in turn operates on a specific wireless network. When used in conjunction with a Geographical Information System (GIS) server application, it readily provides the device owner with vital information such as the routes to, and location of, Makkah relative to their own present location or position. (GIM International)
The combination of GIS and GPS technologies has analytical capabilities that make it possible to determine the individual location of each mobile phone user. Thereafter, required information such as the location of the Qiblah and other places of interest is presented to the user via a map interface. For devices that do not support a graphical map interface, the requested information comes in the form of textual or audio instructions.
Sadly though, the high cost of these gadgets limits the number of prospective buyers cum users.
A Controversial Issue?
Quite similar to the contentious issue of moon sighting especially prior to the commencement of the holy month of Ramadan, “Qiblah finding” is one topic that sometimes causes tempers to flare when being discussed.
While some people believe the center of the face has to be perfectly aligned with the center of the Ka`bah for the prayer to be valid, others believe this position is too rigid and need not be adopted. The prophet Muhammad, blessings and peace be upon him, is reported to have said: “Whatever is between the east and the west is the Qiblah.” (Narrated by At-Tirmidhi, 342; Ibn Maajah, 1011)
Though short, the profound meaning derivable from this hadith forms the basis of many Islamic verdicts (fatwas) on the issue of the Qiblah. As a result, the majority of scholars, including two of the four great Imams, Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Abu Hanifah, are of the opinion that the one who is close to the Ka`bah is required to face it head on, while the one who is far away from it must seek the general direction of the Ka`bah, without having to face it precisely. (Al-Munajid)
Hence, a slight deviation in the Qiblah is generally regarded as something permissible as long as the worshipper has done his utmost in trying to get it right, and perfection sure lies with Allah alone. There might not be much cause for worry if the deviation from the Qiblah is slight, but what happens if the deviation was great or totally off while praying?
According to a verdict issued by the highest religious decision-making body in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, “If a worshipper does his best to identify the direction of the Qiblah and prays, then he discovers that he was mistaken, his prayer is still valid.” (Fataawa Al-Lajnah Al-Daa’imah-6/314)
Whether a slight or great deviation, the key issue seems to be the actual effort and level of sincerity displayed in trying to figure out the right direction of the Qiblah. Therefore, the quarrels that sometimes arise when trying to establish the right position of the Qiblah at a certain location might just be uncalled for.
As Muslims, we are of the firm conviction that whatever Allah commands us to do is ultimately for our benefit, and this includes facing the Ka`bah in Prayer. The same way we strive day and night, spending lots of money to acquire quality education, posh cars, and houses, we need to channel the similar amount of resources, energy, zeal, and passion towards our religion.
By so doing, we are likely to always get the direction of the Qiblah right irrespective of which part of the globe we find ourselves; and if not, our Lord is most merciful, oft-forgiving.
– Lunde, Paul, and Bilkadi, Zayn. “Arabs and Astronomy.” Saudi Aramco World Magazine. January/February 1986.
– Winterburn, Emily. “Using an Astrolabe.” Foundation for Science Technology and Civilization (FSTC) Limited. August 2005.
– Winterburn, Emily. “Astronomical Instruments through Time.” BBC. 30 May 2009. Accessed 27 July 2009.
– “Location-Based Services for Emergencies.” GIM International. Reed Business, Netherlands. May 2009.
– Al-Munajid, Salih. “Conditions for Prayers-Question No. 91405.” Islam Q & A. 30 May 2009. Accessed 27 July 2009.
– “A Mistake in the Direction of the Qiblah-Fataawa Al-Lajnah Al-Daa’imah-6/314.” Islam Q & A. 27 July 2009.
Abdul-Lateef Balogun has a BSc in Surveying & Geoinformatics from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. He is studying his Master degree at the Department of Geoinformatics, University of Technology, Malaysia. He can be reached by sending an e-mail to [email protected].
By Dr. Ali Al-Halawani
In a battle between brothers, no one wins! [Image by Karthik Easvur]
Ibn Qutaibah narrated in his four-volume masterpiece, Eyes of the News, what follows:
During the fierce fight that broke out between Abdul Malik ibn Marwan and Abdullah ibn Al-Zubair, the Roman influential and prominent figures went to their Emperor and said: “The Arabs are fighting one another; it is a golden opportunity for us; it is the right moment for us to launch our massive attack against them!”
However, assured as he was, the Emperor replied: “You should never think about that!”
The prominent figures were astonished at the Emperor’s reply and, thus, asked him “But, why?”
Upon the Emperor’s orders, two dogs were brought into the court before him and all of the present figures. Being incited and provoked to attack each other, the dogs started a round of fierce fight, biting and mauling each other. Meanwhile, the Emperor called for a fox which was thrown before the two dogs. Upon seeing the fox, the two dogs stopped fighting and all of a sudden attacked the former and mauled him to death!
Upon this, the Emperor commented: “This is very similar to our case with those Arabs; if we attack them, they will, all of them, unite and join their forces against us. However, if we let them as they are – as fighting one another – they will finish off one another!
The moral of the story is clear and self-explanatory indeed. It needs neither further clarification nor commenting. However, one may say that history repeats itself. Or, more precisely, so as not to do history any injustice, it is we who do not learn from the lessons of history and we tend to repeat the same thing each time though the results are already known and have been witnessed before… repeatedly and recurrently!
In a battle between brothers, no one wins!
Your brother’s defeat is your own defeat even if it was you who defeated him!
Your brother’s victory is your victory even if he achieved only it by himself!
The weak one becomes strong if he is accompanied by his brother; and, the poor one becomes rich if he is surrounded by his brethren!
During the pre-Islamic era, the Arabs were on the sidelines of civilization, influence, and progress as they were nothing but rival warring tribes, their adversity among themselves was very great, and they used to draw their swords for pasture, water, and a few bites of food! They had neither a cherished principle nor a sought mission. Most of the time, their swords were drawn for the sake of others, what can be called “a proxy war” if we use a modern term. The Arabs of the Levant were the unsheathed swords of Hercules, while the Arabs of Yemen were the swords of Khusrau.
However, the Arabs became masters of humanity and bearers of the torch of progress and civilization only when they sheathed their swords and stopped their local and internal fights against one another. They became masters over all others when they drew their swords in the face of their enemies and became as one block against all their foes and enemies. Only then the great empires of the time collapsed before their feet and, thus, the servant became the master, and the old masters became nothing but servants!
The Muslim liberation wars (Al-Futuhat Al-Islamiyyah) never stopped save for an internal struggle, and we have never lost a territory save when that territory was marginalized by us in one way or another. We have never lost a territory to our enemies unless it was first weakened by our own disputes before it was chopped off by the swords of our enemies. Al-Andalus (now Spain) did not fall by the swords of the Spanish until it fell by the many rulers of little Muslim territories and the Emirs of the warring cities. The Spanish only fired the bullet of mercy. Hulagu, the Mongol ruler, did not seize Baghdad until it fell at the hands of its Muslim rulers many years before the former’s appearance. They helped it fall with their disputes and domestic wars. When Hulagu came, he found the way paved for him to conquer and finish it off!
Last but not least, whoever repeats the failed incidents of history, will get the same results. Today, we are weak not because our enemies are strong, but because we are a scattered nation and warring tribes. Is there any heedful person who can learn from the lessons of history and make up his mind that he will never repeat the same mistakes again?! Hope so!
Dr. Ali Al-Halawani is Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Translation, Kulliyyah of Languages and Management (KLM), International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He was Assistant Professor and worked for a number of international universities in Malaysia and Egypt such as Al-Madinah International University, Shah Alam, Malaysia (Mediu) and Misr University for Science & Technology (MUST), Egypt; Former Editor-in-Chief of the Electronic Da`wah Committee (EDC), Kuwait; Former Deputy Chief Editor and Managing Editor of the Living Shari`ah Department, www.islamOnline.net; Member of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS); and member of the World Association of Arab Translators & Linguists (Wata). He is a published writer, translator, and researcher. You can reach him at [email protected]. You may find his latest book titled: Aspects of ARABIC & Translation of THE QUR’ÂN on https://www.amazon.com/dp/9671582001.
You may also visit his page on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/ALI-AL-HALAWANI/e/B07BP83RPP/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
Image by: Karthik Easvur [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
By Truth Seeker Staff
Islam distributed its great acts of worship over the parts of the day and the seasons of the year to form an accurate, precise system that organizes the Islamic life and measures it with minutes, from the rise of dawn till sunset.
Everything, when lost, can be regained, except time. If it is lost, there is no hope to regain it. That is why time is the most precious thing that can ever be possessed in this life.
Islam is a religion that acknowledges the importance of time and appreciates its seriousness. Allah Almighty says (what means):
“Indeed, in the alternation of the night and the day and [in] what Allah has created in the heavens and the earth are signs for a people who fear Allah.” [Yunus 10: 6]
Islam distributed its great acts of worship over the parts of the day and the seasons of the year to form an accurate, precise system that organizes the Islamic life and measures it with minutes, from the rise of dawn till sunset. Allah Almighty says (what means):
“So exalted Is Allah when you reach the evening and when you reach the morning. And to Him is [due all] praise throughout the heavens and the earth. And [exalted Is He] at night and when you are at noon.” [Al-Rum 30: 17-18]
Man’s lifespan is his huge capital about which he will be asked on the Day of Judgment. He will be asked about how he spent it and how he dealt with it. It was narrated in Jami` At-Tirmidhi that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “The feet of a slave will not move on the Day of Judgment until he has been questioned about four things: his life – how he spent it; his youth – how he consumed it; his wealth – from where he earned it and how he spent it; and his knowledge – how he acted upon it.”
Time has characteristics that are specific to it. They include the following:
Its quick passage
Time passes like the clouds. No matter how long man lives in this life, his life is short, as death is the end of every living creature. When Prophet Nuh (i.e. Noah) (Peace be upon him) was asked: “O the longest living prophet, how did you find this world?” He said: “It is like a house that has two doors. I entered from one of them and got out through the other.” This is what the Qur’an expressed, by mentioning one’s regarding of his lifespan as short, upon death and on the day of Judgment. Allah Almighty says (what means):
“It will be, on the Day they see it, as though they had not remained [in the world] except for an afternoon or a morning thereof.” [Al-Nazi`at 79: 46]
Whatever goes by thereof does not return and cannot be compensated for
Every day, hour, or moment that passes cannot be regained and thus cannot be compensated for. This meaning was expressed by Al-Hasan Al-Basri (May Allah have mercy upon him) when he said: “Every day calls, saying: ‘O son of Adam, I am a new creation and I am a witness on your deeds, so take provisions from me for if I pass, I do not return until the Day of Judgment.’”
It is the most precious thing that man can ever own
The preciousness of time is attributed to the fact that it is the container of all deeds. In fact, it is the real capital of man, whether the individual or the society. Time is not only gold as the common proverb goes, but it is more precious than gold, pearls, and coral. Time is life. Indeed, man’s life is nothing but the time that he is given from the day of his birth till the day of his death. Al-Hasan Al-Basri (May Allah have mercy upon him) said: “O son of Adam, indeed you are nothing but some days…whenever a day perishes a part of you perishes.” That is why we should be keen on benefiting from time. `Umar ibn `Abdul-`Aziz (May Allah have mercy upon him) said: “Night and day consume you, so consume them.” Al-Hasan Al-Basri (May Allah have mercy upon him) said: “I saw a lot of people who were keener on their times than you are on your money.” `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) used to hit his feet with his whip when night came and say to himself: “What did you do today?”
From among the blessings which many people are heedless and ungrateful about, and ignorant of its value, is the blessing of leisure. It is narrated on the authority of Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: “There are two blessings that many people fail to make the most of: good health and leisure.” [Al-Bukhari]
That is why the predecessors used to dislike for a man to be free and not preoccupied with the matter of his religion or the matter of his worldly life. `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) said: “I dislike that a man is free and not preoccupied with the matter of his religion or the matter of his worldly life.”
There is no doubt that man loves life and loves to live long, and rather forever if he can. Long life is considered one of the blessings of Allah Almighty if one uses it in supporting the truth and doing righteous deeds. At-Tirmidhi narrated that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was asked: “Which among the people is best?” He said: “The one who lives a long life and does righteous deeds.”
The truth is that the real life of man is not the years that he spends from the day of his birth till the day of his death. Rather, his real age is determined according to the good deeds recorded for him by Allah Almighty. `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud (May Allah be pleased with him) said: “I never regretted something like I regretted a day whose sun has set in which my life decreased and my good deeds did not increase.”
Taken with slight editorial modifications from Islamweb.net.
By Truth Seeker Staff
To stay in shape during a fast, it is also advisable to stay out of the sun, spend most of the day in cool places and avoid strenuous exercise.
During Ramadan, practicing Muslims change their eating habits dramatically.
Questioned by Relaxnews, nutritionist Charlotte Debeugny provided her recommendations to religious fasters looking to make the most out of this festive time of year.
Pack in fibre and protein at Suhoor
Suhoor and Iftar, the two daily meals during Ramadan, are taken before dawn and after dusk, respectively. Suhoor is crucial, as it is the faster’s last meal before facing the day. So it is important to make sure this pre-dawn meal contains protein (found in eggs, cheese, yogurt, nuts, etc.) and fibre (fruit, vegetables, whole grains, etc.), both of which help stave off hunger over a long period.
Avoid overeating after sundown
After a day of deprivation, there is a strong temptation to overindulge at Iftar. To curb the pangs of hunger before reaching for calorie-rich foods, try having a bowl of cold soup or a healthy salad. The evening meal should also include protein, whole grains, and vegetables.
Especially during Ramadan, it is important to avoid empty calories and junk food, to eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables per day, and to ensure that each meal includes healthy portions of protein and dairy products.
Eat almonds and dates instead of rich desserts
While Ramadan is a festive time of year, it has the potential to negatively impact one’s health. Eating at night rather than during the day affects the body’s metabolism, thus increasing the risk of weight gain. Fasting can also lead to cravings for foods that are high in sugar and fat, which can also impact your waistline. Charlotte Debeugny recommends eating a few dates or almonds instead of the extremely calorie-rich pastries served during Ramadan, such as baklava or halva.
Avoid the sun and stay hydrated
To stay in shape during a fast, it is also advisable to stay out of the sun, spend most of the day in cool places and avoid strenuous exercise. Eating fruit before sunrise is a good idea, as the water it contains helps to hydrate the body during the day. Be careful not to drink too much water at once. Coffee and tea are to be avoided, as they can actually lead to increased thirst and dehydration. For additional energy, try drinking smoothies or fruit juice diluted with water.
Adapt fasting to your physical condition
Before starting a fast, it is necessary to talk to a doctor, particularly for seniors, diabetics taking medication to control their insulin levels, pregnant women and pre-adolescent children. Those with compromised health who still wish to fast for Ramadan should consult their doctor to develop a fasting plan adapted to their condition. At the first symptom of failing health, it is important to stop fasting.
Note from the Editor:
Along with having healthy food while we are fasting during the month of Ramadan, we should not forget the core essence of the ritual of fasting in Islam, namely to obtain Taqwa (piety) and fear of Allah, the Creator of all and everything. Allah the Almighty says in the Ever-Glorious Qur’an what means,
“O you who have attained to faith! Fasting is ordained for you as it was ordained for those before you, so that you might remain conscious of God. [Fasting] during a certain number of days. But whoever of you is ill, or on a journey, [shall fast instead for the same] number of other days; and [in such cases] it is incumbent upon those who can afford it to make sacrifice by feeding a needy person. And whoever does more good than he is bound to do does good unto himself thereby; for to fast is to do good unto yourselves – if you but knew it. It was the month of Ramadan in which the Qur’an was [first] bestowed from on high as a guidance unto man and a self-evident proof of that guidance, and as the standard by which to discern the true from the false. Hence, whoever of you lives to see this month shall fast throughout it; but he that is ill, or on a journey, [shall fast instead for the same] number of other days. God wills that you shall have ease, and does not will you to suffer hardship; but [He desires] that you complete the number [of days required], and that you extol God for His having guided you aright, and that you render your thanks [unto Him].” (Al-Baqarah 2: 183-185)
Taken with slight editorial modifications from AFP Relaxnews: http://malaysiandigest.com