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Archive for April, 2012

With under 90 days until the blessed month of Ramadhan InshAllah, when the sales of dates hit higher roofs than the Shard’s, I thought it would be interesting to write about why we should eat dates during the other 11 months of the year.

One good reason we should eat dates often, is simply because Rasul Allah Muhammad (saw) used to eat 7 dates in the morning. And we should always try to live as similarly to him as possible. I’ll leave the details of this hadith for another time. 

But let’s look at several health benefits dates are enriched with:

  1. Dates are rich in vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Some of these are found in our plasma and are advantageous for our health
  2. Dates have high sugar content which will give you energy very quickly after consumption
  3. Dates have huge benefits during pregnancy and due to their high energy and iron source, which aids mothers during the weakening of their bodies and loss of blood during birth
  4. Dates are said to help in the cure of intestinal disorders. They help the friendly bacteria in our intestines keep any abnormal activity in check
  5. Dates are considered laxatives, and so will help with constipation
  6. They have been reported to keep our hearts healthy
  7. Studies suggest that dates are beneficial against abdominal cancer

With the unfortunate spread of cancers worldwide and the other health conditions we’re faced with, it’s important for us to be aware of foods that may help cure them, but also prevent from reaching us in the first place.

These are just some of the benefits of dates and I hope that they will encourage you to eat them more regularly, rather than only in Ramadhan.

I hope you are all in the best of health InshAllah.

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It is likely that you clicked on this article because the idea of retail therapy attracted you. And it’s great if that is the case, because I hope that this article might change your outlook on shopping and consumerism. And if not, then I hope it will serve as a reminder (for myself as well).

 It has become a hobby to shop, to buy new things and for some reason our society has led us to believe that when you’re down, all you need is a little ‘retail therapy’. What I would like to understand is how spending a huge chunk of hard-earned money which will probably negatively influence the ability to pay next month’s bills, for a material item that will lose its novelty in total of 30 minutes, is therapeutic? (..and breathe). In my opinion that’s more stressful than remedial.

It may not be so traumatic for those who have plenty of money in their bank accounts, but they’ll buy things they want for the sake of it, rather than buying what they need. In fact, many vendors take advantage of this and use the ‘people don’t know what they want, until we show them’ mindset. In other words, we had no urge whatsoever to buy this item and we can most certainly live without it, but because it’s available and is the current hype, we’ll buy it.

The key word that seems to define this superficial progression in our society is overconsumption. We’ll consume with money we have and money we don’t have. Hence the prevalence of low credit ratings! We consume until we ourselves have become consumed in this whirlpool of useless spending. And needless to say, we become addicted.

You may think “So what? Let people buy what they want, it isn’t causing any harm” but the fact is, we wouldn’t be in this economic crisis if it wasn’t for overspending.

How did we get this way? Well the media surely has been a driving force. Everything we watch on TV or read in newspapers and magazines encourages us to ‘do what you want’, ‘give in to your desires’, ‘indulge’ and don’t you dare feel guilty about it either!

Of course, it’s Shaytaan who’s fueling the direction of the media and we need to understand that everything they blast us with has subliminal messages to shape us into selfish spenders. I mean there are actual adverts which portray sharing as a foreign concept (not quite so subliminal). The media attempts to strip us of our values, push us to be selfish and to forget what’s truly important. And unfortunately, it has succeeded.

Horrific image of a bird waiting to eat this child

Is it right that we buy the newest Rolex watch for $2000 just because we got bored of the old one, whilst children literally wither to their deaths from the lack of basic needs? Is it not tragic that while one girl ‘needs’ the Summer Collection of Chanel bags, another couldn’t carry a plastic bag for it would be too strenuous on her fragile bones?

Having said all that, I don’t want to make us all feel guilty for spending on things we might want or need. We should spend from what Allah (swt) has blessed us with, but we should remember to keep it in moderation. Buy what you need more than what you want. Rethink every purchase. If you feel what you’re buying will get lost in the depths of your wardrobe then spend it in charity instead. Buy lunch for the next homeless person you see.

Yearn for things Allah loves rather than material things. Remember that Allah (swt) doesn’t judge us on what designer clothes we’re wearing, but rather the purity of our souls. These materials will be of no use on the Day of Judgement, whereas our spent money on good deeds will.

وَٱلَّذِينَ إِذَآ أَنفَقُواْ لَمۡ يُسۡرِفُواْ وَلَمۡ يَقۡتُرُواْ وَڪَانَ بَيۡنَ ذَٲلِكَ قَوَامً۬ا

{ Those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not niggardly, but hold a just (balance) between those (extremes)} – Quran 25:67

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As Muslims we should be more environmentally-conscious and care more about what we can do to conserve the Earth’s resources and respect what Allah (swt) created for us.

Although people are becoming more aware of environmental issues and their efforts have reduced them to some extent, forests are still being cut down at ridiculous rates, climate change still needs immediate action, a number of species are facing extinction, and a highly disturbing issue is that while many people waste water in some parts of the world, a huge portion of the world still doesn’t have safe water to drink!

 If you are reading this article, it means you have computer and internet access. That makes you within the 20% of the world’s population that consumes 80% of the Earth’s resources. Yes that’s huge and I’m not here to make you feel miserable but I do hope that it pushes us all to realize we must at least do our part in protecting the parts of the environment that we come to contact with on a daily basis. 

In my opinion, there are 2 extremes when it comes to ‘going green’. The first is completely disconnecting in the sense that all the energy used is from solar, wind and water from rain collection! Of course, if we all did that, we would certainly be sustaining the Earth’s resources but it isn’t easy and it isn’t something we are all on board with.

The second is hardly altering our lifestyle at all, claiming it’s becoming more green but in reality it isn’t much of a change at all.

As Muslims, we know that everything in our religion is encouraged in moderation. Islam is always the middle path. So let’s talk about what changes we can make that will make a difference InshAllah. 

At home

  • Dispose of toxic materials safely eg. bleach (check with your local municipality for details)
  • Improve insulation of your home – double glazed windows
  • Buy energy-efficient appliances (will help reduce your water bill too)
  • For you eager beavers – why not install a solar panel – in the long-run it will be more efficient and cheaper
  • Set up toilet-water saving device and low flow taps
Food and Water
  • Don’t leave taps running unnecessarily, the most common example of this is leaving the water running while you brush your teeth
  • Shorten your shower time everyday (hmm difficult one, but worth it when you’re doing it for the sake of Allah swt)  
  • Don’t throw food away. If there’s food leftover, eat it the following day. If it really isn’t something you can eat again then why not put it in the soil in your garden and let plants or animals benefit from it (not all foods of course as some will degrade slowly and inefficiently)
  • Find out if you have a food recycling system in your area, for your food waste. In the UK, there are now specific recycling bins for food which get picked up from your house on a weekly basis. You can throw orange peels and egg shells in this bin knowing that it will be recycled and used to benefit the environment
  • Buy locally grown foods to reduce the amount of hydrocarbons that were required to transport it to you
  • Recycle your plastics and cards – many communities have a weekly pick-up truck or a local recycle skip
Other Ideas
  • If you’re blessed to be living by the sea or ocean then why not set up a monthly beach clean-up. If you’re enthusiastic enough about it, I’m sure plenty others will join you too
  • Don’t litter. Might sound silly but there’s a reason why certain countries like Singapore are known to be super clean whilst others give off a dirty-vibe. Don’t throw things on the ground when you’re out and about just because there isn’t a bin nearby. Hold onto it until you do find one. Better yet, if you see something on the ground and you dispose of it, and move it out of people’s path, it’s reward for you InshAllah.

It might be a little overwhelming and I understand that some of these are difficult, so start off with a couple and slowly add more changes when you can. Over time InshAllah you will be actively contributing to the betterment of our environment and reducing the negative effects of our modern living. We should be able to sleep at night knowing that we have done everything in our ability for the environment.

I welcome any ideas and suggestions.  Allah knows best (swt) and May He make it easy for us.


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