Tag Archives: Health

Why I’m Against War: A Military-Veteran Speaks

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Author’s-Note:

Abdullah Colon, whom I met online, has welcomed me as a Brother. With us united by our Islāmic-Faith, we’ve gotten the chance to learn more about each other. I’ve had the great opportunity to have him educate me as per his Military-Experience as a Muslim, which he’s also graciously allowed me to interview him based on it.

GB: How long have you been a Muslim: are you a Muslim-Revert, or Born-Muslim?

AC: I am a Muslim-Revert; I became a Muslim when I was 17 back in February of 2000 in El Paso, Texas.

GB: How long have you served in the Military, which National-Military, which Armed-Forces Branch?

AC: I was in the Military from September 2001 to September 2006. I was in the United States Marine Corps.

GB: Have you ever seen Live/Active Combat, and if so, how has that made an impact on your practice of Islām?

AC: I was involved in Combat Operations during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. My Unit earned a Combat Action Ribbon. It has impacted my practice of Islam in the past. After being in combat, I came home and began to rely upon Islam as a way of dealing with my PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Some days were better than others. Some days I didn’t want to get out of bed, other days I isolated myself in the Mosque.

GB: How has Military-Life shaped your Worldview of Peoples whom are Native to the Places where Military-Conflicts take place?

AC: I think that Military life has made me sympathetic to indigenous people’s rebellions and their insurgencies. I saw death and destruction first hand, up close and personal. I saw what we did and I understand why people wanted to attack us.

GB: What has been the Pros & Cons of the Military-Experience?

AC: Pros and Cons of Military life are many. Let me start with the cons: I suffer from anxiety, depression, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I see the world through jaded lenses. I have a very pessimistic outlook. What I witnessed and have done weighs on my soul deeply. As for the pros, well I think being pushed past my mental and physical limits was a good thing. Other than that I didn’t learn much that would be of any use in a civilian environment.

GB: When did you make the Decision to become Active in the Veterans against War Movement?

AC: It was in 2013 that I decided to join Iraq Veterans against the War. It was after having a discussion with Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hamid Ali that really made me realize that I needed to get involved in an active way against American Imperialism.

GB: How has War generally influenced your Perception of Life & Death, or has it at all?

AC: War has influenced my perception of life and death in a big way. I feel like death can seize us at any moment. Death is real and always near!

GB: Are there any regrets. Is which have, in terms of being in the Military?

AC: I think that I have many regrets, but at the same time I owe my intestinal fortitude, ability to run toward a threat to my training and experience in the Marines.

GB: As both a Muslim & a Minority, who’s literally placed their life on the line via Military-Service for the United States: what’s your Views regarding the Anti-Muslim, Anti-Immigrant Policies being promoted by the Trump-Administration?

AC: My views on the anti Muslims and anti immigration policies are that they all come from the same satanic source of white supremacy. This is why white passing Latinos (Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio for example) can support the policies being pushed by the Trump administration and those of us with brown/indigenous features will hit up the front lines against white supremacy.

GB: How are you able to cope with knowing that you’re the Member of 2-Demographics within the United States which are constantly targeted by Bias & Bigotry?

As for dealing with being part of of two demographics of folks that are being assaulted in Trump’s America-The way I deal with it is through Islam: prayer and good deeds, being a good person based upon what Islam teaches helps my mind & soul attain ease. Also, training myself by: lifting weights, martial arts, boxing, etc. & just keeping the body strong just in case I have to get down. Keeping the company of good people and making alliances with folks that care about the struggle.

GB: What would ultimately be your Advice for any Muslim who’s either currently serving in the US-Military or has aspirations of joining the Ranks of the US-Military?

AC: For Muslims who are currently serving, I say get out! Do whatever it takes to get out of the military.  For those that want to join, I say don’t do it.

GB: Speak more in detail, regarding the Iraq Veterans Against The War: its purpose & objectives, goals, etc. Also, tell me about the Advocacy for bringing Deported-Veterans back to the United States.

AC: For more information regarding the IVAW (Iraq Veterans Against The War) go to: http://www.ivaw.org/mission-values-and-vision

As for the advocacy regarding veterans who have been deported, we are in solidarity with them. Many of those veterans are members of veterans for peace. Our organization IVAW arose from VFP (Veterans For Peace). Many of our members are both VFP and IVAW members. Many of us work with the campaign to bring the deported veterans back to the United States.

GB: What can People like me, as well as others who will read this & get a glimpse of your Story: how can we help People like you in your Struggles coming from a Military-Life & reverting to a Civilian-Life once again?

AC: I think the best thing is Community-Support. Having a community to transition to-Being in the military and being in prison are similar. Veterans are able to transition into prison life with ease. You go from one governmental institution to another. I’m speaking from experience. So having a muslim community to come back to is amazing. I was basically homeless when I came out of the Marines. It was living in a broken down RV in a ‘friends’ backyard. It was a Muslim brother (Afro-American) that took me into his home…fed me and took care of me, even when I was sick, like I was just like a member of his family: a recovering Alcoholic who credits Islam to saving his life.

Well…you’ve most definitely given an insightful Interview, regarding this Chapter of your Life-Journey. My hope for you is that Allah constantly/consistently bring you closer to a space & place of Inner-Peace.

Gareth Bryant/2017

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My 1st Udhiyyah: What I’ve Learned To Respect And Appreciate About Life&Death:

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Author’s-Note:

Dhul-Hijjah 12, 1438, A.H./September 3, 2017, C.E. I participated in an Islāmic-Tradition, predicated by Islāmic/Revelatory Texts, spanning Several-Generations: al-Udhiyyah/Slaughtering. This Traditional-Slaughtering commemorates the Rites of al-Hajj/Pilgrimage (predicated upon the Sacrifices/Sufferings of Abraham, Sarah, Hagar, Ishmael, Issac [Peace be upon them]), leading up to the Islāmic-Holiday known as Id-ul-Adha/the Celebration of Sacrifice​. For more Information regarding al-Hajj & `Id-il-Adha: http://www.garethbryant.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/theoriginsofidiladha/

Annually, the Udhiyyah is done by Millions of Muslims Worldwide, to follow in the Noble-Footsteps of Abraham (Peace be upon him). It was now my turn to participate in this great Tradition. I was so excited, to actually do something such a Part of Islām, so deeply entrenched into Islāmic-History. There was 1-Challenge: I had never done this before. I had a Million plus 1 Anxieties regarding the Experience. And, to add to my Self-Awkwardness, I had gotten into a Fight with a Man who tried to rob me a Week prior to me participating in the Udhiyyah. So, it was still very much fresh on my Mind/Heart. As I got to the Farm I did the Udhiyyah at: my Nerves were shot. I did nothing for the first few Hours there but ask the same Types of Questions in various different ways. I was able to reinforce what I already knew regarding Udhiyyah & also learned a host of interesting New-Things as well.

The Things which are Generally-Essential to know before one commits themselves to do Udhiyyah/Qurbānī:

1. Pure-Intention for Allah, as Udhiyyah/Qurbānī is a Sacred Act-Of-Worship.

2. No Body-Hair or Nails can be cut/removed prior to the 10th-Day of Dhil-Hijjah (the 12th-Month of the Islāmic-Calendar: the Month of Hajj/Pilgrimage).(Muslim, Ahmad)

3. The Animals slaughtered can only be Animals which are Islāmically-Allowable to consume Dietarily…specifically for Qurbānī (Hajj-Time Slaughtering/Sacrifice: Cows, Camels, Goats, Sheep. (Noble-Qur’ān: Chpt.22, 34)

4. The Animals slaughtered must be Healthy (no Signs of Ill-Treatment, Malnurishment, Abuse, Deformity, Disease, etc.).(al-Muwatta’)

5. The Animals slaughtered must be slaughtered at the following Ages, in order to qualify as Qurbānī: 6-Months to a Year for Sheep, 1-2Years for Goats, 2-3 Years for Cows, 5-Years for Camels. This is according to the various Fatawa/Islāmic-Rulings of the 4-Major Madhāhib/Islāmic Legal-Schools: the Hanafī-School…Mālikī-School…Shāfi`ī-School…Hanbalī-School.(http://www.islamqa.info/en/41899)

6. The Animals slaughtered cannot/shouldn’t be Pregnant (this is the Position of the Shāfi`ī-School).(https://islamqa.info/en/192041)

6. The Blades/Knives used to slaughter the Animals must be as Sharp as Humanly-Possible & the Animals must be slaughtered across the Neck: forcefully & swiftly, ensuring that the least amount of Pain/Suffering is inflicted upon the Animals & the Animals must not see the Blades/Knives used for Udhiyyah, nor must they be slaughtered within the Presence of other Animals.(https://islamqa.info/en/153936)

So, the Day of the Udhiyyah: basically from Fajr/Pre-Dawn to Maghrib/Sunset we were working on the Farm…it was serious Work. There were so many Animals which we had to get slaughtered. Then it came to my Turn. Internally, I honestly started having 2nd-Thoughts. So many Things came to my Mind like: “What if I cause this Animal more Pain than necessary?!!!”…”What if I begun to use my still fresh Anger over the Fight I had & end-up oppressing this Animal with too much Force?!!!”…”What if I completely screw-up the Udhiyyah?!!!”…etc. But, then I just decided to cast my Fears into the Wind by relying upon Allah to help me through it, which He did. And, considering the Fact that I was a 1st-Timer doing Udhiyyah, even the Farm-Hands confirmed that I did a Good-Job, which was very Comforting to my Ego. In total, I slaughtered 3-Goats personally with my own Hands & assisted with the Slaughtering of about 20 other Sheep & Goats combined. Let me tell you: taking the Life of an Animal that Size is truly a Sight to see.

Normally, externally of this Event, Regular-People such as myself don’t live on Farms, aren’t as in tune with Fitrah/Nature the way we ought to be, as Humans. And, for those of us whom are confined to Concrete City-Life: the closest we get to Fitrah are Household Vermin, such as Roaches & Rats & Creatures we generally deem a Nusance, such as Squarels, Opposums, Raccoons, etc. However, to actually up close & personally slaughter an Animal which you know will eventually be on someone’s Plate for Meals, it truly forced me to reflect more introspectively concerning how precious & fragile Life itself really is. Also, it forced me to be ever more Grateful to Allah that I’m a Human & not an Animal. It compelled me, this Experience, to look at the Fragility of Life & Reality of Death this more Seriously. One instant, we’re here & the next, we’re gone: just like that.

When coming back to New York City from the Farm, I wasn’t/didn’t allow myself to shake the Psycho-Emotional relevance of what I’ve experienced via Udhiyyah/Qurbānī: being recallibrated & reconnected with/to the Natural-Environment…the smells of Grass, Hay, Livestock, the Large Rolling-Hills & Tree-Covered Mountains…the Muddy-Terrain which nearly ruined my already Dirty-Nikes…the Blood of the Slaughtered-Animals…the freshness & ordors of the Flesh of the Animals sacrificed. All of it was worthwhile, an Experience which I wish/hope that Allah always preserves within my Memory-Bank. And, yes: I plan to definitely do Udhiyyah/Qurbānī more often.

Gareth Bryant/2017

 

The Muslim-Community’s Dilemma concerning the Issue of Abortion

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Author’s-Note:

I’ve written this, as a Result of an Article which I’ve read, concerning a Muslim-Woman who made the Decision to have an Abortion.(http://www.thetempest.co/2017/08/25/life-love/love-sex/muslim-had-abortion/) The story actually is not Uncommon, yet Powerful none the less. This Article is indicative of how Broken so many Muslims in our Communities are, as well as how our Muslim-Communities are either too Apathetic, too Preoccupied, too Judgmental, to truly be of Help & Service to marginalized Demographics, who have to make Difficult, Life-Changing, Decisions.

Contrary to Popular-Opinion: Muslims do not see Eye2Eye pertaining to this Issue, for a lot of Reasons: Conservatism vs. Liberalism, Women’s-Liberation, Feminism, Female-Autonomy, Reproductive-Rights, Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice, etc. As Muslims, however, we must be prepared to journey with/walk with anyone/everyone whom has either had to make a Decision involving Abortion, or is right now as we speak in the process of having to make a Decision concerning Abortion.

As far as I’ve been able to research, there’s 3-Types of Abortions:

1. Resulting from Sexual-Assault (Incest, Rape, etc.).

2. Resulting from a Medical-Necessity (Health/Life Threatening).

3. Resulting from: a. A Woman choosing to do it because she doesn’t want Children/additional Children (Noble-Qur’ān: Chpt.17, V.33)…b. A Woman who rationalizes that because she’s not in a Socio-Economic Space/Place she wants/needs to be in to be a Responsible-Parent (Noble-Qur’ān: Chpt.6, V.151)…c. A Woman who wants to rid her Life of the Responsibility of a Child resulting from the Personal-Actions of both her & her Sexual Partner/Partners (Noble-Qur’ān: Chpt.17, V32) and/or her Partner, her Family/Community, etc. putting pressure on her to proceed with it.

Islām has a Maqsid/Mantra, among the many Maqāsid/Mantras of ash-Sharī`ah/Islāmic-Law…among them being the Maqsid of the Preservation of Life: every Human-Being has the Right to live, even prior to Conception/Birth, even if they grow-up to be a Tyrant.(Noble-Qur’ān: Chpt.5, V.32)

According to the Sharī`ah, Mahrūmāt/Prohibited-Actions fall under 3-Categories:

1. Reprehensible & Punishable (Punishable either in the Hereafter, in the Mundane, or both).

2. Reprehensible but not Punishable.

3. Neither Reprehensible nor Punishable.

Now, the Challenge is objectively placing each Type of Abortion into each Category of Mahrūmāt…here it goes:

a. Abortion Type-1…Category-2

b. Abortion Type-2…Category-3

c. Abortion Type-3…Category-1

As per our Collective-Responsibility as Muslims: we mustn’t/shouldn’t attempt to pursuade anyone to make any Decision…they have Freewill for a Reason, and their Decision will be held into Account by Allah, not us.

I know that it’s easy to say, “it’s Harām/Forbidden”, when you’re not in another Person’s Shoes, who has to decide whether or not an Unborn Human-Being lives or dies. Spiritual/Psycho-Emotional Breakdown is a Real-Thing. Now, I’m just as Pro-Life is anyone else. At the same Time, it behooves us, as Muslims to be more Empathetic to Issues like this. Also, the Cycle of Abuse is a Real-Thing as well. When People witness Trauma (Domestic-Abuse for example), they Spiritually/Psycho-Emotionally accept it as Normal-Behavior when it’s not What had been mentioned in this Article, concerning this Muslim-Woman’s Struggle to find herself, in the midst of not being healed from her Childhood-Trauma, which had led to her escapades with a Man she wasn’t married to is Reality for countless Muslim-Women, which the Muslim-Community fails constantly to both address & remedy. And, let’s be Honest here: among Muslims generally, Women are ostracized significantly more for having Bastard-Children (Children conceived via Non-Wedlock), as opposed to Men having Bastard-Children. So, the Pressure surrounding this Muslim-Woman as per mothering a Bastard-Child isn’t at all false or exaggerated.

Our Maslahah/Objective, particularly pertaining to this Issue is to maitain the Mantra of R.E.P. (R.espect…E.mpathy…P.atience) at all Times. We’re dealing with Real-People, who’re dealing with Real-Issues just like this everyday. Now, I’m going to anticipate that least 1,000-People are going to disagree with what I’ve presented. But, then again: that’s what having these Types of Conversations are all about…Dialogue…Solutions.

Gareth Bryant/2017

Circumcision vs. Mutilation: is there a Difference between the two?!!!

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Circumcision in Islām is of 2-Types:

1. Male-Circumcision-

Male-Circumcision consists of removing the Male-Prepuce/Foreskin, exposing the Head of the Penis.

2. Female-Circumcision-

Female-Circumcision consists of partial or complete removal of the Female-Prepuce/Clitoral-Hood, exposing the Clitoris.

Both Types of Circumcision are known to possess Precedent within Islām via the Qur’ān&Sunnah.(al-Bukhārī, Muslim) Circumcision is not Mutilation of the Human-Body, as Anti-Circumcision Advocates dishonestly propagate to be the Case, simply because Islām never textually condones Mutilation of the Human-Body in any way. Also, Circumcision isn’t some Archaic (many would even dare to argue “Barbaric”) 3rd-World Custom, as many would attempt to classify it as such. Rather, the Islāmic-Origins of Circumcision actually begin when Allah commanded Abraham (Peace be upon him) to establish Circumcision: to circumcise himself, along with all Male-Members of his Household.(Qasas-ul-Anbiyā’/Stories Of The Prophets, ibn-Kathīr) And, thus proving that Circumcision not only predates the Revelation of the Qur’ān, but that it also is predicated by Revelation which Allah imposed upon Abraham: the Friend of Allah…the Father of the Prophets.

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Since this Discussion is particular to Female-Circumcision: it must be noted that the Islāmic-Allowance of Female-Circumcision is in no way akin to Female Genital Mutilation, because of what I’ve already mentioned prior, pertaining to Islām never condoning Mutilation of the Human-Body & by virtue of the fact that there’s no Islāmic-Texts stating that Female-Circumcision is Mafrūdh/Mandatory.

Rather, Female-Circumcision is something which is Mubāh (Neutral/Optional), as is proven within the following Text:

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Now, based upon this particular Hadīth/Prophetic-Narration, it’s Clear that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) never mandated nor abolished Female-Circumcision, yet only advised/warned, commanded that it must not be done in an Extreme-Fashion. Based upon what we know concerning FGM, it’s obvious that this is the Extreme-Fashion in which Muhammad set out to avoid & forbade from taking place.

There’s very blatant differences between Female-Circumcision, which is Islāmically-Acceptable vs. FGM, which is Mahrūm/Islāmically-Prohibited, by virtue of the Harm which is caused by it. In fact, in Islām, we as Muslims are commanded to avoid Harm at any/all Costs. (Noble-Qur’ān: Chpt.2, V.195; an-Nawawī)

The following Diagram proves my Point:

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Let’s review the above Diagram (B.  Type I [A. Prepuce removal only]): it paints a Clear-Picture, that B. Type I (A.Prepuce removal only) is the only Islāmically-Acceptable form of Female-Circumcision, and therefore could never be FGM. The other Figures  within this Diagram clearly describe/define that these other Types are not Circumcision; rather, these are Types of Mutilation/FGM. In the Modern-World: I must agree that most Places Worldwide where Female-Circumcision takes place don’t use proper Medical-Technology, nor Sanitary/Hygienic Tools and/or Facilities to conduct Female-Circumcision correctly, according to Islām. So, under these Conditions, coupled with the Reality that Female-Circumcision isn’t Islāmically-Mandatory anyway, I do advocate that Female-Circumcision generally should/must be discontinued in Places where there’s no proper Facilitation that Female-Circumcision: 1. Won’t be done correctly, according to Islām…2. Could/would result in Dangerous/Life-Threatening Health-Risks for Women. And, unfortunately, there’s enough Evidence that Female-Circumcision (1. Based upon Unhealthy-Methods of it being done…2. Dangerous/Life-Threatening Health-Risks) should/must be discontinued.

In Islām, if something isn’t Obligatory: if there’s a higher Probability that Muslims won’t be able to maintain it and/or do it correctly, not only is it Islāmically-Allowable to discontinue it (depending on what it is), it would also then be Islāmically-Mandatory to discontinue it, if the Harm resulting from it becomes greater than its Benefit.

The following Hadīth gives us Precedent, as to the Islāmic-Allowability to discontinue something which is not Mafrūdh:20170802_183904In Conclusion, let 1-Thing remain Crystal-Clear: Female-Circumcision is in no Way akin to Female Genital Mutilation. So, do not…I repeat, do not continue to allow Ignorant/Islāmophobic (Muslims and/or Non-Muslims) People attempt to treat Circumcision and FGM as though they’re the same Things, because they’re clearly not akin to one another at all. And, stop allowing them to promote this Fallacy that FGM is supported by Islām.
Gareth Bryant/2017

Muslims Giving Back gives People the tools to save Lives…one CPR-Class at a time:

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CPR 3

 

The Muslims Giving Back #Muslims4Life Mobile CPR-Team is established: it’s a unique team of American Heart Association Instructors, dedicated to training and certifying members of all communities in the NYC-Area.

Our team is 100% Mobile…we can come to your local institution or community. We sponsor 2-4 classes every month at Muslim Community Center located in Sunset-Park, Brooklyn: 5218 Third Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220.

 

CPR 1

 

All classes are FREE however the students are responsible to purchase the Student Materials which are required. All classes are separated by Gender, so our Women are also encouraged to sign up.

All classes will provide light refreshments and snacks.The price for the Student Materials is $40.Students will receive the following:

 

CPR 2

 

  • American Heart Association Student Workbook
  • CPR Mask for Adult/Child, & Infant mask with 1-way valve.
  • American Heart Association Certification Card.

For more information, please feel free to visit us online @:

http://www.muslimsgivingback.org

The Bitter Taste of the Fruit of Truth!!!

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Bitter Fruit of Truth pic

Pseudo sweet, not at all a pleasant treat.
The vegetation of truth not at all discrete.

Accepting Truth is like eating a medicated, yet, rotten, Apple…it is awful, but, good for you.
As it masticates & circulates, throughout the body, it causes pain & it makes your face blue.

You begin to choke, and, cough, out of guilt of sins-past…you pretend that Truth is not present.
Acknowledgement of one’s flaws & wrongs helps one to heal…but, stubbornness yields dissent.

You develop a head-cold of anxiety, for not eating the fruit of truth, which will set you free.
You’d rather have severe-sinusitis, to congest your own good-sense, as opposed to liberty.

We’re all better off enduring the taste of truthful-fruit; oftentimes the best things tastes the very worse.
But, if we ignore our problems, deny the solutions, we’ll just waste away, the clearest sign of a curse.

Let us not ever attempt to bury what must not, at any time, be hidden.
Not allowing Truth to permeate our being is what Allah has forbidden.

When we reject the fruit of truth, and devour the the unhealthy, fattening, flesh of denial, the carcass that we’ve self-seasoned, with the spices in the cabinets of our own devices, it will never, properly, digest.
We need only turn to Allah, our divine-dietitian, whom has shown us the proper ways to consume; but, the Devil is always in our vulnerable ears, tainting our minds & hearts; we must put his whisper to rest.

Some may question, “What price Honesty?”…you need only to sternly utter, “Every penny.”.
People will inquire, “How many are willing to pay?”…the unfortunate answer is, “Not many.”.

When our bodies become swollen, cold, and round, when we can no longer hear the sound of our own heartbeat…
…Then, we’ll realize how silly we were, for not heeding to the divine prescription, a cureful benediction, this is defeat.

We could’ve, should’ve, been spiritually-healthy.
That is the sign of whether someone is wealthy.

But, instead of eating the fruit of truth, the vegetation of honesty, we had settled for that fast-food lifestyle, which promoted us to be sinful couch-potatoes, our lives ending like this is a tragedy.

Gareth Bryant/2013

The Islamic sense of Health & Wellness:

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Shata pic

Author’s note:

This is a very important article, written by Isteshhad Shata, concerning the importance of Islamic wellness, on both the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical levels. It is my hope that you all benefit from the significant advice given.

Allah tells us, clearly, within His noble book:

“You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah.”(Quran 3:110)

As I ride the car to school, do the groceries, return books to the library, etc, I witness a reality which my eyes obstinately refuse to believe. I witness the supreme determination of our society’s elderly…The old man runs and runs, only stopping after reaching his desired goal. I think to myself, “MashaAllah!! This man truly understands the potent benefits of exercising. To him, age shall never be an impediment, and doing what’s right continues to be his ardent motivation.”. I close my eyes to contemplate the status of our Ummah; now, regarding this manner, I can only express my cumbersome grief, viewing our Muslims with pot bellies, excess body fat, and lack of energy is quite disturbing. I think about the foods our Ummah eats, and a gloomy frown assumes the place of my initial, pleasant, smile I had, after seeing the old man running.

Thinking back to that Ayah, I ask myself, “Can we (as Muslims) truly be the ‘best-nation’, that Allah speaks of?”. Unfortunately, the answer, stubbornly, manifests itself as a big fat “NO”. If we lack the basic health and physical fitness required to achieve maximum success (even mentally and emotionally), then, when will we ever consider ourselves to be of those who are “the best”? True believers need healthy souls, minds, and bodies, in order to worship their Lord in the correct way. To maintain a pure-heart, a sound-mind, and a healthy-body, special attention must be paid to wellness. The heart and the mind are nourished by the remembrance of Allah, and the body is nourished by partaking of the Halal & healthy food Allah has provided on Earth, for us. We must start revamping our diets NOW…and also make space for some form of physical-activities to show gratitude to Allah, for this ideal Human-Body that He alone has given each of us, the body which each of us are responsible to Him for protecting & cultivating, and will be held accountable for. Allah mentions, “And they will say to their flesh: ‘Why have you testified against us?’ They (their own flesh) will say: ‘We were made to speak by Allah, Who has made everything speak; He created you the first time, and to Him you are returned.” (Quran 41:21)

The teachings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) urged us to cherish good health and realize its rightful place as one of Allah’s countless bounties:

“And your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you give thanks, I will give you more; but if you are thankless, lo! My punishment is dire.'” (Quran 14:7)

Surely, by neglecting our health we show no gratitude to Allah, Most-High.
Choosing wholesome food and avoiding the insalubrious is essential to good health. Allah says:

“Eat of the good things which We have provided for you.” (Quran 2:173) “Eat of what is lawful and wholesome on the earth.” (Quran 2:168)

The Quran, itself, contains many verses of advice regarding healthy eating that relate to the interconnectedness of physical and spiritual health. Encouragement to eat only good and pure food is often combined with warnings to remember Allah and avoid Satan. Healthy eating not only satisfies hunger but also effects how well we worship.

“O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is lawful and good] and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy.” (Quran 2:168)

If one becomes obsessed with food or indulges in too much unwholesome or junk food he is bound to become physically weak and distracted from his primary purpose of serving Allah. Similarly, if one concentrates exclusively on spiritual endeavors and neglects his health and nutrition, weakness, injury, or illness would also result in failure to carry out obligatory worship. The guidance found in the Quran and the traditions of Prophet Muhammad advise humankind to maintain a balance between these two extremes.

A healthy-diet is balanced with a mixture of all the foods Allah has provided for His creation. The variety satisfies all the body’s needs for carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, proteins, fats and amino-acids. Numerous verses of Quran mention the foods Allah has provided for us to nourish and maintain our bodies. It is not an exhaustive list of dietary requirements but rather a general idea of the types of food that maintain a healthy body and prevent illnesses.

“He created cattle that give you warmth, benefits and food to eat.” (Quran l6:5)

“It is He who subdued the seas, from which you eat fresh fish.” (Quran 16:l4)

“It is He who sends down water from the sky with which He brings up corn, olives, dates and grapes and other fruit.” (Quran 16:11)

“In cattle too you have a worthy lesson. We give you to drink of that which is in their bellies, between the undigested food and blood: pure milk, a pleasant beverage for those who drink it.” (Quran l6:66)

“There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colors, in which there is healing for people. Indeed in that is a sign for a people who give thought. .” (Quran 16:69)
“…and from it (the earth) we produced grain for their sustenance.” (Quran 36:33)

While sweets and junk food are not forbidden they must be eaten sparingly as part of a balanced diet, designed to maintain optimum health. Many of the most common chronic illnesses today derive from unhealthy eating habits. Coronary Heart-Disease, Hypertension, Diabetes, Obesity and Depression have all been linked to inadequate-diets. The traditions of Prophet Muhammad praise moderation as a way of maintaining good health and the Qur’an stresses the need to strike a balance between any extremes. Taking a closer look at exercising, it is appropriate to mention a hadith by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH): “A strong believer was better than a weak believer.” He was talking in terms of faith and character but also indicating that physical strength i.e. optimum health and fitness were desirable, provided that God gave us the means of attaining such strength.

A narration recorded by Imam al-Bukhari states: “The Prophet passed by some people from the tribe of Aslam while they were competing in archery (in the market). He said to them, ‘Commit yourselves to Archery, Children of Ishmael! Your father was a skilled Archer. Shoot and I am with so and so.’ One of the two teams therein stopped shooting. The Prophet asked, ‘Why did you stop shooting?’ They answered, ‘How could we shoot while you are with them (the other team)? He then said, ‘Shoot and I am with you all.”. In another narration, Prophet Muhammad’s beloved wife Aisha mentioned their love of games and sports. She said, “I raced with the Prophet and I beat him. Later when I put on some weight, we raced again and he won. Then he said, ‘this cancels that(referring to the previous race).’” Moreover, a highly-respected Islamic-Scholar, ibn-ul-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, stated that movement helped the body get rid of waste food more efficiently and strengthened the body’s immune system. He also stated that each bodily organ has its own sport (or movement) that suited it and that horse riding, archery, wrestling and racing, were sports that benefitted the whole body.

If we even only observe/reflect upon our daily performance of the obligatory 5-Prayers, we would find that prayer itself is a form of exercise; its prescribed movements involve all the muscles and joints of the body, and our concentration in prayer relieves mental stress. This is Complete and Divine Perfection of our religion…Allahu-Akbar!!

I end, by accentuating the sanguinity and sincere hope that are bustling inside me. I can already feel the warmth of the light at the end of the tunnel, a truly ineffable feeling. I ask Allah to benefit whoever reads this, and to help you and me to implement this decisive way of life to the best of our abilities…Amen

Isteshhad Shata/2013