Ibn al-Qayyim: Raisins Aid Digestion, Are Good For the Memory and Have Many Other Health Benefits

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
The scholar Ibn al-Qayyim in his work "The Prophetic Medicine" described raisins as dried sweetgrapes. He said that the best raisins were large-bodied, plump, thin skinned.

Some of the health benefits he mentioned about raisins were found in the flesh of the fruit. He said that they could be beneficial for the trachea, chest, lungs, and kidney and bladder pains. Other benefits he mentioned were:
  • Strengthening the stomach
  • Aiding digestion
  • Promoting bowel movement
  • Good for the memory
In summary, Ibn al-Qayyim said that raisins provided sound nourishment and the best type were seedless.

What Are raisins?

Raisins are dried grapes and consist of 70% pure fructose and contain fiberantioxidantsiron,potassium, and calciumRaisins are also packed with phytonutrients and are a source of the tracemineral, boron.

When the grapes are converted to raisins, they lose some of their beneficial phenols through the grape-drying process, but grapes seem to be least affected by this process compared to other driedfruit such as apricots and prunes.

Some of the health benefits of raisins include:
  • bone health
  • Boron is a mineral critical to bone health and osteoporosis. It is required to convert estrogen and vitamin D into their most active forms. Studies have shown that boron provides protection against osteoporosis and can reproduce the positive effects of estrogen in postmenopausal women. Raisins are among the top foods that contribute to dietary boron.

  • Macular DegenerationA study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology found that eating fruit daily, including driedfruit, could lower the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. This disease is the primary cause of vision loss in older adults.
Tips on Eating Raisins
  • To prolong the shelf life of raisins and to prevent them from becoming dried out, they can be stored in the refrigerator.
  • Raisins will be the most fresh if consumed within six months.
  • Commercially grown dried raisins and other dried fruit may be treated with sulfur dioxide or other sulfur-containing compounds as preservatives to help prevent oxidation, bleaching of colors and to extend their shelf life.Sulfur dioxide itself is poisonous when inhaled, and although sulfur dioxide fumes aren't inhaled when eating dried fruits treated with the gas, the residues left on the fruit alter its nutritional value and can have adverse effects the body. It is therefore advisable to check labeling when buying all dried fruit and avoid sulfite-preserved food.
References for further reading
  • Cho E, Seddon JM, Rosner B, Willett WC, Hankinson SE. Prospective study of intake of fruits,vegetablesvitamins, and carotenoids and risk of age-related maculopathy. Arch Ophthalmol. 2004 Jun;122(6):883-92. 2004. PMID:15197064.
  • Karadeniz F, Durst RW, Wrolstad RE. Polyphenolic composition of raisins. J Agric Food Chem 2000 Nov;48(11):5343-50 2000. PMID:13500.
  • Karakaya S, El SN, Tas AA. Antioxidant activity of some foods containing phenolic compounds. Int J Food Sci Nutr 2001 Nov;52(6):501-8 2001. PMID:13490.
  • Maffei Facino R, Carini M, Aldini G, et al. [Regeneration of endogenous antioxidantsascorbicacid, alpha tocopherol, by the oligomeric procyanide fraction of Vitus vinifera L.:ESR study]. Boll Chim Farm 1997 Apr;136(4):340-4 1997. PMID:13570.
  • Rainey CJ, Nyquist LA, Christensen RE, et al. Daily boron intake from the American diet. J Amdiet Assoc 1999 Mar;99(3):335-40 1999. PMID:13510.
  • Schuurman AG, Goldbohm RA, Dorant E, van den Brandt PA. Vegetable and fruit consumption and prostate cancer risk: a cohort study in The Netherlands. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 1998 Aug;7(8):673-80 1998. PMID:13520.

Ibn al-Qayyim: Cheese Is Good for the Stomach

The scholar Ibn al-Qayyim in his Prophetic medicine said regarding cheese:
"The moist unsalted cheese is good for the stomach and passes easily into the organs; it increases the flesh and softens the belly in a moderate way. Saltedcheese is less nutritious; it is bad for the stomach and harmful to the intestines. Oldcheese restricts the belly, as does grilled cheese, and is good for ulcers and prevents diarrhea.Cheese is cold and moist. Grilling it makes it more appropriate to its temperament. Fire rectifies and moderates it, refines its essence, and sweetens its taste and odour. Old salty cheese is hot and dry. Grilling rectifies it, too, for it refines its essence and breaks its sharpness, the fire drawing from it certain hot, dry constituents appropriate to it. The salted kind causes emaciation and generates stones of the kidney and bladder, and it is bad for the stomach. The addition of refining ingredients is worse because these cause it to reach the stomach."
Health Benefits of cheese

Cheese contains a range of essential nutrients; it is a source of calcium, for building strong bones; essential protein; vitamin D, to help absorb the calcium; a selection of B vitamins for the central nervous system; Vitamin A as a cancer-fighter; and beneficial for healthy skin.

Cheese also supplies zinc in an easily absorbed form, vital for male reproductive function. As well as its high levels of calciumcheese also contains phosphorous, which combines with calcium to strengthen the bones, good for growing children. It's protein-content helps to build muscle strength.

What Is cheese?

All cheeses are made from the same raw ingredient - the milk of an animal such as a cow, buffalo, sheep or goat. Cheese is made by separating the milk into solid curds and liquid whey. Usually this is done by acidifying (souring) the milk and adding rennet, to set the cheese.

Cheeses can be classified into two very broad types: fresh and ripened, depending on how they are made. Fresh (unripened) cheeses are ready to be eaten soon after the whey is drained from the curds. They may be pressed or molded into different shapes, but they are almost all delicate in flavor and quite soft, milky or spreadable in texture. The most popular fresh cheeses are Ricotta, Mascarpone, cottage cheesequark and Cream cheese.

With ripened or aged cheeses, the curds are further drained by a variety of methods including cooking, soaking or bacteria inoculation. These are some categories of ripened cheeses:
  • Hard: Cooked, pressed, and usually aged for at least two years, these cheeses are firm and dry. Well-known varieties include Parmesan and Pecorino.
  • Semi-Firm: These cheeses are cooked and pressed, but not aged as long as the hard cheeses. They are generally firm, but not crumbly. Popular semi-firm cheeses include Cheddar, Swiss, and Edam.
  • Semi-Soft: Soft, yet sliceable, these cheeses are pressed and may be cooked or uncooked. Semi-soft cheeses include Feta and Gouda.
  • Soft-Ripened: These surface-ripened cheeses are neither cooked nor pressed. Instead they are subjected to various bacteria processes to ripen them from the outside in. Varieties include Brie and Camembert.
As storage life is related to the moisture content of the cheese, the softer the cheese, the shorter amount of time it will keep fresh. In general, firm and semi-firm cheeses will keep for two weeks while soft or grated cheeses will keep for about one week.

Processed Cheese

Processed cheese is typically a blend of fresh and aged cheeses combined with added colorings, preservatives, and emulsifiers (for smoothness and ease of melting). It is also pasteurized to stop the ripening process, giving it a longer shelf life, but is less nutritious and lacks taste compared to naturalcheese.

Are you ready to die tomorrow?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012
We think in detail about certain things, typically things that interest us or which we are directly facing. So football fanatics spend time in following up the latest football news, whose playing who, whose been bought and by which team, etc. People into music would know about the latest chart hits, the top ten, what new bands are on the scene and spend time thinking about this. Movie buffs would ponder about the latest movies, upcoming releases, the latest awards and the like.

Despite expending effort in applying thought upon these trivial issues people in Western society often pay little attention to clearly a vital topic, that of death. It has even become a taboo subject to the extent that people try to change the discussion when it is mentioned.

It is completely irrational to avoid thinking about death as it is the most definite thing in life. To turn away from it is avoiding the inevitable, know one lives forever. All of us know of people who have died whether within our families, community, friends or colleagues. The reason for why many avoid the topic is fear. Fear of the unknown and fear of leaving this life. In fact Western society pushes people into all forms of escapism, so that they attempt to escape reality by drowning themselves in music, movies, sport, and popular culture.

All of us will face death one day, our hearts will stop, our brain activity will stop and our bodies will decompose. However as Muslims we know that death is not the end. Allah (swt) has informed us that there is life after death, that we will be accounted for every action we performed and will be either sent to Jannah (paradise) or Jahannam (Hellfire) according to our deeds.

For a Muslim reminding oneself of death strengthens our realisation of the afterlife and commitment to Islam.

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “The clever one is he who disciplined himself and worked for what is after death, and the feeble one is he who followed his desires, then made (vain) prayers to Allah”.

No matter how ‘hard’ or ‘cool’ people think they are, one day they will die and will stand in front of Allah (swt).

“Say: The Death from which you flee will truly overtake you: then will you be sent back to the Knower of all things secret and open: and He will tell you (the truth of) the things that you did!” [Al-Jumu’a:8].

It will be too late to change after you have died, you cannot go back and change things and live life in a better way. There is coming back for the Salah (prayers) you have missed or to make right the wrongs you committed.

“Until, when death comes to one of them, he says: “O my Lord! Send me back (to life), in order that I may do good in that which I have left behind!” - No! It is but a word that he speaks; and behind them is a Partition until the Day they are raised up. Then when the Trumpet is blown, there will be no more kinship among them that day, nor will they ask of one another! Then those whose scales (of good deeds) are heavy, they are the successful. And those whose scales (of good deeds) are light, they are those who lose their ownselves; in Hell will they abide” [Al-Mu’minun: 99-103],

Thinking about death should make us correct out lives, perform our obligations and stay away from haram (prohibitions). Whilst we are alive it is not too late to change. In fact one of the pious Muslims in the past Al-Rabee’ b. Khaytham had dug a grave in his house, so that if he found hardness within his heart, he would enter it and lay down for as long as Allah wished and read: “O my Lord! Send me back (to life) in order that I may work righteousness in the things I neglected” repeating it, then he would reply to himself saying: “Oh, Rabee’, here, you have been returned, so work.”

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Increase the remembrance of that which destroys all desires” [Al Tirmidhi]

And he (saw) said, “If animals knew what the sons of Adam knew of death, you would not have found any fat on them to eat” [Al Baihaqi in “Al Sha’ab”].

Thinking about death should not have only a temporary affect on us, so that if someone who is close to us dies, we get ill or have a near death experience, we go to the mosque for a while and start following Islam. However some time passes the affect wears off and we are back to our old ways. On the contrary, death should be at the forefront of our minds and should affect us in a permanent way.

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said to Abdullah b.Umar (ra), “If you awoke in the morning, do not speak to yourself of the evening, and if you reach the evening, do not speak to yourself of the morning. Take from your life for your death, and from your health for your illness, as you, oh Abdullah, do not know what your name will be tomorrow” [Bukhari].

We shouldn’t think that by temporarily following Islam and repenting to Allah (swt) and then going back to being negligent in our duties and entering into sin, that our repentance will count.

“Of no effect is the repentance of those who continue to do evil deeds, until death faces one of them, and he says: “Now I repent” nor of those who die while they are disbelievers. For them have we prepared a painful torment” [An-Nisa: 18].

Pondering about death should make us prepare for it, so that we treat this life as a journey and a test not as a time to be obsessed with enjoying ourselves disregarding the limits that Allah (swt) has placed on us. Allah (swt) says:

“And the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment” [al-Hadid: 20]

Ibn ‘Umar (ra) said, “I came to the Prophet (saw), and I was the tenth of ten men, when a man from the Ansar asked: Who is the most clever and the most honourable of people, Oh Messenger of Allah? He (saw) replied: “Those who remember death the most and work the hardest to prepare for it; they are the clever ones. They have left with the honour of this world and the dignity of the Akhirah” [Ibn Majah]

‘Uthman bin ‘Affan (ra), in the last Khutba he gave in his life, said: “Allah (swt) gave you this world to request the Akhirah, and did not give it to you for you to rely upon, for this world ends and Akhirah is everlasting. So let not that which ends make you disregardful, nor keep you busy from that which lasts. Choose to seek that which lasts over that which ends, for this world will be cut off and our return is to Allah.” Death reminds us of Akhirah, and there is no better reminder.

There are specific actions that the Prophet (saw) encouraged us to undertake to remind ourselves about death.

Abi Tharr (ra) said The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Visit the graves, as it will be a reminder of the Akhirah, and wash the dead, as taking care of an empty body is an outstanding admonition, and pray over the Jana’iz (funerals), as it may sadden you, for the sad one is in the shade of Allah” [Ibn Abi Al Dunya and Al Haakim].

And Ibn Abi Mulaykah said, The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Visit your dead and pray for peace upon them, for there is an admonition for you in it” [Ibn Abi Al Dunya - Good chain of narrators].
And Al-Dhaahik said: A man once said: Oh, Messenger of Allah, who is the most Zaahid (abstinent) of people? He (saw) said: “He who does not forget the grave and abandoned the luxuries of life, seeking that which lasts above that which ends, not counting yesterday as one of his days, and counted himself amongst the people of the graves”. It is easy to leave the thought of death at the back of your mind and believe that you have a long life left. The angel of death leaves no one, whether young or old when their time has come.

In fact the remembrance is not crying and wailing and blaming one’s self when one is on the brink of death, or attending a funeral or visiting graves alone. Rather, remembrance of death is when a believer imagines that he will meet his Lord at any moment, and his actions will be cut off, as will his ability for repentance. So he will be aware of himself, careful to obey Allah (swt), wary of his Lord every second of his life.

"Say: ‘My life, my death and acts of worship are all for the Lord of the mankind (Rabil alamin)” [Al-An’am: 162]

original text : islamic revival

Ya Allah

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ya Allah!

I said: I'm in pain
You replied: Despair not of the Mercy of Allah [39:53]

I said: nobody knows what's in my heart
You said: Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest [13:28]

I said: many people hurt me
You replied: Remember me & ask forgiveness for them [3:135]

I said: I feel alone
You replied: we are closer to him than his Jugular vein [50:16]

I said: my sins are so many
You replied: None can forgive sins but Allah [3:135]

I said: dont leave me
You replied: Remember me; I will remember you [2:152]

Oh! So Its Valentine’s Day… Note for Muslims

Wednesday, February 8, 2012
by Abu Muslim

When we see the advertisements on the TV and print media it feels like the whole world loves each other so deeply. They are buying greeting cards, flowers, chocolates and electronic gadgets to express their love. There are songs about love and peace all over in this season and hearts and ribbons decorating each shop. Just change the channel on the TV and we see the reality, we see the wars, the killings, the crime rates, the domestic violence, the abuse, the exploitation, the greed and the ever increasing hatred. So, how does it all fit in?

Just On one hand while giving and receiving gifts is encouraged in Islam, one needs to look a little deeply to see how these newly invented special days are to be taken from an Islamic perspective. Why look deeply? even a really simple question about the Valentine’s day can convince a less knowledgeable Muslim about the reality of this day. When someone says Valentine’s day, what comes to your mind? a) A married couple or b) An unmarried couple dating/seeing each other ? How many times have you seen valentine’s day products geared towards married couples? Are the words ‘my valentine’ synonymous with ‘my wife / my husband’ or with ‘my boyfriend / my girl friend’? The promoters of this day are specially targeting the unmarried, young to middle aged, middle class and upper class population. The day is a sign and symbol of relationships between male and females which are beyond the sanctity of marriage and it promotes and encourages unlawful interactions between the two genders. This one reason is enough for a Muslim to keep away from celebrations and gatherings organized to commemorate this day. To participate in any event associated with this day is equal to patronizing it and propagating falsehood and the forbidden. An aware and concerned Muslim should refrain oneself from any participation as well as discourage fellow Muslims from involving in such gatherings or celebrations.

We are humans and by nature we are designed to love each other. No matter how much we want to refrain from participating in this day, yet the amount of reminders we receive through the ads all around us can still make us remember our loved ones, who are with us or those who are gone.

Most of the times, those who are in love (married couple)* describe the feeling as being lost in the person’s presence as the whole world fades away. SubhanAllah, so strong is their love that the whole world fades away when they are together (married couple)*. We as Muslims claim to love our Creator and the Prophet of Allah (SAWS) more than anything else.

If we claim to love Allah the most and his prophet (SAWS) more than anything else, does our world fade away when we are offering our salah five times a day, in the presence of Allah? Do we experience the bliss and calm, the peace and serenity in the presence of our Lord, like the feeling described by a married couple in love? Or do we need to work on developing and strengthening this love, the love which is an obligatory love, the love which can take us to our final destination- jannah. So, now is the time to start and this love requires no valentine’s day to strengthen itself or express itself, any moment, any place is fine to express our love for Allah and his prophet, a tiny sincere teardrop in our eyes can be far better than a million diamond gifts in the sight of our beloved Creator.

Infact, it has been made obligatory upon to love Allah and His messenger more than anything else to complete our faith in the sight of Allah. Anas (RA) quotes the prophet as saying:

“None of you is a true believer unless I am dearer to him than his parents, children and all others.” (Related by Ahmad, Al-Bukhari, Muslim, Al-Nassaie and Ibn Majah).

This point is clearly illustrated in the following conversation which happened between the prophet (SAWS) and Umar (RA).

Abdullah ibn Hisham, a companion of the Prophet, reports: “We were with the Prophet (peace be upon him) and he held Umar ibn Al-Khattab’s hand. Umar said to him: ‘Messenger of God! I love you more than anyone and anything else, apart from myself.’ The Prophet said to him: ‘By Him who holds my soul in His hand, this will not do, unless you love me more than you love yourself.’ Umar said: ‘Well, now you are indeed dearer to me than my own self.’ The Prophet said: ‘Now, Umar, you have got it right.’” (Related by Al-Bukhari).

The love for Allah and his messenger is obligatory as also understood from the following evidences:

[Yet there are people who take (for worship) others besides Allah, as equal (with Allah): They love them as they should love Allah. But those of faith (Muslims) are overflowing in their love for Allah…..] (Al-Baqarah 2:165)

Allaah says that which translates as: “Say [O Muhammad], if your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, wealth which you have obtained, commerce wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than Allaah and His Messenger and Jihaad [i.e., fighting] in His cause, then wait until Allaah executes His command. And Allaah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.” (At-Tawbah: 24).

“The Prophet is more worthy of the believers than themselves.” (Al-Ahzaab: 6).

“Say [O Muhammad], ‘If you should love Allaah, then follow me, [so] Allaah will love you …’” (Aal ‘Imraan: 31).

“You will not find a people who believe in Allaah and the Last Day having affection for those who oppose Allaah and His Messenger, even if they were their fathers or their sons or their brothers or their kindred. Those – He has decreed within their hearts faith and supported them with spirit from Him. And We will admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide eternally. Allaah is pleased with them, and they are pleased with Him – those are the party of Allaah. Unquestionably, the party of Allaah – they are the successful.” (Al-Mujaadilah: 22)

But, as a human, even Muslims can end up in love with someone. What a Muslim needs to realize is that: Our beloved Allah is the one who has bestowed upon us the love of someone or love for them in our hearts and this worldly love should never compete with our love for Allah and his prophet. We should always be mindful and thankful to Allah and when something given by Allah is taken back, we should remain a thankful slave, bowing down to His decisions and asking for His mercy. A Muslim will not get depressed on losing someone he or she loved, if we they realize that Allah is the Giver and Taker of all things and to Allah is our final return. Being sad upon a loss is a part of human nature, but sadness should not extend into depression and transgression against Allah.

The best reason to love someone, is to love them because of our love for Allah. This way, we clearly make a distinction between our love for Allah which reigns supreme and our love for someone else. The following hadith explains how we can attain the sweetness of emaan (faith):

Anas (RA) narrated the Prophet (SAWS) as saying: “There are three qualities which are certain to give anyone the sweetness of faith: to love God and His Messenger more than anyone else, to love a person for no purpose other than for God’s sake, and to hate to relapse into disbelief after God has saved him from it as much as to hate to be cast in the fire.” (Related by Al-Bukhari, Muslim and Al-Nassaie).

Yes, to love a person for the sake of Allah, to love them to please Allah. Even if you lost this loved one, you will always remember that your love for this person was only to please Allah due to your love for Allah- and the love of Allah is never lost.

A with any love, our love is expressed by actions and the actions which express our love for Allah and his messenger are the actions which are prescribed by Him in the deen of Islam. Allah (SWT) has promised great rewards for this love we have for Him. The sahaba (companions of the prophet) had gained this level of understanding and level of love for Allah and his messenger, one hadith which shows us how much they loved the messenger is quoted below:

‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, reported that a man came to the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and said: “O messenger of Allaah! You are dearer to me than my family, my children and even myself. Sometimes I am sitting in my home and I remember you, and then I am overwhelmed with the desire to come and see you. When I think about your death and mine; I realise that when you die you will at the rank of the Prophets in paradise, but I fear that if I enter paradise, I will not be able to see you.” ‘Aa’ishah, may Allaah be pleased with her, continued: “The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam did not answer this man until Allaah revealed this verse “And whoever obeys Allaah and the Messenger – those will be with the ones upon whom Allaah has bestowed favour of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of the truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions.” (An-Nisaa’: 69).” (At-Tabari and others).

SubhanAllah!, a verse of the Quran revealed when one sahaba expressed his sincere love for the messenger.

Which of us does not want to be with the prophet and his great companions in paradise?
We are humans and sometimes, we are not able to perform the innumerable extra prayers and actions as performed by the sahaba. But, is there a way to get close to them without performing all the extra worship, charity and actions? (Extra here means the nafil/ optional actions). Yes, the following ahadith are an answer:

Ibn Mas’ood, may Allaah be pleased with him, and others narrated that a man came to the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and said: “O Messenger of Allaah! What do you say about a man who loved some people yet did not do what it takes in order for him to be with them (in the hereafter” The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam replied: “One will be with whom he loves” (Bukhaari, Muslim and others).

Anas bin Maalik, may Allaah be pleased with him, said that a man asked the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam: “When will the (last) hour come?” He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam replied: “What have you done to prepare for it?” The man replied: “Nothing, except the love I have for Allaah and His Messenger.” The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam replied: “You will be (on the Day of Judgment) with those whom you love.” Anas bin Maalik, may Allaah be pleased with him, said: “We (his companions) never rejoiced at anything more than his words, when he said “You will be (on the Day of Judgment) with those whom you love.” 

Abu Dharr, may Allaah be pleased with him, said to the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam: “O Messenger of Allaah! What is the status of a man, who loves a group of people, yet cannot perform the same (righteous) actions as they do?” He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam replied: “O Abu Dharr! You will be with those whom you love.” Abu Dharr added: “I love Allaah and His Messenger.” He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam he said: “You will be with those whom you love.” Then Abu Dharr, may Allaah be pleased with him, repeated his statement and so the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam repeated his. (Ahmad, Abu Daawood and Daarami).

So YES! It is possible to get ourselves closer to them even if we are unable to perform the extra actions they performed (optional actions). Our sincere love for the prophet and his companions may, inshAllah get us there.

May Allah give us the correct understanding of His deen, give us the clean hearts and intentions to perform actions for His sake. May Allah give us the heart to love Him and his messenger more than anything else. May Allah put love and mercy among this Ummah and bind us into the strong bond of Islam and unite us against the oppression and falsehood. May Allah raise us close to our beloved prophet and his noble companions and May Allah give us a high station in paradise with His blessings.


Original article can be read at : www.abu-muslim.com