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Remedies from the Sunnah Part 2

15 Dec

It’s finally here!! I do apologise from the bottom of my gluten free heart. I have been busy lately and also struggling with food.

So… Health and the Sunnah!

Ibn Qayyim said: After guidance the next blessing is our health.

We need to fulfil our duty with our health and being healthy is from the Sunnah.

We learn that for every disease there is a cure:

“…There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its remedy.” Bukhaari 7,582.

Thus, there is no such thing as an incurable disease (except old age).

We learn that eating healthily is from the Sunnah:

Four Aayaat relating to this in the Qur’aan:

  1. “O mankind, eat which is halaal and tayyib …” (Al-Baqarah, 2:168)Ibn kathir explains this as meaning that which doesn’t harm the body or harm your mind.
  2. “Eat from what Allah has provided you as halaal and tayyib, and fear Allah in whom you believe.” (Al-Maa’idah, 5:88)
  3. “So, eat of the spoils you have got, halaal and tayyib, and fear Allah. Surely, Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.” (Al-Anfaal, 8:69)
  4. “Eat from the good things (tayyibaat) We have provided to you, and do not exceed the limits in it, lest My wrath should descend on you…” (Taa-Haa, 20:81)

So now we have the commands how can we do this? Let’s take a look…

Importance of Breastfeeding:

There ate three Ayaat in the Qur’aan relating to this:

  1. “Mothers (should) suckle their children for two full years, for one who wants to complete the (period of) suckling…” (Al-Baqarah, 2:233)
  2. “We commanded man (to be good) in respect of his parents. His mother carried him (in her womb) despite weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years…” (Luqmaan, 31:14)
  3. “…His mother carried him with difficulty and delivered him with difficulty. And his carrying and his weaning is (in) thirty months*, …” (Fussilat, 41:15)

*here 30 months includes the minimum period of pregnancy, that is 6 months and the maximum period for suckling a child, that is 2 years. So 6 months plus 24 months is the full two years.

As we all know that breastfeeding an infant increases intelligence, immunity, decreases risks of diabetes, obesity, risks of infections, asthma, allergies etc.

However, what the World Health Organisations (WHO) and other similar organisations don’t tell you is that if you don’t breast feed your baby you are putting them at risk of exposing them to the above diseases. For instance not breastfeeding your baby and switching to bottle feeding increases the risk of diabetes and obesity. This message, when put this way is more alarming. (As a side note, have you seen how many formula milks contain soya amongst other rubbish? I had a look out of curiosity!)

Wean your child correctly:

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah said: “A child should be given only milk until their teeth appear, because their stomachs are weak and unable to digest food. When the baby’s teeth appear, his stomach has grown strong and is able to be nourish by food. Food should be introduced gradually.” Book: Tuhfat al-Mawdood bi Ahkaam al-Mawlood. 16th chapter.

Do not force feed them into eating when they are not ready. Instead wait another week and try again until they are interested in food.

With that I shall conclude and inshaaAllaah the next part which you won’t have to wait long for I hope, we will look at fasting and praying and the benefits of each briefly.

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Six Occasions when du’aa is accepted

18 Jul
Taken from the audio “Six occasions when du’aa is accepted” by Abu Khadeejah Abdul Waahid. These are notes created from the audio which can be downloaded here.

Du’aa is an act of worship and you must fulfil 3 conditions:
1. That you have Tawheed and eemaan (Believing in Allaah and worshipping nothing but Him)
2. You are sincere in your act of worship
3. Your act of worship is in accordance to the sunnah

6 individuals whose du’aa is not accepted:

1) One whose earning are haraam.

This can be through dealing with interest, stealing, oppressing others and deception and the purchasing and selling of haraam food/drink such as pork, alcohol etc.
It even includes breaking a contract. For example, taking on a new job and saying you will stick to the contract but then later you go against the contract and still take the money from the job.

Abu Huraira (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam as saying: O people, Allaah is Good and He therefore, accepts only that which is good. And Allaah commanded the believers as He commanded the Messengers by saying:

“O (you) Messengers! Eat of the Taiyibaat [all kinds of Halaal (legal) foods which Allâh has made legal (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, milk products, fats, vegetables, fruits, etc.], and do righteous deeds. Verily! I am Well-Acquainted with what you do. (Al-Mu’minun 23:51)

And He said:
“O you who believe (in the Oneness of Allaah – Islaamic Monotheism)! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with, and be grateful to Allâh, if it is indeed He Whom you worship. (Al-Baqarah 2:172)

He then made a mention of a person who travels widely, his hair dishevelled and covered with dust. He lifts his hand towards the sky (and thus makes the supplication): “O Lord, O Lord,” whereas his diet is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, and his clothes are unlawful and his nourishment is unlawful. How can then his supplication be accepted?

Saheeh Muslim, The Book of Obligatory Alms, No. 2214

It’s important at this stage to look at what you earn your money from and find out if it is halaal or not. Does it involve fitnah, dealing with the aforementioned things, does it promote evil things or encourage them, are you accepting and allowing something which breaks the laws of Islaam etc? (This is advice to myself first)

2) The one who asks Allaah for something haraam.

For example, asking Allaah to make sinning easy for you such as making it easy for you to steal something, or asking Allaah to make it easy for you to start slandering someone, perhaps by looking for a fault in someone and then using this fault to create a lie against them.

3) The one who abandons enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.

This is an obligation upon all Muslims, to encourage good and forbid evil.
The Prophet sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam said: “Whoever amongst you sees an evil, he must change it with his hand; if he is unable to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is unable to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest form of Faith”.
(Muslim)

Hudhaifah (May Allah bepleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “By Him in Whose Hand my life is, you either enjoin good and forbid evil, or Allah will certainly soon send His punishment to you. Then you will make supplication and it will not be accepted”.
(At-Tirmidhi)

4) The one who implements exaggeration.

For example, one who creates acts of bid’ah in their du’aa such as screaming, wailing and shouting so they can be heard by other. Or do not be from those people who take part in congregational du’aas as this goes against the Sunnah. Note that this is in reference to those groups of people who sit and make dhikr in unison.

Allaah says in the Qur’aan:
Invoke your Lord with humility and in secret. He likes not the aggressors.
(Al-A’raf 7:55)

Also, don’t call upon anything or anyone other than Allaah for it is Shirk! And Shirk will invalidate your du’aa.

5) The one who is heedless in his du’aa or inattentive.

Under this category we have the people who turn away from the Deen (Islaam) and neglect the obligatory actions that Allaah has commanded us to do such as praying. Thus a person is disobedient to Allaah. Yet this person who does not thank Allaah in times of ease yet when he is going through hardship he will happily cry out to his Lord seeking His help.

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam said:
“Whoever is pleased that Allaah answers him in times of hardship and grief then he should supplicate to Allaah plentifully in times of ease.” (At-Tirmidhi)

“Remember Allaah during times of ease and He will remember you during times of difficulty” (At-Tirmidhi)

When we supplicate to Allaah there is no waiting list or queue, Allaah hears our du’aas and it is a direct link between us and our Lord. We shouldn’t ask “How will I know if Allaah will listen?” because this is from the people who show inattentiveness.

6) The one who contradicts the sharee’ah rulings.

Under this category are three types of people:
i) the one who remains silent about his evil wife and refuses to divorce her
ii) the one who lends money to somoene without witnesses
iii) the one who gives money to a foolish person

(Recorded by Al-Haakim and Imaam Dhahaabi authenticates it)

Furthermore, Allaah says:
And give not unto the foolish your property which Allaah has made a means of support for you, but feed and clothe them therewith, and speak to them words of kindness and justice. (An-Nisa 4:5)

So, before we seek to call upon and ask Allaah for favours and if we wonder why our du’aas are not being answered we must look towards ourselves and we need to make sure that we do not fall into any of these six categories. And Allaah knows best.

Finally, from some of the etiquettes for making du’aa, one should seize the opportunity of time, situation and circumstance in which prayers are answered or more likely to be answered:

1. Between adhaan and iqaamah
2. At the time of rainfall (or the person who is in the rain)
3. During the last third of the night
4. An hour on Jumu’ah – the last hour after ‘Asr
5. Whilst travelling
– father aginast his son
– traveller
– the one who is oppressed
6. Night of Decree – Laylatul Qadr

Therefore, if a person avoids falling into the first six categories and they make du’aa during the times where the du’aa is more likely to be accepted then there is more of a chance of their du’aa to be accepted.
May Allaah keep us firm upon the Qur’aan and Sunnah, grant us sincerity in all our (good) actions and protect us from any bid’ah (innovations in the religion) aameen

The Truth About Unfermented Soy and Its Harmful Effects

19 May

Please read and share this article, The Truth About Unfermented Soy and Its Harmful Effects

via The Truth About Unfermented Soy and Its Harmful Effects.

When I initially discovered I could be sensitive to gluten I mentioned it to someone who observed a paleo diet on her facebook page. We then got talking and I mentioned other trigger foods for my mucusy throat for example, rice. Obviously we know rice does not, or rather, should not ordinarily contain gluten so it was apparent that grains were also a problem for me and thus I embarked upon a three month paleo course. Putting the label ‘paleo’ aside, the diet (that is a way of eating for life, not a diet to lose weight!) meant I was simply eating clean. Good food that came from trees, plants, the sea and animals – yum!

During these three months although I had one-to-one support the entire time I wasn’t always able to understand what I was doing and why. For example,  abstaining from all grains. This weekend I did some research and now I finally understand. This article is an excellent starting point.

Admittedly, it was some recent problems I had that made me look into this more and sadly, also the fact that despite that I cook for myself and never ask anyone to out their way for me, for some strange reason other people speak of my dietary needs as if I am some kind of burden on them. Don’t feel sorry for me, my life is better this way, I know what I’m talking about.

In other news, I did a York food test the other day so I should have the results within the next ten days. This should show what allergies I have. I’m hopeful to get some answers but I’m also very nervous at the thought of nothing showing up.

Why Soy is Not Healthy

23 Feb

The following is one of the many beneficial blog posts I’ve found recently that for me, have busted the myth about soy being good for us. I have a problem with some grains, particularly rice and recently I thought some of my problems were due to potatoes. However, I do know I’ve consumed some soya products so I’m wondering if I’m falsely accusing potatoes. Anyhoo, this is taken from Wellness Mama:

I’ve gotten several emails lately, asking about various forms of soy and if it can be healthy or not.

If you don’t feel like reading the rest of this post, the answer can be summarized in one sentence: Soy is not healthy, it can cause health problems and it’s widespread use is destructive to the planet… don’t eat it! 

Want to know why? Read on…

Soy is a legume, and as such, has the same harmful components that other beans do, but there is more. Some other harmful properties of soybeans are:

In addition to being harmful to our bodies, soy production is harmful to the planet and to livestock who eat it as well. Almost all soybeans grown today are genetically modified and “Round-up ready.” They contain a gene that allows them to be directly sprayed with pesticides without dying. There is some evidence that this gene can mutate and create a pesticide-like toxin in the body.

This mutation means that soybeans can be (and are) sprayed with large amounts of pesticides and herbicides during their cultivation. In addition, soybeans strip the soil of many nutrients, leaving soil depleted. (On a personal note, I live in an area where soybeans are grown, and have witnessed first hand how much the soybeans are sprayed during their growth and how harmful these chemicals are to other plants and vegetation)

Animals who are fed soy can suffer many of the same health consequences as people who consume too much soy, and these harmful properties are then passed on in their meat.

What about Asian Countries Where Soy is Consumed In Large Amounts?

I often get this question when I talk about the negative properties in soy. It is assumed that people in Asian countries consume a lot of soy, and since they are thin, soy must be healthy.

It is important to note that people in these countries do not consume as much soy as we assume they do. In fact, in most places, soy based foods are served as a condiment, not a main course and not as a replacement for animal protein. In addition, these foods are fermented or traditionally prepared, which minimizes the harmful factors.

In many countries, soy based foods are consumed with seaweed containing foods or traditionally made broths, which both have high nutrient concentration and can help mitigate the harmful effects of the soy.

An Inferior Protein Source

Besides the lectin and phytic acid in soybeans, they aren’t the complete protein source they are touted to be. Like all beans, they lack the amino acids Methionine and Cystine. While they are often promoted for being able to provide Vitamin B-12 to those eating a vegetarian diet, the Vitamin B-12 in soybeans can not be used by the body and actually cause the body to need more B-12.

As I often say about grains a beans: there are no nutrients in these foods that can’t be found in higher amounts in meats, vegetables and healthy fats, so stick to those and avoid the lectins and phytic acid!

A Note on Fermented Soy

If you are going to consume soy, it is least harmful in its fermented state. Foods like Tempeh and Miso have some health promoting properties and many of the harmful anti-nutrients are fermented out. These are fine in moderation. Just look for ones that have been traditionally fermented. (I, the Gluten Free Salafi have not investigated fermented products. a) I don’t have time and b) I’m not too bothered. For me it’s easier to just refrain from all stuff although I have had soya containing products lately hence by I think I’ve wrongly accused potatoes of being my problem. I’m sorry dear spuds, really I am!)

Soy is Everywhere!

If you stay away from tofu and soymilk, you might still be consuming much more soy than you think!

Practically all processed foods contain some form of soy. Even some canned tuna contains a soy protein as part of the broth! (Hey woah, GFS here and if I buy tinned tuna it’s in spring water only. Or at least that’s what the tin says only to me tinned tuna tastes like metal, Gack). Check the foods you buy for these ingredients: Soy lecithin, soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, texturized vegetable protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein or any other phrase containing the word “soy.”

Foods containing any of these ingredients contain soy and all the harmful components that go along with it!

What are your thoughts? Do you consume soy? Have you in the past? Tell me below! (Wellness Mama wants to know but if you wanna comment here then feel free, I’m not fussed and it would be interesting to see what readers thought. Alternatively you can email me or drop me a message if you have my personal details).

How To Maintain Eemaan During Menses

20 Jan
Every month, most women have a menstrual cycle which lasts approximately 3-5 on average but can continue for up to 10 days in some circumstances and this may be the norm for some women.
During the early days of the menstrual cycles or the few days or week or two leading up to it many women may suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS). There are many different symptoms and they vary from person to person and can even change each month.There are numerous symptoms which can be physical, psychological or behavioural and below the most common are listed:

Physical:
Feeling bloated, menstrual cramps, tenderness or soreness, back pains particularly in the lower back, dizziness, weight gain, feeling tiredPsychological:
Mood swings, crying for little or no reason, feeling depressed, feeling angry, feeling paranoid, restlessness, increased levels of stress

Behavioural:
Loss of appetite or craving for ‘comfort’ or sugary foods

Personally, I believe a good clean diet can help elevate most, if not all of these symptoms and inshaaAllaah, if you don’t do this already then in the future you will see the benefits of doing so.

However, this post will focus on discussing how to maintain your eemaan during the menstrual cycle so we will put diet aside for the moment. As already stated, symptoms of PMS can occur leading upto the menses and during this time a woman can still worship Allaah so things don’t usually seem too bad. Once the cycle begins, acts of ibaadah (worship) such as fasting and praying cease as we have been commanded by Allaah and His messenger salallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam.

If a woman is devout and worships Allaah regularly, prays her obligatory prayers and the sunnah prayers, she fasts on Mondays and Thursdays, she recites the Qur’aan daily, prays tahajjud regularly and makes dhikr often then when she is suddenly not praying or doing any of these actions, it is not unusual for her to feel like she has been distanced from Allaah a little.
Now combine this lack of worship with a bad mood, anger, physical pain, tiredness and so on. She may begin to feel depressed and this is not uncommon. During these days of ‘darkness’ or depression, which remember, can last up to 10 days for some women, her eemaan may decrease. Allaahul musta’aan.

It is therefore important for the Muslim woman to know what she can and can’t do when she is on her menses and to do as much as she can to maintain her eemaan and avoid becoming depressed or in a state of anxiety.

The following is a list of things I recommend a menstruating woman to do and each one has been successful for Muslim women, alhamdulillaah:

1) Make du’aa – just because you’re menstruating it doesn’t mean Allaah stops hearing you, it doesn’t mean that this direct conversation from you to Him is suddenly no longer available. Allaah can hear us all when we call upon him and we ask from him.
Download and listen to this audio by Abu Khadeejah to learn more about the six occasions when du’aa is accepted and there is a lilttle more information to benefit from inshaaAllaah.

2) Remember Allaah and make dhikr – We should be doing this regularly anyway. When we do daily chores we should get into the habit of making dhikr. Even when we’re walking to the shops and so on, we need to keep our tongues busy with the rememberance of Allaah. Saying SubhaanAllaah, Alhamdulillaah, Allaahu Akbar, seeking Allaah’s forgiveness, saying Subhaanallaahi wa bihamdi hi, Subhaanallaahil adheem and so on. There are so many rewards to gain from these small supplications.
Download and listen to this FREE audio by Abu Talhah Dawood Burbank rahimahullaah on the benefits of Dhikr

3) Recite the Qur’aan or read from it – There is a difference of opinion amongst the ‘ulema is a menstruating woman can physically hold the Qur’aan with her bare hands, if she can recite from the Qur’aan and so on. We normally find that it i mostly a cultural thing whereby people say a woman cannot hold the Qur’aan and they forbid her from doing so and from reading it. Further down this page there is a book called “Regulations of worship during menses” by Muhammad al-Jibaly and you can buy it from the Salafi Bookstore. In this book it discusses the evidences for and against the permissibililty for a woman who is mentrusting to handle the Qur’aan. In conclusion, they say that it is permissible for her to touch, hold and read from the Qur’aan. If you don’t have this book already, then I advise you to buy it inshaaAllaah, it’s only £5.95 and there’s a direct link for it below the image.

4) Read books – There’s plenty of authentic ones to buy

5) Download and listen to authentic audios via Troid, salafiaudio and so on.

6) Listen to the recitation of Qur’aan, you can even listen and read the translation on youtube, so many of us can do this via our mobile phones so we don’t even need to be sat at a computer.

7) Read the tafseer of the Qur’aan, try to understand it if you don’t know Arabic

8) Wake up for tahajjud – whether you used to do it before or not. I know you can’t pray but this is a time when we know there is a great reward in worshipping Allaah. We know du’aas have a better chance of being accepted if they are done during the last third of the night. Sometimes you might spend the night tossing and turning so if you’re awake anyway, you may as well be upright, even if it’s only for 5 minutes.
Learn more about tahajjud prayer here.

8 points have been mentioned for now but there are many more beneficial things a woman can do to maintain her eemaan and to make herself feel better. Below, there is a quote from a sister who has experienced many of the symptoms of PMS and with her permission I am able to share her experience in maintaining her eemaan so you can see how easy it is. I have heard a few sisters say similar things and there has always been great benefit for each of them.

“I find that it is easier for me to wake up during the night and then stay awake after Fajr. This is the time when I prefer to recite Qur’aan when the house is quiet and I won’t be disturbed or called away and look after those who depend on me. I normally do this but when I am menstruating I become very irritable and I tend to have a short temper. Not praying used to make me upset. Towards the end of my menses I would become impatient because I just wanted to start praying already, I felt like I lost my relationship with Allaah.

I pray all my Sunnahs everyday and try hard not to miss them and I found that when I wasn’t able to pray I used to waste time instead or treat it as if I was on a ‘break’. I didn’t realise it then but it was the worst thing I could do. Instead I decided to wake up for tahajjud as this was something I used to do. Instead of making wudhu and praying I just sat up and made du’aa for a while. Then I did some dhikr. I wasn’t too tired so I decided to read a few pages of Qur’aan until I got tired and wanted to rest. I went to sleep and when I woke up I felt quite energetic and in a very good mood. SubhaanAllaah, it’s amazing how even the smallest amount of worship can make you feel good. For me, it was better than abandoning all acts of worship completely. The next night I felt very tired so stayed in my bed and just did some dhikr, I woke up that morning feeling quite content. The third night I was too tired and felt unwell but I knew I had a good intention and I know my body has a right over me so I decided to stay asleep. I learnt that even if I don’t continuously worship Allaah or make dhikr regularly, even the smallest amount can have a positive impact on my day.

I woke up after the  third day still feeling content because I know Allaah wanted me to rest and I didn’t feel guilty after already making attempts to maintain my eemaan. Alhamdulillaah this is something I try to implement each month and I advise other sisters to do the same.”

So there we have it. It seemed like very little effort to this sister but the impact on her was greater than she expected.

The book I mentioned earlier concerning the evidences to say a woman can read from the Qur’aan during menses:

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You can buy this book from the Salafi Bookstore for £5.95 by clicking here.

May Allaah grant all the Muslim women success, sabr and ease during the monthly cycle. May He have Mercy on us and make it easy for us to remember Him during times of hardship and ease and make us from those who do righteous deeds no matter what state we’re in and grant us Jannatul Firdous. Allaahumma aameen!

Sisters: Islamic Health and Well Being

20 Jan

The information below has been taken from a khutbah delivered by our elder brother and Ustaadh (Teacher) Abu Khadeejah and it is from the first of his series of lessons for sisters held on Saturday mornings. He quotes the works of Ibn al-Qayyim, Imaam adh-Dhahabee and Imaam as-Sa’dee and makes references to hadeeths from the Prophet Muhammad salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam and quotes some of Allaah’s beautiful verses and having Tawakkul in Allaah’s cures in their various forms.

Some of this was mentioned in the previous audio from which notes were written in this post and I’ve repeat those points below and include further information from the titled audio.

Ibn al-Qayyim  mentions that since health is one of the most precious favours that Allaah has bestowed upon his creation once a person has entered Islaam, then it is fitting that whomoever is granted a portion of this fortune of good health, that he cherishes it and he preserves it against harm.

Imaam Al-Bukhaareee narrated from Abdullaah ibn Abbaas radhiAllaahu anhumma that the Prophet Muhammad salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam said that there are two bounties regarding which many of the people have become neglectful or that they are unaware and neglectful – that is, having good health and free time.

Ibn al-Qayyim also mentions that the foundations of medicine (medicine of the body) is of three types or of three basic fundamentals:
1. The preservation of health
2. A diet that avoids that which causes harm to the body
3. Removing harmful matter from the body.

In the past, when a person became sick, we would look at what he ate in order to find out what caused him this harm. We also know that as Muslims, Allaah has 99 names that have been revealed to us and from those names is Ash-Shaafee, The One Who Heals. So we should call upon Allaah by this name when we seek to be cured from some illness.

From Aaishah radhiyallaahu anhaa, the Prophet salallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam used to visit a sick person he used to say: Remove the harm, O Lord of the people. Heal for you are the healer. There is no healing that avails except for your healing. A healing that leaves behind no ailment. (Bukhaaree and Muslim).

So this hadeeth contains a seeking of a cure from any illness such as terminal cancer, diabetes, obesity, paralysis and so on. Allaah is the One who cures the diseases of the hearts such as rancour, hatred and forbidden desires.
Ibn al-Qayyim mentions that diseases are of two types, diseases of the heart and the body. The diseases of the heart are cured by acts of obedience and worship. There are two types of diseases of the heart: shahawaat (desires, those to commit sin such as fornication, stealing, lying, gambling etc) and shubahaat (doubts brought by the disbelivers and innovators by putting doubts in your mind about Allaah and the Sunnah and these are cured by seeking knowledge). And of course the sickness of the body is cured by eating good and refraining from eating harmful things.

Allaah says in the Qur’aan:

وَإِن يَمۡسَسۡكَ ٱللَّهُ بِضُرٍّ۬ فَلَا ڪَاشِفَ لَهُ ۥۤ إِلَّا هُوَ‌ۖ وَإِن يَمۡسَسۡكَ بِخَيۡرٍ۬ فَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِيرٌ۬

And if Allaah touches you with harm, none can remove it but Him, and if He touches you with good, then He is Able to do all things. (Al-An’am, 6:17)

*It is narrated in the Saheehayn that the Messenger of Allaah salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam said: “Allaah has not sent down a disease except that He has also sent down its cure.”

*Abu Hurairah: Allaah’s Apostle said, “If a fly falls in the vessel of any of you, let him dip all of it (into the vessel) and then throw it away, for in one of its wings there is a disease and in the other there is healing (antidote for it) ie. the treatment for that disease.”(Bukhaaree).

Hadeeth in Abu Daawood from Abdullaah Ibn Abbaas: That whomsoever visits the sick person and his time of death has not come yet and he says in his presence the following seven times: “I ask Allaah the Magnificent, the Lord of the Magnificent throne to cure you” Allaah will cure him from that illness.

The power of du’aa should not be underestimated.

Allaah says in the Qur’aan:

وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِى عَنِّى فَإِنِّى قَرِيبٌ‌ۖ أُجِيبُ دَعۡوَةَ ٱلدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ‌ۖ

And when My slaves ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor) (Al-Baqarah, 2:186)

Allaah also says:

وَنُنَزِّلُ مِنَ ٱلۡقُرۡءَانِ مَا هُوَ شِفَآءٌ۬ وَرَحۡمَةٌ۬ لِّلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ‌ۙ وَلَا يَزِيدُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ إِلَّا خَسَارً۬ا

And We send down from the Qur’aan that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe, and it increases the Zaalimun nothing but loss. (Al-Isra 17:82)

Abu Khadeejah states that that from the means that bring about cure is the Qur’aan itself. That is, reciting it, reading it, pondering over it and understanding it. He then adds that the Qur’aan should not be written down and put around your neck (like a tawees or as an amulet, this is a bid’ah) – when you go to the Doctors and he writes you a prescription you don’t take the prescription home and put it under your pillows! Rather, you take the medicine, similarly, you recite the Qur’aan. Read the translation and tafseer if you do not understand the Arabic language.

Allaah says in the Qur’aan:

يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلنَّاسُ قَدۡ جَآءَتۡكُم مَّوۡعِظَةٌ۬ مِّن رَّبِّڪُمۡ وَشِفَآءٌ۬ لِّمَا فِى ٱلصُّدُورِ وَهُدً۬ى وَرَحۡمَةٌ۬ لِّلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ

O mankind, indeed there has come to you an admonition from your Lord and the cure for that which is in the chest and a guidance and a mercy for the believers (Yunus 10:57)

Allaah also says:

قُلۡ هُوَ لِلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ هُدً۬ى وَشِفَآءٌ۬‌ۖ

Say: “It is for those who believe, a guide and a healing.(Fussilat: 41:44)

There are cures mentioned in this audio as well as supporting evidences but for now inshaaAllaah I will conclude this audio here. InshaaAllaah, the cures from this will have their own posts and will have the following titles listed below. The posts will contain information from other sources such as Ibn al-Qayyim’s book on the Prophetic medicine and other benefial sources. Please look out for the posts, links will be added below once they have been created inshaaAllaah.
Sisters: Raw honey is a cure
Sisters: Raw milk is a cure
Sisters: Zam Zam is a cure
Sisters: Ruqyah is a cure best done on yourself

You can download this audio lecture for just 75p by following this link inshaaAllaah

*These quotations are mentioned in the audio but contain different sources and were either taken from the previous audio or as referenced.

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Depression: A Muslim’s Perspective

1 Jan

A lot of this has been taken from the NHS website, only because it was something I genuinely agreed with. Where I think things aren’t necessarily true or needed I will say so and offer my personal advice along the way. There’s a lot of information on the internet about depression but it’s sometimes difficult to find the correct, concise information you require. So take a deep breath and read on.

What is depression?
Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or hopeless for a few days here and there. Unfortunately, the words “I feel so depressed” are over used and misused. If you were really depressed I don’t think it’d be that easy for you to say so freely.

It’s true, we all have good days, bad days, we get moody, stressed and irritable at some point in our lives. Sometimes, with most people, this is a common thing. That is, to have mood swings or just generally being an impatient person. Being an impatient person is likely to lead to mood swings, stress and outbursts when things aren’t done when you want them to be done or how you want them to be done. This ultimately makes you unhappy or angry but it is not depression just because it happens all the time or more often than you’d like.

Depression is when you persistently feel miserable for weeks or months on end rather than just a few days. Sometimes, there may be a known trigger. Other times, the trigger may be unknown. It could be something like a memory at the back of your mind or a feeling you’ve attempted to suppress for a long period of time. Each person, case and scenario is different.

Some people still think that depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition. They’re wrong. Depression is a real illness with real symptoms, and it’s not a sign of weakness or something you can ‘snap out of’ by ‘pulling yourself together’.
Alhamdulillaah, with the right treatment and support, most people can make a full recovery and go on to live a much better, healthier and happier life.

How to tell if you have depression
Depression affects people in different ways and can cause a wide variety of symptoms. They range from lasting feelings of sadness and hopelessness to losing interest in the things you used to enjoy and feeling very tearful. Many people with depression also have symptoms of anxiety and in some more severe cicumstances, some may have suicidal thoughts.
Some physical symptoms may include loss of appetite or increased appetite for ‘junkie’ or ‘comfort’ foods and constantly feeling tired and insomnia. It is clear the severity of the symptoms can vary and at first you may not show or feel all of these symptoms.

For a more detailed list, read more about the symptoms of depression via the NHS website. Please pay closer attention if you’re a female, particularly to your mentruation cycles. These can change in severity, length of time and even blood type. If changes occur over time do mention it to your Doctor or Nurse. The stress of being depressed can affect your body and hormones a lot more than you’d expect. It’s easier to notice these changes if you were regular and your cycles have changed.

Most people experience feelings of stress, sadness or anxiety during difficult times. A low mood may improve after a short time rather than be a sign of depression. Read more information about low mood and depression. It’s important that you view this list with an open mind. Try to pick a day to view this list when you feel in a better mood and when you’re more able to judge your previous character.

When to see a Doctor
It’s important to seek help from your GP if you think you may be depressed. Don’t be indenial, as soon as you suspect or genuinely have that gut feeling that this is more than just a small phase, see your Doctor! You’ll know the feeling I’m talking about if you are depressed. Have tawakkul (trust and reliance on Allaah) and if you’re wrong, then alhamdulillaah, all praise is to Allaah who has saved you from this particular distress.

There’s this small test you can do on the NHS website to find out if you’re depressed. I would say, it’s better to listen to yourself but if you do think you’re the indenial type then do the test anyway. Be honest, even if the feelings have passed. You may have to take yourself back to a bad memory or time in order to think about your answer. Take your time and don’t be afraid. Remember, you’re looking to make yourself better and there’s no shame in seeking help. If you’ve been feeling low for more than a few days, take this short test to find out if you’re depressed.

Many people wait a long time before seeking help for depression, but it’s best not to delay. The sooner you see a doctor, the sooner you can be on the way to recovery. From a personal experience, I was the indenial type of person. Someone told me they thought I was clinically depressed and they were talking from experience. I was annoyed with this person and never spoke to them again. It took me about a year later to finally come to terms with it and accept that it was the truth and during this period of time I looked at depression but made claims that it wasn’t me. It was bothering me as I knew there was some truth in it. I just didn’t know the severity of it and there was this huge fear of taking that first step into asking for help. I was clinically depressed and there was nothing I could do about it at the time to help myself.

Sometimes there is a trigger for depression. Life-changing events, such as bereavement, or losing your job or even having a baby, can bring it on. In my case, there was a trigger. One which I can talk about quite happily now but there’s no need for me to mention it without a real purpose… So that knowledge will remain with me and whoever else I have told. I genuinely see the blessing in something that caused me several years of trauma and took me a long time to overcome. More than half my life (in terms of years!) has been affected by it. However, after going through the right methods and seeking the correct help and being brave enough to ask for help, I’ve come out as a much better person, something that people who personally know me cannot deny and even they don’t know what my trigger was but they know that today and for the last few months I have become a better person in every way possible. Alhamdulillaah. Remember, not everyone has a trigger, perhaps you’re one of those cases when there is no real reason or no single reason.

Find out more about the causes of depression.

Treatment
Treatment for depression involves either medication or talking treatments, or usually a combination of the two. The kind of treatment that your doctor recommends, will be based on the type of depression you have. <– says the NHS website and just about everyone you ask! My advice, as a Muslim and someone who eats clean with experience having been through it. Try talking first! Never, ever take antidepressants without exhausting every other solution first. You may think it’s the easiest way out and a quick fix but did you know so many antidepressants can cause people to become suicidal?! I have close links with a few people who work for the government. They analyse the side effects of drugs and every single day they gets reports of various medications, particularly antidepressants that have caused the loss of a life due to suicide. I am not at liberty to mention the cases I know of (shh, naughty I know) but I do recommend you do your research first. There are plenty of real-life stories on the internet and forums where this has been discussed.

There were times when I thought ‘I want antidepressants’ but I had heard they just make a person feel “numb”. Sounds good, right? Yeah, I thought so too. Alhamdulillaah, I lived a “numb” day after contemplating this. It was the strangest thing ever. It was like I had no feelings or emotions. My head felt empty, my heart was empty, every action I did was empty and it felt like I had no purpose in life. I felt a bit robotic. The day was long and alhamdulillaah the next day the “numbness” had vanished. I was back to feeling the pain but I was also sane enough to know that this feeling of numbness was wrong and so far from healthy and normal. I decided that day that antidepressants were a no-no and this experience was a way that Allaah showed me to guide me away from medication.

I went through two sessions of counselling and by sessions I mean a block of counselling with different people over two different periods of time. There were pros and cons to both women I saw and though I was able to talk about a fair bit of stuff, it didn’t ‘cure’ me. It was only some three years later (earlier this year, wait, hang on, we’re in 2013 now, d’oh! It was half way through 2012 when I sought Islaamic help for my condition. That’s a discussion for another day though) when I finally dealt with all my issues. Towards the end of October that’s when I was truly better, and all praise is due to Allaah for his Mercy and guidance.

Anyway, about the counselling, at the time I was under the age of 21 so counselling works a little differently if you’re in the UK. If you go through the NHS and you’re under 21 you don’t talk to the counsellor in your GP’s office. Instead you get refered to another organisation, the one I was refered to was called “Solutions”. It helps to have a healthy relationship with your counsellor. If you have a funny feeling about the counsellor just by looking at them (I don’t judge a book by it’s cover but I should have gone with my gut instinct I think) then be honest and tell them you’re not comfortable. Obviously don’t tell them they don’t look nice but find an excuse, just describe the sort of person you would like to talk to. Perhaps someone younger or someone you feel you can relate to more, just to make you feel at ease. Don’t be worried about offending them, afterall, it’s all about you and they’ll do whatever they can to help.

Read more about the treatment of depression.

I would also like to emphasise the importance of a good, clean, healthy diet. Yes, this is where going gluten free or even paleo comes in. InshaaAllaah, there will be a post about the link between depression and diet soon so keeo your eyes peeled.

I’d just like to add, it took me a year and half to finaly tell a Doctor I was depressed. I was finally ready to accept it and seek help. Alhamdulillaah the Doctor had nothing but praise for me. It was the scariest feeling ever but because the Doctor was nice, I felt confident. I was praised due to the fact that I was smiling, young and brave and in addition to that, came from a culture where depression was taboo. The Doctor was rather impressed and so helpful. Finally, I felt like I had hope! This kind of praise was a good kind as it was the sort that encouraged me to carry on with my mission in going for counselling and avoiding medication! Bite the bullet and be brave. Noone will judge you for it and if you are suffering in silence like I was at the time, you don’t have to discuss it with anyone either. I hid how I felt and what I was like for years, in hindsight, talking about it would have been better but I’m more than pleased with whatever has been written for me as I’m a much better person.

And finally…

Living with depression
Many people with depression benefit by making lifestyle changes such as getting more exercise, cutting down on alcohol and eating more healthily. Self-help measures such as reading a self-help book or joining a support group are also worthwhile. Find out more about how self help and improving your lifestyle can help you beat depression. <– The first step is to accept that you have a problem.

When you start seeking help and you ask friends or family, it’s so easy for them to say “pick up a hobby, excercise, you need to go out more” or other ridiculus things. What they don’t understand is that when you’ve reached your lowest point, these words are useless. If anything you may want to scream at the person for talking nonsense and not knowing anything about what they’re saying. It’s easier said than done.

You need to find someone who is willing to hold your hand and work through your problems with you. Someone who won’t turn their back on your despite your highs and lows, good days and bad days, mood swings and crazy outbursts. Alhamdulillaah I found that person for the right period of time. Sometimes we actually need to work on the smaller things that prevent us from taking up a new hobby. We need someone to help us through it, guide us, lend us a hand and so on. We need that support system, even people who aren’t depressed need a support system at times. We all need that one person we can put our trust in (after Allaah of course!), someone we can talk to, someone who can listen and ideally, offer solutions from an Islaamic perspective.
For example, I had a few fears and so I focused on having Tawakkul first. I also suffered from paranoia and anger so learnt about how to cope with these from an Islaamic angle. Of course we know these feelings aren’t right but I went into them in more detail so I could understand the origin of it, my personal triggers, I even learnt about how the two things are classed as sins and could even make you leave the fold of Islaam! Since my eemaan was what I was focusing on getting back during 2012, I obviously wanted to avoid anything that would lead to such evil so I had all the motivation I needed and the help from a person with knowledge to aid me.

My eemaan plummeted throughout the years of my depression hence why I was so determined to get it back. I felt better after counselling but my eemaan was still almost non-existant. Since fixing up properly with the correct Islaamic help, my eemaan is a lot better and stronger than what it was pre-deression. And I thank Allaah for his guidance and Mercy otherwise this would not have been possible. Yes, I have only been completely cured for a couple of months now but I know I’m at a stage where there is no returning back to my previous state because everything that was an issue for me has truly been dealt with correctly. InshaaAllaah, the previous issues will no longer affect me… as for anything else, then I put my trust in Allaah and inshaaAllaah if anything does happen in my future, I will be better equipped, mentally and with knowledge to be in a better position to control the issues I had or the new ones that face me.

I genuinely don’t get angry or paranoid anymore and I remind myself these are from Shaytaan. I also know it’s not worth fussing or stressing over and whatever I face now is nothing like my dark days during depression. I don’t think anything could be worse than that. The days of low or almost non-existant eemaan are by far the scariest things a person can encounter. Without eemaan, belief in Allaah and trust and reliance on Him, I was nothing. Without eemaan, there is no point in living as life would not be pleasant at all. May Allaah protect me from low eemaan such as that I have experienced before… Aameen yaa Rabb!

There are some beneficial quotes I would like to share with you. InshaaAllaah they will be posted sometime soon and perhaps you could apply them to your life. Please look into the link between diet and depression in the meantime. A little bit of your own research will be beneficial inshaaAllaah.

Hayaakumullaah

Overdue rant

20 Dec

I know, I’m back after more than 2 weeks of silence. I’ve been a little busy plus I forgot the password to my blog so that didn’t help. In my defense though, I have been tweeting and Facebooking the odd bits here and there… when I can be bothered or have access to my laptop.
Anyway, I was doing some thinking (easy there, don’t fall off your chair!) some time ago after I noticed changes in my body and after discussing things with a few random ladies who were kind enough to share their experiences with me.

As Muslims we’ve been put on this Earth to worship Allaah, we get married to have babies and increase the ummah. However, I know far too many many women, married and unmarried who have irregular menstrual cycles. As a result, some of these married women have been unable to conceive yet a few of them tell me “Oh you know, skipping periods or irregularity has always been normal for me” Spot the contradiction “Irregularity is normal”?? No, that’s what we call abnormal! Alhamdulillaah this wasn’t an issue for me but either way, since going GF and paleo I immediately noticed positive changes so I started investigating just how common this was for women who had either cut out wheat, gluten and or had opted for a paleo lifestyle for whatever reason.

My research (googling, checking out blogs and so on) showed that it was common for a good, clean, healthy diet to sort out menstrual problems even if you didn’t think you had them! I also noticed that it was English, American and generally white women who wrote about this. It made me think ‘Where are the Asians, where are the Muslims?” Why don’t we talk about this stuff, it’s important to us!’

My opinion is culture has been largely responsible for this. In Asian culture it’s taboo to talk about your menstruation problems, it’s taboo to say you’re depressed, it’s taboo to mention that you have a sickness or disease or something wrong with you because you have a fear of being judged, disliked or made to feel like you’re an alien, abnormal or simply not good enough for something.

Since when did talking about your health become a taboo?! Why are Asians so afraid of it? Why do we, particularly women feel like we have to suffer in silence and when we do finally speak about it we turn to a Doctor who turns to drugs as a means to “fix” us instead?! What part of this makes sense to you??!

One thing I noticed with Asians, and particularly Muslims whilst doing my research is that on websites which are pretty excellent such as healthymuslim.com, despite mentioning benefits of breastfeeding and things to aid a woman during pregnancy food-wise, there was nothing about mentruation, irregular cycles or fertility. Excuse me for asking but what is the point in telling someone how to breastfeed and why if she can’t even get pregnant?! There is nothing out there for the Asian or Muslim woman to talk about or learn about how to fix her body. Yes, we know some women are barren and this is the will of Allaah and a test but if a woman isn’t menstruating properly or regularly should’t this be addressed first? How many women do you know who suffer in this way even if they’re unmarried or not in a relationship? Most, if not all women want to have babies some day, it what we’re built for and it’s important to us so where is the help that makes this possible? I’m fed up of this silence. There is no shyness in Islaam so we need to break this mould and this daft ideology that cultureand our ancestors have enforced upon us.

One sister in Islaam told me she got married and thought the babies would just pop out like that! (Obviously things have to happen in between) But despite being married for a few years she still hasn’t conceived. This sister knows she has health problems and is also on a paleo diet and still trying to find her way and naturally, she is struggling a bit but it’s unfortunate for her because she expected and hoped to become pregnant by now. I should mention she’s on a paleo diet for health reasons and it was a process of trial and error that convinced her to try this out.
It’s disheartnening because she said noone ever talks about things like this. And it’s true. And you know it’s true. So, I have a plan, or an idea….

I’m gonna do some more research now I have a good couple of months free and I plan to gather experiences of women all across the world and use their stories to help convince you that what you put into your body affects your health and the way your body functions. I want to focus on women’s issues because it’s such a taboo and because noone else cares enough to talk about it. Women should suffer in silence, we go through enough as it is. And for all you men out there who think we’re just bonkers for no apparent reasons or because of hormones, I’m sure there’s an underlying reason for why you’re other half behaves a little weirdly and even if she has told you, I don’t know if you’d be able to fully understand how it feels.

I want people to send me their experiences, stories about changes, irregularity or ‘patterns’ they have noticed when it comes to menstruation. If you changed your diet in order to lose weight, conceive and so on and have a success story to share, please send those along too! Women around the world and particularly Asians and Muslims need to know they’re not alone and they need to know there’s a cure out there that helps. And by cure I mean a good, clean diet. Not drugs and medicines.

All emails comments, questions, queries and so on can be sent as a reply to this post (or any other on this blog!) If it’s of a sensitive nature I won’t publish it but will keep it hidden so only I can access it. You don’t need to give your real name and at NO point will names be published alongside any stories or experiences I share. Permission will be sought before I share anything I receive, you have my word.

If you know of anyone else who suffers in a similar way, please let them know and let them have their say.

Edit: I forgot to say, you can also email me here: glutenfreesalafi@hotmail.co.uk

Anyone can be a Doctor

28 Nov

Last night I went to the Doctors to see a nurse. I was hoping I could get her to request a detailed blood test for me. I’ve been a little concerned recently because my diet is so restricted. I only eat meat, chicken, fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Other than my past problems ‘upstairs’ and my mental health, I don’t want to discover I have low levels of calcium due to a dairy free diet.

I explained that I was gluten sensitive despite not getting the blood tests done because I thought the Doctor who requested a gluten sensitivity test and coeliac testing was nuts. I also explained that after I was told to consume gluten with every single meal for 10 days straight, I was a little anxious. I started falling off the wagon anyway and even though I wasn’t consuming gluten often, the morsels I did take in affected my mood and emotions so I was happy to just remain GF and avoid being tested.
To my surprise, the nurse agreed with me and said Doctors shouldn’t bother testing patients if there is sufficient evidence that a particular diet works. She also recommended that we all listen to our bodies because that’s the only thing that’s going to tell us when something’s wrong.

Not too long ago I realised that I was no longer getting tummy aches, it was pretty common for me to have them in the mornings but since going GF these are no longer an issue. We discussed it and agreed that perhaps it may have been a symptom of coeliac disease. Either way, the nurse still advised against a blood test – I’m so pleased!

During our conversation we both discussed how we felt about our Doctors and how pointless things have been in the past or how they don’t pick up on certain problems. It’s really interesting to note how much emphasis she put on the fact that Doctors tend to specialilse in certain areas of medicine. For example, one Doctor is a hair and skin specialist whilst she is the lead for illnesses such as asthma. She said unless a Doctor specialises in that field, has a particular interest in it or you have a serious illness which is recognised everywhere then there is a chance the Doctor will do something about it. However, if it isn’t the Doctor’s specialist topic or it’s a ‘minor’ illness, in THEIR eyes, then usually nothing will get done about it. For example, coeliac disease. If you suffer from it, the Doctors will get you tested (and try to kill you in process by advising you to eat gluten everyday for ten days). If you tell a Doctor you think you have gluten sensitivity because you’re grumpy, had an autoimmune disease, have dry skin and several other symptoms then they’ll call you a hypochondriac.

This nurse was lovely, she told me to never come see a Doctor ever again unless I had a serious physical problem and I couldn’t agree more. Really. As much as she dislikes those real hypochondriacs who refer to Dr Google and scare the living daylights out of themselves, she praised my googling skills because I did the appropriate research, found a bunch of excellent people (and a Doc!) and implemented their advice. The result was good health, no more symptoms and cheeriness.
She told me to stick to what I’m doing and continue with my research if needed and that I would learn more fellow GFers. Apparently any Tom, Dick or Harry with gluten sensitivity is more useful than surviving medical school. Unless you’re Dr Rodney Ford. He’s a genius, he even has a thesis that’s older than me and what I’ve read of his books so far describe me so well. He was actually the first person I contacted when I considered cutting out gluten from my diet. I sent him a message and within 24 hours I had a reply confirming what I thought and was advised to leave gluten ASAP.

Anyway, I’ve made up my mind that Doctors can be pretty useless. Besides, I’ve have my share of bad experiences with them so I’m going to take pleasure in not having to see them for some time inshaaAllaah..!

If you think you may have gluten sensitivy or coeliac disease, do your research first. You may have rare symptoms and it may be difficult to find information connnecting your symptom(s) to GS but don’t give up at the first hurdle. In fact, try giving up gluten for a few days and see if you feel any better. I don’t encourage consuming processed foods but I know how difficult going GF is, especially if you’re doing it alone. If it helps you and makes your life easier, you may wish to experiment with gluten free foods. In the UK all major supermarkets often have sections dedicated to helping those with allergies with alternative foods.