Benefits of Grapes

Grapes are brilliant and I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t like them! Admittedly I don’t think I like them in their dried form (raisins and sultanas) but I’m working on it… eventually… inshaaAllaah… baby steps…

I’m quite fussy when it comes to grapes. I don’t mind seeds but I have to say crunchy, crispy grapes are the best. I know I like crunchy and crispy foods but honestly, squidgy, over-ripe grapes aren’t the same. Unless they’re Italian grapes. Italian grapes are quite large and tend to come in bigger bunches, sadly supermarkets don’t really stock them as far as I’ve seen. They’re also sweeter and juicier.

I’ve had grapes for breakfast on numerous occasions. The best way to have them, I think is sliced in half (green and red/black grapes) with a drizzle of honey and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. And you can top it with a tiny amount of fresh corriander or parsley if you want. Of course you can just have it as a snack too. I sometimes add watermelon, galia melon, yellow melon or honey dew melon to the mix if I have some handy.

Grapes are also mentioned in the Qur’aan, Allaah says:

وَجَعَلۡنَا فِيهَا جَنَّـٰتٍ۬ مِّن نَّخِيلٍ۬ وَأَعۡنَـٰبٍ۬ وَفَجَّرۡنَا فِيہَا مِنَ ٱلۡعُيُونِ

And We have made therein gardens of date-palms and grapes, and We have caused springs of water to gush forth therein. (Ya-Sin 36:34)

Ibn al-Qayyim writes that the Prophet salallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam was reported to have liked eating grapes and watermelon. Allaah knows best if he salallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam them together but that’s not the reason why I eat grapes and melons together, in fact I didn’t even know of this quote until very recently and I’ve eaten this combo since about 2010 (strangely specific…)

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A few more detailed health benefits of grapes:

  • Migraine. Home remedy for migraine is ripe grape juice. Should be taken pure (no additional water) early in the morning. (That’s the strangest thing, I’m pretty sure I’ve craved grapes several times when I’ve had a migraine in the past but I neever knew this!)
  • Blood cholesterol. Pterostilbene , a compound present in grapes helps lower the cholesterol level. Saponins in grape skin prevents the absorption of cholesterol by binding with it.
  • Alzheimer’s disease. Resveratrol in grapes reduces the levels of amyloidal-beta peptides in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Grapes can enhance brain health and delay the onset of neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Kidney disorders. Grapes reduce the acidity of the uric acid and help eliminate the acid from the system thus reducing the pressure of the kidneys.
  • Heart disease. Grapes increase the nitric oxide levels in the blood which prevents blood clots thus reducing heart attack incidents. Antioxidants in grapes prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which blocks the blood vessels.
  • Indigestion. Grapes prevent dyspepsia. They cure indigestion and irritation of the stomach.
  • Anticancer properties. Resveratrol acts as anti-inflammatory. Effective in breast and colorectal cancers. Anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins have properties of anti-proliferate which can inhibit the growth of cancer causing agents.
  • Prevents cataract. Flavonoids in grapes reduce the damage caused by free radicals such as cataract apart from age related problems, heart disease and cancer.
  • Macular degeneration is age related loss of vision. Studies suggest 3 servings of grapes daily to lower the risk of macular degeneration by over 36%.
  • Asthma. Due to the high assimilatory power of grapes, moisture present in lungs increases. Grapes have therapeutic value for asthma.
  • Breast cancer. In a recent study, purple colored Concord grape juice helps prevent breast cancer. Experiment was conducted on laboratory rats. There was a significant reduction in breast tumor mass after they were fed the grape juice on the experimental basis.
  • Fatigue. It’s not the dark grape juice that gives an iron boost it’s the light and white grape juice that prevents fatigue because it replenishes the iron content in the body. So go for the light and white grape juice for boost not the dark one.
  • Antibacterial activity. Red grapes contain antibacterial and antiviral properties to protect you from infections. Its antiviral property is effective against poliovirus and herpes simplex virus.

Sisters: Islamic Health and Well Being

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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Forgive me, I think I sinned…

We all know in Islaam the first glance is allowed if it wasn’t intentional but what if after the first glance you took a second look? And after the second look you just started staring? And staring turned into thoughts and so on?

I know we shouldn’t reveal our sins but it happened to me the other day, I saw a beauty and the smell was so delightful I was being led into temptation! So many thoughts and memories went through my head. I could imagine myself running away with this beauty and giving out an abundance of hugs… I’m talking about bread!

I’ve been dreaming of bread and cakey things with custard. I really have no desire for it but it’s stalking me. You know you have a problem when you look at bread and have an urge to run away with it and give it a hug! And you know you have issues if you dream of desserts (and that’s not because I’m a cake baker and decorator either, let me tell you!). The other day when my sister was making this “healthy” baguette all I had to do was think about the effects that consuming bread would have on me. I’d become a moody, reckless mess and it wasn’t worth it. Alhamdulillaah I just knew I was better off without. I thought about how I’d feel even I ‘cheated’ even with just one crumb and it wasn’t worth it.
That dream last night though… I woke up so confused this morning at Fajr (morning prayer) time thinking ‘Did that really happen??!’ – It didn’t! Phew! I can tell you I’ve woken up hungry and I need to be out the house at 8am (that’s currently 21 minutes away)

On both ‘sinful thoughts’ occasions I also thought about this image I’d seen, it’s actually quite motivating so here you go:

Also known as stuff half the population can't pronounce yet we consume it everyday... well, at least I don't... anymore...

Also known as stuff half the population can’t pronounce yet we consume it everyday… well, at least I don’t… anymore…

No matter how much you’re tempted, just remember your intentions. Why are you eating healthily? What are the benefits to your body, mind and even eemaan (faith)?
Before you feel like quitting, think about why you started to begin with!

And I’d  like to leave you with this:

diet

That’s a pretty good point. So if you do fall into temptation and you have that one crumb or bite, don’t think it’s all over. Accept that you’re a human being, you make errors and move on. Trust me, I know from experience, there’s no point in dwelling over the past, mistakes and moments of weakness. Accept it, forgive yourself and move on. Sometimes in order to get better we need to get worse… I know I did.

I also received a message from a sister telling me sugary foods were a fitnah (trial…ish) for her. Who can relate?!

Anyone can be a Doctor

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.