Ramadhan Super Foods

Bismihi Ta’ala

By Umme Faatimah (B.Dietetics Univ. of Pretoria)

The modern world has swept us off our feet in so many ways… our dressing, our lifestyles and most noticeably our eating habits. We have so casually adapted the western culture of unhealthy eating, moving further and further away from the Noble teachings of the Quraan and Sunnah of The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him).

Yet, the newest nutritional research continues to discover the benefits of certain foods, labelled as “Super Foods”. They have also unravelled the great benefits of certain eating habits, such as washing the hands before and after meals, eating with the hands, not drinking with meals…just to mention a few. However, all of this has already been outlined in the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah more than 1400 years ago.

We are certainly the losers if we do not make an effort to practice upon the Sunnah in our homes and kitchens. What better time to bring about these changes than now? Our beautiful Deen offers us the opportunity during the beautiful month of Ramadhaan, to bring about positive changes in our lives- changes that benefit us mentally, physically and spiritually which Insha Allah (Allah Willing) can be sustained for the future.

Physically, fasting gives the digestive system a much needed rest. Energy normally used for digestion is now directed to body detoxification, tissue repair and system healing.

With that in mind I have chosen to highlight just a few of the favourite foods of our The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). With the special month of Ramadhaan fast approaching, we can all ensure we have these foods on our shopping lists. InshaAllah, by us adopting the lifestyle of The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) we will be rewarded enormously… Ameen.

DATES

Dates are the most mentioned fruit in the Quraan. They are high in energy, fibre, iron, vitamins and minerals. The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)said: ” The home with no dates is like the home with no food”.(Hadith- Sahih Muslim)

The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)used to break his fast with fresh dates and a few sips of water. If he did not find fresh dates, he would use dried dates. He (pbuh) said: “When one of you breaks the fast let him do so with dates, for they are a blessing and if he cannot find dates then with water for it is a purification” (Hadith-Tirmidhi)

He often consumed dates with cucumber, butter, cream or bread. A dessert called “Haisa” made with ghee (butter), dates, cheese and yoghurt was also prepared.

Tips: At iftaar (breaking fast) time, dates can also be used to prepare date milkshakes, date chutney, date desserts as well as sprinkled over salads. For sehri (pre-dawn meal), dates can be used as a softened spread over bread or added into muffins, rusks etc.

OLIVE OIL

Dieticians and nutritionist the world over have been advocating the use of olive oil for its excellent cardio-protective, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Ongoing research is revealing more and more great benefits on the consumption and application of olive oil.

The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)said: “Eat the olive and use it as an ointment as it comes from a blessed tree”.(Hadith-Tirmidhi)

Tips: During Ramadhaan, olive oil is best used raw as a dip for breads or as a salad dressing. The lighter olive oils are well suited for cooking and baking purposes. Whole olives can be added to salads as well as de-pitted and added to breads, muffins, pies and pizzas.

BARLEY

A recent Readers Digest article highlighted barley as one of the five healthiest foods we tend not to eat. Yet it was barley that was one of the staple foods in the diet of our The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). Modern research is discovering that barley has a very high soluble- fibre content. This helps to keep the arteries clear and healthy. It has an extremely low glycaemic index (GI), which means it takes a longer time to digest, keeping one fuller for longer.

It is mentioned that The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) consumed barley in the following ways:

SAWIQ – a coarse broth prepared from ground wheat and barley – very much like a haleem (soup)

THARID – Barley bread covered in gravy cooked with meat

TALBEENAH – A porridge prepared using barley and milk

A Hadith in Mishkaat narrates that The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)never used sifted flour in his lifetime. We should take lesson from this, as we are all moving to consuming more refined and processed foods where all the beneficial nutrients have been stripped off. Allah SWT mentions in the Holy Quraan grains with their husks, amongst His many gifts to us. Un-sifted flour as used by The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)contains all the valuable nutrients found in the bran and germ layers and has a lower GI.

Tips: During Ramadhaan, barley can be added to soups and broths or prepared as a drink by boiling and straining mixture. A hadith in Bukhari mentions that The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) consumed “Sawiq” at iftaar. Barley flour can be used for preparing breads and rotis. Substitute 1.5 cups barley flour for every 3 cups regular flour. Cereals containing barley flakes like muesli can be purchased, or barley flakes can be added to biscuits, muffins, breads and other cereals.

Barley can be prepared as a filling porridge for sehri -Talbeenah. Soak 1-2 tablespoons whole barley overnight in a flask filled with rapidly boiling water. At sehri time, strain water out and prepare porridge with honey and milk. (Store bought “pearled barley” has been polished with some of the bran layer removed).

HONEY

Modern research has been abuzz with the myriad of health benefits associated with honey- anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, energising tonic….to name a few.Our beautiful Deen has encouraged the use of honey 1400 years ago. The Holy Quraan mentions”there comes forth from the bee’s belly, a drink of varying colours, wherin is a healing for men”.(Qur’an 16:68-69)

The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) further said ” Make use of two cures- honey and the Quraan”(Hadith-Ibn Majah)

The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) loved drinks that were sweet and cold and often consumed honey water.

Tips: Honey can be used to sweeten items like tea, fresh juices, milk drinks and cereals etc. Raw honey which is thicker and creamier has a lower GI, and can be mixed with cinnamon and used as a spread on toast for sehri.

GRAPES AND RAISINS

Grapes have been found to contain resveratrol- a powerful antioxidant that protects the body on a cellular level from damage. The seeds are rich in flavonoids which lower the risk of fatty plaque accumulation on the lining of blood vessels to the heart.

The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) loved eating grapes. Hadith in Abu Dawood mentions The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him )often consumed a drink “Nabeez”- prepared from soaked raisins. Nabeez can be prepared by soaking raisins after Esha (evening) prayer in clean water covered with a plate. The following morning the water can be drunk and the soaked fruit eaten or just use the blender to obtain a beautiful cloudy Nabeez. And, if you soak in the morning, drink in the evening. Nabeez should be consumed within twelve hours of soaking to prevent fermentation.

Tips: Nabeez or fresh grape juice can be prepared as a drink after Taraweeh (evening prayer in Ramadaan). Grapes can be served as part of salad or dessert. Raisins eaten with nuts can be enjoyed as a healthy munch after taraweeh salaat.

The Sunnah way of eating is the healthy way of eating. InshaAllah, let us all strive to revive and bring alive the Sunnahs of The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) in our homes this Ramadhaan. I have highlighted just a few. Make an intention to eat on the floor, share eating utensils and to fill a third of your stomach with water, a third with food and a third left for air.

Besides the immense health benefits outlined above our greatest rewards really lie in following the Sunnah, as it comes in Hadith mentioned by The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him):

” The person who follows my Sunnah is the one who truly loves me, and will be with me in Jannah” (Hadith-Tirmidhi)

Allah Ta’ala said to His Messenger (pbuh)”Say (to mankind), if you love Allah, follow me – Allah will love you and forgive your sins.” (Qur’an:3: 31)

Wishing you all healthy eating, the Sunnah way………………….Ramadhaan Mubarak!

Fasting is ibadah

As fasting is an act of ‘ibādah in itself, just keeping the fast means you are in a state of ‘ibādah. If you can do any other ‘ibādah at the same time, that is very good. If you cannot do any proactive ‘ibādah you should not feel guilty about it as you are already in a state of ‘ibādah. However, it is important that the fast we keep adheres to the spirit of fasting.

(Excerpt from a Spiritual Gathering held by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq)

Fasting

Deprivation of the Negligent

During heavy rainfall if a person was to complain that he has not managed to collect water, then all present would conclude that this was because of his sheer negligence and laxity.

Likewise in Ramadhan only the extremely negligent remain deprived because the Mercy and Forgiveness of Allah ta’ala descends in torrents.
Shaykh Saleem Dhorat – www.idauk.org

The Thief of Ramadan

Watch out for the thief of Ramadan, the kitchen, it steals hours of our sisters time, that could have been used for ibadah (worship).
Shaykh Zahir Mahmood

Virtues of Ramadhan

Virtues of Ramadan

It is related by Abu Hurairah (RAA) that the Apostle of God (sallallaho alaihi wa sallam) said “When the month of Ramadhan comes, the Gates of Heaven are thrown open and the Gates of Hell are shut, and the devils are put behind bars” In another report, the “Gates of Mercy” are mentioned in place of the “Gates of Heaven”. [Bukhari and Muslim]

Commentary – Commenting of this Tradition, Shah Wali-ullah remarks that as the devout bondsmen apply themselves to worship and good-doings during the month of Ramadhan and spend their days in God- remembrance and recitation of the Qur’an while Fasting, and a major part of their nights in Taraweeh and Tahajjud, supplication and repentance, under the influence of their high spirituality and devotional exertions the hearts of the common Muslims, too become more inclined towards prayer and piety and they, on the whole succeed in abstaining from good many sins. Owing to the generation of the atmosphere worship and virtue in the Islamic circles, people who are not wholly disregardful of transcendental truths develop a fondness for things that are pleasing to God and an aversion for acts that are repugnant to Him. moreover, in this blessed month the recompense on even smaller acts of moral goodness is made much greater by God than on other days. In consequence of all this, the gates of Paradise are opened and of Hell are closed for such people and the devils are not left free to tempt and mislead them.

It would be clear that all the three things – the throwing open of the gates of Heaven, the shutting up of the gates of Hell and the binding of the devils in chains – are in respect only of the bondsmen who feel disposed towards good-doing in the month of Ramadhan, and out of the keenness to partake of its blessings engage themselves enthusiastically in worship and other religious duties. As for the Apostates, the negligent and the heedless who care little for Divine injunctions and produce no change in their daily lives at the advent of Ramadhan, these tidings do not apply to them,. When they have opted out, of their own accord, for the path of error and omission and taken willingly to follow Satan and doing his bidding there is nothing for them except disappointment with God as well.

It is related by Abu Hurairah that the Apostle of Allah (sallallaho alaihi wa sallam) said : “When the first night of the month of Ramadhan (comes), the devil’s and defiant Jinn are bound in chains and all the Gates of Hell are closed and non of them remains open and all the Gates of Heaven are thrown open and none of them remains closed and the heavenly herald announces, “O seeker of goodness and virtue! come forward; and O lover of wickedness and evil-doing! Halt, and do not come forward” and a large number of (sinning) bondsmen are released from Hell at the command of God (i.e., decision of forgiveness and deliverance is taken for them), and all this takes place on every night of Ramadhan.” [Tirmizi and Ibn-i-Maja]

Abdullah Bin Abbas narrates that the Apostle of God (sallallaho alaihi wa sallam) was superior to all men in generosity and the doing of good to the people in general, but in the month of Ramadhan his benevolence knew no bounds. In Ramadhan, Gabriel came to him every night and the Prophet (sallahu alaihi wa sallam) recited the Qur’an to him. During Ramadhan the Prophet (sallaho alaihi wa sallam) appeared to be faster than the wind in generosity and benevolence. [Bukhari and Muslim]

From Meaning and Messages of the Traditions
By Shaykh Mohammad Manzoor Nomani (RA).

Back to Ramadan Menu

Gates of Paradise

It is narrated by Hadhrat Abu Huraira رضي الله عنه that the messenger of Allah صلي الله عليه و سلم said:

إِذَا جَاءَ رَمَضَانَ فُتِحَتْ أَبْوَابُ الْجَنَّةِ

“When Ramadan begins, the gates of Paradise are opened.”
[Saheeh al-Bukhari

Nasiha for Ramadan

Jabir bin Abdillah (radi Allahu anhuma) said:

“When you fast, then your hearing should fast, and your sight and your tongue from lying and sinning. Let there be a tranquility and calmness over you on the days of your fasting, and do not make the days that you are not fasting and the days you are fasting equal.”

Some of the Salaf used to say: “Indeed Allah, the Most High, has made the month of Ramadan as a competition for His creatures, in which they may race with one another to His pleasure, by obeying Him. Thus, one group comes first and so they prosper and another group comes last and so they fail.”

Al-Zuhri said: “When Ramadan comes, then it is [the time for] reading Qur’an and feeding others.”

Hafsah bin Sireen said, “Fasting is a shield for the one who does not rip it apart – and backbiting will rip it apart.”

Some of the Salaf would say: “For me to invite 10 of my companions and offer them iftar is more beloved to me than freeing 10 slaves from the children of Isma’eel.”

Abu Al-Aliyah said: “The one who is fasting is in a state of worship – as long as he does not backbite- even if he is sleeping on his bed.”

Ubaydah Al-Salmani said: “Be cautious of the two that break the fast: backbiting and lying.”

Mujahid said: “If you want your fasting to be complete and sound, then stay away from backbiting and lying.”

It was narrated that when Abu Hurayrah (radi Allahu anhu) and his companions were fasting, they would sit in the masjid and say: “let’s purify our fasting.”

Taken from the short treatise “Ramadan is Before Us” – Shaykh Muhammad al-Muqaddim

Ten Tips for Ramadhan

As the blessed month of Ramadhan approaches, we need to prepare for it in such a way that we can gain the maximum benefit of this month. For many, Ramadhan comes and goes. However, very few people actually benefit from this great month. Our teachers advise us to live the whole year as if we are in the month of Ramadhan. This magnanimous achievement can only be attained when the actual month of Ramadhan is spent properly. In order to acquire a droplet of the reality mentioned above, Insha Allah, I hope to mention ten points that were given as form of advice to me and many others.

  1. Discipline: Most people already know to abstain from eating, drinking, and sexual relations from one’s spouse during the daytime of Ramadhan. However, a level of discipline must be developed to do righteous acts and abstain from those acts which would earn the displeasure of Allah. That was a basic form of discipline that needs to be developed but along with that, one needs to have discipline in following a particular routine or schedule for Ramadhan. This will be the real life changing factor for an individual. They wake up for suhoor but also pray Tahajjud at that time. Recite some Qur’an. They eat. Make dua’ while waiting for Salah. They pray Fajr. Recite Qur’an and make zikr. Rest if they need to.
    The idea is to make a schedule and act accordingly the whole month without sacrificing their schedule. This is the desired discipline that is required.One may ask, “Why did he not just put the first point as a ‘making a schedule’?” Well, the answer is very simple. Anyone can come up with a schedule, but it takes real discipline to abide by it.
  2. Devotional life (‘Ibadah): Ramadhan is the month where Allah allows us to really fulfill the purpose of our being, and the purpose of our creation. Allah created us all to worship Him, and Him alone. Here, I will not mention virtues of various acts or worship because those can be found in the many books on the merits of certain deeds. However, since Ramadhan and Qur’an are closely connected, I will say that much of our devotional life should be focused on the Qur’an.
    Reciting at least the entire Qur’an once in this month. Understanding it from erudite scholarship of our community or from accepted commentaries and Tafaaseer. I am not asking that a person recites the entire Qur’an and completes one entire commentary of it in one month. Perhaps it may be feasible to recite the entire Qur’an and start off a regimen of a Tafseer and try to finish it on an annual basis.
  3. Identifying with the Ummah: It is important that we feel our fast, i.e. feel hunger and thirst. Apart from that, we can use this to our benefit by making other people’s fast count for us as well. This means that if we feed or give to drink something to someone who fasts, we can get the reward of their fast as well.
    Another aspect of identifying with the Ummah is to be grateful for whatever Allah has given us and realize that a little of that we need to give to others so that they may have a decent Ramadhan and wonderful ‘Eid. See what the Ummah is going through and see how we can actively participate to help the Ummah in any way possible.
  4. Contact with the Qur’an: Ramadhan is the month wherein the Qur’an was revealed. This is the month of the Qur’an. It is extremely essential to establish a relationship with the Qur’an. Without going into much detail, I will just mention something practical with regards to the Qur’an and Ramadhan.
    For the average person, i.e. one who is not scholar or is not a Hafiz, they should read at least one juz per day so that they finish at a minimum one entire Qur’an for the month of Ramadhan. If one can do more, than Alhamdulillah, no one is stopping anyone. The next thing is to understand the Qur’an. So take the first volume of Ma’ariful Qur’an (for example) and read one section of the Arabic part (if one can) and then read the translation, then read the commentary. Do this every day without fail. Obviously the whole commentary will not be completed in one month, but at least a schedule to read a portion regularly will be developed and hopefully within a year it could be completed.

    Also, one should try to memorize those chapters/surahs which are read often like Mulk, Kahf, Ya Seen, Waqi’ah, and Sajdah. Also memorize Surahs from the last juz at least and more if possible.

  5. Mujahadah: Ramadhan is a month of sacrifice and struggle. It is a month where Allah wants our time, our health, our wealth, and our whole being. We literally live the whole year for everything and anything. It is just one month…can we not live one month solely for our Creator?! So what if we have to sacrifice our sleep, and random other luxuries that we can do without anyway. As the saying goes, “No pain, no gain.” The amount of sacrifice and struggle we put into this month, Allah will reward us in this world and the next accordingly.
    Give yourself to Allah, and see what Allah has in store for you.
  6. Dua’: The essence of worship is supplication to Allah. This whole month, Allah is willing and readily open to accept all that we ask of Him. It is only to our own loss and detriment that we lack in begging Allah for the things we need. Prioritize your supplications. Ask firstly for yourself, then your family, community, then the Ummah at large. Within that, prioritize and ask for things pertaining to the hereafter, then ask for things pertaining to this world. Just remember one thing when it comes to dua’, the point of dua’ is not that we need something or we need protection or refuge from some other thing, the point is that Allah told us to supplicate to Him, and that is why one should make dua’ abundantly. There are certain things Allah loves to do, and one of them is to answer the supplications of His servants who call unto Him.
    One final aspect regarding dua’ is crying or pretending to cry. Tears are something foreign to Allah and therefore He has immense value for tears. The whole year we become filthy and impure spiritually by sinning, Ramadhan is the month where we purify our spirits by bathing our spirits in our tears.
  7. Good Company: Ramadhan is a month to maximize on good deeds and keep bad deeds at zero. Being in the company of the righteous will allow one to attain this goal. I will keep this point short. The minimum benefit one gets by being in good company is that one will not sin which in turn will cause one to become the greatest worshiper based off the hadith of Tirmidhi wherein Nabi (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) took Abu Hurayrah (Radhiyallahu ‘anhu)’s hand and said, “O Abu Hurayrah, abstain from all prohibitions and you will become the best worshiper.”

    The maximum benefit is that being with the people of Allah, Insha Allah; a person may just Attain Allah. What can be greater?!

  8. Gratitude: The secret to an increase in anything is to be thankful for it. To make sure that we see this month the next year, appreciate it this year. Be thankful for all that we have in every aspect, even the basic things we neglect and take for granted. We have Iman, we have Islam. Alhamdulillah, we are the best Ummah. We have been given the best book, i.e. the Qur’an. The best way to appreciate a bounty is to use it for its purpose.

    Allah has blessed with infinite blessing and bounties. Ramadhan is one of those bounties, so to fully appreciate Ramadhan, we must spend it the way Allah would like us to spend it and attain out goal which is Taqwa.

  9. Following the Sunnah: Anything of the beloved is also beloved. That is a principle of love. Allah has proclaimed the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) as His beloved. If we follow the Sunnah and show a resemblance, then we can also gain the focus of Allah. Particularly follow the Sunnah acts which the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) performed in Ramadhan.

    If we have to do something, might as well do it the best way possible. The best way for anything to be done is the way of the Sunnah. If by any chance it was some other way, Allah would have had His Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi Wa Sallam) do it that way then.

  10. Istiqamah: Imam Junayd Al-Baghdadi (RA) said, “Steadfastness is greater than a thousand miracles.” Please do not tire one’s self out in the initial stages of Ramadhan, rather figure out a routine that works and stick to it regularly. The most beloved of actions to Allah are those that are done consistently even though they may seem minor. We all need to be thankful for the good that we have done and also for the evil we are able to abstain from. We also need to be thankful for whatever level of steadfastness that we have. We want to make Ramadhan last beyond Ramadhan as well. I’ll end with a quote from one of our mashaaikh, Shaykh In’aam-ul-Hasan Kandehlawi (RA) said, “Whoever lives their life as they do in Ramadhan, then death will come to that person just as the moon of ‘Eid comes for the fasting person.”

To conclude, we pray to Allah that He accepts all of our efforts and overlooks and forgives all of our shortcomings. Aameen.

Source: An-Noor

Ramadhaan: A Training Ground

“The commands of Allah subhanahu wata‘alaa fall under two categories: obligations, things we have to do, and prohibitions, things we are forbidden from doing. If we analyse the category of obligations, we can conclude that they too are prohibitions.

Take the example of the obligation to perform salah; it is in effect a prohibition against not performing salah. So the commands of Allah subhanahu wata‘alaa are all about abstaining from things.

A muttaqi is someone who abstains: when it comes to salah, someone who does not neglect salah is termed muttaqi with regards to salah.

The 29 or 30 days of Ramadhan are a training ground, teaching us abstinence. From dawn to sunset, we practice abstaining from food, drink and marital relations. Sawm, fasting, is defined as abstinence, and through fasting we become accustomed to abstaining.

The month of fasting compels us to ask ourslves the following question: if after becoming accustomed to abstaining from desires during this one month, is there any reason why we cannot abstain from following our base desires and disobeying Allah subhanahu wata‘alaa during the remaining 11 months?”

Words of Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat (hafizahullah) recorded by his students

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