Islamic Education- Children Education 2008- Lesson (08- 36): Health Education – Looking after our Children's Health.
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of Creations, and Peace and blessings be upon our prophet Muhammad, the faithful and the honest.
 Oh, Allah, we know nothing but what You teach us. You are the All- Knower, the Wise. Oh Allah, teach us what is good for us, and benefit us from what You taught us, and increase our knowledge. Show us the righteous things as righteous and help us to do them, and show us the bad things as bad and help us to keep away from them.
  O Allah our Lord, lead us out from the depths of darkness and illusion, unto the lights of erudition and knowledge, and from the muddy shallows of lusts unto the heavens of Your Vicinity.

Dear brothers, this is lesson No. 8 of the series Children Upbringing in Islam, and we move today to the physical health education.

The role of health education in children upbringing:

 First of all, man is but a mind with which he comprehends, a heart with which he loves and a body with which he moves, and the mind is nourished with knowledge, the heart is fed with love and the body is maintained with food and drink.
  Hence, man has three needs: mental, psychological and material ones, and unless the three needs are met, man will incline towards extremism, whereas if man meets the three needs, he excels, and there is a big difference between superiority and extremism.

 This brings us to the necessity of looking after the physical health of children as an essential part of raising them. I would like to give you a brief introduction about this topic by mentioning important facts about the difference between the nations which have high level of health awareness and the ones which have low one. In one of the Islamic countries there are 550.000 patients with diabetes in its capital. In fact, man can live a normal life with this disease, if he abides by specific diets, controls his weight and follows up on all the needed tests to check the level of sugar in his blood.

 Neglecting this disease may cause man other diseases such like paralysis, sight loss or kidney failure. Only 4% of the patients in the nations which have high level of health awareness might have these complications, whereas in the nations which have low level of health awareness 72% of patients with diabetes might have paralysis, kidney failure, sight loss or a brain stroke, and this indicates a huge difference between the nation that has high level of health awareness and the one that has low one.

Every human being should be keen on his physical shape:

  Islam is life, for it encourages man to look after the health of his brain by feeding it with the right knowledge, to take care of the heart by loving what is right (i.e. Allah), and to maintain the health of body, because it is man's vessel, means and backbone in offering his deeds. Therefore, the first fact is that the 72% of patients with diabetes in nations which have low level of health awareness will have their diseases developed (because of ignorance) into other diseases, such like kidney failure, paralysis or sight loss, whereas this percentage in nations which have high level of health awareness is not more than 4%.

 There is a disease called Thalassemia (an inherited disorder [a form of anemia] characterized by reduced or absent amounts of hemoglobin), some people have this disease while others do not. If someone who suffers from this disease is married to a healthy woman, they will lead healthy life, but if the one who suffers from this disease is married to a woman who has it, according to genetics, definitely one or two of their children will have Thalassemia (since the child gets 1 gene from the mother and 1 gene from the father). What does it mean to have a child who suffers from this disease? It means that he needs routine blood transfusions every two weeks, and the expenses of treating this child might reach 400.000 every year so that he can live till he reaches 20 years old, and this sum of money is beyond most parents' financial abilities and only the rich people can afford it. Let alone, this disease brings misery to the entire family.

 Listen to this fact regarding this disease: in one of the Islamic countries whose population is 20 million, there are 2000 cases of Thalassemia patients, whereas in another country which has high level of health awareness and whose population is 70 million, there are only 4 cases. This means that the expenses will reach thousands of millions in the backward (health-wise) Islamic country, and this sum of money could have been spent in building schools, hospitals, collages, universities or new roads which might have given this country better life. This means that health awareness is very crucial.

 I would like to mention to you one more fact: the countries which have low level of health awareness import medications 8 folds more than the countries which have high level of health awareness. As I see it, the top priority to scholars and Du'aat (callers to Allah) is to allocate lectures to raise the level of health awareness of people, because health is the backbone of man's life.

The grace of security is Divinely granted to the believer only:

  One of the most outstanding Prophetic Hadith is the following:

(('Ubaidullah bin Mihsan Al-Ansari (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Whosoever begins the day feeling family security and good health; and possessing provision for his day is as though he possessed the whole world."))

[At-Tirmidhi]

 He is secured by having the grace of security.

﴾(He) Who has fed them against hunger, and has made them safe from fear. ﴿

[Quraish, 4]

﴾ (So) which of the two parties has more right to be in security? If you but know."* It is those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah and worship none but Him Alone) and confuse not their belief with Zulm (wrong i.e. by worshipping others besides Allah), for them (only) there is security and they are the guided. ﴿

[Al-An'am, 81-82]

((Whosoever begins the day feeling family security))

 Man is secured when he has faith, when he is granted Ar-Rahman's Content, when he is on Allah's Path, knowing that Allah loves him and when he is pleased with his destiny which Allah describes in the following Ayah:

﴾ Say: "Nothing shall ever happen to us except what Allah has ordained for us. ﴿

[At-Taubah, 51]

 He is secured with regard to what is awaiting him after death.

﴾ Verily, those who say: "Our Lord is Allah (Alone)," and then they Istaqamu, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): "Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised!* "We have been your friends in the life of this world and are (so) in the Hereafter. Therein you shall have (all) that your inner-selves desire, and therein you shall have (all) for which you ask for* "An entertainment from (Allah), the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." ﴿

[Fussilat, 30-32]

((Whosoever begins the day feeling family security))

 Allah grants the grace of security to the believer exclusively.

The best grace granted to the worshipping servant is the security in faith:

 You may watch a program that is broadcasted exclusively on so and so channel, for example. Similarly, the grace of security is exclusively granted to the believer, and the proof is in the following Ayah:

﴾(So) which of the two parties has more right to be in security? If you but know."* It is those who believe (in the Oneness of Allah and worship none but Him Alone) and confuse not their belief with Zulm (wrong i.e. by worshipping others besides Allah), for them (only) there is security and they are the guided. ﴿

[Al-An'am, 81-82]

 On the other hand, fear versus the grace of security. Some people are in great worries of being afflicted with diseases, poverty or calamities and expecting the disaster is a disaster unto itself.  Thus, the greatest grace Allah gives to the believer is the grace of security.

((Whosoever begins the day feeling family security))

 The security here is not being secured financially speaking even though the rich person might feel secured, while the kind of security mentioned the Hadith is having faith, for when man is upright on the Path of Allah, burdens as mountains will be cleared off his chest.

((When a servant turns back to Allah, a caller calls those in the heavens and earth to congratulate him as he has reconciled with Allah))

[Mentioned in the relic]

((When a servant repents sincerely Allah will make all people, angels and lands of earth forget his sins))

[Mentioned in the relic]

 This is the security of faith.

((Whosoever begins the day feeling family security and good health;))

[At-Tirmidhi]

 Whoever wakes up, and he is sound in his hearing, sight, ability to talk, movement, body systems, intestines, heart and lungs…

((Whosoever begins the day feeling family security and good health; and possessing provision for his day is as though he possessed the whole world.))

[Al-Jame' As-Sagheer by 'Ubaidullah bin Mihsan]

 A king asked his minister, "Who is the king?" He answered, "You, your Majesty! There is no king but you." The king said, "The real king is someone we do not know and he does not know us, but he owns a house he dwells in, and he has an obedient wife and a satisfactory income. If he knows us, he will make every effort to please us, and if we know him, we will make every effort to harass him."

Your health is the backbone of your life and the means of your deeds:

 Dear brothers, do not undermine the health aspect in man's life, for your health is the backbone of your life, because your body is the means of your deeds. Remember, your lifep is predetermined by Allah, so it will never get longer or shorter, and if you are going to live for 83 years, 7 months, 3 weeks, 4 days, 5 hours, 4 minutes and 3 seconds (for example), your health awareness and education will make you spend this time sound, zealous and able-bodied.

 Shaikh Eid As-Safarjalani, who is one of the notable scholars of Damascus, reached the age 96, and he enjoyed sound body, sight, and hearing, and all his teeth were healthy till that age. Whenever he was asked about his health, he would answer, "O son, we kept our senses away from sinning when we were young, and so Allah kept them healthy in our old age. He who lives piously lives able-bodied."

 By Allah dear brothers, when I paid a visit to a friend of mine, his father welcomed me and sat with me. He said to me while we were waiting for my friend, "I am 96 years old, and yesterday I ran full lab tests and praise be to Allah everything is normal." Then, he said, "I have never committed anything Haram (forbidden) in my life with regard to money or women."

((Whosoever begins the day feeling family security and good health; and possessing provision for his day is as though he possessed the whole world.))

[Al-Jame' As-Sagheer by 'Ubaidullah bin Mihsan]

Whoever looks after his children's health is offering them the best service:

  Health is very essential in man's life, and the Prophet PBUH was keen on making the following Du'a to Allah:

((O Allaah! I ask You for forgiveness and well-being in this world and in the Hereafter))

[Abu Dawod by Abdullah bin Umar]

 Accordingly, looking after your health is part of your religion. As a father, you should look after your children's health and upon doing so you will offer them great favor, for they will get used to healthy habits. Some fathers do not care about the quality of the food his child eats, and the latter eats junk food from the street most of the time which might cause diseases in the digesting system or might bring chronic diseases which will turn into heart and arteries diseases.

 Instructions for having good health are many, but it is enough for us to follow the precise instruction the Prophet PBUH left us in his Sunnah for health. These instructions are not out of his own opinion, culture, experience or the findings of his era, but rather they are Divinely inspired to him. Thus, by following them we will become a healthy Ummah (unlike our reality now).

 Some developing counties, whose citizens lack health awareness, might spend half of their national income on treating their patients, and as I have mentioned earlier, such countries spend 8 folds more than the rich (developed) countries on imported medications.

The major mission of the father is to instruct his children to look after their health:

 As a father, your mission is crucial in instructing your children to take care of their health, such as brushing their teeth regularly. Most of the developing countries start losing their teeth and implanting new ones at an early age, let alone treating cavities and suffering from the pain when they are young. All these health problems are results of carelessness in brushing the teeth.

 Also, safety measures in the developing countries almost do not exist. For example, kids sometimes fall from windows and die, because the family did not put iron bars as safety means on the window which leaves the family in endless miser. A friend of mine had a farm and a swimming pool which had no safety fence, so one day his son drowned in it. He said since that ordeal, the family deserted the farm for 13 years, because they could not bear being at the same place where their son drowned.

 Last week I was in France, and in the backyard of the hotel there was a swimming pool. It was surrounded with a glass fence and a lockable door, and I admired that a lot. Windows sometimes need iron bars for protection. Damaged and exposed electric wires are a real threat to man's life in the bathroom especially with the existence of water on the floor, for if someone touches it accidently, he will die right away due to an electric shock.

 If I count the risks which cause people's death, the list will be very long. Negligence might bring intractable diseases to people. Being keen on your, your family's and your children's health is part of your religion. Some foods include fat that is prohibited in the manufacturing country, so read the ingredients of your food attentively before eating anything, because the saturated fats stay in the bloodstream and cause narrowness in the arteries, which in their turn make man suffer from so many diseases. The quality and the length of your life are based on the flexibility of your arteries' walls, and making a bypass costs nowadays close to 350.000 Liras. Do not buy cheap saturated fat, but use healthy food, and this entails nutrition awareness.

 Most of the stomach diseases are because of junk food though it might taste good. Some doctors refuse to eat the expensive Arabic confections when they are served (obviously because they are not healthy). One of them once was asked about the reason why he did not eat those confections, and he answered, "I love it more than all of you, but as a cardiologist, I see every day what blocked arteries can do to man, so I stopped eating them." The food in our country is very tasty, but it is not healthy most of the time.

 I have been to so many western countries, and over there they eat steamed vegetables, few steaks and lots of fruits and Salads. It is about time to look after our health and to teach our children to look after theirs. Health makes one third of man's life, because man is a mind, a heart and a body.

The order of graces according to our Master Ali, may Allah be pleased with him:

 Dear brothers, Imam Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, put the graces of Allah in order as follows: The first grace is guidance, the second is good health and the third is provision. If health is number 1, having money adds a zero to it (so it becomes 10), being married is another zero which makes it 100 and having children adds another zero which makes it 1000, but if you omit the number 1, all that is left is zeros which are worthless, for what is the worth of money without health?.

 I was once in a doctor clinic when he received a phone call from a patient's relative. It seemed that the patient was afflicted with an intractable disease, so his relative said to the doctor, "Doctor I will go any place in the world, and I will pay any sum of money", but the doctor said, "It is a hopeless case." What is the worth of money in this case? Man is Divinely designed to live a long life if he looks after his health. This healthy life needs special food, drink, workout and snacks. I cannot give you a summary of health information in this short lecture, but I recommend that all of you to buy a book to learn about health, nutrition and the pros and cones of all sorts of food.

 A doctor once said only four words in which he summarized the entire medicine, he said, "Eat everything", some sorts of food include the only ingredients which restore the mucous membrane in the intestine, and other sorts of food include the ingredients which nourish the brain, help regulating heart beats, widen the arteries or maintain the liquidity of blood. Hence, man should accustom himself to eat everything in order to make us of all the ingredients. Buy all sorts of vegetables from the market, whether you like them or not, and eat everything but "moderately", then "work out", and my last advice is to "be Muwahid (believe in Allah Alone)" in order to avoid any stress.

Man's success lies in living a happy, zealous and stable life:

 These four pieces of advice summarize the entire medicine: eat everything, eat moderately, workout and do not stress yourself with worries.

((The more you take from this worldly life, the more concerns you will have.))

[At-Tabarani by Abi Hurairah]

((Whoever takes from this mundane life more than what suffices him, unintentionally takes what causes his destruction.))

[Ad-Dailami in Musnad Al-Firdaws by Anas]

 Your success is manifested in leading a stable and happy life that is full of energy. All of you know Al-Qunoot Du'a, which goes as follows:

((O Allah, guide me among those whom You have guided, pardon me among those You have pardoned, turn to me in friendship among those on whom You have turned in friendship, and bless me in what You have bestowed, and save me from the evil of what You have decreed. For verily You decree and none can influence You; and he is not humiliated whom You have befriended. Blessed are You, O Lord, and Exalted.))

[Abu Dawood, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa'i by Al-Hasan bin Ali]

 It is a very outstanding Du'a, for it is concise and all-inclusive.

((O Allah, guide me among those whom You have guided, pardon me among those You have pardoned, turn to me in friendship among those on whom You have turned in friendship, and bless me in what You have bestowed, and save me from the evil of what You have decreed. For verily You decree and none can influence You; and he is not humiliated whom You have befriended. Blessed are You, O Lord, and Exalted.))

 The second Du'a is:

((O Allaah! I ask You for forgiveness and well-being in this world and in the Hereafter))

[Abu Dawod by Abdullah bin Umar]

Health awareness is very important in man's life:

 Because of health awareness, you will buy food that is good for the bones of your children and another kind of food which provides them with their basic needs. Otherwise, you will pay more in buying medications. Do not think that by not buying healthy food you are saving money, because you might be compelled down the road to pay more if your son has a fever due to meningitis (for example), for the doctor might ask you to run a lab test which might cost 8000 or might ask you for a specific test, echo or CAT scanning. In this case you might pay 10 or even 30.000 just because the doctor have doubts about a disease, but by buying healthy and balanced food, most likely you will avoid these complications.

 If you want success in the worldly life, you should seek knowledge, if you want success in the Hereafter, you should seek knowledge and if you want success in them both you should also seek knowledge, given "knowledge will not give you part of it until you are entirely devoted to seeking it, but if you are partially devoted to it, it will give you nothing." Taking care of your children and meeting their basic needs are obligations as indicated in the Quran:

﴾But the father of the child shall bear the cost of the mother's food and clothing on a reasonable basis. ﴿

[Al-Baqarah, 233]

 Some countries suffer selective poverty in the sense that they lack a specific kind of food, and they do not lack food in general. In other words, some food might fill the stomach only, but there are other sorts of food which grow bones and muscles and which strengthen the memory.

When man's career is lawful, it will turn into an act of worship:

  The psychologist professor told us when we were students at the university that according to some researches, there are connection between smartness and nutrition. When you have a successful business, and you are blessed with a reasonable income that helps you bring your children healthy food, believe me you are performing an act of worship. In other words, mastering your career will bring you good income, and this income will allow you to buy the suitable food for your children and the entire family, so this considered an act of worship:

((Narrated Sa'd: The Prophet (PBUH) visited me at Makkah while I was ill. I said (to him), "I have property; May I bequeath all my property in Allah's Cause?" He said, "No." I said, "Half of it?" He said, "No." I said, "One third of it?" He said, "One-third (is alright), yet it is still too much, for you'd better leave your inheritors wealthy than leave them poor, begging of others. Whatever you spend will be considered a Sadaqa for you, even the mouthful of food you put in the mouth of your wife.))

  If putting food in the mouth of your wife is considered Sadaqa, putting food in the mouth of your children will be with greater reason Sadaqa as well.

 Dear brothers, I hope that you comprehend the fact that every deed and habit of the believer is an act of worship. Hence, when the father goes to the market and buys healthy food to his children, he is offering an act of worship, for who else do his children have? Other people might have you and might have someone else to look after them, but your children have only you to look after their health, food, drink and nutrition in general.

 A notable companion said, "How great the wealth is as long as it helps me protect my honor and get closer to my Lord." When you have money, you will guard your honor. Be sure that your career, craft, job or the business from which you make a living might turn into an act of worship if it is lawful, if you follow lawful means in performing it, if you intend to provide yourself and your family from it, if you want to serve Muslims through it and if it does not distract you from offering any religious duty, Fard or obligation.

Man should acquire the needed medical education to keep his body healthy:

 Allow me to whisper these words in your ears: beware of thinking that the healthy food is expensive, not at all, because if you learn about the healthy ingredients of cheap food, you will be dazzled. There are books in the market about all sorts of food which have useful ingredients and good effects on the body. It is said, "The best medication is the one which comes from food."

 Accordingly, keep yourself healthy by choosing food only. Some green leaves lower blood pressure, widen arteries, strengthen the heart and maintain the liquidity of the blood. The ginger, for example, is considered a full pharmacy of heart medications, for it strengthens the heart beats, it widens the arteries, it lowers the high blood pressure and it maintains the liquidity of the blood. By buying a book to learn about every sort of food, you will have different perspective when you buy food and you will become scientifically selective in getting the best nutrition. I invite you in this lecture to acquire medical education which might help you live quality life and which will be a great aid in helping you instruct your children and choose for them the healthiest food.

 Let me emphasize on the fact that the best nutrition might come from the cheapest food. Do you believe that the protein you get from meat can be obtained from chickpeas and fava beans? The best protein is the one that comes from plants. The rich countries eat meat a lot, and because of that heart diseases are 8 folds more than the ones in poor countries. I mean what I am saying, so you do not have to pay hefty money in order to get healthy food.

Religion is manifested not only in the Masjid, but also in raising children:

  The following Hadith is Sahih:

((Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "A dinar you spend in Allah's way, or to free a slave, or as a charity you give to a needy person, or to support your family, the one yielding the greatest reward is that which you spend on your family."))

[Muslim]

 What would you say about that? Do your children have anyone else other than you to look after them? Their health is your responsibility, so when the teeth of your daughter overlap each other, you should not neglect them. She might have a complex as proposers will ward off her, because of the way she looks. Pay few thousands to put her teeth in position at the dentist clinic, and this will give her self-confidence, and she will be proposed to because her teeth now look good. Besides, this will make you an ideal father.

 The majority of you think that practising religion is in the Masjid only, but you are mistaken, for religion is manifested in the way you raise your children, in your career, at your office, in running your business, in behaving in the street and in the way you spend your money. Religion is about spending and about choosing the work which brings happiness to you and to those around you.
Some people put a coffee table with sharp edges in the living room and they overlook its danger, for the child might bang his head on the sharp corner of the table while he is running, which might cause him a permanent damage. Pillars in western countries are fastened by steel cables, and in order to avoid any harm if a child runs into one of these cables, they are coated with thick rubber cover. In the west you see amazing safety measures which indicate safety awareness. Make sure that your furniture, electric wires and windows meet all safety standards. The elevator must be secured, because some doors of the elevators might open, but the elevator is not there yet, and this might cause lots of deaths.

Religion is life itself:

 The believer should use the available means, and then he should put his trust in the Lord of lords. Use the means you have as if they are enough, then put your trust in Allah as if they are insufficient. Religion is life unto itself, and by following the religious instructions for health you will maintain a healthy body the rest of your life.

 Religion encourages you to instruct your children to follow healthy ways in their food, drink, clothes and movement. Also, religion compels you to take safety measure inside your house, for there are lots of dangerous materials in the house, like detergents and medications which might cause the death of the child upon taking them. Thus, they should be out of reach of children. In fact, it is part of your religion to look after your children's safety, health, future, physical shape and body.

 Next lecture insha' Allah (if Allah wills) we will continue this topic.



Translation  : Noura Sharabi
Auditing       : Kawthar Hajj Saleh