Dear brother, this is lesson No. 9 of the series Children Upbringing in Islam, and we are still tackling topics about children's health education.
The Prophetic instructions for health are Divinely inspired:
Dear brother, the first fact is that Islam is life, and man's life has three sides: the mental, the psychological and the physical sides. As you all know, the mind is nourished with knowledge, the heart is fed with love and the body is maintained with food and drink, given man should meet his mental, psychological and physical needs, and these sides belong to the health education.
The Prophet PBUH left for us in his Sunnah so many health instructions. One might ask, "Are these instructions are personal opinions? Were they deduced from the environment and findings of his era?" The Answer is, no, they are not. These instructions are not deduced from his experience, his environment or his era, nor are they personal opinions, but rather they are Divinely inspired.
﴾Nor does he speak of (his own) desire* It is only an Inspiration that is inspired.﴿
Dear brother, first of all when man face a problem which might degrade him, his success lies in the stance he takes towards that problem. As a matter of fact, the Prophet's words, actions and the matters he approved are Tashree' (legislation: it is the guidelines/rules.) Thus, the problems he faced and towards which he took the perfect stance, saying As7adeth regarding them, are relevant to our daily life and affairs, and his stances and As7adeth are but Divine Revelation.
The prophet orders us to look after children's education in all fields:
I will try in this lecture to shed light on the Prophetic instructions for health. The following is the first Hadith:
((Abdullah bin 'Amr reported the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) as saying: It is sufficient sin for a man that he neglects him whom he maintains.))
Allah has given you as a father the proof through this Hadith that you are the one who is supposed to provide his children with their needs. The mission of any father on earth is to provide his children with food, shelter and clothes.. Nevertheless, the Hadith has a very specific indication besides proving children with their basic needs:
((It is sufficient sin for a man that he neglects him whom he maintains.))
It is true that the father provides his children with food, buys their clothes and secures them in a house, but this is not enough; does the father look after his child's religion, faith and conducts? This Hadith encourages all of us to take care of raising our children according to religion, faith and morals and to look after their psychological, social and physical upbringing. Parenthood is a responsibility, and this kind of responsibility may exalt the parent to the highest ranks, but by neglecting it, the parent might hit rock bottom.
The Prophetic instructions regarding drinking water:
1- It is out of Sunnah to drink water in three gulps:
Dear brother, some Prophetic instructions for drinking water are given to us through the following Hadith:
((Ibn 'Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Do not drink in one gulp like a camel, but in two or three (gulps). Mention the Name of Allah (i.e., say Bismillah) when you start drinking and praise Him (i.e., say Al-hamdu lillah) after you have finished (drinking)."))
It is out of Sunnah to drink water in two or three gulps.
((Do not drink in one gulp like a camel, but in two or three (gulps).))
A doctor told me that there is what is called the vagus nerve which connects the stomach to the heart, so when man drinks cold water in one gulp while his body's temperature is 37 degrees, this nerve might be stimulated and might cause man's death. There are close to 10 cases around the world in which people died upon drinking cold water in one gulp in hot weather. Hence:
﴾"Verily! Allah will try you by a river. So whoever drinks thereof, he is not of me, and whoever tastes it not, he is of me, except him who takes (thereof) in the hollow of his hand." ﴿
We are given in the Sunnah healthy instructions which accord with scientific facts. Thus, drink water in three gulps; take a breath after the first time then after the second time. This is the first Prophetic instruction with regard to health.
2- It is out of Sunnah to mention Allah's Name before eating or drinking:
Let us continue with this Hadith:
((Mention the Name of Allah (i.e., say Bismillah) when you start drinking and praise Him (i.e., say Al-hamdu lillah) after you have finished (drinking).))
I want you, including me, to comprehend deeply the meaning of Basmalah (mentioning the Name of Allah). First of all, you should wonder, who has made the glass of water sweet and drinkable? Allah the Almighty has, given this sweet water comes from the sea water which could be as described in the following Ayah:
﴾and the other salt and bitter﴿
Sometimes when a ship drowns and the people in it are rescued in a lifeboat, they will die one after the other because of thirst though they are flooding on water. A poet referred to such a fact in the following lines:
Like the camel in desert dying of thirst
While carrying water on its back
How many people died in a rescuing boat
one after the other of thirst?
They will die out of thirst though they are on the surface of the sea water.
The meanings of Basmalah (mentioning Allah's Name):
1- Acknowledging the grace which man enjoys as one of Allah's Graces:
Dear brother, who has made the sea water evaporate and turn into rain that becomes springs and sweet drinkable water? Allah the Almighty has. What is the meaning of Bismillah (In the Name of Allah)? It means that I am drinking the water which is created by Allah to be drinkable and sweet, and it is He who has made it that way and subjugated it to me. You mention the Name of Allah in everything, and this manifests being thankful to Allah for His Graces.
If someone enters his home and says, " Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem" (In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful), it is the answer to the question, "Who gave him this home?" Also, when someone eats tasty food, and his body is healthy enough to digest it properly, and he starts eating by saying "Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem" (In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful), it means that man should pay heed and ask himself, "Who created this food?" Accordingly, you should realize that mentioning the Name of Allah is acknowledging all His Graces, so if you enter your house, drive your car and hold your son, mention the Name of Allah as an act of recognizing His Graces which you are blessed with and enjoy.
2- Allah's Grace should be always used according to His Method:
How does the Great Ilah (i.e. Allah) instruct you to drink water through His Prophet's Sunnah? He does so as the Prophet PBUH instructed us to drink water in three gulps starting it with mentioning the Name of Allah to acknowledge this Grace of Allah (which is the first meaning of Basmalah), and to use it according to Allah's Method, which is the second meaning of Basmalah. Let me repeat, the meaning of Basmalah before drinking water is in the Name of Allah, the Owner of the favor and the Generous, I drink this water according to His Method. Hence, the first instruction is:
((Do not drink in one gulp like a camel, but in two or three (gulps). Mention the Name of Allah (i.e., say Bismillah) when you start drinking and praise Him (i.e., say Al-hamdu lillah) after you have finished (drinking).))
Once a man asked the Commander of Believers once, "How much will you pay for this glass of water if you are deprived of it?" The Khalifah answered, "I would pay half of my wealth for it." Then the man asked, "How much will you pay if you could not get it out of your body?" The Khalifah said, "I will pay the other half of my wealth". This incident indicates the great grace of having sound kidneys that work regularly.
Last week two noble brother found out that one of their kidneys is not functioning. Do you know what it means to purify the blood from urine by using artificial kidney (Dialysis) (if the kidneys are not working properly)? It means spending 4 hours in the process three times a week. Our kidney is as small as the size of an egg, and it works regularly to purify the blood. Therefore, mention the Name of Allah before drinking, and be grateful to Him when you finish. This is a Prophetic instruction.
Dear brother, please, pay attention to the following Hadith:
((Jabir bin 'Abdulah reported that he heard the Prophet (PBUH) say: "When a person enters his house and mentions the Name of Allah at the time of entering and while eating food, Satan says (addressing himself), 'You have no place to spend the night and no evening meal; but when he enters without mentioning the Name of Allah, Satan says (to his followers), 'You have found a place to spend the night', and when he does not mention the Name of Allah while eating food either, he (Satan) says, 'You have found a place to spend the night and evening meal.'))
3- Man should suck the water (instead of drinking it):
Dear brother, the Prophet PBUH gave us another instruction for drinking water:
((Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates from the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) that, 'Suck the water when drinking, as it will digest easily and prevents illness.'))
Hence, first we drink water in three gulps, second we suck the water when we drink and third we drink water while we are sitting, except when we drink Zamzam water, for it is allowed to drink it while standing.
Eating fruits before eating meat is one of the Prophetic instructions:
As you know the Prophet PBUH used to break his fasting by eating three dates, then he used to offer Maghrib Salah, and after that he ate. What happens to the body if we do so?
Dear brother, the fructose is the fastest kind of sugar to be absorbed, and scientists say that fructose reaches the satiety center in 10 minutes after eating one date. This means that the fastest sort of sugar to reach the satiety center in the brain is fructose. Therefore, what will happen to man if he breaks his fasting by eating fruits, such as three dates, an apple or few grapes? Fructose will reach the bloodstream in 10 minutes and it will affect the satiety center.
After eating fruits and offering Maghrib, man will eat moderately, and he not be starving. This is a Prophetic instruction, and some scholars have deduced this fact from the following Ayah:
﴾And fruit; that they may choose* And the flesh of fowls that they desire.﴿
Eating fruits before meat is a Divine Instruction. I was told that in Europe they eat fruits before food. If you eat even one piece of fruit before the meal, the fructose will reach the satiety center, so when you start your meal, you will eat moderately. When does man feel that he is full? He feels so in two cases, when the stomach is full, or when the satiety center is stimulated. Based on this fact, if you start eating fat you will not feel fullness until the stomach is full, but if you start with fruits, you will feel this fullness before eating (because the satiety center is stimulated by the fructose), which will make you eat your meal moderately. This is a Quranic and Prophetic instruction.
Man should eat the black cumin, because it strengthens his immune system:
Dear brother, a conference was held in Cairo about the black cumin due to an amazing Prophetic Hadith in which the Prophet PBUH mentioned the black cumin saying:
((Use this black seed. For indeed it contains a cure for every disease except As-Sam" And As-Sam is death.))
These are the Prophet's words PBUH, given "Nor does he speak of (his own) desire* It is only an Inspiration that is inspired."[An-Najm, 3-4]. The Prophet PBUH said:
((Use this black seed. For indeed it contains a cure for every disease except As-Sam" And As-Sam is death.))
As-Sam is death, for when death comes nothing will help man, because it is his departure gate from life, but any other disease has a cure.
((Narrated Abu ad-Darda': The Prophet (PBUH) said: "Allah has sent down both the disease and the cure, and He has appointed a cure for every disease, so treat yourselves medically, but use nothing unlawful."))
In that conference they said, "The black cumin strengthens the immune system", which is responsible for fighting infectious diseases. Notice how the Prophetic Sunnah proved this fact about the black cumin a long time ago. However, eating the oil of the black cumin, or eating these seeds without grinding them will not be beneficial, so one should grind the seeds with his teeth before swallowing them in order to make use of it as a cure.
Man should eat whole wheat bread as the bran helps the body fight diseases:
I hope that housewives check the qualities of some vegetables. You will be amazed upon knowing that a certain sort of food restores the mucous membrane of the intestine, another food nourishes the brain and so on. Take for example wheat, what countries do to the wheat? They remove its bran and eat its pulp, making tasty white bread out of the pulp, but this tasty bread is just starch, given we are warned from three white poisons, "Sugar, salt and flour". The bran includes six kinds of vitamins in addition to ten minerals, such like iron, phosphate, calcium and magnesium. I will talk about the bran in details in another lecture insha' Allah (if Allah wills).
The gravest mistake man commits is eating white bread (made of wheat without bran). Bran is good for the intestine function, and most of the laxatives are made of bran. In fact there are 50 diseases caused by constipation, but if man eats whole wheat bread, he will avoid having these diseases. Well, the first innovation Muslims innovated after the death of the Prophet PBUH is sifting the flour to remove the wheat's bran.
4- Man should drink without breathing in the cup:
Dear brother, let us go back to the manners of drinking according to the Prophetic instructions:
(( 'Abdullah bin Abi Qatadah narrated: From his father, that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "When one of you drinks, then do not breathe into the vessel."))
Some diseases the infection is transmitted from a person to another by exhaling. Therefore, if a sick person exhales in the glass of water while drinking, and another person drinks the rest, he will be infected. The Prophet PBUH said in this regard:
((Remove the cup from your mouth, then take a breath.))
Thus, drink from the glass and do not breathe in it.
Man should avoid leaving his saliva on the food he eats:
The etiquettes the Prophet PBUH used to follow in eating dates attract my attention. When he used to eat dates, he would not let his salvia touch any dates he did not want to eat. He used to take out the date's stone not with the same fingers he is eating with (the index and the middle finger), then he put it on the side of the table, so if he held another date, and it was hard, he would leave it, but what would happen in this case? Since the Prophet PBUH used the back of his two fingers to take out the stone of the date from his mouth, the two fingers would not touch his saliva, so he would use them in taking another date and leaving it if it was hard. By this way, his saliva never touched the date, and this reflects elegance in eating, and following this way in taking out the stone of the date from the mouth keeps the inner side of the fingers dry and clean.
5- Man should drink while sitting:
One more Prophetic instruction for drinking water is mentioned in the following Hadith:
((Abu Hurairah (RAA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "None of you should drink while standing."))
Sleeping on one's right side is a prophetic instruction:
It is said that the rich sleep on their left side, kings sleep on their back, Shaitan sleeps on his abdomen and believers sleep on their right side. Once, I came across a scientific research about the benefits of sleeping on the right side, and they are precious. Actually, sleeping on the right side is one of the Prophetic instructions; he PBUH recommended that in the following Hadith:
((Al-Bara' bin 'Azib (may Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Whenever you intend to go to bed, perform Wudu' as is done for Salat (prayer); and then lie down on the right side and reauthor: [O Allah! I have submitted myself to You. I have turned my face to You, entrusted my affairs to You and relied completely on You out of desire for and fear of You (expecting Your reward and fearing Your punishment). There is no resort and no deliverer from (hardships) except You. I affirm my faith in Your Book which You have revealed, and in Your Prophet whom You have sent].' If you die during the night, you will die in the true religion. Let these words be your last words at night."))
This Hadith encourages you to sleep on your right side. The Prophet PBUH used to put his palm under his cheek while he was asleep.
Man should not hold bitter feelings toward the one who transmits the infections:
Dear brother, the Prophet PBUH mentioned contagion and among his instructions is to avoid the place where there is an epidemic like plague, and if you are already in a place where there is plague, you should not go out of that place. This is the most recent definition of contagion. Some people carry the infectious agent without becoming sick, while sh3er are sick but they do not carry the infectious agent, so there is a sick person and a person who carries the infectious agent. Man might be in one of the stages of carrying the infectious agent, which might infect other people. The Prophet PBUH emphasized that contagion is a fact but he also said:
((Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Not the transmission of disease of one person to another and no evil omen, but I am pleased with good omens." He was asked: "What is good omen?" He replied, "A good word."))
In the other Hadith he recommended that we should not go out of any place where there is plague, but how can we bring these two As7adeth into harmony? Actually the Prophet PBUH told us about contagion, yet he instructed us not to have bitter feelings towards the one who transmits the infection to us. Hence, the Prophet prevented us from attributing the disease to the sick person since this disease is preordained by Allah, and the sick person is just a means through which the disease is transmitted. Thus, you should not hold grudge or bitter feelings towards the sick person who made you sick.
(( Abu Hurairah narrated: Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said, '(There is) no 'Adwa (no contagious disease is conveyed without Allah's permission). nor is there any bad omen (from birds), nor is there any Hamah, nor is there any bad omen in the month of Safar, and one should run away from the leper as one runs away from a lion."))
You should avoid contact with a person who has leper (for example), but you should do so without hurting his feelings.
(( Abu Hurairah narrated: Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said: The cattle (sheep, cows, camels, etc.) suffering from a disease should not be mixed up with healthy cattle, (or said: "Do not put a patient with a healthy person)." (as a precaution).))
This person might not be sick, but he might carry the infectious agent.
Disease can be easily avoided with little awareness:
Dear brother, as I remember I told you before about a disease called Thalassemia (an inherited disorder [a form of anemia] characterized by reduced or absent amounts of hemoglobin). We have 2000 cases of this disease in our country, and the patients need routine blood transfusions every two weeks till they die. The treatment of the patient when he reaches 20 years old costs him 160 billion, and this sum of money can be spent on building schools, hospitals, collages, universities or new roads which might give this country better life.
In a country whose population is 70 million people, there are only 4 cases (due to the high level of awareness). If the one who suffers from this disease is married to a woman who has it, their child will have Thalassemia for sure (since the child gets 1 gene from the mother and 1 gene from the father). How many people carry the agent of this disease in our country? They are 2 million, whereas the infected are 2000.
You can avoid this disease by asking the man who proposes to your daughter to run blood test to prove that he does not have this disease, and in this case there will be no health problem even if the woman suffers from it. Also, if a man who suffers from this disease is married to a healthy woman (or the other way round), they will lead healthy life and have healthy children. However, when both the man and the woman have this disease, they will definitely have infected children, which is a serious problem.
Few days ago, I came across shocking statistics according to which there are 30.000 patients of Thalassemia in our country and not 2000. As I have just said, the 2000 cases cost 160 billion for treatment, so what will be the cost of treating the 30.000 people? In addition to being costly, the family whose child suffers from Thalassemia will always be distressed.
The doctor should prescribe the right medication and put trust in Allah:
Dear brother, the Prophet PBUH said:
((Jabir reported Allah's Messenger (PBUH) as saying: There is a remedy for every malady, and when the remedy is applied to the disease it is cured with the permission of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious.))
What is the effect of this Hadith on the spirit of the patient?
((There is a remedy for every malady))
It gives him confidence and hope that he will be cured. Recently, a cure for blood cancer has been discovered, which is great news.
((There is a remedy for every malady))
So many diseases have had a cure by now.
((There is a remedy for every malady))
This Hadith gives the patient hope and confidence, and it gives the doctor a motivation to search for the cure.
((There is a remedy for every malady and when the remedy is applied to the disease…))
The mission of the doctor is to diagnose the disease and to prescribe the right medication, and then the patient (and the doctor) puts his trust in Allah.
((…and when the remedy is applied to the disease it is cured with the permission of Allah, the Exalted and Glorious.))
The believer should use the available means then put his trust in Allah:
Pay attention to the following Hadith, please:
((Usamah bin Sharik said: "Some Bedouins asked: 'O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) shall we treat (our ill)?' He said: 'Yes, O worshipers of Allah! Use remedies. For indeed Allah did not make a disease but He made a cure for it' - or - 'a remedy. Except for one disease.' They said: 'O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w)! What is it?' He said: 'Old age.'"))
Every Divine Order in the Quran entails obligation, so you should not neglect your health and say that Allah will heal you. Well, yes Allah heals you but He also orders you to use the available means. The true believer uses the available means as if they are enough for him, and then he should put his trust in Allah as if they are not enough at all. If someone has a disease, he should go the best doctor, take the best medication accurately, pays Sadaqah and invoke Allah to heal him:
((Treat your sick by giving Sadaqah (Charity).))
This treatment should take place after taking the right medication.
Man should refrain from eating the unripe fruits to protect himself from diseases:
The following Ayah contains an instruction for eating fruits. Allah says:
﴾ Eat of their fruit when they ripen﴿
Fruits should be eaten when they ripen, otherwise man will have lots of diseases upon eating unripe fruits.
﴾ Eat of their fruit when they ripen﴿
Here is another instruction:
((Whoever eats soil is like one who has facilitated his suicide))
Eating soil here indicates eating the fruits without cleaning them; in this case it will be like eating soil.
((Whoever eats soil is like one who has facilitated his suicide.))
Here is one more instruction which refers to the perfect state of cleanness. It is reported by At-Trimidhi:
((The blessing of food lies in the ablution (Wudu') before and after eating))
((Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "A strong believer is better and dearer to Allah than a weak one, and both are good.))
Taking care of man's physical health is part of worshipping Allah:
Dear brother, as a Muslim you are supposed to worship Allah, offer prayers, observes Sawm, offer Hajj and pay Zakat, but your body has laws and you should abide by them. Do you know who knows these laws? The doctor does, and you should know them since knowing and abiding by them complete your worship to Allah. Is it acceptable to eat whatever you like? Is it acceptable to eat without exceptions or caution? How could you be carless and then say, "Allah is the healer"? Is it acceptable to eat fruits without cleaning them, and you justify that by saying, "Mention Allah's Name and nothing will hurt you"? Doing any of these things has nothing to do with-the Islamic stance. You should use the available means as if they are enough, then you should put your trust in Allah as if they are not sufficient at all.
Dear brother, do not wait for miracles which break the physical laws, and you should bear in mind that your body has its own laws, and you should abide by them, or else your worship to Allah is not perfect. When the father and the mother abide by these laws, all the family members will respect them. Some of these laws are eating moderately, working out, doing exercises to the body and drinking enough amount of water. Most of the cases of kidneys' failure are because of lacking water, and each one of you should know that maintaining your kidney is done by drinking lots of water.
A doctor once said, "Eat everything, eat moderately, work out and do not stress yourself." I think he summarized medicine in these four pieces of advice. Eat everything, because everything Allah creates brings benefit to man's body. Some foods nourish the brain, sh3er are good for bones, a third kind is good for muscles and a fourth kind is good for specific membranes in the body, for every membrane or system is nourished by a different kind of food. Hence, eat everything but moderately.
﴾And eat and drink but waste not by extravagance,﴿
The third piece advice is to work out, for the believer should pay efforts to be in shape. I once asked a cardiologist, "What is the least effort man should pay?" He replied, "Man should at least serve himself at home, and by this he will do the least level of working out." This least effort is like bringing a glass of water from the kitchen to drink, and then going back to your place (instead of asking sh3er to bring it to you). The Prophet PBUH used to serve himself, to clean his clothes, to take care of his shoes, to tie his camel and to broom his house, and he was at the disposal of his family. Paying any effort is a work out.
Dear brother, these are some Prophetic instructions for the physical health, eating and drinking. This lecture completes the previous one and in both of them I mentioned general facts and detailed ones.