Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam.
The Ramadan season is drawing to a close and we anticipate the arrival of Eid-ul-Fitr, the holiday at the end of the month of Ramadan. This is a time of sadness and a time of joy. Sadness that the blessed month has to end and joy that we hope to have offered our best during the month and hope that it will be accepted by ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and that we will be rewarded.
It is also a time of sadness as the worldís crises continue to increase. While we have fasted to gain Taqwa (GOD-Consciousness, self-restraint, piety), we have also felt short-term hunger and thirst. Many of our fellow human beings, Muslims and non-Muslims, around the world feel hunger and thirst every day. As Americans, we are blessed with ample supplies of food and clean drinking water. Yet we know millions of people around the globe live in refugee camps or worse, hoping for a crumb of bread and a drink of water.
War and sanctions, drought and disease, some things within our control, others not in our control, have combined to bring about these catastrophes. As humans and especially as Muslims, we must reach out to change the fortunes of those unfortunate masses that are struggling to stay alive. If we can offer donations, we must do so. If we can work to lift sanctions, we must do so. If we can offer technology or expertise to find and supply water, we must do so. And if we cannot do any of this, we must offer dua (supplication or prayers) for our fellow humans around the globe and perhaps even in our neighborhoods. ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, says in the Noble Quran: "And your LORD says: "Call on ME; I will answer your call (Prayer): Ö "" (Ghafir : 60)
For those who must pay zakat (alms), Ramadan is a good time to do so. ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, tells us who is eligible to receive alms in the Noble Quran: "Alms are for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to the truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of ALLAH; and for the wayfarer: (thus is it) ordained by ALLAH, and ALLAH is full of knowledge and wisdom." (At-Tawbah : 60)
During this season of generosity and sharing, let us each do our part to make sure next year Ramadan finds humanity in a better position than this year.
As we welcome Eid-ul-Fitr and give thanks for the blessings we have, the great month we just completed and look forward to the coming Haj season, let us carry the lessons we gained from Ramadan throughout the year so we maintain our focus on Taqwa and pleasing ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala.
We ask ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, to accept the efforts of all who fasted and enlivened their nights with salat (prayer) and Thikr (remembrance of ALLAH), to grant us forgiveness and to blanket us with HIS Mercy and to guide us throughout the coming year.
We wish everyone Eid Mubarak and may we all be granted the privilege of witnessing Ramadan next year. Kullu ëaam wa antum bekhair.
Tom Wiley, a farmer from North Dakota, USA, journeyed to Qatar to persuade ministers attending the World Trade Organization meeting to halt production of genetically modified (GM) food. Mr. Wiley does not use GM crops but he lost a contract to Japan because his production measured above the Japanese limit on of 1% GM material. He suspects cross- contamination from neighboring farms that do use the GM crops. (Reported in www.foodingredientsonline.com November 10, 2001.)
Chinese consumers prefer their flour white. Now China has cultivated a wheat that produces whiter flour. This will prevent the need to use whiteners, which may be unhealthy if misapplied. (Reported in www.foodingredientsonline.com November 9, 2001.)
It appears the cause of the BSE in Danish cows may be a German-made milk substitute. The milk substitute contained animal fats from dead cows and was administered to the Danish cows when they were young. The Danes suspect the milk substitute was contaminated with other waste products. (Reported in www.foodingredientsonline.com November 26, 2001.)
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) suggests consumers avoid consuming alcohol despite the fact that some studies show a limited amount may prevent heart disease. Alcohol consumption increases the risk of liver, mouth and throat cancer and a research indicates it also increases the risk of breast cancer in women. The Quran teaches us that. "They ask you concerning wine and gambling. Say: 'In them is great sin, and some benefit for mankind; but the sin is greater than the benefit'...". (Al-Baqara:219) (AICR information Reported in an article by Karen Collins, R.D., on www.msnbc.com, November 23, 2001.)
There are some new ideas on grains and fiber. The new thinking is that whole grains are far better than refined grains. The US Department of Agriculture's Food Pyramid recommends whole grains from among the grain products.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a statement that can be put on food labels indicating diets rich in whole-grain foods and low in fats and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers.
An American Institute for Cancer Research report also recommends whole-grain foods as being better than refined grains. Previous thinking was that the fiber in whole grains prevented colon cancer. New thinking suggests other substances found in whole grains also help reduce the risk of breast, colon and prostate cancers.
Articles in the Journal of American Dietetic Association indicate that whole grains contribute more than just fiber to the prevention of heart disease. Several studies show the benefits of fiber alone could not account for all the protection afforded by consuming whole-grain foods.
There are also studies that suggest whole grains may help maintain normal insulin levels because they cause a slower rise on blood sugar. This could help control diabetes.
And a Harvard researcher has gone as far as placing whole-grains at the bottom of the Food Pyramid and refined grains at the top with the meat and butter.
It is recommended to have 3 servings of whole-grain foods a day. To be sure you are eating whole grain foods, check the ingredient labels and make sure the first ingredient is whole-wheat flour or oats. A listing of just wheat does not indicate a whole-grain and color is not a good indication either.
Extracted from Whole Grains Stressed in New Dietary Guidelines, by Karen Collins, R.D., on www.msnbc.com , October 12, 2001.