Channel: Tarek Kareem Harris
Tayyib – The Islamic Approach
Chapter One, introduction.
Islam tells us about what to eat, how to eat, and many other things about what constitutes a healthy way of living. Yet we have not made the connection between our ideals of the Islamic way, and the real things that bother us. So many of us struggle with weight control, but somehow don't look to Islam, other than hoping that ramdan might help us out, or hoping that self control might come to us if we pray harder, before trying yet another diet, advice from secular sources, magazines, celebrities or doctors.
It turns out that the diet approach is more than sufficient. Being more soundly connected to the latest evidence, and beyond this has far greater reach into the wisdom of a contented life around.
I believe this book needs to exist.
And not a moment too soon, it is surprised me that there isn't one like it as such.
The third way is not a secret if one looks for the guidance on food from Quran, Hadith, and so on. And I saw it as my task to connect this knowledge to medical evidence, and to couch it all in a practical guide book, easily apply to life in a 21st century globalized world.
Health, beauty and wealth are not markers of our true value.
They are external things, which can make us feel good. But that feeling doesn't last. And neither do they make you feel more blessed in the eyes of our maker.
With our health, though, it is important to try to get whatever control we can. Because good health helps us to get on with life more easily.
More importantly, Muslims are told that we are loaned our bodies not given them,
we will be giving our bodies back to their rightful owner, our maker. So we might as well have looked after them as well as we could.
health and illness are partly within our control and partly not. Genetics, life history, age, the choices we make, and many other factors come into play. Some of us are born more prone to illness, while others don't have the means or access to be healthy. We can however, all have the knowledge to be healthier. And as I will show it should cost no more money or time to make very effective changes to our health and well being using the way
when it comes to what to eat and how to manage weight. It turns out most of us have been misled, mostly by mistake, both by received wisdom and by experts in health and nutrition.
We need to have the right facts about what foods are good for us, and how weight is actually controlled. The truth will startle you. This applies to everyone, Muslim or not. We will talk about the myths and correct them. This alone will be very useful
in Muslim communities. We know about halal and haram, and the basics of fasting. But we often forget or never properly learn the actual Islamic guidelines about eating. Nor do we learn the full deeper guidance on how to think about eating and fasting.
These are bold claims. And I'm not one to express strong views without deep consideration. Yet the evidence is compelling. This record must be set straight.
Islam offers guidance over and above diet and health, which we should pay attention to as Muslims. Learning this guidance gives us proper understanding of health and makes it much easier to maintain. Islamic guidance on the matter of food is better described as how to care for the creations of Allah, including our bodies, the way we grow and care for our crops and animals and how to consume food in a way that reinforces good character and pleases our God.
The word makes a great shorthand for this concept.
Low fat foods, calorie reduction and eating little and often have taken hold as the majority view on how to maintain a healthy diet.
It turns out that these things are wrong. And science has been busy proving why they're wrong in very recent years.
Islam never gave such advice in the first place. We will learn a whole new set of facts about healthy eating
And weight management. This is not a new fashion, or yet another fat. This is based on real evidence from medicine, underwritten by what Islam says and vice versa.
Organic, free range Fairtrade, sustainable farming, low carbon footprint, responsible sourcing. These words have entered the modern dialogue.
And we will see how Islam has already described these and given guidance on them in great detail too.
It seems that the trend of fasting, namely missing meals altogether, has come of age in modern society.
Intermittent fasting, whereby one fasts on a few given days per week, is now highly regarded and supported by some very good research in the medical community. magazines and online media books are all brimming with intermittent fasting. favored by pioneering scientists, self proclaimed gurus and everyday people alike. It's being hailed as better than other dieting approaches. For a number of reasons, some of which are true, and others are not. We will closely examine the truth about it. It's likely to be a trend which will come and go just like many other trends, but Islam has its own way of describing this and hasn't changed. We will make connections to what Islam says about fasting
to things our non Muslim friends know about us for sure, our five daily salah and our once yearly strict fasting. When Ramadan comes around, and they find out we're fasting, we smile when we get the same questions, what for 30 days non stop, and what you don't eat or drink anything at all, not even a drink of water.
Seeing as Muslims fast more visibly than most other people. It really does puzzled me that secular books don't really look into the research, philosophy, or history on Islamic fasting. There are hundreds of years of Islamic literature to draw from. And there are some academic studies on fasting conducted mostly by Muslim researchers on Muslim people. But this information is not really mentioned in the mainstream medical literature on the subject. Neither is the Muslim world abuzz with the trend of intermittent fasting. Contrast this to how Muslims in the media seem to readily adopt the latest art, cars, clothing and technology.
So Islam, despite having so much good to say about these things, seems missing from the booming world of literature and media, on sustainable life and nutrition, let alone guidance on fasting.
And still, this is only half the story.
The modern world is missing an entire half of the real night. And that is where the mindset comes in.
All the books on healthy foods, food sourcing and fasting, whether focused on Muslims or not have very little discussion about the real mindset for eating and fasting in the right way.
Their talk is fixated on weight loss and nutrition and dealing with hunger. But there are none of the moral or principal lessons about food and health and general conduct that go along with fasting and eating in the Islamic way.
There's no mention about how to buy foods with due consideration of how they were produced, or how to moderate one's behavior, to reflect on one's character, or learn lessons from fasting and eating that you can apply to the rest of your life.
All of these are absolutely essential to the Islamic approach.
Everything about what we eat, how we eat, how we think about food, how we think about our health comes from our knowledge and attitude to it. as Muslims, we must focus on this, or else we will be doing things without true insight. Even when you have insight, you lose momentum or memory, because that's just human nature. good habits benefit from refreshment, repetition and reinforcement. But without good insight in the first place. The changes die out almost as quickly as when you turn your attention away.
In Islam, both the mindset and the practice are important to everything in life. And for fasting in particular, there are some very effective and important principles to help to achieve goals and embrace the lifestyle in the right way. We all wobble from time to time. But Muslims have an advantage. We have more experienced than most when it comes to understanding the value of repetition and habit.
About five years ago, I began to reflect upon my own experience of fasting as a must
And I spoke to friends and family about it.
It seems to me, we all have a good idea about what fasting is physically and technically,
every Muslim knows about the basic rules about timing,
from sahul, to iftaar, and most of us know about the blessings that are reserved for those who fast and increase their efforts of worship in the month of Ramadan.
For those of us who were born Muslims, we learned about fasting at home, and from address our lessons. At those times, we were given the headlines and the basics, fast from Soho to FDR, do it for a month. And here's some of the do's and don'ts as children, that was a fair enough start. But we've made the mistake of thinking that we'd learned all there was to know.
So it's understandable that some of us have come to think of fasting as something to endure, rather than enjoy that it's a period of starvation preceded and followed by eating heavily before and after, just to get us through this difficult time.
No wonder so many of us don't feel too much healthier after I'm done. And some of us even end up gaining weight. Because of this feast or famine approach.
We need the proper knowledge. It seems many of us have forgotten, or never quite learned the full mental approach to fasting, nor the guidelines for how this practice ties into the food we eat.
We need the knowledge and the practical know how. So this book is an effort to put all that knowledge into one practical space.
We often talk about Islam being a way of life. But somehow we don't connect that to a way of thinking. To put it another way, thinking the right way, makes it much easier to do things the right way. life becomes more intuitive, we become more confident in our own decisions. Because we know how to deal with life by looking at everyday things through an Islamic lens so to speak.
Without this, we find we end up living parallel lives where we kind of flip into Muslim mode and out of it in the day, where salah and religious duties contrast almost blindly with secular ways of eating and existing in the times when we're not on the prayer mat.
We need to know how to apply the knowledge to
knowledge is powerful on its own. Because knowing something can change the way we think about which leads us to doing things differently. For example, once you learn that meat from a corn fed or warehouse fed cow is high in harmful fats, and low quality protein, you automatically start looking for meat from grass fed cows. Until now, you bought the corn fed stuff because you thought it was just cheaper. But now you know different.
actual power is in effect when you put knowledge to use. We're all guilty of knowing things but not putting them into practice as much as we could.
It makes us feel uncomfortable to carry on doing something. If we know it is not what really is good for us. We remain stuck with the old way. Why? Because it's difficult to make changes in life. The knifes itself prefers to stick to habit and Associates change with danger. We all slip into the odd bad habit. indulging in too much cake or too many sweets for example. It won't surprise you to learn that this book doesn't approve of eating huge amounts of cake and sweets. But sometimes, we just lose our grip on sense and any good book. Let's take this into account.
Don't worry about the slip ups. We all make them. Life is not a frantic jump between good and bad. Life is a blend of events which we try to guide ourselves towards.