Numbers are powerful in Islam, (also words, but that’s another topic, I might brain dump on you another time). Odd numbers are mentioned in a number of hadiths. We pray five times a day. We wash our bodily parts before prayers three times each. It is preferred to break fast with an odd number of dates (1,3,5…etc), the last odd nights of Ramadan are special, the night of the twenty seventh, is believed to be the night of power…etc.
“Does God love odd numbers more than even ones?” is a question that comes to mind often, and the answer is “I am not God, hence I am not fit to answer this question.” It has never been explained why odd numbers were mentioned on several occasions and prophetic narrations, but numbers are significant in Islam, and I believe in that. Also my favorite number is seven, since we’re at the topic (no, it’s not my lucky number, I don’t believe in that, confused? welcome to my world)
During the month of Ramadan, the sales of food and desserts soar, the amount of food advertisement becomes alarming (in the Muslim world that is)–it’s like the month of food as opposed to the month of lack there of. Granted, that’s all I think of most of my fasting days. Yet still, it somehow defeats the spirit.
In the spirit of defeating the defeated spirit (!), I bring you today’s brain dump: The most loved (hated?) topic– food::
We as muslims have two requirements for the food we eat. It must be Halal and Tayyib (Good/Pure). For food to qualify as halal, it needs to be acquired with legitimate means and, the meat needs to be raised and slaughtered in a humane way. Simple, right? I’m afraid with our modern farming practices, this is becoming more and more challenging. The Tayyib requirement might entail a lot more qualifications. Food Muslims acquire today in America might be certified halal, yet I am not so sure it can qualify as tayyib.
All praise to God, there are increasing efforts around the world promoting greener more sustainable living.
Unfortunately, the corporate mentality is catching up in the developing and the Muslim world. Thankfully there is still resistance and more connection in that part of the world. There’s an intuitive understanding of the benefits of fresh produce, and animals eating their natural feed. Our Egyptian doorman (security guard for the building of sorts) refuses to eat the cheaper imported meat. He told me once ” I’d rather not have meat enter my system for a whole year, than eat this plastic thing. It can’t taste like this and be good for you, madam.” (his name is Ramadan by the way, yes like the month *smile*)
Muslims in the west are more challenged with their food choices. When I first moved to the U.S (six years ago?) I bought certified halal meat, and tried to cook it the way I used to back home. It took four hours for the meat to cook, and it still pulled when I chewed on it. I was convinced I had lost my cooking skills.
We no longer buy from this brand. And we also don’t eat as much meat. We made the shift five years ago. It was first easier to find quality Kosher meat and organic chicken, there was also one local Chicago company that sold quality organic halal meat and chicken. But now there are at least two American Organic Halal labels if not more. As for produce, I fell in love with local produce from farmer’s markets and later discovered the CSA. If you’re not familiar, do check it out. It’s an amazing way to get connected with your local farmers. To my surprise I even found CSAs in Cairo Egypt. (I never got a chance to try them though).
We make an effort to find the best schools for our children, the best doctors, dentists, hair salons… etc. Why not do a little research for something that has a straight connection to our health and above all spirituality. You are what you eat, it’s true. There is an insane amount of (factual) literature and documentaries if you read them or watch them, you’ll get sick to your stomach, no joke. I mean, how do we (Muslims) connect with God the creator five times a day, and not connect with his creation– the earth that we kiss with our foreheads five times a day?
It was narrated that Sayyiduna Abu Bakr had a major stomach ache after drinking some Milk. When he asked his servant about how he acquired the Milk and learned that it came from an unlawful source. He stuck his finger in his mouth and made himself throw up all of the milk. He then prayed and asked God for forgiveness for having such milk pass in his stomach for a brief time. Upon hearing the story, Prophet Mohammad said “Don’t you know that nothing goes to the stomach of Siddiq (meaning Abu Bakr), except what is tayyib (pure)” Bukhari.
Local organic and grass fed food is more pricey than your “regular” option, but if we decide to shift this mindset in all our daily living. We’ll find it surprising, how much we cut the cost of living (electric bills, unnecessary purchases, ..etc) Also if enough people make the shift, the prices will naturally go down. Support your local farmers. Eat less meat (we eat meat about once a month, and chicken once a week or less).
For those interested here’s where we get our meat:
We buy our local grass fed meat and organic chicken from our friend Qaid Hassan. He’s been very active with the sustainable movement, bringing farmers markets to Chicago’s south side and starting his own Organic Halal meat and poultry label: Whole Earth Meats. He ships all over the U.S and his meat is the best I’ve tasted in this country, and honestly I have never touched a cleaner uncooked chicken than his. All I do is rinse it out, I don’t add any salt or vinegar to get rid of the greasy skin. You can like them on Facebook or follow them on twitter.
For produce: farmers markets, whole foods, and CSA’s. (this year we were moving too much, but next year we’ll be joining again inshaAllah)
For more info about eco-halal food and living, check them out. They are making admirable efforts mashaAllah.
This short question/ answer video, might give you some insight:
Alright, I’m done preaching.
It’s the Night of The Twenty Seventh People. For those of you who are still up and praying, remember Somalia, Syria, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Japan, East Coasters (Irene affected areas) and everyone struggling this time. May God ease the pain and lift the calamities, and accept us. Amen!