In every part of the world, people face challenges in their lives. Some people face financial instability, hunger and poverty; others face violence, natural disasters and homelessness. And then there are those who face health issues. In every country, the problems are different. In the “developed” countries, the majority of our problems are diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure and depression, just to name a few. Of course, those are not the only problems here; however, I feel like these problems are the ones affecting a lot of people. These health issues all probably have one thing in common: our food!
Yes, our food. Whether it is fruits and vegetables, rice, pasta, milk or meat, the honest truth is our food is just not grown in the same way compared to the way it used to be prepared and grown 100 or even 50 years ago. There are chemicals used for cleaning, and even growing in order to increase production.
My point: the food we put into our bodies has a lot to do with how healthy or unhealthy we are or we can become overall. Many of the diseases I named can be caused by chemicals found in the everyday food we eat. If you are someone who cares about your health and the health of your family, especially that of your children, you must do the research and try to eat food that has no chemicals and that is grown, handled and prepared the right and healthy way if you possibly can.
So what is the healthy way?
I’m sure many people want to eat healthy but they just don’t know which foods are exactly ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy.’ Is organic always healthy? How do we even know what is really organic and what is not? These days, food companies find ways to put the best descriptions for their products just to sell them. Unless you put a lot of effort and energy into researching and learning about food labels, organic vs. non-organic and food made from GMOs etc. it’s really difficult to tell exactly what it is that you are eating and feeding your family. So how do we even know what food is made, processed and packaged without hazardous chemicals?
Well, the short and quick answer is, if you buy your food at grocery stores and fast-food restaurants and don’t grow or prepare it yourself, you can never really know for sure how it was grown and prepared nor can you tell if chemicals were used in the process. However, what you can do is at least read and research on which companies sell good, clean food be it vegetable, fruits or milk. Be a well-informed person when it comes to what you eat and feed your family. There are a lot of companies and individuals who work really hard to put healthy and safe foods for their customers.
How does Islam fit into all this talk about food…
As Muslims, we all know one of the very first things we are taught as soon as we learn how to talk and that is to say “Bismilaah” at the beginning of every meal; what a blessing this is! In fact, we must say Bismilaah when starting anything that’s good—we say it even for daily activities such as dressing, making wudu, when leaving or entering our homes and riding cars and planes. It’s such a simple and short phrase but has so much power behind it, subhanalaah! It really is also very important that we teach our children this great phrase as soon as they are able to speak. The benefits of saying “Bismilaah” are immeasurable. Thus, when we teach our children to say Bismilaah and get them in the habit of always saying Bismilaah at the start of everything, we are setting them up for success.
Have you really thought about why we say “Bismilaah?” Have you really pondered on the importance of this phrase? The full version of Bismilaah, called the basmalah is translated in the English language as “In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.” When eating, dressing, leaving or entering the home, Bismilaah (in the name of Allah) suffices. By starting all that we do in the name of Allah, we seek his help and blessing. By starting with His beautiful name we are seeking his protection. It was the sunnah of all the prophets, Prophet Muhamad (SAW) included. It is not only preferred and encouraged to say bismilaah at the start of everything; in some cases it is obligatory in Islam to say “bismilaah” for example, when making wudu.
As I mentioned before, food is not as healthy as it used to be. We might be eating fruits and vegetables that have been sprayed with pesticides, or even worse, we might drink milk that came from a cow that was injected with growth hormones in order to increase its milk production. Furthermore, we might consume foods that have additives, food coloring and excessive amounts of sugar or salt. These are all things that are dangerous to our health and yet it is in the food we eat every day! My point is that it really is difficult to stay away from these chemicals even with the best of our efforts. This is where Islam, our beautiful religion, comes into the discussion.
In Islam we are taught to put forth our best efforts in everything that we do. This includes how we eat and what we eat. As Muslims, we have to follow certain guidelines when it comes to our food. Same thing with when we’re actually eating. We have to eat with the right hand, sit while eating and drinking and do our best to not waste food in the process. It’s important to get these things right before anything else. And most importantly we must always start with saying “Bismilaah” before every meal.
As previously mentioned, once we say Bisimilaah before every meal, we are asking for His protection from all harm including all of those chemicals and especially from the shaytan. By always remembering to say Bismilaah, InshaaAllah, we will be protected from whatever harm that’s in our food. Allah (God) is all knowing and all-seeing. He alone knows what we can’t see that can be harmful to us and our loved ones. Despite our best efforts to buy food that is “organic” or “all-natural,” at the end of the day, we don’t really know if those labels are correct. That’s why it’s important to always ask for His blessing and protection through following our religion, Al-Islam.
To learn more about the benefits and history of the Basmalah, please visit the following sites.