Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Prophet's Medicine: Herbal And Spiritual Cure For All Problems


September 27, 2006
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Sept 16: Young Rubina is on a diet regulation eating figs and dates to shed that extra fat in her body. Middle-aged Abdul Kareem takes black cumin seeds to keep his blood cholesterol under check. Septuagenarian Zaheeruddin gulps a syrup of pure honey to fight his abdominal trouble while his daughter-in-law Fathima gives vapours of incense to her son to beat throat infection.
All these Hyderabadis are on a prescription of Tibbe Nabawi or the Prophet's Medicine, which is fast taking its roots in the city as an alternative system of curative and preventive medical practice. People suffering from common ailments and patients with chronic diseases including those with obesity are increasingly turning to Tibbe Nabawi. Giving a modern touch to this 1500-year-old Islamic system of medicine, some pharmaceutical companies are marketing facial masks, beauty creams, hail oil, massage oil and ointments based on the Prophet's prescriptions. And they are in good demand.
At least a dozen Tibbe Nabawi clinics have been opened in Hyderabad and other parts of the State to cater to the vast clientele. As many as eight different books on the Prophet's Medicine are now available in city book shops.
Says eminent physician Dr Fakhruddin Muhammad, "the efficacy of the pharmacopoeia of the Prophet's Medicine is scientifically proved by dozens of research organisations including the Food and Drugs Administration. It is based on natural herbs and food products without any addition of chemicals. It is a lifestyle management system to prevent health problems and cure diseases".
Practitioners of the Prophet's Medicine prescribe commonly available herbs and fruits (raw or extracts) like grapes, pomegranates, citrus, honey, henna, dates (specially of the ajwa variety), olive, methi (fenugreek), aloe vera, rosewater, hibiscus, miswak, black cumin (kalonji), sweet basil (myrtle), ginger, Indian incense (Ud-al-Hind), truffles, watercress, squash, melons and figs.
The treatment ranges from cardiac problems to pleurisy, obesity to malnourishment, respiratory troubles to anaemia and renal obstructions, improvement of eyesight and mental agility to toning up skin texture and deworming to healing of wounds, both internal and external. As many as 30 products are available in the city market based on Kalonji combinations alone. People who have had a heart attack and have survived are prescribed the combination of honey, sana maki and ajwaa dates to speed up recovery.
Dr Fatemeh Mojtahedi, an MBBS doctor, has switched over to the Prophet's Medicine in her Avicenna Clinic to treat obesity. She has formulated "slim capsules" based on the herbs and fruits mentioned in ancient Islamic medical literature inspired by Tibbe Nabawi.
"The important thing we can learn from prophetic nutrition is moderation. Treatment of obesity is quite simple in the Prophet's medicine: eating simple and wholesome natural foods and herbs, and drinking plenty of water. Since the Prophet's Medicine normalises the metabolism and curbs the appetite, patients, who shed excess weight, continue to maintain their slim and trim figure even after the treatment is over," explains Dr Fatemeh. She has treated about 8000 patients and one of them has reportedly lost 58.5 kgs in nine months and 15 days. Dr Fatemeh is approaching the Guinness Book of World Records with a claim of reducing obesity in the shortest time.
The interest in Prophet's Medicine increased in the local populace after the International Institute of Islamic Medicine and the Islamic Medical Association of North America jointly held a conference a few years ago on the scientific validity of the medical prescriptions given by the Holy Prophet.
Following the conference, many have abandoned their toothpaste and toothbrushes in favour of Miswak stick, which the practitioners of the Prophet's Medicine point out strengthens the gums and prevents tooth decay, improves the sense of taste and assists in digestion.
Dr Qudratullah Hussami, whose Islamic Research Academy has done pioneering research in the Prophet's Medicine, points out that "Tibbe Nabawi is a nothing but a collection of Hadith that instruct Muslims on the subject of sickness or medical treatment. Most of the products used in this system of medicine are prescribed by the Prophet himself or utilised by him. Over 200 university research papers have proved the efficacy of the medicine, particularly the black cumin seeds".
Hakeem Muhammad Zaheer Ahmad prescribes black cumin (Kalonji or
Nigella sativa) to his patients to treat asthma, control of sugar in blood and urine, psoriasis, hypertension, hypotension and skin diseases. He is also working on the efficacy of black cumin seeds in the treatment of cancer.
Dr Syed Jaleel Hussain, former director of the Central Research Institute in Unani Medicine, says the Prophet has prescribed olive oil for treatment of haemorrhoids (piles). Kalonji extract removes obstructions in body, expels gases and strengthens the stomach.
"Kalonji oil has improved my hair growth. It has successfully controlled falling of hair due to alopecia. The drug has also improved my skin texture," says Rafique Ahmad, a resident of Charminar. According to inter student Zareena Almas, the facial mask and beauty cream prepared from Kalonji has been quite effective in controlling pimples and blackheads. "Unlike common creams which are heavily loaded with chemicals, the Tibbe Nabawi creams do not cause any skin rashes or irritants. There's no need for even a skin patch test," she observes.
Dr Ghousuddin, consultant pharmacologist, refers to medical reports in support of his claim that the Prophet's Medicine has been useful in paralysis, facial palsy, migraine, amnesia and palpitation.
Islamic scholar Moulana Hasanul Hashmi is of the view that Tibbe Nabawi is not only a curative and preventive system of medicine but it also gives a "rewarding experience". The Prophet's Medicine is based on Sunnah and it is a good thing (Nek Kaam) for Muslims to follow it, he says.

Tuesday, 26 September 2006

AP government thrives on the income of religious endowments

2006
Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Sept 26: The State government seems to thrive on the income of religious endowments if official statistics are any indication.
The government has been simply knocking off a part of the income it gets from religious places, particularly temples, and diverting the funds for other uses. Though the endowment fund is meant for the upkeep of temples with no income sources, the contribution received towards the fund is rarely used for the purpose.
Every Hindu charitable or religious institution or endowment or Dharmadayam whose annual income is not less than Rs 5000 has to contribute 15 per cent of the income to the Endowments Administration Fund. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams is exempted from paying the fund.
An analysis of receipts and expenditure of the Endowments Administration Fund should the government had utilised the money fully for the purpose it was meant only in 1995-96. But during the last 10 years the government never exhausted the money for the development of temples without any income sources.
The State has 33,871 institutions covered under the Endowments Act and of them a whopping 25,000 institutions do not either own any land or own very negligible extent deriving less than Rs 1000 per year. About 500 institutions own substantial extent of land ranging from 10 acres to 1000 acres.
The government has also created a common good fund for institutions whose annual income exceeds Rs 50,000. They have to contribute three per cent of the assessable income. The TTD contributes Rs 2.20 crore every year towards the fund.
In case of mosques and churches, the State government is extending financial assistance through the State Wakf Board and the minorities welfare department respectively. The budget allocated for repairs and construction of mosques is Rs 6.50 crore and for churches it is Rs 1.10 crore. The Wakf Board receives Rs 1.10 crore from 35,000 Wakf institutions every year through seven per cent contribution to the Fund.
In case of Wakf institutions, about 90 per cent of the Wakf bodies do not have proper assessment of the income.

Sunday, 24 September 2006

Majority of people in India suffer from common nutrition problems

September 24, 2006

Syed Akbar

A majority of Indians are malnourished. Even those who consume sufficient quantity of food suffer from malnutrition because they don not get well-balanced food. Nationwide surveys by Central government agencies over the years reveal that Indians, including those living in urban areas, suffer from common nutrition problems like protein energy malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies (vitamin A, iron, iodine and vitamin B-complex).
Keeping this in view, the Hyderabad-based National Institute of Nutrition has come out with a Nutrition Manual containing dietary guidelines for Indians, particularly adolescent girls and pregnant women. The guidelines give a broad perspective on the present nutritional scenario in the country, besides suggesting the type of food one should take for healthy, long and happy life. The nutrition quota differs from person to person depending on the amount and type of work he or she undertakes. It also varies depending on age and sex.
The nutrition guidelines assume importance in the backdrop of the poor health scenario in several parts of the country. About one-third of infants born are low in weight i.e. less than 2.5 kgs. This is as against less than 10 per cent of low birth weights recorded in developed countries including small nations like Israel. It was also noticed that two per cent of nursery school children in the country suffer from severe and florid forms of protein energy malnutrition leading to health problems like Kwashiorkor and marasmus.
Health surveys reveal that children below five years suffer from sub-clinical under-nutrition resulting in low weight for age. This is less than 75 per cent of median weight for age as fixed by the National Centre for Health Statistics. About 65 per cent of these children are stunted (low height for age). Under-nutrition if continued throughout the growing phase of childhood leads to short stature in adults. Half of the adults in the country have body mass index below 18.5, which in other words means chronic energy deficiency.
The dietary goals as envisaged by the NIN include maintenance of a state of positive health and optimal performance in populations at large, ensuring adequate nutritional status for pregnant women and lactating mothers, improving birth weights and promoting growth of infants, children and adolescents to achieve their full genetic potential and preventing chronic diet-related disorders.
The dietary guidelines are: consuming nutritionally adequate diet through a wise choice from a variety of foods; additional food and extra care during pregnancy and lactation; food supplements for infants by four to six months; consumption of green leafy vegetables, other vegetables and fruits in large quantities; moderate use of oils, sugar and salt; avoidance of processed and ready-to-eat foods; and adequate amounts of water.
According to NIN, a balanced diet should provide around 60 to 70 per cent of total calories from carbohydrates, preferably starch, about 10-12 per cent from proteins and 20-25 per cent from fat.
Nutrient dense low fat foods are recommended for old people for being physically active and healthy. Nutritionally adequate diet with extra food for child bearing/rearing women for maintenance of health productivity and prevention of diet-related disease and to support pregnancy/lactation.
Body-building and protective foods are recommended for adolescents for growth spurt, maturation and bone development. For children's growth, development and to fight infections, energy, body-building and protective food (milk, vegetables and fruits) are recommended. And for infants, breast milk and energy rich foods (fats and sugar) are needed for growth and appropriate milestones.
The balanced diet recommended for an adult man (sedentary) per day is: 20 grams of oil/fats; 25 grams of sugar, 300 grams of milk and milk products, 60 grams of pulses (for vegetarians), 30 grams of pulses, egg/meat/chicken/fish (for non vegetarians), 400 grams of vegetables, 100 grams of fruits and 420 grams of cereals and millets. Elderly people may reduce 90 grams of cereals and millets and add an extra serving of fruit.
In case of women, 300 grams of vegetables, 300 grams of cereals and millets and 20 grams of sugar, besides the other dosage recommended for men.
Half of the people suffer from nutritional anaemia and this is more pronounced in women as 70 to 90 per cent of them are found to be anaemic. Health statistics indicate that anaemia caused due to malnutrition kills over a lakh pregnant women. Coming to iodine deficiency, about 300 million people live in areas where iodine is in short supply. Iodine deficiency leads to problems like goitre, neonatal hypothyroidism, mental retardation, delayed motor development, stunting, deaf-mutism and neuromuscular disorders. Around one lakh still-birth and neonatal deaths occur every year because of deficiency of iodine in mothers.
Studies by the National Nutrition Monitoring Bureau show that the daily intake of most foods, except cereals and millets (470 grams) is much below the recommended dietary allowances. The diets provide negligible amounts of protective foods like pulses (29 grams) and vegetables.
Consumption of green leafy vegetables and other vegetables (70-80 grams), which are rich sources of micronutrients like beta-carotene, folate, calcium, riboflavin and iron, is woefully inadequate. Intake of visible fat is less than 60 per cent of the RDA.
"The proportion of households with energy inadequacy is 48 per cent while that with protein inadequacy is 20 per cent. Thus, in the cereal/millet-based Indian dietaries, the primary bottleneck is energy and not protein, as was earlier believed. This dietary energy gap can be easily overcome by increasing the quantities of habitually eaten foods by the poor," the study points out.

Saturday, 23 September 2006

The Significance of Ramadhan

September 23, 2006
By Syed Akbar
Ramadhan is the ninth month of the Islamic Higera calendar. Literally Ramadhan means "heat" or "something that burns up". The name assumes significance as fasting, charity and noble deeds in Ramadhan burns away sins, Satanic filth and ego from the hearts and minds of the people, who turn to the Almighty during this holy month.
A notable feature of Ramadhan is that fasting during this month had been in vogue even before the birth of the Holy Prophet, Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him). The righteous and pious among the Arabs used to observe fasting and pay charity during Ramadhan. The Holy Prophet has streamlined the system of fasting and charity and made them mandatory on all Muslims.
Of the 12 lunar Islamic months, Ramadhan is considered holy primarily because the Almighty God had revealed the Holy Quran on Hazrat Muhammad during this month about 15 centuries ago. The Holy Prophet was deep in meditation in the Cave of Hira in the outskirts of Mecca when he received the Divine Message through Archangel Gabriel (Hazrat Jibrail). The Message from God continued to be revealed on the Holy Prophet thereafter for the next 23 years. This Divine Code is the Holy Quran, the last of the Scriptures of God sent to prophets and messengers from time to time to all places and to all people.
"Ramadhan is also considered holy because God has prescribed fasting and ordained charity. While fasting is obligatory on all Muslims, men and women, without exception, charity is enjoined on only those who are financially sound. The charity given during Ramadhan is of two types, Zakat (compulsory charity) and fitra (alms). Zakat like fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, the other being Kalima (assertion that there is only one God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God), Namaz (five daily prayers) and Haj (pilgrimage to Mecca)," says Islamic scholar Hafiz Syed Shujath Hussain.
Referring to the importance of Ramadhan, the Holy Quran (2:185) observes, "Ramadhan is the (month) in which the Qur'an was sent down, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgement (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at home) during that month should spend it in fasting…"
The Holy Quran is also specific about the time of revelation during the month of Ramadhan. Elsewhere, the Scripture says, "Indeed, We have revealed this (Message) in the Night of Power. And what will explain to thee what the night of power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months" Qur'an (97:1-3).
"The Night of Power or Lailat-ul-Qadr falls on one of the odd nights in the last 10 days of Ramadhan. Muslims spend in prayers all through the night supplicating to the Almighty for peace and blessings on all people and all creatures. Ramadhan is the occasion for Muslims to mend their ways and establish a direct link with the Creator," points out Islamic teacher Moulana Abdul Kareem.
In commemoration of the revelation of the Holy Quran, special night prayers called the Taraveeh are held in all mosques and at select homes and other places. Hafiz (those who know the Quran byheart) recite the Holy Quran in parts on 30 nights. In Hyderabad and other Indian cities, special arrangements are also made for women to offer the Taraveeh prayers.
Referring to the importance of fasting, the Holy Prophet observed: Allah, the Almighty has said: "every act of man is for him except fasting, it is done for My (Allah's) sake and I will give reward for it. The breath of a person on fast is sweeter to Allah than the fragrance of musk."
Muslims the world over take to heavy charity work during Ramadhan as they believe that Almighty God will reward them 70 fold or even more. According to an Hadith (sayings and traditions of the Prophet), "when Ramadhan starts, the gates of paradise are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the Satan is chained.
The Prophet has also said: The affliction of a person in his property, family and neighbours is expiated by his prayers, fasting and giving in charity. Whoever fasts the month of Ramadhan out of sincere faith and hoping for a reward from Allah, then all his previous sins will be forgiven.
Apart from its religious significance, Ramadhan has social importance too. While fasting makes a person understand the pangs of hunger and thirst so that he help the poor and the underprivileged. On one hand Ramadhan makes Muslims understand the sufferings of the poor and on the other it makes it mandatory on every well-to-do Muslim to donate in the cause of the Almighty God. Fasting also makes one physically fit and mentally agile.
"The money collected from Zakat and Fitra, if properly utilised, will solve the problem of poverty in many countries. In Hyderabad alone Zakat and Fitra worth Rs 100 crore is given every Ramadhan. The amount runs into at least Rs 2,000 crore for India. Unfortunately, there is no centralised agency to collect and spend the Zakat money for the common good of all. We should have the concept of Bait-ul-Maal (charitable treasury)," says Moulana Rafeeuddin Qasmi.
Muslims end this great month by celebrating the Id-ul-fitr or the festival of alms-giving as a gratitude to the Almighty for having Blessed them with the opportunity to fast and make amends. Fitra is compulsory before the Id prayers so that the have-nots too join the festivities.

OTC drugs may open Pandora's Box

2006
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Sept 23: The Central government's decision to allow sale of certain medicines through ordinary grocery stores is likely to open the Pandora's Box.
Health and medical experts are divided over the feasibility of the government's move as a majority of people in the country are illiterate and there's every possibility of the over the counter drugs being misused. Doctors fear that even seemingly harmless medicine like iron tablets will cause severe health complications if it is not stored properly. While those in favour of the government's move argue that over the counter sales would help the poor as they generally do not have access to a general physician.
The Central government has given time till September 26 for people to send in their suggestions and objections on the draft notification for sale of drugs in grocery stores. After September 26, the government will issue a notification after which it becomes law.
"Most of the medical stores in the country do not have proper storage facilities. We can least expect facilities in ordinary grocery stores. In medical shops at least shopkeepers have the knowledge of pharmacy. Unless the government ensures that shopkeepers are properly trained in pharmacy, the over the counter sale of medicines will prove to be harmful than beneficial," argues Dr Bhaktiyar Chowdhury of Hyderabad Spine Clinic.
Even the Indian Drug Manufacturers' Association has objected to the government's decision saying that only a few medicines should be sold through grocery stores. It argued that India did not have sufficient number of qualified pharmacists and infrastructure to preserve the drugs well.
At present only grocery stores in villages with less than 1000 population are permitted to sell select medicines. Once the Act comes through, grocery stores all over the country will be able to sell medicines which do not require prescription of a qualified registered medical practitioner.
According to industry sources, despite strict restrictions medicines worth over Rs 5000 crore are sold through over the counter process every year. The segment has been recording an annual growth rate of 12 to 15 per cent and this is precisely the reason why multinational companies are bringing pressure on the Centre to amend Schedule K of Indian Drugs and Pharmaceutical Act to permit sale of medicines through grocery stores.
"Bad storage facilities, wrong prescription and failure to comply with the expiry date can be extremely harmful to patients. The problem does not relate to just serious side effects including death but also to meeting specified bioavailability and bioequivalence criteria of drugs," points out Dr B Murali of Care Hospital.
Ironically, some of the drugs which the government wants to permit through OTC sales are known to cause side effects or have drug interactions and disease interactions. Permission for sale of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, gastrointestinal medicines and prochlorperazine will be dangerous to the health of people.
Senior physician Dr S Ramachandra Rao suggests that drastic changes in the labelling practices of over the counter medicines should have to be strictly enforced. OTC drugs should be labelled in local regional and local languages with clear instructions to patients. "It has to be ensured that all OTC drugs specify the correct prescription particularly in case of children like quantity, frequency and duration of the intake," he said.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, mefenamic acid, ketoprofen and dictlofenac, gastrointestinal drugs like domperidone and loperamide and prochlopreazine may damage kidneys in case of overdose, warns Dr Murali.
Health experts also warn over sale of potentially dangerous drugs like iodochlorohydroxy quinoline, which is banned in many countries but sold in India. This drug is likely to cause blindness. Even anti-malarial drugs and ophthalmic solutions have been proposed for sale through grocery stores.

Friday, 22 September 2006

Indians suffer from cardiac ailments 10 years earlier

2006
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Sept 22: Indians suffer from cardiac ailments 10 years before people of other countries develop them. And if the World Health Organisation report is any indication, about 60 per cent of all heart patients in the world will be in India in the next six years.
A research study has now been taken up to find out the reasons for the high prevalence of heart diseases in Asian countries, particularly India. Scientists and researchers have thus far been baffled by the mystery behind heart attacks in people who are not bracketed under high risk groups and who do not have "social vices" like smoking and drinking.
Apollo Hospitals have tied up with John Hopkins to identify the causes responsible for cardiac risk among Indians. The study will find out whether a particular gene is behind heart attacks.
Apollo Hospitals chairman Dr Pratap C Reddy told reporters here on Friday said there was possibly a genetic predisposition to heart diseases among Indian, but the precise cause was still elusive.
"Risk factors that are often associated with heart diseases like hypertension, smoking, high total serum cholesterol and high fat diet do not seem to fully account for the high incidence of the disease in Indians. The disease process also differs in Indians as the coronary vessels are diffusely affected while in other ethnic groups the coronary arteries are more discretely affected. High incidence of diabetes and low levels of good cholesterol with high levels of triglycerides may partially address the high risk of heart diseases in Indians but there is something beyond," Dr Reddy pointed out.

Saturday, 16 September 2006

Fake amils: Campaign against exorcism and witch doctors

September 16, 2006
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Sept 15: With a number of fake "Amils" (spiritual physicians) on the prowl cheating thousands of gullible people "possessed by spirits", an Islamic scholar has launched a nation-wide campaign against exorcism and witch doctors.
Moulana Hasanul Hashmi, who edits Tilismati Duniya, a Urdu monthly from Deoband popular for its fight against witchcraft and sorcery, is currently in Hyderabad to free city Muslims from the clutches of fake Amils. Witch doctors, who are growing in number by the day, have made old city and other parts of the State their base to mint money by misleading gullible people. Many lanes and bylanes in old city are dotted with "Amil clinics" claiming treatment for everything related to the supernatural or the evil.
"A number of witch doctors or fake Amils have been arrested in different parts of the country. These people misuse the provisions of Islam for their selfish ends and in the process bring bad name to the religion. It's high time we put an end to the menace," Moulana Hasanul Hashmi, who himself practices Islamic spiritual treatment, told this correspondent. The Moulana serves as a "spiritual doctor" for thousands of people in the country including senior politicians like CM Ibrahim, Jafar Sharief and Union Minister Praful Patel. "Former prime minister PV Narasimha Rao used to consult me quite often for spiritual solace," he said.
Fake Amils have become a major nuisance in the city as their "spiritual prescriptions" quite often lead to marital discord, breaking up of families and enmity among friends and relatives. "What they utter is quite nonsense. Though they claim that their practice is based on Islamic doctrine, these fake Amils do not follow Islam. In fact, they do not know anything about the religion or spiritual treatment of patients," he observed.
While fake Amils practice what is called "sifli amal" (satanic practices), the genuine ones base their work on "Rahmaniyat" or the spiritual teachings of Islam. He said 70 per cent of the "possessed" cases are fake as they are more to do with one's psychological condition. Only in 10 per cent of the cases do the Jinn (genie) create trouble. The genuine Amil drives away the spirits using the Quranic verses.
The Moulana plans to set up a college of spiritual sciences to drive away illiterates from the net of fake Amils and sorcerers.

Tuesday, 12 September 2006

Hyderabadi haleem: Medicinal properties of this Ramazan dish


September 12, 2006
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Sept 11: Haleem, the special Ramzan dish of Hyderabad known for its unique taste, has several medicinal properties that improve semen production and stimulate ovulation.
Studies by city Unani physicians and researchers show that Haleem and its variant Harees increase sperm count and promote sperm health and motility in men and assist in better ovulation in women. The special ingredients that go into the preparation of Haleem and Harees stimulate blood circulation to vital body organs thereby reducing sexual dysfunction and the problem of low sperm count.
"The unique feature of this Hyderabadi dish is that it contains both slow-digesting and fast-burning ingredients. The fibre content is also relatively high. The legumes that go into its production increase muscle strength and sexual potency. The ingredients are also rich in potassium and magnesium.
Whole grains like wheat, nuts, vegetables and dry fruits solve the problem of low sperm count, which has of late become a major health and reproductive problem in industrialised nations," says Dr Fazal Ahmad, senior Unani researcher.
Dr Fazal, who also edits Unani monthly Cure for All, points out that Haleem and Harees acquire the aphrodisiac properties primarily because of the five "Gs" that go into its preparation. "Gur (jaggery), gond (natural gum), ghost (meat), ghehoon (wheat) and ghee are special Unani prescriptions. A combination of all five or some of them increases sexual potency primarily by increasing the sperm count. Our research has shown that those who consume Haleem or Harees on regular basis are sexually more active than who don't," he says.
Many residents of Barkas locality in Hyderabad consume Harees at breakfast everyday and this is reflected on their good physique and better reproductive health.
According to senior Unani physician Dr Ilyas Khan, Haleem contains minerals selenium, folic acid, and zinc and vitamins A, C, and E. "It has been scientifically proved that foods rich in these compounds increase the sperm count and sperm motility, thus assisting in reproductive health. Studies have shown that Haleem and Harees increase blood circulation and assist in blood production. The system of Unani medicine says any food that increases blood circulation will promote sperm production," he says.
Hakeem Tariq Mehmood Chughtai in his research publication on the health benefits of Haleem and Harees points out that one should not take water immediately after consuming this special festival dish to derive maximum benefit from it. Since Haleem/Harees contains both "slow and fast digestion ingredients" the benefits will be more if the dish is consumed soon after breaking the day-long fast during Ramzan.

Thursday, 7 September 2006

Arab marriages: Jamia Nizamia declares as "sin" elderly Arabs marrying young Hyderabad girls

September 7, 2006
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Sept 6: In a significant move, the 130-year-old Jamia Nizamia has declared unscrupulous Arabs marrying young Indian Muslim girls as "gunahgar" (sinners) and liable to be punished under Shariah (Islamic jurisprudence).
"Nikah is for life and a person marrying a woman should have the niyat (intention) of keeping her for ever. If a person weds a woman with the idea of deserting her after enjoying her for a specific period, he becomes a sinner. He is answerable to the Almighty God in the Hereafter and society in this life. Under Islamic law such a person is liable for imprisonment or lashes," says Moulana Mufti Khaleel Ahmad, vice-chancellor of Jamia Nizamia, the premier Islamic institute of higher learning in the South.
Reacting sharply to the increasing menace of "bride bazar" in Hyderabad and other parts of the country, Mufti Khaleel Ahmad, who is also the chief mufti of the institute, told this correspondent in an "oral decree" (fatwa) that Islamic Shariah had made the institution of marriage sacred and no one had the right to make a "tamasha" (mockery) of it. If anyone makes a mockery of Nikah by marrying a woman just to have sex with her for certain period, he becomes a sinner. Nikah is not meant to loot a woman of her chastity or cheat her.
He said the Nikah would become null and void if a person makes known his intention to the Qazi at the time of wedding that he was for a temporary wedlock. The chief mufti said though the Nikah of old Arabs with young Indian girls was valid legally according to the Shariah, the unscrupulous bridegrooms were answerable to the Almighty God for deceiving women.
"The problem is we do not know the real intentions of the Arab bridegrooms. If we know we can stop them. Since the Qazi and the parents perform the marriage in good faith, they are not to be blamed. However, since Arab marriages have become rampant and increasingly turning out to be temporary and for lust, the Indian government should enact some rigid laws or impose conditions just like the Saudi and other Arab governments," Mufti Khaleel Ahmad pointed out.
He suggested that parents should think twice before giving their girls in marriage. "There should be a proper and thorough investigation into the antecedents of the Arab bridegrooms. They should verify whether they had permission from their respective governments to marry Indian girls," the Mufti noted.

Sunday, 3 September 2006

Arab marriages: Hyderabadi Muslim clergy launch campaign

September 3, 2006
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Sept 2: Faced with sharp criticism for their failure to contain ever-increasing menace of Arab marriages in the State, Muslim religious leaders have decided to launch a mass awareness campaign in the community through Friday sermons in mosques.
Moulvis and Muslim elders will henceforth exhort the devout in various mosques in the State, particularly twin cities, against marrying off their young daughters to foreign nationals without proper verification of their antecedents. The Friday sermons will also focus on social evils that have crept into the Muslim society including dowry, bride harassment and misuse of the provisions on divorce.
Information Minister Muhammad Ali Shabbir held discussions with some Muslim religious leaders in the wake of resurfacing of Arab marriages in old city last month. He has already roped in the Jamiat Ulema-e- Hindi into the campaign. Senior Islamic scholar Moulana Hameeduddin Aquil has also agreed to join the mass awareness movement to free the Muslim society from dowry, which is mainly responsible for Arab marriages. On an average three Arab marriages are performed in the city every day.
"At the government level we cannot do anything on religious matters since people will think it as an interference in their personal law. So we thought it better to involve senior religious leaders to fight against social evils," Shabbir told this correspondent.
The Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind has already completed its first round of 92 meetings all over the State including a couple of religious sermons in twin cities. "We accepted the idea mooted by the minister since it is good for the community. Besides taking up the campaign on the issue, we also demand that the government implement the conditions on Arab marriages prepared way back in 1994. It was agreed upon then that an Arab national willing to marry an Indian girl should deposit one lakh Riyals with the Indian government and produce no objection certificate as well as police antecedents from their respective governments," Jamiat State president Hafiz Peer Shabbir Ahmad pointed out.
Though the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board is not directly concerned with the issue, it has taken up a campaign against dowry and Arab marriages. Says its secretary Abdul Rahim Qureshi, "according to Islamic Shariah a man marrying woman should hold the intention of keeping the wedlock for life. It is sin on his part to marry with the intention of deserting or divorcing woman after a particular period. Under Shariah even the Qazi who performs such marriages is liable for punishment".
The Muslim Personal Law Board as also the Jamat-e-Islami Hindi have launched similar campaigns against social evils in Muslim society. Since most of the affected parents in case of Arab marriages are illiterate, Muslim organisations have decided to bring awareness through sermons rather than through print media.

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At Agha Khan Akademi in Kenya

Gateway to the Southern Hemisphere

Gateway to the Southern Hemisphere

Convention on Biodiversity

Convention on Biodiversity
Syed Akbar at the 11th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity