Skin Allergies

Jan 11 - Skin Allergies

By Amber Saleem

What is an Allergy?

An allergy is an abnormal response to a food, drug or something in our environment, which usually does not cause symptoms in most people.

The most common parts of the body, which can be affected by skin allergies, are the skin, nose, eyes, chest, intestines or ears.

A skin allergy has such symptoms as rash, itches, swelling, redness, pain, blister and scaling skin. The symptoms caused by allergy appear on skin suddenly or sometimes within half an hour. Some of the main causes of skin allergies include: certain foods, change in temperature, dust and smoke, jewellery, metals, chemical cosmetics, fragrance, insect bite and stings and certain fabrics.

Treatment of Skin Allergies

Try these home remedies for treating your skin allergies.

  • Apply a paste of sandalwood and lime juice on the affected areas; it will relieve you from itches.
  • Coconut oil is considered good in treating skin allergies; mix it with lime juice and apply on skin.
  • Add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to one glass of water and drink this to soothe the skin.


  • Make a paste of baking soda and water, apply on rashes and leave until completely dry. Baking soda dries the infection and takes the rashes away in a few days.
  • Mix equal quantity of mint leaves juice, lemon juice and honey. Drink thrice a day.
  • Wash and soak 2-3 dried figs in a glass of water overnight and take it as a morning drink. Similarly, before going to bed, have figs that have been put for soaking in the morning.
  • Aloe Vera is another very useful and favourite herb of the Prophet (sa). Apply Aloe Vera gel on the affected areas of the body. Aloe Vera gel contains all the natural ingredients needed for battling skin allergies.
  • Turmeric is a natural antibacterial agent that has been used for centuries. Combine turmeric with Aloe Vera or water in a paste, apply to the affected areas for at least 30 minutes, then rinse off with water. Turmeric will soothe rash and itching.

Preventing Allergies

  • Use fragrance-free personal hygiene products (shampoos, soaps, lotions, etc.).
  • If your skin is dry, use a good moisturizer. Dry skin tends to get skin allergies more often.
  • Read packed food labels carefully. Try to avoid certain foods, which are known to cause allergic reactions.
  • Change your bed linens and clothing to cotton/ natural materials.
  • Be careful in your choice of cosmetics, because some of them can contain chemicals that are harmful for sensitive skin.
  • Opt for floorings minus carpets or rugs as they harbour allergy.

A Unique Service

Jan 11 - A unique service

By Ferya Ilyas

Eliza (aka Bruise, her gay name) was weeping outside the dining hall in her prison. Her heavily tattooed-cum-pierced body was surrounded by prison officers and some of her side-kicks, when a female Muslim chaplain passed by. The Muslim chaplain, who has been a regular target of Eliza’s racist remarks and swear words, stopped at a distance and assured Eliza that she is around for any help needed. Eliza, surprisingly, agreed upon a chat with the chaplain, not knowing that it would change her life forever (and for better).

The chaplain always replied to Eliza’s hatred with goodness and that’s exactly what eventually brought Eliza towards Islam. She is now a totally changed person; in fact, she is a practicing Muslim, Alhumdulillah. Her acquaintances are overawed by the transformation she underwent – from being an evil and aggressive person to being kind, polite and friendly.

The Muslim prison chaplain Farhana Seema Qureshy has the honour of helping inmates of English origin and some British Africans held in the HMP prison, UK, to convert to Islam, including Eliza. She works as a chaplain in a female prison with inmates numbering two hundred, from age of nineteen upwards. Out of two hundred, eighteen are Muslims. The prison shelters prisoners from the UK, Germany, Brazil, Italy, Poland, Africa and the US.

Farhana, being an Imam at the prison, gives Dawah to the captives there and provides interested prisoners with books of knowledge, guidance and then Shahadah, as a part of her job. That being the case, Farhana doesn’t take the entire credit herself. “Some of these people became Muslims watching my relationship with other people in the prison, especially the Muslim prisoners. However, most of them watched Muslim prisoners praying, reading the Quran, fasting or experiencing their commitment to address their moral standing, their love and respect for others and so on. It was not always me who influenced them, but rather, others did,” says Farhana.

As a routine, Farhana holds two hours of Quranic circles every Friday. On Saturdays, she does Seerah. “I do faith counselling; I also provide a listening service, which is the most important service I can provide to the prisoners, and I do conflict resolving. I also offer

an advisory service for the new prisoners, as to how best to spend and deal with their sentence,” reveals Farhana. “These services are open to all prisoners,” she adds.

Attracting people towards your faith isn’t an easy task, but Farhana does it very well. Her approach is to follow Prophet Muhammad (saw), the best teacher in all matters, and propagate Islam the way he did. She explains: “He was always concerned that people should embrace Islam, but he never forced anyone towards it. His approach was, firstly, to recognise and understand whom he was dealing with, and then very gently, he would invite them to Islam. However, mostly our beloved Rasoolallah (saw) invited them by his actions.”

Her stint in the prison has made her realize that life in a jail, with its endless monotony, is one tough thing, and she feels that Muslims should visit prisons often, in order to support prisoners and their families. She also asks Muslims to help prisoners with resettlement, once they come out of the prison. As for Muslim converts, she says: “New Muslims are very lonely on their journey of Islam, and they need our support greatly.”

Farhana acknowledges the sacrifices made by her family during her chaplainship, especially her husband, who has been very supportive throughout. “Without my family and especially without my husband, I am nothing. This is all by the mercy of the Most Merciful,” she admits.

When asked to give a message to the people, she bluntly replies: “How can I give any message when ‘the Message’ has come and that is Islam?” She, however, adds: “We sincerely need to understand Islam, we need to serve it with sincerity, we need to stop looking at others with criticism, we have to stop judging others and we need to show compassion, patience and tolerance. We must do everything in our power to unite the Muslims and lead the world to good and peace. It must begin with us.”

Treating Sore Throat the Herbal Way

Jan 11 - Treating sore throat the Herbal way

By Amber Saleem

Home Remedies

  • Squeeze out the juice of a sweet pomegranate and cook it, until it gets thick. Use this thick liquid many times a day.
  • Chop dry ginger and mix with honey. Take this mixture in the morning and evening for seven days.
  • Pure honey is the most common cure for sore throat. It also provided resistance against germs.
  • The Prophet (sa) liked honey and recommended it for many diseases. Jabir Ibn Abdullah has narrated that he heard the Prophet (sa) saying: “If there is any healing in your medicines, then it is in cupping, a gulp of honey or branding with fire (cauterization) that suits the ailment, but I don’t like to be (cauterized) branded with fire.” (Bukhari)
  • When we have sore throat, we usually feel lethargic. In order to strengthen your body, take one tablespoon of honey every day.
  • You can also mix ¼ cup of vinegar with ¼ cup of honey and take one tablespoon six times in a day.
  • If in addition to sore throat you are suffering also from cough, take one tablespoon honey with 2-3 whole black peppers once a day.
  • For relieving pain in throat, chew 2-3 whole cloves to release the juice. This juice will take away the pain of throat for hours. Remember not to eat the cloves!
  • Apple cider vinegar also is a good remedy. Take one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar twice a day to relief throat pain.

Hot Beverages

Try these hot beverages for reducing swelling in throat:

1)      Honey is a great soother, which will relieve your throat irritation. Add one tablespoon of honey and one tablespoon of lemon juice in your tea.

2)      Boil some pomegranate rinds and drink as a tea. The pomegranate rind contains astringents, which will help your throat problem.


Gargling has amazing healing powers and is very useful for curing sore throat. Try these gargle tips:

1)       In half cup of water, mix ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp turmeric powder and ¼ tsp honey. Gargle with this water in the mornings and evenings.

2)       An age-old gargling recipe is to mix warm water and salt. Gargle with this saltwater.

The Grass is not Greener Anymore

Jan 11 - The grass is not Greener anymore

We frequently lament the precarious condition of educational institutes in Pakistan, be it commercialism, lack of checks and controls or dearth of trained resources. So the natural and logical move for many, who aspire for excellence in academics and whose income also supports their dreams, is usually to pursue their ambitions in the USA.

It all began, when I stumbled across a write-up about modern America’s present educational system, the ills plaguing it and the crumbling family unit in the backdrop of it all.

That write-up emphasized the significance of practicing the correct principles today in the American society. To change inside-out: initiating change by changing self, rather than trying to change others. Why? This is because times have changed dramatically. In the past, it was easier to raise a successful family outside-in, because society was an ally, a resource. People were surrounded by role-models, examples and mass media messages. Family-friendly laws and support systems helped sustain marriages and consequently created strong families.

Even when a family was facing troubles, there was still this supreme reinforcement of the whole idea of successful marriage and family life. Thus, you could essentially raise your family outside-in: influenced more by external surroundings than internal commitments. You were simply going with the tide that was backed by the values around you.

Today, in America, the stream has changed beyond expectations. The popular notion is family-fatal. The trends in the wider society over the past fifty to thirty years have shifted from pro-family to anti-family.

To understand the gravity of the situation, let’s take a look at the top disciplinary problems, according to public school teachers in America:

Problems in 1940 Problems in 1990
Talking out of turn Drug abuse
Chewing gum Alcohol abuse
Making noise Pregnancy
Running in the halls Suicide
Cutting in line Rape
Dress code infractions Robbery
Littering Assault

How the situation for American families has altered powerfully over the past thirty years:

  • Illegitimate birth rates have increased more than 400%.
  • The percentage of families headed by single parents has more than tripled.
  • The divorce rate has more than doubled.
  • Teenage suicide rate has increased more than 300%.
  • SAT scores among all students have dropped by 73 points.
  • Four million women are beaten each year by their partners.
  • ¼ of all adolescents contract a sexually transmitted disease, before they graduate from high school.

Sadly, one can clearly see that the age of innocence has long departed. My earnest plea to all parents in light of this rude awakening is that before you pack your kids off to the promised land for higher education, please think deeply what is at stake. If, today, an average school in America faces such serious behavioural challenges, one can only presume that universities must be providing a more liberal ground for further moral degradation. Academic achievements are not up for discussion here.

A career minus a character is just not worth anything. And if your character is what is in jeopardy, then your whole self-esteem is in danger. The grass used to be greener on the other side once. Now, it is famine stricken.

Great thinkers and counsellors are helping America re-discover the family values and basic human goodness by teaching them what has been revealed to Muslims 1400 years ago. How blessed we are to have the Quran in our hands. All we need to do is place it in our hearts. Then, Insha’Allah, maybe one day we can invite the Americans to learn from us and salvage their future generations, too.

Book Reviews (Family)


Nurturing Eeman in Children

Author: Dr. Aisha Hamdan

Pages: 223

Publisher: International Islamic Publishing House

Availability: Dawah Books, Phase 5, DHA, Karachi

One of the greatest gifts Allah (swt) has bestowed on us is our children. Along with the joys of parenthood, Allah (swt) has also placed on us the responsibility of raising our offspring as righteous Muslims and good human beings. In today’s world, where the family structure is falling apart, technology is stealing the time spent on human interaction, and morals and values are declining, the task of parenting is more challenging than ever before.

“Nurturing Eeman in Children” stands apart from the mainstream literature of parenting with its unique approach to parenting – above all the other aspects of religion, it emphasizes the importance of instilling in children a strong connection to their Creator (swt) and a love for the religion that He (swt) has chosen for them.

The book consists of three main parts: 1) The Foundation of Nurturing Eeman in Children, 2) Connecting Children to the Pillars of Eeman, 3) Developing an Islamic Personality and 4) Environmental Factors. Every part is subdivided into several chapters, which investigate each topic in greater detail, covering all the major aspects of Islam. So for instance, in part one we learn about Aqeedah, Eeman and Ihsan, the responsibility and basics of parenting, knowledge and education in Islam, and Fitrah (the innate nature of children). Part four focuses on the different factors of home, peer and community environments.

Dr. Hamdan describes the purpose of her book in the following way: “This is a call to teach our children how to be genuine believers rather than simply Muslims by name.” – By Laila Brence


“Aazad Bachay Aazad Waldain”

(Independent Children Independent Parents)

Author: Zahoor-uddin Khan

Pages: 304

Publisher: Islamic Research Academy, Karachi

Availability: Maarif-e-Islami, Federal B. Area, Karachi

Parenting is one subject on which most of the books, which are available, are highly theoretical in nature, with no practical advice as to how these theories can actually be implemented. This particular book has the distinction of going beyond impractical sermons to illustrate the art of conversing with children, so as to enable them to become independent and responsible.

The book begins with the dilemma of a mother of three, who cannot figure out why she is getting into daily fights with her eldest son, why her daughter is getting more insecure by the day, and why her youngest son seems to be clinging to her all the time.

Then, she receives an invitation to a lecture by a child psychologist. Impressed with the initial lectures, the attending parents invite the psychologist and her husband to start a regular workshop for parents. At these workshops, the parents realize the common errors they were making while conversing with their children, and how they can improve.

The book is divided into two main segments: “Children are only humans” and “Parents are human, too.” Some of the problems which are explained include: labeling children, judging children too easily, the right way to praise them and a foolproof way of correcting their mistakes. The format of the book (i.e., fiction) makes it a very interesting and lively read.

– By Hafsa Ahsan