Caring for Elbows and Knees

Vol 6 - Issue 4 Caring for elbows and knees

The skin on the elbows and knees has fewer oil glands. This leads to building up of dead cells, which make these places dark and dry, especially during winters. Hence, knees and elbows should be looked after daily. Following are some fruitful tips for easy and regular care:

  1. Add sugar or salt to a shower gel for making a nice scrub to use on your knees and elbows daily.
  2. Moisturize your elbows and knees with coconut or olive oil.
  3. Prepare a paste of chickpea flour and lime juice. Apply it on your knees and elbows. Leave it on for about 10-15 minutes and wash off with water.
  4. Grind mint leaves and mix into it a few drops of lemon juice. Apply this paste to your elbows and leave it on for 10 minutes. Then, wash off with water.
  5. Rub your knees and elbows with a slice of lemon during a shower.
  6. Make a paste of a tablespoon of each: honey, milk, yoghurt and ground sesame seeds. Apply the paste to the affected areas before taking shower.
  7. Prepare a scrub with sandalwood and almond powders mixed with almond oil or milk. Massage it gently into the dark and affected areas. Wash it off with water after 10 minutes.

Treating Influenza the Herbal Way

Vol 6 - Issue 4 Treating InfluenzaBy Amber Saleem

Influenza, or flu, is caused by a virus that causes an upper respiratory infection. Influenza mainly affects the upper airways and can be transmitted easily in airborne droplets from the coughs and sneezes of infected people. However, the influenza virus is usually transmitted from person to person through direct contact.

The symptoms of influenza develop 24-48 hours after infection. Most common symptoms may include headache, fever, chills, dry cough, extreme tiredness, runny nose, sore throat, aches and pain.

For the sake of our health, it is necessary for us to know how to treat the flu. Natural herbal remedies in the light of the Quran and Ahadeeth can help comfort a person who has the flu.

“There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its treatment.” (Bukhari)

Olives have been mentioned seven times in the Quran, and their health benefits have been propounded in Prophetic medicine. The Prophet (sa) said “Eat the olive and massage it over your bodies, since it is a holy tree.” (At-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)

The Quran says: “Allah is the light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is as (if there were) a niche and within it a lamp, the lamp is in glass, the glass as it were a brilliant star, lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east (i.e. neither it gets sun-rays only in the morning) nor of the west (i.e. nor it gets sun-rays only in the afternoon, but it is exposed to the sun all day long), whose oil would almost glow forth (of itself) , though fire touched it. Light upon Light! Allah guides to His Light whom He wills. And Allah sets forth parables for mankind, and Allah is All-Knower of everything.” (An-Nur 24:35)

  • Taking one tablespoon of olive oil before sleep will cure your flu within a week, Insha’Allah.
  • Muslims have been using the black seed (Kalonji) for hundreds of years. However, many of us do not realize that the black seed is not only a prophetic herb, but it also holds a unique place in the medicine of the Prophet (sa). Black seed is mentioned along with many other natural cures in the Quran and Ahadeeth.
  • “Use the black seed, because it contains a cure for every type of ailment, except for death.” (At-Tirmidhi, Ahmad and Ibn Hibban)
  • For treatment of flu, a combination of black seed and olive oil has an effective impact. For this, add eleven tablespoons of olive oil in one tablespoon black seed powder, heat it, bring it to boil and then strain the oil. Placing one drop of this oil in the nostrils will relieve your flu.
  • Also, mix one teaspoon of black seed oil in a cup of hot water and add lemon and honey to it; drink it three times a day.
  • When it comes to natural remedies, honey is one of the best. Take one to two tablespoons of honey twice or thrice a day. The Prophet (sa) said: “You have cure in two things: honey and the Quran.” (Ibn Majah)
  • Drinking hot liquids is an extremely effective home remedy for treating the flu, whether it is tea or simple water. Add one tablespoon honey in hot water or in tea and take it at the time of Asr Salah for good result. Not only does it help the body replenish fluids, but also provides heat that aids the body’s response and helps clear nasal congestion.
  • Lemon juice also has healing properties. The juice of one lemon has 80% of vitamin C, which can help you boost your immune system. If you take it, when the flu has started, it will help shorten the length of your symptoms. For a sweeter taste, mix lemon juice with honey.

Uninvited Teaching

Vol 6 - Issue 4 Unvited TeachingAn excerpt from John Holt’s Learning All the Time.

As far as learning goes, the one advantage we have over children – and in some ways it’s a considerable advantage – is that we have been here longer. We know a lot more. We’ve had a lot more experience. We know where things are. We have road maps of the world; not just real road maps, but various mental road maps of the world around us.

What adults can do for children is to make more and more of that world and the people in it accessible and transparent to them. The key word is ‘access’: to people, places, experiences, the places where we work, other places we go – cities, countries, streets, buildings. We can also make available tools, books, records, toys and other resources. On the whole, kids are more interested in the things that adults really use than in the little things we buy, especially for them. I mean, anyone who has seen little kids in the kitchen knows that they would rather play with the pots and pans than anything made by “Lego” or name whoever you will.

We can also help children by answering their questions. However, all adults must be careful here, because we have a tendency when a child asks us a question, to answer far too much. “Aha,” we think, “now I have an opportunity to do some teaching,” and so we deliver a fifteen-minute thesis for an answer. There is a well-known story about a child in school, who was assigned to read a book on penguins and write a report on it. His book report had the usual stuff in the corner: name, grade, school, class, subject, etc., and then the title of the book and the author and finally the body of the report, which read as follows: “This book tells me more about the penguins than I want to know.”

Whenever a child asks questions, there’s a danger to, one might say, penguinize. I heard a similar story about a child, who asked her mother some question, and the mother was busy or distracted, or perhaps didn’t feel she knew enough, and said: “Why don’t you ask your father?” The child replied: “Well, I don’t want to know that much about it.” If children want more, they’ll ask for more. The best we can do is simply to answer the specific question or, if we don’t know the answer, say: “I don’t know, but maybe we can find it somewhere or so-and-so might know.”

Not only is it the case that uninvited teaching does not make learning, but – and this was even harder for me to learn – for the most part such teaching prevents learning. Now that’s a real shocker. Ninety-nine percent of the time, teaching that has not been asked for will not result in learning, but will impede learning. With a minimum observation, parents will find this confirmed all the time. Again and again, in letters and conversations, I hear from parents a story that goes as follows: “My little two-year-old (or three- or four-) was having some kind of problem with something the other day, and I went over to help her or him, and the child turned on me with rage and said: ‘Leave me alone. Don’t do it. Let me do it!’ The child got absolutely furious. What happened?” These poor, helpful, well-meaning mothers and fathers reel back from this assault and say: “Why does my child get so furious at me, when all I want to do is help?” Well, there is a reason, a very sensible reason.

Anytime, without being invited, without being asked, we try to teach something to somebody, we convey to that person, whether we know it or not, a double message. The first part of the message is: I am teaching you something important, but you’re not smart enough to see how important it is. Unless I teach you, you’d probably never bother to find out. The second message that uninvited teaching conveys to the other person is: What I’m teaching you is so difficult that, if I didn’t teach it to you, you couldn’t learn it.

This double message of distrust and contempt is very clearly understood by children, because they are extremely good at receiving emotional messages. It makes them furious. And why shouldn’t it? All uninvited teaching contains this message of distrust and contempt. Once I realized this, I found that I had to catch myself all the time. I have to catch the words right on the edge of my tongue. The problem is that we, human beings, like teaching. We have to restrain that impulse, that habit, that need to explain things to everybody… unless we are asked.

Worthy Reads

QURAT1001By S. Hamza Asad and Ofaira Ateeq Hussain

From the many books published on the Quran, the following two, no doubt, are some of the leading ones.

“Atlas of the Quran”

Compiled by: Dr. Shawqi Abu Khalil

Publisher: Darussalam

Number of pages: 392

Available at: Darussalam outlets (Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad)

Muslims, young and old, have always loved to read the stories of all the prophets mentioned in the Quran – Islamic stories always leave their impact on our imagination. But to capture the pictures in our mind, for the first time an untouched subject has emerged in the form of “Atlas of the Quran”.

“Atlas of the Quran” is an authentic compilation of the Quranic stories and information regarding the prophecies and the places where different prophets lived, ruled and died. The book contains tables, pictures, regions, routes and maps of all those places which are discussed in the Quran. It also embellishes the beauty of some of the major divine events with reference to their scientific facts and innovative historical and modern sources such as the flood during the times of Prophet Noah (as). Apart from this, almost all the stories and incidents of the twenty five prophets, mentioned in the Quran by name, are discussed in this book.

Compiled by Dr. Shawqi Abu Khalil, “Atlas of the Quran” is one of the greatest attempts ever to adumbrate the Islamic facts and the author of this book surely seems to have burnt the midnight oil to undertake such extensive research.

“Quran par Amal”

Written by: Summaiyah Ramadan

Translated by: Zaheer-ud-Deen Bhatti

Publisher: Manshurat

Number of pages: 157

Available at:

The book “Quran par Amal” is a translation of workshops conducted in Arabic by sister Summaiyah Ramadan in Kuwait. It has been translated into Urdu by Zaheer-ud-Deen Bhatti and the foreword is by Muslim Sajjad. Both the brothers have appreciated the fact that women are playing a very active role in the revival of our Deen.

The book is divided into four sections. The first section explores and explains how the Quran is a book of guidance, and how it should be applied to our daily lives. The second section deals with the prerequisites for bringing about personal change through the Quran. Eight prerequisites have been defined and explained.

The third section is the most interesting one. It contains the experiences of the ladies attending sister Summaiyah’s workshops. These workshops were not just a series of lectures. In each class, an Ayah of the Quran was selected, and ways of applying that particular Ayah in the daily lives of the women attending were discussed. The ladies would read and re-read the Ayah, memorize it and try to practice it in their homes for at least one week. Then they would come back and share their experiences. If they felt that, Alhumdulillah, they were able to bring about a change in themselves or their environment, they would select another Ayah for the next week. Otherwise, the same Ayah would continue for another week, until some results became visible.

The experiences related under fourteen topics are amazing and inspiring. They are classic examples of the Barakah and benefits of practicing the Quran. The problems are as simple as waking up for Fajr prayers to as complicated as distribution of inheritance.

All in all, this book is a very inspiring read for those who want to practice the teachings of the Quran in their daily lives.

The Message of Kalima-e-Tayyaba

Vol 6 - Issue 4 The message of kalima

The first time the Holy Prophet (sa) raised his voice of invitation to call Allah (swt) the only Lord, he was, in fact, not the only one practicing such an idea in the Arabian Peninsula. History contains names of many people, who already at that time, believed in the oneness of Allah (swt).

Waraqah Ibn Naufal, a relative of the Messenger (sa), is an example of such men in Makkah, though he had passed away when the Prophet (sa) publicly called people to Islam. One of the great poets of that period Labeed Ibn Rabia was another believer in the unity of Allah (swt). These men, who worshiped the only Lord (swt), had been passing their lives quite peacefully among their polytheist brethren. They were never questioned, as to why they had adopted an absolutely different belief from that of their brothers. History does not report even a single instance of torture or coercion of these people.

This atmosphere of peace and coexistence was brought to an end by the same inhabitants of Makkah, when Muhammad (sa) publicly called them to accept the truest invitation of ‘La Ilaha Ill-Allah.’

This is an interesting point to consider: why did the leaders of Makkah react so angrily to Muhammad (sa) upon his call, as compared to their behaviour of coexistence for the two aforementioned men? Their belief was the same (the unity of Allah (swt)) and all of them were inhabitants of Makkah.

Yet another contrast: before the Prophet (sa) declared himself as the preacher of Kalima-e-Tayyaba, Makkans had repeatedly been acknowledging the unquestionable honesty and truthfulness of Muhammad (sa), while later on their reaction was so aggressive that the Prophet (sa) was forced to leave his homeland.

This is the point where we should start thinking in-depth about the factors responsible for the two different attitudes of Makkah’s leaders.

The answer is quite simple. Activities of the first innocent group of persons were confined to themselves only. They never propagated their ideas to others. In fact, they themselves were afraid that the outside sinful environment could endanger their beliefs and extinguish the feeble light of their truth. This is why we see them pass most of their time in caves, far away from the temptations of this world.

As soon as Muhammad’s (sa) voice was raised, all the dominating classes of the city got alarmed, because they instantly realized that this small sentence (Kalima) meant that they would now have to submit to a higher authority and give up many things which were a part and parcel of their lives. After embracing this new belief, they would at once stand accountable before Allah (swt) for every act they did. They would not be free to do as they please but would be allowed to act only as Allah (swt) and His Messenger (sa) required them to act.

This was the principal difference that they realized as soon as the Kalima of ‘La Ilaha Ill-Allah Muhammad-ur-Rasoolullah’ was offered to them. Leaders and intellectuals of Makkah were, of course, very clever, so they did not delay in concluding that a new order of life is emerging from this small sentence – altogether different from what they had themselves developed so far. It was not simply a lip service, but a complete renovation of life.

Sensing this danger, they all united and rejected the call. They put all their force to create obstacles in the advancement of this call. First, they offered temptations and affections; then, used coercion and violence on the followers of the Prophet (sa).

Muslims were dragged on roads, tortured and even killed by the cruel lords of Makkah, only because they were found busy in dismantling the old order of their merciless leadership. The movement of Kalima-e-Tayyaba, however, could not be deterred, and Islam ultimately succeeded in enjoying the position of the greatest religion of the Arabian Peninsula.

The results came exactly the way the Quraish leaders had feared. Revolutionary changes occurred in the lives of those who embraced Islam. The ones who had no care for spilling of human blood earlier, trembled with fear even on the killing of a sparrow. Those, who used to bury their daughters alive with their own hands, started feeling proud about bringing them up.

Thieves and robbers sacrificed their properties for the sake of their Muslim brothers in an attempt to strengthen them financially. Their rulers became the actual servants of humanity, and their wealthy persons turned to be the squanderers of their own wealth.

They all submitted to Allah (swt) and got rid of the evils of the dark ages. They were affectionate, bore sacrifices and became committed well-wishers of the society. The atmosphere changed so much that those, who committed a sin, presented themselves before the Prophet (sa) for receiving the punishment.

Because of this result, the conduct of the leaders of Makkah towards the two categories of believers was absolutely different. The former men, having the belief in the oneness of Allah (swt), were pardoned on account of confining their beliefs to their own selves.

As against that, the Prophet (sa) and his companions took every effort to convey their message across the land by inviting people to unite around it. It was a challenge to the prevailing society, and a society based on evils does not ignore such a challenge. So this act provoked the Makkan polytheists commit violence to hinder its progress.

Now, this short account leaves us with the following questions: “What should be our role, as Muslims, in this world? Should we confine religion to ourselves only or should we commit to promoting it? Should we act as the former pious men acted, or should we enlighten the whole world with the light of Islam?” On the answer to these questions, rests the future of the world.

Kalima is not a lip service only. It is a Jihad. It guides us to rise and to correct the society, and it explains to us that the truth one has discovered should be conveyed further.

This is the commandment that was given to the Apostle of Allah (sa) by the Creator Himself: “O you Muhammad! Rise, warn and declare before the masses, the greatness of your Sustainer.” (Al-Muddaththir 71:1-3) It is, therefore, imperative that the Muslims of the world should rise and announce the call of Allah’s (swt) greatness. They should invite people to the Kalima, so that only Allah’s (swt) law and order is practiced throughout the world.

The writer is the Director, National Academy of Islamic Research, Karachi.

The Hidden Message

Vol 6 - Issue 4 The Hidden MessageBy Nida Fareed

I look up at the stars. I am amazed. The dark blanket of the sky, which scares most of us when it is a velvet black makes for an enchanting gaze for the eyes when jewelled by the glittering stars.

But it is not the beautiful sight that captivates me. I am overwhelmed by something else. The stars continue to twinkle even when no one is looking or praising them. The stars continue to sparkle even when the clouds blanket them. The stars continue to shine even when the rays of the sun overtake their meager shimmer. They don’t stop doing what they are created for. They are fulfilling their purpose and submitting to the will of Allah (swt) everlastingly.

In performing that purpose of sparkling, they not only beautify the darkness of the night, but also provide way to the lost travellers and drive away the Shaitan.

I remember the verse of the Quran, in which Allah (swt) says: “And indeed We have adorned the nearest heaven with lamps, and We have made such lamps (as) missiles to drive away the Shayatin (devils), and have prepared for them the torment of the blazing Fire.” (Al-Mulk 67:5)

Also, in another place, it is said: “And landmarks (signposts, etc., during the day) and by the stars (during the night), they (mankind) guide themselves.” (An-Nahl 16:16)

I think of how purposeful is everything created by Allah (swt). Then, I think about the purpose of my creation. What am I created for? What am I supposed to do? Why did Allah (swt) choose to bring me into this world?

And then I remember: “And I (Allah) created not the Jinns and humans except they should worship Me (Alone).” (Adh-Dhariyat 51:56)

If I am created for the purpose of submitting to the will of Allah (swt) and worshipping Him, and if I do it with all my heart, then the stars have a message for me.

The stars, while submitting to the will of Allah (swt), not only add value to themselves by becoming the jewel of the sky, but also make their unpleasant, dark surroundings spectacular. If I submit to the will of Allah (swt), I can be not only a gem myself, but I can turn my surroundings into beauty.

The stars, while submitting to the will of Allah (swt), are a source of help for the travellers lost on the obscure and path. I can also be a source of guidance and comfort for those on the wrong path, who are lost in the obscurity of the evils of the world, if I submit to the will of Allah (swt).

The stars, while submitting to the will of Allah (swt), drive away the Shayateen for the benefit of the mankind. If I submit to the will of Allah (swt), I can also counter the enemies of Islam for the benefit of the Ummah.

Allah (swt) has hidden messages for us not only in the stars that He has created, but in everything that He has shaped – the Sun, the moon, ants, bees, roads, trees, seas, mountains… everything. But it is for the eyes to search and not just to look, for the ears to listen and not just hear, and for the mind to ponder and not just accept unknowingly. Only then we will find the true path to success in this world and the Hereafter.

How to Make Less Last Longer

Vol 6 - Issue 4 Hpw to make less last longer

How does less become more? Look around your house. Have you forgotten grandma’s advice to reuse plastic bags, turn over shampoo bottles to use every last drop of shampoo, or remove the beautiful lace border from an old dress to be reused on a new one? The pace at which we have all adopted the spending philosophy has got us into the global financial mess that we now have to bear the burden of. In Pakistan, too, the frenzy of consumerism has left its dark mark. Class chasms have widened and the crime rate has shot up. To add to this, inflation, redundancy and falling incomes have left us high and dry.

So how exactly do people make less last longer? Aimen, a young wife, is very careful about spending money. Before spending on any item, she asks herself, whether she can live without it or not. Sometimes, she delays buying an item for two to three days just to find out, whether it’s really necessary. Her strategy works, because curtailing spending lets her save more in her current account at the bank.

Arifa, a grandmother from a middle class background, uses small pieces of cloth left over from stitched clothes to sew small clothes for her grandchildren. This allows her to use the cloth which would have otherwise gone to waste. It also lets her save money that would have been spent on children’s clothes, which they would soon outgrow.

In many families, elder children’s clothes and shoes are handed over to the younger ones. I know of a family where the older sister, who is married and whose husband likes her to wear new clothes frequently, gives away her old clothes to her sisters. The sisters then get the clothes altered and reuse them.

Planning and household budgeting also makes less money last longer. Dividing up the household income into different categories of expenditure and sticking to that right through the month also helps in curtailing expenses and increasing savings. Rahat, a teacher at a training institute, says that shopping from supermarkets where items can be bought in bulk for the entire month, goes a long way in reducing household expenses. The trip to the supermarket can also be turned into a less expensive family outing. Shopping at the local flea market, where items can be bought at a bargain, can also help to control the household bill.

Seeing our savings grow is sometimes difficult, because most women do not have the knowledge of or access to Halal investment options. Savings are usually invested in the so-called committees, where the accumulated pool of savings circulates amongst the participants of the committee. Undoubtedly, savings in committees do come to good use as Nazia, a home tutor, tells us. Recently, she used her savings pool to buy necessary items for her sister’s wedding. Women with greater access and knowledge save in a current account at the bank. Some go further and invest in a mutual fund, where they can actually see their money grow.

To find out more about Halal options for investment, spending, money saving tips and the best way to plan and make the household budget, read our upcoming articles. I pray that in these household tips you would find the secret formula that will help you to make less last longer.

To protect the privacy of the individuals mentioned in this article, their names have been changed.