Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Origin of Human Belief

“O mankind!  Be conscious of your Lord, who has created you from one soul (Adam), and out of it created its mate (Eve), and out of the two spread many men and women.  And remain conscious of God, in whose name you demand [your rights] from one another, and of these ties of kinship.  Verily, God is ever watchful over you!” (Quran 4:1)
Tawhid was the norm from the days of Adam until shirk emerged.  Allah says in the Qur'an:

Sahih International
Mankind was [of] one religion [before their deviation]; then Allah sent the prophets as bringers of good tidings and warners and sent down with them the Scripture in truth to judge between the people concerning that in which they differed. And none differed over the Scripture except those who were given it - after the clear proofs came to them - out of jealous animosity among themselves. And Allah guided those who believed to the truth concerning that over which they had differed, by His permission. And Allah guides whom He wills to a straight path.
Muhsin Khan
Mankind were one community and Allah sent Prophets with glad tidings and warnings, and with them He sent the Scripture in truth to judge between people in matters wherein they differed. And only those to whom (the Scripture) was given differed concerning it after clear proofs had come unto them through hatred, one to another. Then Allah by His Leave guided those who believed to the truth of that wherein they differed. And Allah guides whom He wills to a Straight Path.
"Mankind was one single nation, and Allah sent Messengers with glad tidings and warnings...(al Baqarah 2:213)

Thus a noble civilization is one which creates a suitable environment- political, social, economic, cultural and material-that will enable man to direct himself toward the worship of  God alone and to adhere strictly to His commandments in all his activities, unimpeded by the institutions of the society.
No matter how advanced a civilization may be in sciences, literature and arts; no matter how colorful its achievements in architecture, furniture, clothing and cuisine; no matter how far a civilization has advanced in material progress; in the Islamic View, it still remains "backward" and "deficient" so long as it falls short of creating an environment appropriate to the worship of God and the observance of His commandments as embodied in the Shari'ah.

Dates: Relief of Pain

It is a long-established custom among Muslim parents to put a piece of well-chewed date (or other available sweet fruit) in the mouth of a newborn baby.  Muslims do this following the practice of the Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, believing him to bee, as the Quran says, sent as a healing and a mercy to mankind.  We may infer from the way this custom originated that there is a virtue in it.  There is - complimentary to the virtue and pleasure of following the Sunnah (the practice of the Prophet) - placing a `sugary substance’ inside the mouth of a new-born baby dramatically reduces pain sensation and heart rate.
An interesting scientific medical study, published in the British Medical Journal (No. 6993, 10 June 1995), proved beyond any doubt the benefit of giving a new-born child sugar, in order to reduce the feeling of any painful procedure like heel pricking for a blood sample or before circumcision.
The study, entitled `The analgesic (pain killing) effect of sucrose in full term infants: a randomized controlled trial’, was done by Nora Haouari, Christopher Wood, Gillian Griffiths and Malcolm Levene in the post-natal ward in the Leeds General Infirmary in England.
60 healthy infants of gestational age 37-42 weeks and postnatal age of 1-6 days, were randomized to receive 2ml of one of the four solutions: 12.5% sucrose, 25% sucrose, 50% sucrose, and sterile water (control).
The first group of 30 babies received sugar syrup before a routine blood test (heel pricking, which is usually painful) done to detect jaundice.  The other 30 babies were given only sterile water as a control group.
Placing 2ml of a 25% or 50% sucrose solution on the tongue before pricking the heel significantly reduced the crying time, compared to babies who got water.  Also, their heart rate returned to normal more quickly.  The stronger sugar solution had the greater effect, crying being reduced further with increasing concentration of sucrose.  From which we may conclude that sucrose (sugar) placed on the tongue may bee a useful and safe form of analgesia for use with newborn infants.
Blass and Hoffmeyer also showed that 12% solution of inter-oral sucrose significantly reduced the duration of crying in new-born babies subjected to heel pricking or circumcision.  This study was reported in The Independent newspaper (Friday 9 June 1995) as well as in the British Medical Journal article.
The practice of the Prophet, upon him b piece, is recorded in the collections of his sayings and reports about him, of which the most revered are the two authentic collections of Al-Bukhari and Muslim:
Abu Buradah reported from Abu Musa, who said:
“I had a new-born baby; I took him to the Prophet Muhammad, who called him Ibrahim.  The Prophet chewed a date then he took it and rubbed the inside of the baby’s mouth with it.”
There are many other reported incidents like this one.
The date contains a very high percentage of sugar (70-80%); it has both fructose and glucose which have high calorific values, it is easily and quickly digestible, and very helpful to the brain.  The date contains 2.2% protein, vitamin A, vitamins B1, B2 ad nicotruic acid (against Pellagra); it has traces of minerals needed for the body such as potassium, sodium, calcium, iron, manganese, copper.  Potassium, of which percentage is very high, has been found to be very effective for cases of haemorrhage, such as the occasions of birth or circumcision.
We may note that the Sunnah also commends dates for the breaking of the fast in Ramadan.  Dates should be eaten, if available, before the sunset prayer - this is medically and nutritionally the best way and the Sunnah.
The great worth of dates is also indicated in a famous and beautiful passage of the Quran, in chapter named Maryam, verses 25-6:
“And shake towards you the trunk of the palm-tree and it will drop on you fresh ripe dates.  So eat and drink and be comforted.”
This was the prescription of God, the Creator, for the blessed Virgin Mary at the time of the birth of Jesus, the blessed Prophet of God.  It was a prescription to make the delivery easy and comfortable.
As the authors of the medical study referred to intend trying new sugary or sweet substances, we shall recommend that they try dates for the newborn for the relief of pain.
“We shall show them our signs on he furthest horizons and within themselves until it becomes clear to them that it is the truth.  Is it not sufficient that your Lord is witness over all things?” (Quran 41:53)