Archive | August 7, 2011

Science Lends Weight to the Bright Days

Science Lends Weight to Ayyam ul Baydh


 …the Bright Days


As the Full Moon goes through these visible changes we are reminded of the moon as a projection of the human persona in life, once in the dark/hidden –  forget about others, how much of ourselves do we hide from our own selves either through self suppression, repression, or the lack of self love? Would it not be nice to share our light instead of hiding it?  Governing the social aspects of our lives, and the emotional we do have some serious spring cleaning to do, but not according to who we think we are, for as we know, perception only represents what goes on in our minds, not what is real! In Islam, the 13th, 14th, and 15th, of each  is month is known as Ayyam ul Baydh – the days of surpassing splendour. the bright days, when the moon is at its fullest, especially during the months of Rajab, Shaa’ban, and Ramadhan, which has a supplication that asks the Divine to be morally purified, and to be composed in the face of events.

Now from the most surprising of sources, unexpectantly the evidence is to be found in nature itself. Looking at all the wackiest stories from werewolves to lunacy, it took a team of  Minnesota ecologists to track the myths behind the phases of the moon.

The environment was in Tanzania where nature and man still share the same space and where attacks by lions in rural Tanzania varies. The local myth of the dangers of lions on the full moon have been challenged has the ecologists found that the night of the full moon is actually the safest night, and the nights immediately before the full moon is when the lions are the hungriest, and the evenings are in fact the darkest. One of the researchers Craig Packer commented:

“Thus, the full moon is not dangerous in itself but is instead a portent of the [evening] darkness [and attendant danger] to come.”

It is probably because of the visibility of the full moon, why people associate the danger with the full moon. The basis of the team’s findings was 474 victims between 1988 -2009. The timing of the attacks were collated, and the level of hungry lions at various points within the phases of the moon which involved data on the lions of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, talking to survivors, their families.

The attacks occur between 6.00 – 10.00pm where once the sunsets (in summer at 7.00pm), the darkness is heavy and sudden with twilight/maghrib being very short, and people are still active until 10.00pm. However, the dark days are few as the moon is on parade in the days before the full moon as lions get hungrier, and hungrier. However, a window of opportunity opens for the lions, as after the full moon, the moon takes longer to rise after sunset, with a 60% increase in attacks.

Ayyam ul Baydh

Falling after the first 10 days of mercy, and the beginning of the 2nd 10 days of forgiveness, Ayyam ul Baydh has other qualities:

“Whoso prays during the nights of Ayyam ul Baydh, in fact, stands at the door of superabundant favours, bounties and benefits available in these months.” Imam Jâ-far bin Muhammad As Saadiq (A.S.)

On the night of 13th, pray 2 Rakat:  In each rakat recite Sura-e-Fatiha, Sura-e-Yaseen and Suar-e-Mulk.

On the night of 14th, pray 4 Rakat in 2 sets of 2 rakat each exactly as above.

On the night of 15th, pray 6 Rakat in 3 sets of 2 rakat each exactly as above.  


On the night of 15th, recite Ziyarat of Imam Hussain(a.s.).  

Dua’as for 13, 14, 15 Rajab, Sha’ban, Ramadhan


Morrison, D. The Deadliest Time.”


Related Topics:

Longest Full Moon of 2011

Creating Art Out of Life

Creating Art Out of Life


By Hwaa Irfan*

Even when the opportunity arises, far too many people focus on the human instinct, rather than the human spirit. The impetus to survive is an instinct of all creation, but the gift of human spirit will seek more to life than allow itself to become engulfed in the monotony of putting food on the table.

The arts much underestimated in the needs of man, is one such sphere of human existence. It is not only for the artiste that the process of creativity is an all-important part of rising beyond the mundane; it is one of the few shared processes by which the artiste and the observer can benefit immensely.

A Norwegian study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, proves the point at hand.

A significant 50,000 men and women were assessed to see how satisfied they were with their lives. The results revealed that men and women who had a better state of mental health and lower levels of anxiety were those who actually participated in cultural activities: visiting exhibitions/museums, going to the theatre, painting, or even playing an instrument. As such, the same group had a better state of health, and rated lower for levels of anxiety, and depression than those participants who did not have a relationship with cultural activities.

A young January 25th Revolutionary would testify to the importance of art in her life. Working in the all-inspiring gallery off Houriya Square in Ma’adi Cairo, Mariam (not her real name) is an artist extraordinaire who lives her art. El-Cavelli Gallery is a den full of art made functional, with every piece serving a purpose that decorates the home, office, or the body. From the rich colours of the Bedouin to modern abstract design stained glass works, tapestry, pottery, jewellery, and furniture only gives some example of the treasures one’s eyes can behold.

For Mariam, her art not only translates into the clothes she wears, but into the intricate jewellery she makes, as if an unbroken line exists between her and the distant past. A more abstract modern design filters through her textile designs, and becomes prominent in her graphic work, but all in all quite professional for a graduate of Art.

As I waited for a custom-made rosewood tablia (a traditional table) to appear, an in-depth conversation evolved into a conversation of trust.

If one has ever met a January 25th Revolutionist, before even speaking one will pick up on an instant air dignity and humility rolled into one. They have a sense of purpose greater than their years, and wisdom that one would even trust one’s own life with, without compromise.

An artist, a teacher, and a psychologist by nature, Mariam studied art psychology as an intrinsic module of her degree. All of this blossomed into a 25-year old whose understanding of life, and how to live life was something to bow down to and respect. Through her art she realized many things, and how her art saved her from the complexities of life faced by her non-artistic friends. With a deep respect for the sensibilities of others across faiths, cultures, and temperaments she stood square in the center of her own being. She had no desire to be anyone else, a complex that affects many – Mariam passes this experience on through her teaching at the Art School that belongs to the gallery – one should observe the students as they leave full of inspiration, and a sense of the meaning of life which cannot be imitated.

This is the art of living, and the importance of the artistic experience. Any problems experienced can be processes through the various art forms. When I asked Mariam what was the difference between her artistic friends and non-artistic friends she reflected, and then replied:

“… there was no difference, but art gives the channel to unburden what is inside.”

This is more than implied by the research carried out by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

Mariam describes her home as a roof occupied with her art, with each piece representing a process of giving birth, and like any mother each a ‘child’ not to be separated from . Such a person whose art is a never-ending journey is art in the making.

As I waited for transport for myself and the tablia, I was uplifted and inspired with the scent of the mimosa tree drifting on a night air full of promises.


Related Topics:

Egypt’s Creative Talent: Vanishing with Education?

The Importance of the Creative Principle in Life

That Driving Passion

Reliving the Art of Communication

Awakening the Aesthetic Within

Reflection on Islamic Work Ethics

Reflection on Islamic Work Ethics II

Reflection on Islamic Work Ethics III

Reflection on Islamic Work Ethics IV

The Passion of the O’ud

Heavenly Signs: Dance of the Planets

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Barley (Hordeum Vulgare)

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Barley (Hordeum Vulgare)

By Hwaa Irfan

The earliest record of the cultivation of barley goes back to Ethiopia, 10,000 years, and the Middle East, 6,000 years ago. Roman athletes held barley in high regard because of the strength that it gave them. The fifth largest cultivated cereal crop in the world, which is a grass still bears some relation to the wild variety, Hordeum vulgare/spontaneum which still grows in Iran and Iraq today. Considered the most drought and saline tolerant of cereals, its wide ranging geographical distribution today has led to many varieties.

Viewed as the only vegetation on earth that can become a sole source of nutrition from birth to old age, Muslim scholars of Hadith (prophetic sayings) have understood barley to be very nutritious, beneficial in the alleviation of coughs and inflammation of the stomach lining, and to have the ability to expel toxins from the body, yet act as a good diuretic. At least 21 ahadith recommend satoo (powdered barley).

At-talbina  is a meal made from satoo, formed by adding milk and honey to the dried barley powder. Prophet Muhammed (SAW) recommended at-talbina for the sick and the grieving.

At-talbina gives rest to the heart of the patient and makes it active and relieves some of his sorrow and grief (Al-Bukhari 7: 71 #593).

Barley provides a sound solution to famine and war-stricken countries as it provides respite from malnutrition, and disease prevention. The variety ‘Rihane 03’ is produced by ICARDA and has been cultivated in Iraq, which poses a threat to the wild species.

Like most major crops grown in the U.S., barley originated in the Middle East, and like most Western countries barley is grown for animal feed with high quality barley reserved for the production of beer, and other alcoholic beverages. Pearl barley is the product of abrasive removal of the hull, the bran, and the embryo, which is also used to make barley flour , which is a far cry nutritionally from its natural self.

However, Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest feed barley importer.

Chemical Properties

The phytochemical properties of barley as one can imagine varies widely depending on the variety and processing. In the time of Prophet Muhammed (SAW) Hazim asked Sahl:

“Did you use white flour during the time of the prophet?” Sahl replied, “No.” Hazim then asked: “ Did you used to sift barley flour?” Sahl replied, “No, but we used to blow off the husk (off the barley)” (Al-Bukhari 7: 65 #321)

The phytochemical properties include:

  • β -glucan (with embryo) – barley flour
  • Alkylresorcinols  (with hull)
  • Amylose
  • Arabinoxylans
  • Dextrin
  • Galactose
  • Glucose
  • Hemicellulose
  • Lysine
  • Maltose
  • Mannose
  • Pentosans – barley flour
  • Superoxide dismutase
  • Tocopherols  (with hull)
  • Tocol
  • Uronic acid
  • Xylose


Plentiful in dietary fibre, barley provides the necessary bulk that improves the function of the intestines to the extent that it increases the time frame of processing faecal matter to the point of elimination.  The friendly bacteria of the large intestines ferment the insoluble β –glucan converting it to a key source of energy for the cells of the large intestines, thus maintaining a healthy colon, liver, and muscles. β –glucan also helps to lower bad cholesterol. However, two-thirds of plant cellulose is in the husk, which is shed when milled.

Superoxide dismutase is a powerful antioxidant that protects the cells against cell death – disease causing free radicals that destroy healthy cells.

Dr. Howard Lutz of the Institute of Preventative Medicine, Washington found barley to be:

“… the most incredible product of this decade. It improves stamina, sexual energy, clarity of thought and reduces addiction to things that are bad for you.”

Nutritional Content

  • Calcium
  • Choline
  • Copper
  • Betaine
  • Fluoride
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Thiamin
  • Manganese
  • Magnesium
  • Niacin
  • Omega-3 fatty acid
  • Omega-6 fatty acid
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Riboflavin
  • Selenium
  • Sodium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B₆
  • Vitamin B₁₂
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Zinc

Dr, Yoshihide Hagiwara, plant geneticist at the Office of Science and Technology and Japan Food Analysis Centre researched 150 varieties of barley over a 15 year period. Hagiwara found the high organic sodium content maintains blood calcium in solution form preventing calcium deposits in the joints. It also replaces the organic sodium of the stomach lining which aids digestion by improving the hydrochloric acid in the stomach. As a remedy for indigestion, diarrhoea, and inflammatory bowel the benefit from barley comes from the grain itself when the husk is removed.

In traditional Chinese herbal medicine, the dried or germinated shoots of hordeum vulgare/spontaneum  improves poor digestion as the result of a weak spleen,abdomen, anorecia, and abdominal abstention.

Biologist Yasno Hotta of the University of California, identified P4D1 in barley which has a strong action on human DNA. P4D1 suppresses and cures cell death, delays aging, and cures pancreatitis, stomatitis (inflammation of the oral cavity), dermatitis, lacerations of the stomach and duodenum.  Dr. Hagiwara also found that DNA repaired itself when barley juice is added.

The high chlorophyll content of barley neutralizes and removes toxins from the body, and experiments demonstrate that the chlorophyll in barley is similar to human haemoglobin. Niacin is reduces bad cholesterol (LDL), clumping of blood platelets thus reducing blood clots.


Combined with hawthorn fruit, , barley stops milk secretions and painful breasts, so it is not recommended for lactating women. It is also not suitable for pregnant women as it promotes contractions, but is beneficial in the birthing process. It is not suitable for those who have a gluten allergy.


Barley has a strong nutty flavour, and facilitates what the mouth was designed to do, chew! It should be stored in a tightly concealed container, preferably glass, and kept in a cool dry place.

Like all grains remove any dirt or debris and rinse before cooking. Add one part barley to three and a half parts boiling water or broth. After the liquid has returned to a boil, turn down the heat, cover and simmer. Pearled barley should be simmered for about one hour, while hulled barley should be cooked for about 90 minutes.

Instead of consuming questionable wheat products, try replacing wheat with barley. Drinking barley water cleanses the skin, which can be made by using 3 tablespoons of barley boiled in 3 cups of water for one hour, strain, cool, and add honey or orange juice to make it more palatable. Added to diluted cow’s milk, provides good nutrition for the young.

Barley Soup

–        1 cup of dried barley

–        ½ cup of dried lentils

–        6 cups of water

–        3 small diced onions

–        2 tablespoons of olive oil

–        1 tsp. of turmeric

–        ½ ground black pepper

–        1 cup of cooked chickpeas

Fry onions in hot olive oil until golden brown. Add all other ingredients except for chickpeas and bring to the boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 1 – 1 ½ hours stirring occasionally. Add chickpeas near the end of cooking time.

“ ‘Abdullah b. Abi Aufa reported: We were with the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) on a journey during the month of Ramadan. When the sun had sunk he said: So and so, get down (from your ride) and prepare the meal of parched barley for us. He said: Messenger of Allah, still (there is light of) day. He (the Holy Prophet) said: Get down and prepare meal of parched barley for us. So he got down and prepared the meal of parched barley and offered him, and the apostle of Allah (may peace be upon him) drank that (liquid meal). He then told with the gesture of his hand that when the sun sank from that side and the night appeared from that side, then the observer of the fast should break it.”  (Muslim #006, Ahadith #2422)

In balance He gave us everything we needed, but as for what we want!




Ovenell-Roy, K.H. “Variation in Chemical Composition and Nutritional Quality Among Barley Cultivars for Ruminants.”


Allah’s Medicine Chest: Lemons

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Garlic

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Oranges

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Almonds

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Shea Butter

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Turmeric (Curcuma Longa)

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Strawberries (Fragaria vesca)

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Dates (Phoenix dactylifera)

<a title=”Allah’s Medicine Chest:
 (Cucurbita Pepo)” href=”../2010/09/14/allah%e2%80%99s-medicine-chest-pumpkin-cucurbita-pepo/”>Allah’s Medicine Chest: Pumpkin (Cucurbita Pepo)

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Basil (Ocimum Basilicum)

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Figs (Ficus Carica)

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare)

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Pomegranate (Punica Granatum)

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Kiwifruit (Actinidia chinensis)

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Acai Berries (Euterpe oleracea)

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Beetroot (Beta vulgaris)

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Tomatoes

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum)

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Fava Beans (Vicia faba)

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Avocado (Persea Americana)

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus)

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Aubergines (Solanum melongena esculentum)

Allah’s Medicine Chest: Blueberries (Vaccinium corybosum)