Ideal Muslimah- week two
Me, myself and I
The topic of week two focused on our physical and mental well-being. As a muslimah we need to focus on all aspects of ourselves in a holistic way insha Allah. If we imagine a flower with the centre being the spirutual aspect and four petals around it being, emotion,physical, mental health and social. It is essential that we pay attention to all of these aspects in order to be a healthy and proactive individual and the most important aspect is the spirutual as it is the central point.
In the first part of the session we were split into small groups and informed that we had to come up with an advert promoting either emotion, mental health or social. The advert for emotion concentrated on a pill for different emotions, for example, happy, sad, surprised and the message to take away was that we all experience different emotions and we should express our emotions intead of bottling things up. The advert for mental health depicted a scene where a mother with four children was stuggling with the pressure of looking after very disruptive children and a husband who was not very helpful. He did not offer her any help seeing that she was stuggling. Their message emphasised that mental health can affect anyone and we should not bottle it up but speak to a trustworthy person or seek proffessional help especially because mental health issues are treated as a taboo subject in the asian communities. The advert for social focused on the importance of socialising from time to time. It emphasised that those sisters who are not allowed to socialise or meet up with their friends would end up feeling depressed, while those who did socialise were happier and more cheerful (this advert did not promote excessive socialing or without the permission of husband/parents!).
After watching the brilliant acting by the sisters we discussed the adverts and why it is important to pay attention to these aspects of our lives. In relation to emotion we were informed that there are certain foods which makes us feel better, it can have a sooting effect on us. There are certain 'happy foods' that can affect our emotion such as talbina (barley) which is used in soups. In relation to mental health we discussed that it is better to address our issues and seek help from patience and prayer also it is allowed for us to release it to those who can help. Talking to someone close and trustworthy may lighten the burden or an organisation that deals with these issues.. It is also important to have a good relationship with our spouses so that we are able to speak to them about our feelings. Imam ath-Thahabi said that "too much worry sickens the body". If we don't release our worries to a good person then it can make us sick and depressed. So it is essential that we keep our mental health in check and seek help when it is necessary insha Allah.
Often it is misunderstood that people who are practising should not have any fun or have a social life but to have a social life is important. It is good to recharge our batteries and break the routine, it helps to freshen our minds and reduces our worries. There is a hadith to illustrate this point. Abu Juhaifah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) made a bond of brotherhood between Salman and Abud-Darda'. Salman paid a visit to Abud-Darda' and found Umm Darda' (his wife) dressed in shabby clothes and asked her why she was in that state. She replied: "Your brother Abud-Darda' is not interested in (the luxuries of) this world. In the meantime Abud-Darda' came in and prepared a meal for Salman. Salman requested Abud-Darda' to eat (with him) but Abud-Darda' said: "I am fasting.'' Salman said: "I am not going to eat unless you eat.'' So, Abud-Darda' ate (with Salman). When it was night and (a part of the night passed), Abud-Darda' got up (to offer the night prayer) but Salman asked him to sleep and Abud-Darda' slept. After some time Abud-Darda' again got up but Salman asked him to sleep. When it was the last hours of the night, Salman asked him to get up and both of them offered (Tahajjud) prayer. Then Salman told Abud-Darda': "You owe a duty to your Rubb, you owe a duty to your body; you owe a duty to your family; so you should give to every one his due. Abud-Darda' came to the Prophet (PBUH) and reported the whole story. Prophet (PBUH) said, "Salman is right".
We were then presented with a story about a professor who took a mayonnaise jar filled with golf balls to his students. He asked the students "Is this jar full?". they answered "yes". The professor then put some pebbles in the jar and asked his students whether the jar was full. The students started giggling and answered "yes". the professor then added some sand and again aked the same question. By now the students are laughing out loud and answer "yes". Then the professor adds some coffee and asks for the final time whether the jar is full. The students are laughing even louder by now and answer in the affirmitive. Then the proffessor offers his explanation. He said that the golf balls represent all the important things in life for example belief in God, our health and family. The pebbles represent other things such as our careers, money, house and material posessions and any other remaining things are represented by sand. Therefore, we should spend more time on the more important things in life and fit the other things around it. If the professor had put the sand and pebbles in first then the golf balls would not have fit in the jar. Therefore we need to get our priorities right and give more time and exert more effort on the most importanct aspects of our lives. The students were all eager to find out what coffee represented so the proffessor replied "You should always make time to have coffee with a friend".
This was a non-muslim profefessor so it is even more relevant for us as muslimahs to dedicate more of our time to our Lord because this is the purpose of our creation. If we worship Allah correctly and put our trust in Him then the other things will become easy to achieve and if it isn't achieved in the dunya we will be assured that Allah has something far superior for us in jannah inshaAllah.
The second story was about a woman who had everything she could possibly want but was depressed. The psychologist suggested to the woman imagine yourself as an apple barrel constantly givining out apples. We need to always replenish our apples when we are giving them out otherwise the barrel will be empty. We should not be like a candle which is burnt out, giving light to everyone else.
We need to have moderation in Islam. There is a time for this and a time for that. The prophet (saw) was a balanced individual and there were times when he joked, for example when an elderly lady came to him and asked whether there will be any old people in jannah. The prophet (saw) said jannah is not a place for old people but everyone in jannah will be young. There is a hadeeth which states that people will enter Paradise “aged thirty-three years” (narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2545.
In the second part of the session we had a presentation by two sisters who work as health advisors. In their presentation they offered advice about healthy eating and exercise. They talked about the different food groups and the amounts of food we should consume from each group (1-fruit and vegetables, 2-bread,cereal and potatoes, 3-meat, fish and alternative, 4-milk and dairy, 5-food containing fat and sugar). We should try to have five portions of fruits and vegetables each day, try to minimise our intake of fats and we are allowed to have 6 grams of salt each day. We also took part in an activity where we had to answer true or false questions about keeping healthy.
This session reinforeced the importance of having a healthy mind and body in order for us to be a balanced muslimah. Abu Hurayrah (radi Allahu ‘anh) reports that the Prophet (salalahu ‘alayhi wasalam) said: “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer" (Sahih Muslim).
We need to keep well in all aspects, not over-emphasing on one and neglecting another. Being moderate and balanced is a sign of well-being. Islam teaches us to be moderate and by following this principle we can achieve success insha Allah.
Allah knows best