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ISLAM IN SOUTH AFRICA:
Story of a revert in South Africa

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About Muslims in South Africa

 

In reality the first ‘Malay' Muslims were mostly of Indonesian origin.

 

The western recorded history of so-called Cape Malays started at the time of the 1st colonization of the Cape by the Dutch East India Company.

The history of Muslims started before 1652 but it is mostly still unknown.

 

In 1652 when Jan Van Riebeek landed in Cape Town , it is believed that some individuals including a ship's doctor were Muslims. The history of the Malay Muslims in South Africa (so-called Cape Malays ) started at the time of the 1st colonization of the Cape by the Dutch East India Company. The first group of Muslims were brought to Cape Town in 1657. They were 12 slaves from Madagascar and Java (part of Indonesia ). The following year, 1658, it was a group of African Muslims from Angola . From that time numerous ships with slaves were brought regularly by the Dutch. The Cape soon became the centre of competition between the European countries interested in very profitable slave and spice trades. Due to this, the Cape earned for itself the title “Tavern of the Seas”.

 

The Muslims who were mostly political prisoners, and considered by the Dutch as undesirable, were deported from Batavia and other Dutch colonies. The number of Muslims increased tremendously during the 18th century, including many Muslims from India who came as indentured workers and businessmen with their families. Many of those Muslms who arrived here as contract workers, managed to save some money and began their own businesses in South Africa .

 

 

Traditional Food of Cape Malays

In general Malays were excellent cooks. Soon they rightfully gained a very good reputation in cooking and baking skills and were employed by the Dutch. In the process of learning the foreign recipes they added their traditional ingredients that greatly enhanced the Dutch's and others' national meals. Some Euro-Malay dishes and delicacies are very popular until today: for example, milk tarts are now so widely available and popular among all communities that it is almost a MUST in all shops, including even the biggest South African supermarkets.

Spices were the basis for trade between the East and the West and it influenced the food in South Africa . Indian finger-licking dishes and Malay skillfully prepared delicious meals and a variety of European recipes from all over the world makes Capetonian food very unique and suitable to any taste and any food/ health habits. In today's largest supermarkets, prestigious restaurants, McDonalds, Pizzas, KFC, Subways, as well as in regular cafes, small stores and even in outside stalls and mobile shops one can always find Halaal food. The food aspect plays an important role in Capetonian Muslim life and Muslims are tempted to eat out – as almost everywhere food is halaal and very tasty. Take-aways and fast delivery are also widely available. Even on Fridays after Juma Salaah tasty and inexpensive food is on sale – not only to gain fund-raising but also in order to give Muslim women an opportunity to come and gain knowledge by listening to inspirational lectures in the mosque instead of spending many hours in the kitchen on the sacred day of the week.

 

In some mosques musallees (people who regularly visit this particular mosque) – take turns in the opportunity to do a righteous deed – to provide Jumu'a food for sale as a fund-raising event.

Considering that such occasional revolving turns are infrequent, many ladies are freed of cooking on Fridays all year around except when it is their turn.

 

Moreover this food is prepared with an intention for donations, fund-raising for needy and poor, for educational needs in madressa in the mosque. And last but not least, to free other women's busy schedule and to avail them an opportunity to come to the mosque and to gain more knowledge and not to worry what her family will eat for lunch that day.

Muslims love dinner outings and Sunday lunches with their families. It is almost impossible to find a husband who won't spoil his wife with regular visits to local restaurants and/or cozy cafeterias.

Muslim women here are greatly respected and treated with high appreciation, and are usually provided by their husbands with a domestic worker – so that the wife can have more time f.or education, family and herself.

 

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Muslim Rituals and their Effect
on the Person's Health

Magomed Magomedov,
Ph.D. in Medical Sciences,
Assistant to the department of the Man's General Hygiene
and Ecology of the Daghestan State Medical Academy


Being aware of the importance assigned by Islam to the five-time-a-day offering of namaz, I felt with my whole heart that apart from indisputable spiritual effect it is bound to have the purely physical healing effect as well. Of course, its effect in terms of personal hygiene was obvious.

Islam, in fact, attributes great importance to the personal hygiene and cleanness. The Qur'an says that "God loves clean people". There is a Hadith saying: "Cleanness is one half of faith".

I conducted my research in this area while I was working for three years for the department of the non-medical therapy of the Daghestan Medical Academy under the supervision of the Head of the department, professor K.G. Mahmudov. It was then that I taught the students of the academy the physio-reflexotherapy and the Chinese reflexotherapy.

Human beings still remain an exciting object for a scientific study. So far we have a more or less clear picture only of his fleshy constituent and not of the spiritual one. The study of the latter has only just begun.

Presently we know that a man is a complex system of electromagnetic fields, meridians, biological rhythms and so on. Man's internal organs, in their turn, present a no less sophisticated bioenergetical whole; they all have indissoluble multi-channel bilateral connection with skin, which hosts special spots, whose functions resemble those of buttons on "control" and " recharge boards" responsible for particular organs. These spots are called biologically active spots (BAS).

Being a first-year student of the medical institute, I wrote a course paper on biorhythms, based on the book by A. I. Chizhevsky "The earthly echo of the solar storms", and other sources (Agajanyan and others).

Despite the fact that the existence of the energy body has been scientifically recognized both in the East and the West and that there appear devices for registering the biological fields activity of various organisms and meridians of the biologically active spots, in the Soviet Union this subject was regarded unworthy. Man was not supposed to have either soul or an energy body, because the opposite would contradict the materialistic (atheistic) ideology of those times.

After many years of searching I managed to collect a volume of literature on biorhythms, skin BAS, body meridians and so on; so I could begin my own research. After studying this area, the healing nature of the Muslim rituals became evident to me. More than that, unlike the methods of curing and preventing diseases practiced by untraditional medicine, usually inaccessible for the "mortals", Muslim rituals are more safe, universal, accessible and simple in performance; they also embrace the whole complex of curing treatment.

Reflexotherapy was known in China as far back as five thousand years ago. To become a doctor one had to take a 15-20 years' course of study. Doctors used their knowledge primarily for curing diseases and very rarely (exception was made for the royal family) for their prevention. Reflexotherapy, however, had a negative side: the patient was exposed to traumas since the doctors used cauterization and so on.

Until now, the methods and approaches of the reflexotherapy remained the same. Yet we cannot help admiring the simple and great way of how the same result is achieved in Islam. Sivak (toothpick), for example, massages numerous BASes in your mouth, while ablution stimulates and massages the BASes with water.

Ablution movements can be compared to the scrupulously mastered exercises of self-regulation and preventive treatment; they regulate proper circulation of energy in the body, its accumulation and expenditure. The majority of the most powerful BASes are being washed during the Muslin ritual.
It is not the doctor, who had studied for many years, who does it, but every Muslim by himself. Besides, praying five times a day obliges a Muslim to take the preventive measures against diseases beforehand.

The time of namaz coincides with the alternation of the daily biorhythms and periods of increased BAS activity. Certainly, only the All-Knowing Creator could make it all so great and simple.



As-Sivak


As-Sivak (or "al-arak" in Arabic) is a tree growing in Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan and some other countries, whose branches are usually cut for making small sticks ("misvak") of a particular length. Muslims use those sticks for brushing their teeth and massaging the gums before ablution or namaz and in some other cases.

The Prophet (peace be upon him!) defined using sivak as Sunna or a recommended action. It is said in the Hadith:
"Sivak cleans the mouth, and this pleases God. Each time Gabriel came to me, he taught me to use sivak. I was afraid that using sivak would become a Farz (obligation). If I were not afraid to burden my Umma (i.e. a Muslim community ), I would make it an obligation".

Not only sivak enriches us spiritually, it also helps to keep us healthy. American scientists have recently revealed the remarkable effect sivak produces on the mouth cavity: it kills up to 80% of bacteria after a single use. Sivak prevents caries, strengthens the gums, and its effect lasts for almost 48 hours. Tunis and other countries have already started production of the sivak-based toothpaste.

Apart from the purely hygienic effect, sivak also stimulates the biologically active spots (BAS), located in the mouth cavity between teeth and gums.

These spots are responsible for our 6 sense organs (ears, eyes, nose, tongue and gullet), three pair cells (wedge-shaped, upper-jaw, ethmoid), one single sinus (any), temporal lower-jaw joint, and 28 spinal nerves that regulate the functioning of practically all organs, muscles, and joints of the upper and lower extremities.
They are responsible for normal functioning of gall, urinal bladders, liver, kidneys, stomach, pancreas, spleen, lungs, heart, small & large intestines.

Massage of the mouth BAS with a sivak toothpick relieves pain and decreases neuro-reflex muscles tension resulting from osteochondros. Regular use of sivak, besides preventing diseases, controls the development of 70 of them and helps to preserve clear mind until the last breath. Thus a single sivak toothpick, used with faith in your heart and intention on your lips, can substitute a whole team of medical specialists.



Ablution Ritual


The importance of wudhu before namaz in terms of hygiene can be hardly denied. Before ablution Muslims psychologically prepare themselves for it and formulate an inward intention (niyat). Then they are ready to perform an ablution. They wash their faces, hands and arms, brush their heads with wet hands and wash their feet. In doing so they follow the mentioned order.

So, what is going on in man's organism during ablution; in what way it affects his health?

Chinese medicine singles out more than 700 biologically active spots on the human body. For their quick effect reflex therapy named the sixty-six drastic spots aggression spots, antique spots or prime-elements spots. Sixty-one of the drastic spots are located in the zones required for ablution before saying prayer. Other five are located between ankle and knee. Since it is desirable (Sunna) to wash the leg up to the knee, ablution becomes a kind of treatment complex which includes the hydromassage of the BAS, their thermal and physical stimulation.

In addition to that the order in which the spots are to be stimulated is no less important. Face ablution, apart from the purely refreshing effect on the thermal skin receptors, "recharges" such organs as intestines, stomach, bladder, has a positive effect on the nervous and reproduction systems and so on.

The BAS responsible for the osseous system, intestine, nervous system, lumbar area, stomach, pancreas, gall-bladder, thyroid gland, solar plexus and others are situated on the right leg. Thus ablution activates those systems and organs and improves their functioning.

The BAS responsible for the work of hypophysis, the brain organ that regulates the functioning of the endocrine gland and controls growing, are located on the left leg.

More than a hundred BAS are located in the cochlea area. They can be compared to the body's "control board". Ear ablution is Sunna (desirable).

The massage of the ear BAS harmonizes the work of almost all organs, decreases high blood pressure (due to the anti-hypertension and anti-allergic zones), and relieves tooth and throat pain.

It is also important how intensively you massage the BAS. During ablution Sunna suggests applying certain physical strength, which suits the physical state of a person. This has also scientifically grounded explanation.

Think only: a Muslim, who has taught another person how to perform ablution and namaz in two or three days (in a week maximum), has unconsciously passed him the knowledge and methods of the Chinese medicine. Traditionally, it would take, as we have already mentioned, fifteen or twenty years.

 

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