~ How Islam Changes My Life ~
by Yasmine - Raadia Coetzee
Christened, Yvette Ina Coetzee, born in the Republic of South Africa into a European, Christian family, today I am very happy and contented with the newfound love I have discovered in the Deen of Islam.
On the 21st of November 1999 Allah drew me unto Himself by revealing Himself to me through a dream. Since making a full commitment to serve Allah I have found true happiness and fulfillment in everything that I do. Every day is full of exciting moments and there is a lesson in every thing that happens to me.
I grew up in Paarl, a farming town outside Cape Town. After completing my schooling, I went to study in Cape Town and here I met Hajir Bowa, and her friendship has had a profound effect on my life.
Hajir included me in her family activities and always made me feel part of the family. I saw in her what I wanted to be, a woman totally dedicated to Allah, and committed to the upliftment of the community and who also maintained a balanced home life.
During the time of our friendship I still embarked on searching for more truth by studying other eastern religions. Buddhism, Hinduism and finally found that Islam had everything that I was truly searching for.
Hajir never forced anything on me, what I have learnt from her is to live by example, and it was that that finally brought me to a full and complete understanding of the Deen of Islam.
My family was aware of my interest in Islam, but did not think that I would go as far as accepting it as part of my life as there are many changes that have taken place in my life since coming into the deen.
My clothing became more conservative, longer skirts and long sleeve tops and also the wearing of a veil was quite an adaptation, but now I do not feel dressed if I am not covered. Also dressing in this manner makes me feel feminine as I dress to please my Creator and nobody else.
I was also privileged to attend lectures at the ICOSA Islamic College in Gatesville. It was run by Shcg Sadullha Khan 1997, and has helped me a great deal to understand more about the deen and to be of assistance to people who often come up to me to ask my questions about why I came into the deen of Islaam.
My advice to those who have come into the deen of Islam is to take baby steps. Once you have made a sincere commitment everything will come to you slowly but surely. At all times be yourself and allow Allah to work within and through you. There is also nobody else in the world quite like you and Allah calls all of us to serve Him in different ways. It is my desire to serve Allah in everything that I do and that my will must be His Will for me at all times.
Since February 1998 I have moved back to Paarl to help empower and uplift the poor previously disadvantaged people in the township of Mbekweni. I teach the local women advanced sewing skills, business and management skills. Our aim is to mould the women into leaders who strive to be entrepreneurs who will be self-sufficient and capable of running their own businesses successfully.
Inshallha by the year 2020 there will be 100 such projects in every previously disadvantaged township community across the Republic of South Africa. These projects will fall under the pilot project that I am currently running called Sibuyile, which is a Xhosa word meaning "we came out of the depression". The new satellites under Sibuyile will be called Siyazama "we are trying". A draft proposal has been prepared to present to our local Members of Parliament for the new 2000 "skills training budget". Being a Mulsima I would like to see at least one Muslim woman in each project, to serve as an example to the community.
At present am the only Muslima working in the township and the local community mistook me for a nun in the beginning and often stopped me and asked me to pray for them in the streets. There is a great feeling of love and respect between myself and the community and I regard the women at the center as my family.
In August 1999 the Muslim World League representative from the Head Office in South Africa made contact with me and visited the center. I have been privileged to meet several of the field workers since, and am looking forward to starting up a Dowa program for reverts in the township where I am working.
I would like to invite Muslima's from all over the world to consider giving a year of service in the path of dawa to assist with the projects we are planning.
Muslim Rituals and their Effect
on the Person's Health
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 (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 six 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.
The same spots regulate the functioning of such organs as gall and urinal bladders, liver, kidneys, stomach, pancreas, spleen, lungs, heart, small and 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.
The importance of ablution 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.