Back to nature: Call from pulpit

J.S. Ifthekhar

Hyderabad: Was it a Friday sermon or a health talk? This question puzzled the congregation at Masjide Teenposh the other day.

Khutba-e-Juma or the Friday sermon is the occasion when Imams hold forth on topics of Islamic interest or things concerning the Muslim community. But the khateeb (sermon giver) at Teenposh Masjid in Nampally begged to differ. He devoted the entire sermon on the health impact of things we eat.

The worshippers were pleasantly surprised but they enjoyed the absorbing talk nevertheless. The khateeb, Maulana Obaid ur Rehman Athar, cautioned people about the pitfalls of eating adulterated and unwholesome food. “A believer has to take care of not just his faith but health as well. It is a religious obligation. You can worship properly only when you are fit and healthy,” he remarked.

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Maulana Obaid ur Rehman cited several Quranic verses and Hadiths (sayings of the Prophet) to underline the importance of a sound mind in a sound body. Islam, he said, batted for moderation in every aspect of life – not too much and not too little. “Eat and drink healthy and be not prodigal”, he said quoting the Quran.

But the products flooding the market are adulterated with a generous dose of chemicals. Be it cooking oil, mirch (red chilli) powder, cereals or other eatables – everything has a bit of adulterants which have harmful effects on one’s health.  The problem has aggravated with the practice of buying products off the shelf gaining currency. Convenience and ready-to-eat nature of food make them the first choice of many families. But not many are aware of the artificial ingredients and additives used to add colour and flavour to the food. The processed foods taste good but they lead to a variety of health problems. Referring to seizure of spurious spices by police sometime back, the Maulana advised people to exercise caution in things they buy. “Health is a blessing which we do not appreciate. But we will be questioned about it in the hereafter”, he said.

Stressing the importance of a healthy lifestyle, he said the body is a gift from God and one should not neglect or abuse it. “On the day of Judgement, Allah will ask about the various blessings he gave us in life. And it includes good health, food and drink. So taking care of health is our primary responsibility,” Maulana Obaid ur Rehman reminded.

The highpoint of the Friday sermon was the call to get ‘back to Nature’. A simple and natural lifestyle would help reap the benefits of physical well being and a stress free living. The Maulana is in the habit of giving sermons which are topical and relevant to the society as a whole.  On earlier occasions he waxed eloquent about the importance of eating organic food and the health hazards of Hyderabadi marriages where dinner is served late in the night.

So why not get back to nature? A simple life is not a step backward, surely.

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