Halal Consumer - Issue 27 - page 21

performing an obligatory religious act.
When carried out accurately, the move-
ments of prayer involve all the joints
and muscles of the body.
The fourth pillar of Islam, fasting in
Ramadan, also requires significant phys-
ical and mental strength. The fifth pillar
of Islam, Hajj, is arguably the most
physically challenging performance for
Muslims of all ages. Nevertheless, Hajj
is a remarkable journey of a lifetime
that every Muslim strives to experi-
ence at least once. For many Muslims,
Hajj comes in the later part of life. For
this reason, it is important to maintain
a healthy lifestyle throughout the year
and for years to come.
From a Sahih Muslim hadith we know
that Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be
Upon Him [PBUH]) said that a strong
believer is better than a weak believer.
In this hadith, the Prophet (PBUH)
was referring not only to the faith and
character of Muslims, but also to our
physical strength. As long as God has
bestowed upon us the blessing of health,
it is indeed our responsibility to appre-
ciate this blessing by attaining and
maintaining our strength in order to ful-
fill our duties as Muslims. In his paper
titled, “Physical Activity and Exercise:
An Islamic Perspective,” Dr. Omar
Hasan Kasule points out, “Physical
activity is mustahabb [encouraged] for
its physiological and health benefits.
It is wajib [duty] when it is required as
part of disease treatment. It is also mus-
tahabb [encouraged] as a recreation.”
Although some illnesses and ailments
are beyond our control, it is nonetheless
our duty to use whatever advantages we
do have to prevent diminished health.
Dr. Kasule continues, “Physical exer-
cise increases muscle and joint strength
and flexibility, increases physical fit-
ness, decreases body lipids, enhances
the efficiency and endurance of the
cardio-respiratory system, and lowers
mortality and morbidity from chronic
diseases such as coronary heart disease,
hypertension, diabetes, and colon cancer.”
Amena Syed, from Columbus, Ohio,
points to another benefit of exercise:
social interaction. She says, “When I
walk outside, I meet neighbors who I
never knew lived in my area. It is good
to talk with these people; we relish
the friendliness of our discussions as
we exchange news and happenings.”
Certainly, we live in a world where we
must get along with others in order to
benefit from their experiences and teach
them from ours.
The Prophet (PBUH) taught his
Companions to be active not only in daily
life, but to take on sports such as swim-
ming, archery, and horseback riding. At
the same time, he reminded them that
every action should include the remem-
brance of God. In another Sahih Muslim
Winter 2013
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