Friday, July 24, 2009

Food for thought ...

"Protect yourself form the misfortunes of corrupt imaginings that distract you from rememberance. Be careful of your diet. It is better if your food be nourishing but devoid of animal fat. Beware of satiation and excessive hunger. Keep your constitution in balance ... "
- Ibn Arabi
"The seeker after truth should eat bread that is earned honestly by lawful means. He should eat just enough to help him to sustain himself and discharge his duties both towards his fellowmen and towards God. But he should never gratify himself to the maximum. The food must be simple."
- Muhammad al-Ghazzali
"The temptation of Adam was in eating, and this is also your temptation until the day of resurrection."
- Hasan of Basra

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Purification, Rejuvenation and Vitality through diet

"The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few mouthfulls, to keep him going. If he must do that (fill his stomach), then let him fill one third with food, one third with water, one third with air."

- Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, his family, and his companions

"When the belly is empty, the body becomes spirit; and when it is full, the spirit becomes body."


Today, nutrition experts - some certified, some self proclaimed - are repeating mantras not very different from the one: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants" (Michael Pollan).

And surprisingly, they have begun to make sense now; unlike the un-healthy, un-real (some are known to have undergone plastic surgery) "experts" who for too long have marketed all sorts of diets to achieve one basic goal: loose fat, build muscle, and look good at the expense of ones mind, spirit, and, in my opinion, body.

But, something has changed and changed for the good. Ori Hofmekler is an example of those who have realized the harm and destruction dead food, and I repeat dead food, brings to our minds, body, and spirit. More on dead food.

The core message that Ori, Michael and others like them want to spread is not much different from what the Prophets of the ancient delivered. The message is excellently summed up in following verses from the Quran:

"O Mankind: Eat of what is lawful and good on earth" 2:168
"Eat of the good things we have provided for your sustenance, but commit no excess therein" 20:81

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has with excellent perfection displayed to us the practical implications of the above Quranic injunctions - as is evident from his life and the saying stated at the very beginning of this post "It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few mouthfulls, to keep him going."

Speaking of which, the essence of this saying is echoed in Pavel Tsatsouline's endorsement of the Warrior Diet (created by Ori) "I refuse to graze all day, I have better things to do". And for those of you who don't know him - well just google him. He is a former Spetsnaz (special forces) and a fitness instructor. If eating little is good for him, then it ought to be good for you. After all how much energy do you need to move that mouse around?

The more I study the likes of Ori and Michael, the more I view documentaries like Food Inc. (, the more I realize that the Prophets of the past Moses, Jesus, and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them all) would have been at the forefront of the struggle to live healthily and simply if they had lived in our tumultous times.

The most challenging impediment in following the Prophetic dietary habits is our state of mind. We fear hunger, we fear muscle loss, we hesistate to change, we enjoy fast food, etc. But, all these fears are baseless. The Prophetic dietary habits are good for functional strength and shape, great for martial artists, individuals who need to think hard and fast, and those who spend their time in spiritual pursuits.

However, I must warn you, it is very bad for Arnold types who concentrate on making their bodies un-functional pieces of overgrown, ugly muscle.

Recently, I have begun to incorporate some elements from Ori's Warrior Diet and I have seen the beneficial effects of it on my level of alertness, mood, and overall energy, which I normally saw only during Ramadan.

It is unfortunate that I had to look elsewhere for guidance when it was given to me in the Sunnah. As Maulana Rumi has said:

"The minute I heard by first love story
I started looking for you,
not knowing
how blind I was

Lovers don't finally meet somewhere
They're in each other all along."

More to follow ...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Meanings of the names of Ali by Iqbal

"Ali, the Lion of God, subdued the body's clay
And transmuted this dark earth to gold.
Murtaza, by whose sword the splendor of Truth was revealed,
Is named Bu'Turab (father of earth) from his conquest of the body."

Which will be greater, my sin or your Mercy?

"It was Your Almighty Infinite Power that created me;
I've been nourished by your Love and help, given free:
if I am put on trial for a hundred years and still I sin,
which will be the greater, my sin or Your great Mercy?"
Translation of Hafiz

Friday, July 17, 2009

From sober ascetic to intoxicated lover ...

Some selections from Maulana Rumi

"I was the country’s sober ascetic, I used to teach from the pulpit –
but destiny made me one of Thy hand clapping Lovers"

- From the Divan translated by William Chittick.

"If you have lost heart in the Path of Love
Flee to me without delay
I am a fortress; invincible"

Translated by William Chittick

"Come, come again, whoever you are, come!
Heathen, fire worshipper or idolatrous, come!
Come even if you broke your penitence a hundred times,
Ours is the portal of hope, come as you are."

Not sure about this translation. Me thinks there is disagreement over whether these are Maulana's words. Check ... They discuss which translations are the best.

“Ways of worship are not to be ranked as better or worse than on another
Its all Praise its all right
Its not me who is glorified in acts of worship
It’s the worshippers! …

Forget phraseology
I want burning, burning…”

Do not know whose translation this is.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

If she be not so to me ...

If she be not so to me,
What care I how fair she be?

From Ben Jonson's poem, I think ...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Candle of Love

When the candle is no longer lit,
Emits smoke from its wick.
Likewise shall the flame of love don
A dress of black when I am gone.

An english translation of Mirza Ghalib that I read and memorized, in an instant, some 8 years ago.