Every year, as Muslims, we try our hardest to be patient, eat well, pray regularly and make positive life changes during Ramadan. However, as the year progresses it often seems that we forget those promises to ourselves. Although it is not the Muslim new year, 2002 is a good time for Muslims to renew the resolutions they made during Ramadan. A list of resolutions should be written down so one can refer to them throughout the year. They should include spiritual, as well as physical and mental practices, for Allah encompasses all of our lives and not just the hours in which we pray. The following is a list of resolutions I often give consulting clients who ask me what they should do to better their spiritual, physical and mental lives:

1. Exercise:

“When My servants ask thee concerning Me, I am indeed close [to them]: I respond to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way,” (Qur’an 2:186)

As I perform more iridology readings and consultations, I am struck with the vitality I see in one certain group of people. This group includes smokers, people who eat junk food, people who have a family history of disease and people who have stressful lives. So what do they all have in common? Exercise! Their enthusiasm for joining a health club, swimming and sports teams, or their dedication to walking once a day, or taking a Tai Chi or Yoga class on a regular basis, has more than made up for their lack of dedication in other health areas. I do not recommend eating badly or smoking, for doing so will eventually catch up to you, but if you could change just ONE thing in your life it should be to exercise. Keep in mind that exercise can even be as simple as praying five times a day. Many people have compared the benefits of the Muslim prayer with those of yoga.

2. Drink Water:

“We made water essential for every life,” (Qur’an 21:30)

Very few people drink the doctor-recommended eight to ten cups of water a day. Most people drink only three cups of water a day or less. Even worse, many people cancel out what they do drink by drinking coffee, green tea or sodas which cause dehydration in the body. One can solve many health problems simply by drinking eight to ten glasses a day.

3. Give up Bad Habits:

The Prophet said, “Allah has forbidden you (1) to be undutiful to your mothers (2) to withhold (what you should give) or (3) demand (what you do not deserve), and (4) to bury your daughters alive. And Allah has disliked that (A) you talk too much about others (B), ask too many questions (in religion), or (C) waste your property,” (Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 73, Number 6).

Everyone seems to have a bad habit that harms his or her health. Drinking, smoking and overeating are the most popular. However, there are many other bad habits that are unhealthy as well, such as: drinking excess coffee or colas, eating junk food, harboring bad feelings for people, yelling, gossiping, stealing, lying, cheating, watching too much TV, gambling, and many others. Keep in mind that any activity that is forbidden in Islam is unhealthy. Also keep in mind that any activity that starts to become and addiction (such as television, coffee, a friend and even your job) is also unhealthy. Make a pledge to yourself to identify your addictions and stop them (in the case of alcohol or smoking) or at least reduce them to a healthier level (in the case of indulgent socializing, work and television).

4. Be Positive:

“Give Glad tidings to those who exercise patience when struck with adversity and say, ‘indeed we belong to God and to him is our return’ such ones receive blessings and Mercy of their lord, and such are the guided ones,” (Qur’an 2:155).

Start cultivating a positive attitude. There is a mountain of physical and medical evidence now to support that a positive attitude can work miracles. One reason could be that a positive attitude influences the thymus gland, which in turn strengthens the immune system.

5. Start Using Tonic Foods:

“Ye people, eat of what is on earth, lawful and wholesome,” (Qur’an 2:168).

Even if the rest of your diet is miserable, the addition of some simple “super foods” can supercharge it. Add some alfalfa sprouts to your salads often, use raw honey on your crackers or bread in the morning, eat sesame (found in Zaa’tar), sunflower and flax seeds regularly and start snacking on sheets of dried seaweed. All of the foods mentioned above contain a dense concentration of nutrients and serve the body in the same way vitamins do.

6. Sleep:

“Lo! your Lord is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days, then mounted He the Throne. He covereth the night with the day, which is in haste to follow it, and hath made the sun and the moon and the stars subservient by His command. His verily is all creation and commandment blessed be Allah, the Lord of the Worlds!” (Qur’an 7:54).

Allah created nighttime for a reason, but it is amazing how few people use that time to actually sleep. In fact, many research studies show that lack of sleep can exacerbate almost any health problem from hypoglycemia and diabetes to pain and mental illness. Even missing an hour of sleep on a regular basis can harm your health.

7. Pray More:

A man who was stung by a scorpion was brought to the Prophet [peace be upon him]. He said: Had he said the word: “I seek refuge in the perfect words of Allah from the evil of what He created, “he would not have been stung, or he said, “It would not have harmed him,” (Bukhari: Book 28, Number 3890).

“ And when I sicken, God heals me,” (26:80 Qur’an).

There are entire sects and groups of people who do not use conventional medicine at all, but, rather, use prayer as medicine. Even the Prophet himself used prayer alone as medicine in many instances. In addition, many new studies have found that prayer does have healing effects – for the prayer as well as the prayed for.

8. Keep Good Company:

“The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Allah has cursed wine, its drinker, its server, its seller, its buyer, its presser, the one for whom it is pressed, the one who conveys it, and the one to whom it is conveyed,” (Bukhari: Book 26, Number 3666).

In many cases in the Qur’an and Hadith it is mentioned that you do not actually have to perform a bad act to be affected by it. Muslims are encouraged to “hang out” with people they would like to emulate and not with those that are a bad influence on them. This influence, in fact, can come in many forms. Do you hang out with friends that drink, smoke or consume too much coffee? Does your office always have donuts available for breakfast and your local grocer always have goodies on sale? Start hanging out with people who have the good habits of eating well and start shopping in stores that offer healthier whole grain and organic foods. Reduce time spent with people or in places that are a bad influence.

9. Use Natural Healing:

“God never inflicts a disease unless he makes a cure for it…” (Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad related by Abu Hurairah)

The Prophet himself used natural healing in his community. In fact, Allah HAS created a cure for every disease – so go see a natural health care practitioner and get evaluated.

10. Laugh More, Yell Less:

Allah’s Apostle said, “The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger,” (Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 73, Number 135).

Laughing, instead of yelling, has enormous healing potential. Tell jokes to your children, listen to comedy on radio or television, buy comedy tapes, and read the comics in the newspaper. Laughing has been found to have therapeutic qualities, as illustrated by Robin Williams in the film “Patch Williams”. On the other hand, anger has been found to reduce immune system function.

By  Karima Burns