Food for
the Soul
By Mujahed Khan
While food can comfort the body, there are ways
to have its blessings reach your soul. There
was a famous scholar who, with his wife, ran a
khanaqah (an in-house religious dormitory for
young boys). Here the students would spend long
hours memorizing Islamic religious texts and
laws along with learning good character and
piety. After a full day of study, the young boys
gathered for the evening meal. They would rush to
be seated to serve themselves only to be stopped
short. Before they could take their first bite, the
scholar would proclaim, “Know that what you eat
comes from the ground, and that when I sowed
the seeds for the crop, I was with wudu (spiritual
ablution) and when I picked the harvest from the
ground I was with wudu and when my wife pre-
pared the dish she was with wudu and now when
I place the dish before you, I am with wudu, so
now when it is time to consume the food please
be with wudu.”
Food is truly a blessing from God, and as His
servants we must be conscious of the food we
receive and show our gratitude by having the
proper etiquettes of eating. While most of us may
not always be with wudu when having a meal,
the least we can do is to begin with His gracious
name and finish the meal by thanking Him.
Mujahed Khan is
Assistant Editor of Halal Consumer Magazine
and Associate Instructor of Food Analysis and
Quality Assurance with the Food and Nutrition
Sciences Department at Dominican University
River Forest, IL.
from Omaha, Nebraska, whose husband recommended the soup. Ide-
ally, Anwer believes that anything her mother makes is comforting
because she doesn’t get to eat her cooking very often. That’s why she
needs comfort food that’s easily accessible.
Radwan believes that restaurant comfort foods are huge for people
in the United States whether it’s a burger and fries or a good steak
and potatoes. Many of her friends’ comfort foods come from diners
that they remember going to with their parents. They think diners
have comfort foods, good service and kind servers that pour the
extra coffee, she says.
Mouttaki agrees that for younger, on-the-go professionals, comfort
food can come with a check. “With healthier dining establishments
on the rise, you can get high quality meals that make you feel good
even if a loved one didn’t make it from scratch.”
Comfort foods can alleviate stress and cheer you up, but if you go
overboard with the extra calories and emotional eating, it can do
more harm than good. According to nutrition gurus, three out of
four times people overeat due to emotional reasons. Whether you
are sick, lonely or stressed, the insulin high that comes with eating
may result in a craving for foods rich in carbohydrates and sugar.
So while Mom’s heavy meal can make you feel good in the moment,
it can also leave you reaching for yet another helping — a move that
may do your health more harm than good.
That’s where eating comfort foods in moderation or having them
occasionally makes sense. There are other ways to find comfort
too — whether it’s taking up a sport or splurging on a massage or
pedicure. Those come with far fewer calories than comfort food
and can have similar therapeutic effects. After all, if a comfort
food ends up making you feel uncomfortable, it has defeated its
purpose altogether.
Kiran Ansari is a freelance writer with
bylines in 30+ publication. She is also founder and CEO of Up A Notch,
specializing in personalized party favors and gifts. Reach her at
Winter 2012
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