Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam.
HAJJ, THE PILGRIMAGE TO THE KA'BA IN MAKKAH
Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to the Ancient House of worship, the Ka'ba, in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. Every year, nearly 2 million Muslims make the journey to the Ka'ba, to answer the call in the hopes of having their misdeeds and indiscretions forgiven.
Hajj is one of the 5 pillars of Islam, along with the Oath (that there is but one God, ALLAH, and that Muhammad is HIS Messenger), Salat (prayer), Zakat (and other categories for the needy), and Siyam (fasting during Ramadan). Hajj is required or every able Muslim once within their lifetime. To be considered able, one must be above the age of puberty, be capable of tolerating the physical burden and have sufficient funds to tolerate the financial burden, including providing for the family during their absence. Hajj is performed at a prescribed time of the year, during the month of Thul Hijjah, the 12th (last) month of the Hijra (Islamic) calendar.
ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, said to HIS Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), alaihis salaam:
"And proclaim the Pilgrimage among mankind; they will come to you on foot and (mounted) on every kind of camel, lean on account of journeys through deep and distant mountain highways; That they may witness the benefits (provided) for them, and celebrate the name of ALLAH, through the Days Appointed... (Al-Hajj: 27-28)
Hajj is a magnificent form of worship, combining, Salat, physical effort, long hours of meditation, supplication and Glorification of ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala. It is also a remembrance of the tests of Prophet Ibrahim, alaihis salaam, of his wife Hajar and his son Prophet Isma'eel (Ishmael), alaihis salaam. Hajj reminds us of our destiny, of the shortness of this worldly life and of how we will all leave this world with nothing but our recorded deeds. It will be those deeds which determine our final standing or position in the Hereafter.
Hajj can only be performed in Makkah and it offers Muslims the opportunity to visit the Ancient House, the House of ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, the first House constructed on earth for the purpose of worshipping ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala. It was originally built by Adam, alaihis salaam, and rebuilt by Ibrahim and Isma'eel, alaihim assalaam, on its original foundation. Many of the duties performed during Hajj are based on the supplications of Ibrahim, alaihis salaam, and the trials he, Isma'eel, and Hajar, alaihim assalaam, endured.
During Hajj, all men stand equal before ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, dressed only in two white cloths, wrapped around the body to maintain modesty and prevent exposure. Kings and business executives, farmers and bedouins, professionals and scholars, all engaged in dedicated worship, supplication and humbleness, hoping for acceptance by their Creator and the forgiveness only HE can grant.
Hajj is also the time of Eid-ul-Adha, sometimes referred to as the Holiday of Sacrifice, a reference to Prophet Ibrahim's, alaihis salaam, willingness to sacrifice his son Isma'eel, alaihis salaam, in obedience to ALLAH. Of course, this was a test from ALLAH and both father and son demonstrated their devotion and obedience without hesitation. A ram was sent down from Heaven to be sacrificed in place of the obedient son, Isma'eel, alaihis salaam. For more information on Eid-ul-Adha, click on this link.
Let us pray for safe passage for all who have been blessed with the gift of Hajj and that they perform their duties, receive forgiveness and return to their families, safely and with a refreshed outlook. Ameen. To those planning to perform Hajj, please do not forget all those who are suffering from war, famine, disease and emotional and spiritual strife as you supplicate ALLAH at 'Arafat and throughout the Hajj. For more information about Hajj and Eid-ul-Adha, contact IFANCA or your local Islamic Center or Masjid.
The US government announced that America's healthcare bill rose to $1.3 trillion in 2000. That is over 13% of GDP. (Reported by Reuters on January 8, 2002)
Men's Fitness magazine has declared Houston the nation's "Fattest City" for the second year in a row, followed by Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and Dallas. (Reported in Arab News)
China has detected a second batch of US frozen chicken infected with E Coli bacteria. (Reported in Arab News, January 11, 2002)
Brazilian food processor Sadia SA doubled profits in 2001 by increasing exports. With a third of the exports going to Muslim countries, Halal was a big consideration for Sadia. Sadia has a local Islamic agency certifying slaughter. As Roberto Banfi, Sadia's International Sales Director explained, "Our Islamic clients must have total confidence". Another example of good business marketing Halal products.
The German High Court has approved the Halal slaughter of animals. This is expected to lead to more local meat production as the Muslim community had to import most of their Halal meat. (Reported in the Islamic Republic News Agency, IRNA.)
$1.5 million in grants is available for Biotechnology Risk Assessment Research from the USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service and the Agriculture Research Service. Applications are due by February 15, 2002. Any US research or educational organization is eligible to submit an application. Check out http://www.reeusda.gov/1700/funding/brargp.htm for more information.
Coca Cola Mexico will go back to using sugar rather than high-fructose corn syrup to avoid a new tax on 'non-sugar use'. (Reported in South American Business Information on January 14, 2002.)
So far, Britain has killed more than 3 million sheep to curb the Foot-and-Mouth disease epidemic, but still not been declared disease-free.
It appears the dairy wars in Saudi Arabia may be over. The price of milk has increased 20% from the lows.
Over the years, garlic has been used as a remedy for disease and a flavoring for foods. Garlic is believed to have originated in Asia and has been a big part in Chinese and Egyptian societies. In fact, when Musa (Moses), alaihis salaam, led the Children of Israel out of Egypt, and the LORD provided them with manna and quails for nourishment, they asked Musa, alaihis salaam, to:
"And remember when you said: 'O Musa! We cannot endure one kind of food. So invoke your LORD for us to bring forth for us of what the earth grows, its herbs, its cucumbers, its garlic, its lentils, and its onions.' He said: 'Will you exchange that which is better for that which is lower? Go down to any town and you shall find what you want!' And they were covered with humiliation and misery, and they drew on themselves the wrath of ALLAH. That was because they went on rejecting the Signs of ALLAH and killed HIS Prophets without just cause. That was because they disobeyed and used to transgress the bounds (in their disobedience to ALLAH, i.e., commit crimes and sins)." (Al-Baqara: 61)
In the US, garlic consumption rose to three pounds per person in 1999. In fact, the consumption of garlic in the US has increased faster than any other vegetable over the last 10 years. To satisfy demand, 41000 acres of garlic are harvested annually, with a value of over $200 million. Most of the US harvest comes from California.
On a global basis, China is the worldís largest producer, with two thirds of the worldís garlic production. South Korea, India and the US each produce 5% or less.
Only one quarter of the US garlic production is sold fresh. The rest is dehydrated or sold as seed. Fresh garlic is manually harvested while the others are mechanically harvested.
Garlic is a source of vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus, selenium, amino acids and sulfur. In recent years, research has ascribed many health benefits to garlic. As a result, we are seeing more and more garlic use in the form of supplements. Garlic is used in a variety of foods including meat dishes, sauces, stews, soups, dressings, breads, and salsas. Garlic is used fresh, dehydrated, as a puree, as an oil or as garlic salt. The Western part of the US consumes more garlic, per person, than the rest of the nation.
Some of the health benefits that have been associated with garlic include antibiotic effects, antifungal effects, antiseptic properties, antioxidant effects, the ability to reduce LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol, the ability to reduce blood pressure and anticoagulant properties. Some studies indicate garlic consumption can reduce colon and stomach cancer and prevent coronary disease.
As more ethnic foods are being consumed these days, garlic is finding its way into the diet of most Americans. Go ahead and enjoy some garlic, but donít forget to brush your teeth after enjoying a garlic-enhanced meal! Information in this article was extracted from Garlic: Flavor of the Ages, Agriculture Outlook, June/July 2000 written by Gary Lucier and Biin-Hwan Lin.