Harvest of Taqwa, Talbina, Angelic Level

Issue 999 » May 18, 2018 - Ramadan 3, 1439

Living The Quran

Harvest of Taqwa
Al-Baqara (The Cow) Sura 2: Verse 185 (partial)

"Ramadan is the (month) in which the Quran was revealed, as a guide to humankind, and with clear signs for guidance and the criterion to distinguish between right and wrong."

This blessed month was selected for fasting, we are told, for it was in this month that the revelation of the Quran, the book of guidance for humankind, began. It not only guides to the straight path and directs human reason but it also contains clear, strong and conclusive arguments that distinguish truth from falsehood — arguments and proofs that are valid and true for all time and place.

The Quran is not merely a collection of instructions — what to do and what to avoid — but is an inexhaustible treasure of wisdom and truth. As such it is more than enough for the guidance of human reason till the Last Hour. This great blessing deserves special thanksgiving on our part. For this act, Allah chose the month in which the Quran was revealed as the month of fasting. In this month we express our gratitude for the Quran, strive to overcome our desires, caprices and base temptations and seek closeness to Him. In this month we are to declare in words and actions, openly and secretly, that for us there is nothing greater or more important in this world than the commandment of our Sustainer and its fulfilment.

We can, upon reflection, easily understand that human reason is the greatest single gift of Allah to human beings. But the Quran is even a greater blessing than human reason, for it is through it alone that human reason can receive right guidance. Without its light, human reason despite all the scientific gadgets, telescopes and microscopes at its disposal, can only grope in the dark. It is only fitting and proper therefore that the month in which humankind received this special gift and blessing should be celebrated as a special month of thanksgiving to Allah, for extolling His greatness and glory for all times to come. For this thanksgiving and glorification of Allah, fasting is prescribed to foster in the human being the quality of taqwa — piety or God-consciousness — on which rests the entire fabric of din and Shariah. The Quran describes this taqwa as the primary condition for benefiting from it. The people who will truly benefit from it are those who are endowed with the true quality of taqwa or piety. Fasting is the special worship that encourages, produces and infuses the spirit of taqwa. The Quran is a message of hope and light and the month of Ramadan is the season in which the rich harvest of taqwa, the harvest of God-consciousness and piety, is reaped.

Compiled From:
"Pondering Over The Qur'an: Surah al-Fatiha and Surah al-Baqarah " - Amin Ahsan Islahi

Understanding The Prophet's Life


The Messenger (peace be upon him) ended his daily fast with dates and water followed by talbina which is a soup made from bran flour, sweetened with honey. Ayisha, the wife of the Messenger, recorded that she heard him say, "Talbina enlivens the innermost heart of the sick and lessens sorrow." [Bukhari]

Imam Bukhari explained that talbina is a light broth that resembles milk. Such basic, easily digestible, nutritional and sometimes meatless soup is filling and gives relief from stress and sorrow. The benefits of talbina come from the broth of barley flour which is cooked with its bran. The basic difference between this soup and that of the common barley broth is that in the latter, the barley is cooked whole and in talbina the barley is made farinaceous and this brings out is rich nutrients. In essence, when barley is cooked whole, its nutrients pass by the system and confer little of its benefits.

As for God's Messenger saying, "It enlivens the innermost heart," it denotes here the cardia of the stomach and it means that it comforts the body and softens the stomach. As for lessening the patient's sorrow, God knows best—for sorrow and grief cool the humors and weaken body defenses because one's spirit is leaning then towards the heart which is its natural abode. Drinking such broth warms up one's stomach, reanimates the body's defenses, and hence lessens the trauma brought about by one's sufferings. Others may say that the broth will lessen one's sufferings because it lifts the patient's spirits and because of refreshing substances some foods contain. It is also said that sorrow dries up one's body and particularly his stomach. Of course, lack of food has much to contribute to that. However, such hot broth will moisten the stomach, strengthen and nourish it and subsequently, the effects reach the heart. On the other hand, often, when under stress, the patient's stomach produces a higher level of gastric juices and accumulates phlegm and purulence; hence, taking the barley broth helps flush away such unnecessary accumulations as well as soothe the body, come to its defense, break the tension, balance the humors, raise the spirit, and help one to regain his poise.

Compiled From:
Ramadan: Motivating Believers To Action, "Prescribed Fasting and the Medicine of the Prophet" - Muhammad al-Akili


Angelic Level

The goal of Fasting is the acquisition of one of the qualities of God, Great and Glorious is He, namely steadfastness (samadiya), as well as following the example of the angels by abstaining as far as possible from the desires of the flesh, for they are immune to such passions. The human status is superior to that of the animals, since man is able by the light of reason to tame his lust; yet it is inferior to that of the angels, in that he is subject to carnality and put to the test in combat with its temptations.

Whenever man falls prey to lust, he sinks to the lowest of the low and joins the animal herd. Whenever he curbs his desires, he ascends to the highest of the high and attains the angelic level. The angels are near the presence of God, Great and Glorious is He, so those who follow their example and model themselves on their character will likewise draw near to God, Great and Glorious is He. To resemble one who is near is to be near. This nearness, however, is not spatial but qualitative.

Compiled From:
"Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worship" - Imam al-Ghazali