by BERNAMA / pic by TMR FILE
KUALA LUMPUR – Muslims will observe Nuzul al-Quran tomorrow, the day when the Prophet Muhammad first received the revelation of the Holy Quran from the archangel Jibril.
The revelation of al-Quran was executed in two stages. In the first stage, the holy Quran, which was kept safely in Luh Mahfuz, was revealed completely to Baitul Izzah.
In the second stage, it was then sent down and revealed to Prophet Muhammad gradually in parts through Jibril for 23 years. During the period, the Prophet dictated the Quran to his companions, with the full scribes of the Quran completed on the 10th of Hijrah.
(Luh Mahfuz or ‘preserved/protected tablet’ is the place where the decrees of Allah are kept, in which everything that happened and that will happen is written, while Baitul Izzah (House of Might or Nobility) is the heaven of this world).
Nuzul (descent) of the Quran took place on Friday night, 17th Ramadan, 13 years before Prophet Muhammad migrated (hijrah) to Medina. The Prophet was visited by Jibril who revealed to him the beginnings of what would later become the Quran. The event took place in a small cave of Mount Hira’ (Jabal Hira’). The mountain is also known as Jabal Noor (the Mountain of Light).
Of significance this year, Muslims in Malaysia get to observe the holy month of Ramadan and Nuzul al-Quran without restrictions after two years in lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the Movement Control Order (MCO), standard operating procedures (SOP) were enforced to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Under the ‘new normal’ period, congregational prayers including standing shoulder to shoulder (saf) at mosques and suraus were not allowed.
However, Muslims can now heave a sigh of relief as the government has allowed Muslims to perform congregational prayers without physical distancing at all mosques and suraus from April 1, in line with the transition to the endemic phase.
IBRAH (LEARN LESSONS)
A senior lecturer at the Department of Syariah and Economics in the Academy of Islamic Studies of Universiti Malaya, Dr Mohd Shahid Mohd Noh said there is hikmah (wisdom) from this year’s Nuzul al-Quran, with lessons learned (ibrah) from the COVID-19 pandemic that struck the nation two years ago.
“The COVID-19 pandemic changed our lives dramatically. We had to adapt and adjust to a ‘new normal’ with various SOPs enforced under the MCO. However, we are gradually getting our lives back as in the pre-pandemic era,” he told Bernama recently.
He said taking lessons from the gradual revelation of the Quran, Muslims should not be complacent and let their guard down with the easing of restrictions by the government.
For instance, given that Ramadan bazaars are now allowed to operate, they should exercise self-restraint by not overspending and overindulging in food and delicacies during breaking of fast.
He said regrettably the spirit of Ramadan has been marred by the mentality among the community who made it ‘mandatory’ for them to visit the Ramadan bazaar to buy local delicacies to satisfy their craving and not out of necessity, hence resulting in wastage as the surplus food is not eaten after breaking their fast.
“This is corroborated by the Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Management Corporation (SWCorp)’s data for 2022 which shows that food waste is expected to increase to between 15 to 20 per cent during festive seasons such as Ramadan and Hari Raya compared to non-festive months, an increase of some 17,000 tonnes a day (or 44.5 per cent of the total solid wastes).
“Muslims should refrain from overindulgence during Ramadan as Islam teaches us to be moderate when fasting and breaking fast. Moderation is one of the defining characteristics of good character in Islam.
“Muslims should remember that fasting is an act of worship, a way to become more compassionate to those in need, and a chance to get close to Allah.
“They should take heed Allah’s warning against practising a wasteful lifestyle as stated in the Quran (Surah Al-Isra’ verse 27).], he said.
Food wastage is not only rampant among households due to overindulgence on food and delicacies at Ramadan bazaars, but also at hotels, with lavish breaking fast buffet spread as well as mosques which organise buka puasa activities for congregants.
“Being responsible citizens, it is our responsibility to act more proactively and minimise food wastage and while preparing and buying food, don’t overspend, buy only what you need,” advised Mohd Shahid.
MANAGE FOOD INTAKE
Meanwhile, a Consultant in Family Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Malaya Dr Nur Amani Natasha Ahmad Tajuddin, concurred with Mohd Shahid on overindulgence among Muslims during Ramadan who tend to focus on food that are detrimental to their health.
“I believe that a mindset change is needed to address this extravagant culture as it is not healthy to overindulge during breaking of fast. Health studies have shown that acute overeating within a short time can lead to indigestion, heartburn, drowsiness and laziness.
“What’s worse is too much sugary, salty, fatty and high cholesterol food can increase health risks such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and obesity,” she said.
However, Dr Nur Amani Natasha said, this does not mean that they should be denied of certain food that they crave for. Just eat reasonably and in moderation, she added.
“For example, if you buy cendol, you can tell the seller to reduce the santan (coconut milk) and sweet ingredients such as gula Melaka (palm sugar). Choose a healthier food such as non-oily soup, fish, beef or chicken that are roasted, as well as ulam (salad).
“Use the balanced plate model of ‘suku suku separuh’ (medium-sized plate) that is to fill half your plate with sources of fibre (vegetables and fruits), a quarter with protein (chicken, meat and fish) and a quarter with carbohydrates (rice).
“When breaking your fast, food intake should be managed in a healthy manner as it can keep the sugar level in your blood under control, or at the normal fasting blood sugar level (that is between 4-6 mmol/L). It also helps reduce the risks of complications such as kidney failure, damage to the nerves and reduced blood flow to your eyes, feet and hands,” she said.
BOOST THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Dr Nur Amani Natasha also said many health experts agree that fasting has many benefits to the body and improves mental clarity.
She said that fasting has proven to boost the immune system towards diseases. According to studies, after three days of fasting, the entire immune system will be regenerated.
As the immune system comprises largely of white blood cells, fasting encourages the body to recycle any old white blood cells which result in a healthier, more robust immune system. These cells are responsible for fighting off viral infections or bacteria, she added.
“In fact, many journals including from Malaysia, the United Kingdom and Iran, have written on the benefits of fasting. According to the reports, fasting stimulates neurons (cells within the nervous system), improves long-term memory retention and delays the ageing process.
“Fasting as well as performing tarawih prayers and reciting the al-Quran will also help to relax the mind and reduce stress, anxiety and depression, hence boosting individual productivity. This is the hidden hikmah for fasting during Ramadan which many are not aware of,” she added.
In addition, Dr Nur Amani Natasha said, Ramadan fasting can give the digestive system a break after 11 months of filling it will various types of food and beverages.
“Scientists have also shown that Ramadan fasting helps your body to favour the growth of beneficial bacteria that helps us to digest food,” she added.