Sad news

Um Muhammad was the arabic teacher for my kids for 3 years.  They really grew to love her.  We would spent our Eid al-Adha together.  My husband would go with her husband and brothers to purchase the sheep for slaughter.  The men would all slaughter down in the courtyard, while the women waited upstairs having tea and sweets.  I grew to know Um Muhammad’s family.  About her married daughters, their marriages, problems, husbands, and pregnancies.  I met them, the older one, an English teacher, younger one a college student and hafitha of Quran.  Her son Muhammad, also a college student.  She shared her worries with me and I shared my troubles with her.  She always helped me with finding drivers, household stuff, and cleaning women.  She frequently brought by food; delicious beshamel, mashi, basbousa.   

Her son Muhammad was a 19 yr old engineering student.  She complained about how he drove her car (it frequently needed repair after he was done with it).  She would tell my oldest she’d like the two to marry.  As was typical with boys, especially only sons, he frequently got his way.  I found out in Ramadan that he has died, from complications with diabetes.  I can only imagine what Um Muhammad is feeling (I have tried to call but can’t reach her).  Ina lillah, wa ina ilahi raji’un.


Natural Medicines from the Sunnah

I’d been planning for a while to write about hijama, and just by chance I came across American Bedu’s blog with the same topic.  She also has a video depicting hijama, which I’ll steal post here, since it is very similar to what I do myself. 

There is such a wealth of natural medicine to be found in hadith.  Two remedies from the sunnah of Rasulullah, sallahu aleyhe wassalaam, I never tried til I lived in Egypt.  The first was Talbinah, a barley porridge.  From hadith:

Volume 7, Book 71, Number 593:
Narrated ‘Ursa: Aisha رضى الله عنها used to recommend At-Talbina for the sick and for such a person as grieved over a dead person. She used to say, “I heard Allah’s Apostle صلى الله عليه وسلم saying, ‘At-Talbina gives rest to the heart of the patient and makes it active and relieves some of his sorrow and grief.” [Bukhari]

Volume 7, Book 71, Number 594:
Narrated Hisham’s father:
Aisha رضى الله عنها used to recommend At-Talbina and used to say, “It is disliked (by the patient) although it is beneficial.” [Bukhari]

‘A’isha رضى الله عنها the wife of Allah’s Apostle صلى الله عليه وسلم said: When there was any bereavement in her family the women gathered there for condolence and they departed except the members of the family and some selected persons. She asked to prepare talbina in a small couldron and it was cooked and then tharid was prepared and it was poured over talbina, then she said: Eat it, for I heard Allah’s Messenger (may peade be upon him) as saying: Talbina gives comfort to the aggrieved heart and it lessens grief. [Muslim]

You can buy Talbinah prepackaged in ‘Attaba from Abu Fida’, or in bulk from almost any ‘atara.  LOL, the package claims it cures anything from cancer to diabetes.  It was good for helping me with stomach upsets and depression.  It’s interesting to note, barley is used mostly in the middle east, but other countries, such as Japan use it a good deal also.  In addition to using the flour to make porridge, you can buy hulled barley (sha’ir).   The cooked barley can be added to salads, soups.  You can actually drink the water used to boil it, mix it with milk and honey.  It’s very good for lowering high blood sugar.

The other cure from our Rasulullah, sallahu aleyhe wassalaam, is hijama, or cupping.  In case you don’t know, it involves applying a glass or plastic suction cup to a part of your body, then making a small cut to draw out the blood from that area.  I never even considered trying this in the States.  I just happened to visit a sister (Um Esa)  while she was having it done.  I had been having back pains (from a horridly soft mattress), so I arranged to have it done.  Cupping, like everything else, you might have to pay a pretty penny.  I think I was quoted, 3LE per cut.  If you are getting quite a few areas done, that adds up.  Alhamdulillah, I purchased my own equipment, and had a sister show me how to do it.  You can either find doctor who practices natural medicine, or just individuals who’ve learned how to do it.  It is wonderful for insomnia, depression, headaches, and a host of other maladies.  Dh still won’t let me do it on anyone else ( I did do cupping on my youngest back in Egypt when she was sick FOREVER with some sort of stomache virus.)  I still do it whenever I get a chance, especially when I have a headache I just can’t shake.

Allahu alim, there don’t appear to be specific hadith in regard to where to cup for particular illnesses.  The people who practiced this in Egypt seem to follow the ‘points’ established for acupunture.  There is actually a photocopied book you can purchase in some souks with ‘points’ for everything from arthritis to weight loss.  From my understanding, cupping works best if you do it fairly regularly.  But it does make you tired afterwards.  I only do it at night before bed.  It is REALLY relaxing.   

I found a few websites that discuss benefits of barley.


And here is the video depicting hijama.

Inspiring People

I met Um Esa at Markez Fajr.  She had a kind of dry sense of humor which she’d use it in the kitchen during our breaks.  I’d always been shy, but I realized if I wanted friends, I’d have to make some of the first moves.  I found out (as I’d guessed) that she was a Londoner of Bengali origin.  She’s come to Egypt a few months prior to us.  During the course of our conversations, I found her son, Esa, 8, at the time same age as my oldest, had memorized five juz of Quran.  Wow, I thought.  We’d always planned for our kids to memorize the entire Quran, but had assumed they wouldn’t start in earnest until they were older, say 12.  This changed the whole equation!  I quickly got hooked up with her teacher and started the kids on private Quran lessons.

It became a competition among the kids.  How much have you memorized?  Or, I’m on such and such juz or surah.  I remember being on an elevator with a sister from Kosovo, she told me with pride that her son, the same age as mind had memorized 10 azja.  My son, who had finished about 15 juz, said, “that’s all!” It got so that was the first question they’d ask a kid when they met, ‘what surah are you on?’  LOL, once they said it to their American cousins, who weren’t even memorizing the Quran!

Um Esa was who I’d go to to ask questions about the kids reviewing the surahs they’d memorized.  Or to find a new teacher or Quran school.  I tried her ideas, put Quran on while they are playing.  Have them listen to each other recite.  Um Esa would make charts to track their progress, and much of it she did alone, while her husband worked in Britian.  Her son finished his hifz last year, before his 11th birthday.  Her daughter was about 3/4’s finished and was trying to finish the same year.  Her kids recite beautifully mashallah.  I’m still waiting for my ‘moment’, when my oldest inshallah finishes.  She still has 4 azja remaining.  I don’t think I ever could have pushed her alone, dh primarily works with them and makes sure they are progessing and reviewing.