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The purity of food

By: Ayatullah Shaheed Sayyid Abdul Husain Dastghaib
Verily those who guard (themselves against evil) when an evil thought from Satan afflicts them, they become mindful (of God and get awakened) then lo! They see (aright). (Sura al-A’raaf, 7:201)
A summary of the discussions of the previous evenings is that the main purpose is to escape from the clutches of Satan and attain the protection of Allah (S.w.T.). The main plank for achieving this is taqwa or piety. Abstention from Satan is possible when a person implicitly follows the mandated practices and avoids Haram acts. If the person is careless about these things, then escape from Satan is impossible. His example will be like that of a person who is willfully combating with a wild animal but keeps crying that he wished to escape from its clutches.
Keep reiterating - ’audhu billahi min ash-shaitanir rajeem, “I seek refuge with Allah from the cursed satan”, but if you are unaware of the aspects of Isti’adha, and therefore are not complying with them, then the entire exercise will be futile.
Innal ladhina-ttaqu (Surely those who are God-conscious): The people who are in the process of escaping from sinful acts, and Satan tries to overwhelm them, they instantaneously busy themselves in the remembrance of Allah (S.w.T.). With the felicity (baraka) of this act, the curtains of thoughtlessness are raised from their eyes and they comprehend the evil schemes of Satan very clearly. Thus they are able to save themselves from the evil bait of Satan.
It is only the persons of piety who are able to save themselves from the effects of Satan. Otherwise, the evil influence of Satan is always around!
We have mentioned that piety is a very important tool concerning our food habits. Our food, or nutrition, is like the seed of plants. The type of food one takes nourishes good or satanic tendencies in a person. If the seed is satanic, then the body acquires evil tendencies. If a Haram morsel goes down the throat, then the control over the body will come into the hands of Satan. Till the time that morsel remains in the body, Satan too will occupy it.
It is mentioned in the traditions that eating one Haram morsel of food, the effects will remain in the body for forty days and, during this period, the prayers of the person may not be answered.

We are helpless and powerless
If someone gives a serious thought to the facts he would cry out (the verse of the Qur’an), “Amman yujeebul mudtarra… - Who is there to answer the distressed…” The foods we consume take us to darkness. There is no light in them that can give nourishment to our spirits. Our tongues too are influenced by these foods that we utter falsehoods and abusive language. We indulge in misguiding games and play. Backbiting has become our habit. All our limbs and organs have been exposed to the effects of Haram and unsavory (makrūh) foods. The body has therefore become insensitive to the instinct of remembrance of Allah (S.w.T.). The limbs and organs have thus turned into the playthings of Satan.

The purity or otherwise of food
One type of Haram food is najis (impure) food. If impure food goes down the throat, Satan will transmit his effect throughout the body.
Even babes in arms should not be fed with najis food. One should not think that a child is innocent and free from the incidence of the rules of Shari’ah. Remember, the adults are bound with the requirements of the Shari’ah and it is their duty to take care to nourish their children with pure food. When a child is brought up on najis food, he will develop negative and un-Islamic tendencies as he grows up. It is to be borne in minds that only animals can take Najis food.
The occasion when one is required to abstain even from Halal food is when he is fully sated and can eat no more at that moment. Over-eating is a prohibited and a satanic trait.

Identify the Haram morsel of food
A thing that comes to you in an illegitimate manner is Haram or prohibited. If one acquires bread by cheating someone or he has usurped it from someone, or has bought it from the proceeds of usury, or has consumed without the knowledge or permission of the rightful owner, then he has contravened the rules of Shari’ah. This is a Haram act.
The next in line of impure foods is the ‘murdaar’ or the meat of an animal that has not been slaughtered properly as required by the Shari’ah. This applies also to those animals eating of whose meat is permissible in the Islamic Shari’ah. For example, if a person, while slaughtering an animal, doesn’t intentionally say the words Bismillah before putting the knife to the throat of the animal, eating of such meat is prohibited. Allah (S.w.T.) says in the Holy Qur’an, Don’t eat that thing on which Allah (S.w.T.)’s name has not been uttered. (Sura al-An’aam, 6:121)
Therefore if a halal animal is slaughtered without saying Bismillah, consumption of such meat is forbidden.
Sayyid Tawus has recommended application of this verse to all foods, although the verse pertains only to animal foods. Sayyid Tawus says,” All the eatables that are prepared without taking the name of Allah (S.w.T.) before commencing the preparation, I don’t partake of! How can a mu’min eat the bread that has been cooked by the baker without taking the name of Allah (S.w.T.).”

The baker’s oven and the satanic tune
Times have changed in a funny way. If Sayyid Tawus was living today, he would recall the days when the baker would come to the oven and recite the Hadith al-Kisa and offer prayer before commencing his work.
Today the bread is baked listening to blaring music! They cook the bread accompanied by satanic music. We consume those morsels infused with satanic temperament!

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