Semiotics of Ramadan and your prostate health
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
“O you who believe! Fasting has been prescribed upon…” Quran 2:183
BRETHREN, the month of Ramadan is usually a month of discovery. It is one in which the worshipper realizes the angelic in his nature. al-Mawardi, the legist, once posits that what humanizes us is not essentially our passion or emotion. Rather it is our ability to do that which the angels in their celestial majesties usually do; it is our capability to ascend to the highest levels in spiritual vocation. Again, we are humans partly because we have the potentials to descend into that abyss in which even the animals would shudder to contemplate. Thus when Ramadan begins and we evacuate our earthly privations, when the month of fasting begins and you encounter, in refreshingly new ways, Islam in the Muslims, you remember the wisdom that informed the creation of the homo sapiens by the Almighty.
Put differently, Ramadan brings the lesson home to you that among the creatures of the Almighty it is only humans who can by themselves decide to forsake food, sexual relations and sleeping for His sake; it is humans who can laugh and cry all at the same time.
But my reference above to the realization of Islam in the Muslims in the month of Ramadan has a tinge of irony into it. It means among others that I am saying that before Ramadan, Islam is encountered in some Muslims in its absence. Before Ramadan, you could have come across Muslims who are complete anti-thesis of what Islam stands for. Before Ramadan, you could have had interface with some Muslims who negate the noble messages of the last testament (the Quran). Before Ramadan, you could have had issues with some Muslims whose Islam begins and ends in the names they bear.
These are subjects and characters whose faith in The Faithful (the Almighty) are transient and feeble; these are characters whose affiliation with the crescent usually occasion recriminations. Brethren, how else would you make sense of the oddity in the news item that around eighteen government vehicles were retrieved from a former governor who turned government properties to personal patrimonies which he could dispense without fear of retribution.
He was and is a Muslim. He is a Muslim whose conduct in public office runs against everything Prophet suffered 23 of deprivation to establish. The former governor in question would no doubt be fasting at this period. He probably would even go on lesser hajj to cap the season of spiritual rejuvenation up. But brethren, what type of Islam are we expected to practice? I ask: what type of Muslims are we supposed to be? Are we supposed to be Ramadan Muslims whose connection with his Creator only finds relevance in the month of self-abnegation? Or are we supposed to be Muslims whose practice of the faith would, in line with Quran 2 verse 208, recognize no separation between the sacred and the profane? Brethren, Is it possible to practice Islam in and by half: a version of Islam in the month of Ramadan and the other which invalidates the letters of the religion in our interactional and social lives?
Brethren, one important lesson this month is here to teach us is that to be a Muslim is to carry a moral burden; to be a Muslim is to make a difficult choice to be sane even if the world chooses to go gaga; to be decorous even when the world goes bananas. I look around the nation today, in this season of ‘change’, I loath to say that I have little to solace me away from being concerned about some characters our ‘change’ has foisted on us. I once mentioned in this column that when angels and the devils decide to share the same cloth, when angels and devils decide to dine on the same table together, what would happen thereafter is better left to imagination.
Brethren, of what use is my identification with a faith which provides no checks and balances on my conduct in public office? I thought Islam would disown that assumption that in the arena of politics that I could act the devil and hope to become a saint thereafter. At a public lecture the other day I reminded my audience that if a Muslim conducts himself in saintly manner during this month and revert to a life of indignities thereafter such a Muslim did not qualify to fast ab-initio. Remember the injunction to fast is addressed to the believers. The Almighty says: “O you who believe! Fasting has been prescribed upon you just as it was prescribed upon those before you, in order that you may gain taqwa” (Qur’an 2:183).
Thus fasting is for those who believe in the Unseen. It is for those who live and exist with the constant awareness that there are guardian angels who are taking records of their actions and inactions. It is for those who know that the month of Ramadan is nothing but a signifier the signified being the Omniscience and Omnipresence of the Creator of the heavens and earth. It is for those who acknowledge that Ramadan comes and goes; the Almighty does not go on leave. Brothers, fasting in this month is like going to a school. At the end of the month, we expect to receive a certificate- the certificate of taqwa. The latter features, among others, three elements-walking with the Almighty by keeping His boundaries, being contented with the little He has provided for you and constant preparation for our day of transition. This is what I refer to as the semiotics of the month of Ramadan.
During the past week, a brother complained about his sexual life; that he is having issues with his prostate gland. Aside from irritable feelings all around his phallus, he experiences a lot of discomfort down there all day long. That his libido has gone down does not need emphasis. I remember that a year or so ago I benefitted readers of Friday Sermon about a very simple but effective way through which this important gland could be kept healthy. I remember I called your attention to how a combination of water-melon, carrot and red grape could arrest this situation.
However today, and in the spirit of this season of Ramadan I wish to share with you another approach to combating prostrate malfunction. Brethren, get one or two carrots (depending on size), one cucumber and a very small quantity of cabbage. My teacher refers to them as the three ‘C’s. Cut them into small bits. Get a very small quantity of onion, locust beans (Iru in Yoruba language) one tomato and quick-fry them all with a very small quantity of Extra Virgin Oil. Just before you begin to eat the vegetable offer the usual prayer on the plate and through that invite divine blessing on the meal and then begin to consume. Do this regularly for a week in the first instance. I should add that this preparation is better taken at night. Experience has shown that you would thank the Almighty thereafter for His favours. I wish you the very best of this blessed month.
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