Islam and Daily Life: Review of Forgotten Soft Power of Islam

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mahmoud Reza Golshanpazhooh
Executive Editor of Iran Review

First – The results of a long-term study on daily habits of people living over 100 years were released recently. The research, which had been conducted in various parts of the world, recognized four habits as the most important in providing healthy life, which may be of use in the existing hodgepodge of domestic and international political developments.

Firstly, all people ageing over 100 years are quite active; that is, they are moving naturally. It means that they work a lot, do more manual jobs (such as mixing foodstuff), make less use of elevator and are engaged in gardening and similar activities.

Secondly, they have a plan for their lives and hold correct views of life. When facing a difficulty, they pray singly or with others to calm down their hearts. They do not believe in retirement and keep feeling useful by continuing those activities that give them energy. (Interestingly, they say two most dangerous days for humans are the day that they are born and mortality risk is high, and the day that they are retired!)

Thirdly, they have good relationship with their families and society. They support one another and choose their friends painstakingly. They do not mix with people who constantly complaint about the existing situation.

Fourthly, they eat with awareness. This means that they eat more foods, vegetables and fruits that grow out of the Earth. They also keep their diet balanced and do not allow for more than 80 percent of their stomachs to be filled in each meal. They try to stop eating before they are fully sated. This is the main point that this article is going to make.

Second – They told us since childhood in religious teaching books of junior and high schools that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) advised his followers not to start eating before they are really hungry and to stop eating before they are fully sated.

Third – The Wise Luqman after him a chapter of Quran has been named to show his value in the eyes of God, told his son to eat the best foods and drinks and to sleep in the best kinds of beds. Seeing his son amazed, as Luqman regularly advised him to be careless about mundane pleasures, he continued, “If you waited until you were really Hungary, even the simplest foods would taste the best and if your body were tired as a result of daily toil, every place you chose to sleep would make an excellent bed.”

Fourth – There are countless number of such wise recommendations in Islam’s teachings. Our understanding of Islam, however, does not reflect this aspect of the religion. Following 9/11 terror attacks, part of radical Western media tried to show that extremist and bigoted Muslims stood for the whole Islam. Muslims, on the other hand, seem to be only able of defending themselves at a time of attack. The best they can do is to repel an attack by counterattack. There is no sign of creativity and innovation. The Center for American Progress prepared a 130-page report in August 2011 to prove that only five big companies and foundations were behind Islamophobic plans of the United States in addition to a handful of radical analysts. Working on an annual financial turnover of 42 million dollars, they have convinced a major part of the American and Western society that Muslims are nothing but terrorists. This makes one wonder what Muslims, Islamic countries, and Organization of Islamic Cooperation have done in return? Probably nothing or at least, nothing as compared to their enemies!

Fifth – If Islamic traditions tell us that the faithful should be smart, it comes useful in our time. Eating proper food has been a major concern for modern human beings since a long time ago. Excess weight is preoccupying many people, at least, in the Western Hemisphere. Just imagine what would happen if, along with all small and big institutes and organizations that now exist in the country, there was a small institute with a small staff just focusing on Islam’s commands on food and translating them into a language comprehensible for the modern world? What would have happened if that institute studied Islam’s approach to concurrent health of body and soul and explained impact of special foods on people’s bodies and souls according to teachings of Islam? What would have happened if such material was translated for publication over websites, weblogs and even Western print media or satellite channels?

Sixth – The Chinese have been introducing their ancient culture through Confucian institutes which have branches almost all over the world. They avail themselves of the soft power of such institutes. Koreans are outdoing Indians in producing films and long series. Their movies are full of sequences showing Korean breakfasts, lunches and dinners which abound with seafood and, as such, they are increasing their soft power in the world. Among Western TV programs there are many items about cuisine to show their audiences that although modern food recipes have been wrong, but the best recipe has been finally found by them. The void of Islam’s soft power is greatly felt. The more it is mingled with Iranian skills and finesse, the better. The soft power of Iran and Islam has been suffering from long ignorance due to laziness, listlessness, lack of good taste and political excuses. Let’s hope that the determination to unveil it would finally come into being.

More By Mahmoud Reza Golshanpazhooh:

*Iran, West and Human Rights: Is Compromise Impossible?:

*Iran and Special Human Rights Rapporteur:

*Unity among Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Egypt?:

طراحی و توسعه آگاه‌سیستم