"And He feeds me and quenches my thirst and when I fall sick then He (Allah) cures me" [Soorah Shu'araa: 80]


11.7.12

Eighteen Reasons For Fasting


O ye who believe! Fasting is ordained for you, even as it was ordained for those before you, that ye may guard yourself (against evil)” Qur’an: Chapter 2, Verse 183).




Ramadan is a month of fasting and prayers for the Muslims. The fast consists of total abstinence from food and drink from dawn to dusk. There is, however, a greater significance to fasts than mere abstinence from eating and drinking. The real objective of fasts is to inculcate in man the spirit of abstinence from sins and of cultivation of virtue. Thus the Qur’an declares that the fasts have been prescribed with a view to developing piety in man, as is clear from the verse quoted at the top of this page.
How are the many facets of piety sought to be cultivated through the fasts?
  1. The prime consideration in undertaking fast, as in any act of devotion, is to seek NEARNESS TO GOD and beseech HIS PLEASURE and FORGIVENESS. This itself generates a spirit of piety in man.
  2. The wilful creation of the stringent conditions of hunger and thirst for one’s own self, simply in obedience to the Divine Order, measures the FAITH of man in God and helps to strengthen it by putting it to a severe test.
  3. Fasting enhances through creation of artificial non-availability, the value of the bounties of God, which man is apt to take for granted in the midst of plentiful availability, and thus inculcates in man a spirit of GRATITUDE and consequent DEVOTION to GOD. Nothing else can bring home to man the worth of God’s bounties than a glass of water and a square meal after a day‑long fast. This also reminds man that the real joy in enjoying God’s bounties lies in MODERATION and RESTRAINT and not in OVER INDULGENCE.
  4. Fasting makes us deeply conscious of the pangs of hunger and discomfort suffered by the less fortunate among our brethren, who may have to put up with such stringent conditions all through their lives ‑ it thus enkindles in man a spirit of SACRIFICE leading to CHARITY towards his suffering brethren.
  5. Fasting affords man an unfailing training in ENDURANCE ‑ i.e. a SPIRIT OF. ACCEPTANCE of the inevitable, which could well prepare him to put up with the unchangeable situations in life in the same spirit of RESIGNATION as cultivated during the fasts.
  6. Fasting develops COURAGE, FORTITUDE and a FIGHTING SPIRIT IN man to surmount the heavy odds in life with a cool and tranquil mind. It sharpens his, power of CONCENTRATION to overcome obstacles, through a vigorous exercise all through the month, leading to a steeling of his WILL POWER and RESOLVE, which could help him in trying situations in actual life. It is seen that many an undesirable habit which is found hard to leave, is more easily left off during the days of fasting.
  7. Fasting teaches man RELIANCE on God and CONFIDENCE in HIM in facing the bitter situations in life with the comforting thought that these too, ordained by Him, could well be surmounted through His assistance alone, even as the rigorous state of fasting for a complete month. For, fasting develops the quality of PATIENCE in man, with the realisation that, as the days of fasting, though seeming unending do have a successful and, so are all the bitter situations in life. It therefore infuses a spirit of GOOD CHEER, (driving away BITTERNESS and DESPAIR) in his attitude towards life and in his demeanour towards others.
  8. Through quick alternation of the state of plenty and of scarcity, fasting seeks to inculcate in man the right type of attitude in different situations in life‑ of GRATITUDE and THANKSGIVING in plenty and of PATIENCE and FORBEARANCE in difficulty.
  9. Fasting is meant to CONQUER ANGER, not to augment it, and to develop SELF‑CONTROL in man; for the vigorous effort of wilfully putting up with a continued state of hunger and thirst can well be extended to conquer other infirmities of human character that lead man into error and sin.
  10. Fasting inculcates a spirit of TOLERANCE in man to face unpleasant conditions and situations without making his fellow-being the victim of his wrath on account of his adverse conditions, such as deprivation of his basic needs of life, which constitutes the common cause of dissension among men.
  11. Fasting MELLOWS a man and enhances his character, giving jolt to the human instincts of ‘PRIDE, HAUGHTINESS, ENVY and AMBITION, for when fasting, a man’s energies are too sapped to follow these instincts which are the chief causes of discord and conflict among men.
  12. Fasting exposes the weakness of man in the event of his being deprived of but two of the bounties of God ‑ those of food and drink; it thus infuses in him a spirit of MEEKNESS and SUBMISSION, generating HUMILITY and PRAYER in an otherwise arrogant man.
  13. Fasting breathes the spirit of FORGIVENESS in man towards his subordinates, as he himself seeks God’s FORGIVENESS through fasts and prayers.
  14. Fasting affords lessons in PUNCTUALITY through man’s strict adherence to various time‑schedules in the observance of fasts and offering of prayers.
  15. Fasting can be made to effect ECONOMY in an individual’s life, which can be extended to wider spheres.
  16. Fasting enforces in man rigid DISCIPLINE ‑ mental, spiritual and physical ‑ a trait of character which forms an essential ingredient to success in human life.
  17. Fasting provides LEISURE, that could he gainfully employed in devotional or intellectual pursuits. The month‑long duration of fasts creates a proper climate for the SPIRITUAL REFORMATION in man, infusing in him a spirit pf enthusiasm and zest to turn over a new leaf ‑ an opportunity provided every year.
  18. On the physical side, fasting cleanses the human system of the accumulated impurities of uninterrupted eating throughout the year. It prepares the body for toughness and hardihood to face disease or conditions of scarcity. The rigid abstinence that the fast provides, regulates man’s HEALTH, sharpens has INTELLECT, gives spurt to his SPIRITUALLY and enhances the qualities of his HEART. With the cleansing of the human body, it paves the way for its easy and effective rebuilding through meals at the end of the day or after the month is over.

7.7.12

'God Particle' 'Discovered': European Researchers Claim Discovery of Higgs Boson-Like Particle





The head of the European Center for Nuclear Research says its teams have discovered a new particle that is consistent with the Higgs boson -- a subatomic particle considered so significant to the understanding of the universe that it has been called the God particle.
"We have a discovery [that is] consistent with a Higgs boson," Rolf Heuer, director of CERN, the European research center, said Wednesday.
Two independent teams at CERN, the physics lab in the Alps on the French-Swiss border, have now said that they have "observed" the new boson, or subatomic particle. The CERN teams did not outright say that they have discovered the Higgs boson itself, which has been the focus of a 40-plus year pursuit.
The Higgs boson, which was first proposed in the 1960s by the English physicist Peter Higgs, is believed to give all matter in the universe size and shape.


The international effort to find it has used tremendous amounts of energy to crash subatomic particles into one another in giant underground tracks, where they are steered by magnetic fields. Several different experiments have been done by independent teams to ensure accuracy.
Physicists say the Higgs boson would help explain how we, and the rest of the universe, exist. It would explain why the matter created in the Big Bang has mass, and can coalesce. Without it, as CERN explained in a background paper, "the universe would be a very different place ... no ordinary matter as we know it, no chemistry, no biology, and no people."
"The Higgs particle, if it's real, will show itself in different ways. We need for all of them to be consistent before we can say for sure we've seen it," Rob Roser, a physicist at the Department of Energy's Fermilab near Chicago, told said earlier this week. "This is one of the cornerstones of how we understand the universe, and if it's not there, we have to go back and check our assumptions about how the universe exists."
It is believed that Fermilab's atom smasher, called the Tevatron, must have produced thousands of Higgs particles over its life before it was shut down last year after it was overshadowed by CERN's more powerful Large Hadron Collider.
"It's up to us to try to find them in the data we have collected," Luciano Ristori, a physicist at Fermilab and the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics, said in a statement earlier this week.
"We have developed sophisticated simulation and analysis programs to identify Higgs-like patterns. Still, it is easier to look for a friend's face in a sports stadium filled with 100,000 people than to search for a Higgs-like event among trillions of collisions."

4.7.12

Health Conditions That Are Benefited By Meditation






The Meditation technique has proven to be a successful coping strategy in helping to deal with drug addiction," a useful tool in psycho-neuro-immunology (PNI) by helping to control the immune system, and an effective manager of stress and pain.

Prolonging Life Expectancy

A strong link has also been established between the practice of Meditation and longevity. Only two factors have been scientifically determined to actually extend life: caloric restriction and lowering of the body's core temperature. Meditation has been shown to lower core body temperature.

Most of the people who get on meditation do so because of its beneficial effects on stress. Stress refers to any or all the various pressures experienced in life. These can stem from work, family, illness, or environment and can contribute to such conditions as anxiety, hypertension, and heart disease. How an individual sees things and how he or she handles them makes a big difference in terms of how much stress he or she experiences.
Research has shown that hormones and other biochemical compounds in the blood indicative of stress tend to decrease during Meditation practice. These changes also stabilize over time, so that a person is actually less stressed biochemically during daily activity.
This reduction of stress translates directly into a reduction of anxiety and tension. Literally dozens of studies have shown this.

Pain Management:

Chronic pain can systematically erode the quality of life. Although great strides are being made in traditional medicine to treat recurring pain, treatment is rarely as simple as prescribing medication or surgery.
Anxiety decreases the threshold for pain and pain causes anxiety. The result is a vicious cycle. Compared with people who feel relaxed, those under stress experience pain more intensely and become even more stressed, which aggravates their pain. Meditation breaks this cycle.
Childbirth preparation classes routinely teach pregnant women deep breathing exercises to minimize the pain and anxiety of labor. Few call it breath meditation, but that's what it is.
Meditative techniques are also a key element in the Arthritis self-help Course at Stanford University. More than 100,000 people with arthritis have taken the 12-hour course and learned meditation-style relaxation exercises as part of a comprehensive self-care program. Graduates report a 15 to 20 percent reduction in pain.
In one study overseen by  72 percent of the patients with chronic pain conditions achieved at least a 33 percent reduction after participating in an eight-week period of mindful meditation, while 61 -percent of the pain patients achieved at least a 50 percent reduction. Additionally, these people perceived their bodies as being 30 percent less problematic, suggesting an overall improvement in self-esteem and positive views regarding their bodies.
Meditation may not eliminate pain, but it helps people cope more effectively.

Cancer and Other Chronic Illness

Meditation and other approaches to deep relaxation help center people so they can figure out how they'd like to handle the illness and proceed with life. Dr. Ainslie Meares, an Australian psychiatrist who uses meditation with cancer patients, studied seventy-three patients who had attended at least twenty -sessions of intensive meditation, and wrote: "Nearly all such patients can expect significant reduction of anxiety and depression, together with much less discomfort and pain. There is reason to expect a 10 percent chance of quite remarkable slowing of the rate of growth of the tumor, and a 50 percent chance of greatly improved quality of life."

Heart disease.

Meditation is a key component of Ornish therapy, the only treatment scientifically proven to reverse heart disease.

High blood pressure.

As soon as Dr. Benson learned that Meditation reliably reduced blood pressure in meditators, he taught the relaxation response to 36 people with moderately elevated blood pressure. After several weeks of practice, their average blood pressure declined significantly, reducing their risk of stroke and heart attack.

Infertility

Couples dealing with infertility may become depressed, anxious and angry. To help them cope, Alice D. Domar, Ph.D., a psychologist at the Mind/Body Medical Institute, taught the relaxation response to one group of infertile couples. Compared with a similar group of infertile couples who did not learn deep relaxation, the meditators experienced less distress-and were more likely to get pregnant.

Psoriasis:

This disease causes scaly red patches on the skin. A pilot study at Dr. Kabat-Zinn's clinic suggests that compared with the skin patches of people with psoriasis who receive only standard medical therapy, the skin patches of those who also meditate clear up more quickly.

Respiratory crises

Asthma, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) all restrict breathing and raise fears of suffocation, which in turn makes breathing even more difficult. Studies at clinic show that when people with these respiratory conditions learn breath meditation, they have fewer respiratory crises.

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), Tension Headaches

Meditation can ease physical complaints such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), tension headaches and other common health problems.
Meditation gives people a psychological buffer so that life's hectic pace doesn't knock them out. Practicing meditation is like taking a vacation once or twice a day. When you nurture yourself, you accrue tremendous spin-off benefits.
For example, when you are under high stress, it can worsen symptoms of PMS because stress can cause the muscle tension associated with PMS complaints such as fatigue, soreness and aching. On the other hand, when you meditate regularly, you dramatically reduce your body's response to stress, and that can ease the discomfort associated with PMS. The results may not be apparent for several months. You will probably need to meditate regularly for several months before your body responds positively.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ulcers, and Insomnia

Meditation can also improve irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, and insomnia, among other stress-related conditions. Eighty percent of the people who use meditation to relieve insomnia are successful.
Meditation can help prevent or treat stress-related complaints such as anxiety, headaches and bone, muscle and joint problems. Meditation also provides an inner sense of clarity and calm, and that, in itself, may help ward off certain illnesses.

Fibromyalgia

According to one study, meditation may relieve the discomfort of fibromyalgia, a condition that causes fatigue and intensely painful "trigger points." When 77 men and women with fibromyalgia followed a ten-week stress-reduction program using meditation, all reported that their symptoms improved. And half described their improvements as "moderate to marked."


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