Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Make a difference during Ramadan

I Can Keep Fasting In Ramadan Even When I Am Playing – Fredi Kanoute

Fredi explains how he makes the seemingly impossible a reality during a certain month each year...

Aug 24, 2009 10:00:00 AMFred Kanoute - Sevilla (AFP)

To be tremendously fit is a must for all professional footballers: a demand that leads some Muslim players to forgo the duty of fasting during Ramadan, preferring to fulfill their obligation when the football season ends. However, for Sevilla’s Freddie Kanoute, this is not the case.

The former Tottenham Hotspur striker believes it is possible for a modern footballer to remain in peak physical condition during the holy month.

The likes of Kanoute, along with Real Madrid's Mahamadou Diarra, Lassana Diarra, and Karim Benzema, are the talk of football world as doctors work around the clock to formulate a routine in order to keep them hydrated during the fasting process.

And as Spanish tabloids splash headlines about the fasting month and debates rage about whether players should even be allowed to fast and play during Ramadan - Kanoute insists he just wants to get on with it.

“I try to respect my faith and follow it as best I can,” Kanoute told

“It is sometimes harder to keep the fast because here in the south of Spain it is very hot, but I can do it, thank God.

“There are many Muslim footballers who people just do not know about in England in Spain, France and in many other leagues too. But having faith and practicing Ramadan is not something they wish to tell the world about.

“Personally, having faith helps my football and football helps me to be healthy and strengthens me. There is no conflict because people who know about Islam, they know that fasting empowers and does not weaken the Muslim.”

While Barcelona's fans are wondering if the likes of Eric Abidal, Seydou Keita and Yaya Toure - all Muslims - will be fasting, Real Madrid fans know of the importance their Muslim players - especially Mahamadou Diarra - place in their religion and his traditions.

“Every coach has respected my decision,” says Diarra on his Real Madrid profile page.

“They are difficult days during which one needs to eat, but it only lasts one month. I have another ten to play well.”

The Sevilla and Real Madrid players stance on Ramadan is shared by eminent specialist - Doctor Yacine Zerguni, a member of the FIFA and CAF Sports Medical Committees.

Zerguni collaborated with F-marc, the FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre, in a study on the effects of observing Ramadan for Muslim players: two professional football clubs in Algeria agreed to undergo biological, clinical and psychological tests before, during and after the month of Ramadan.

The study constituted a world first in this particular area and formed the foundations for scientific analysis of the potential impact of Ramadan on player performance.

“This month of physical and mental self discipline, which must also be free from any unhealthy or aggressive behaviour,” Zerguni told, when asked if Ramadan was compatible with the practice of top-level football.

“Ramadan is intended be a period of internal purification and meditation; a period of regeneration. It is far from harmful. Indeed, the psychological study of the personality formed an integral part of our research project.


Ramadan is intended be a period of internal purification and meditation; a period of regeneration. It is far from harmful.


“And although many players who were tested could not adapt to playing whilst fasting, one has to remember that it is highly likely that the effects of Ramadan are also linked to the spiritual qualities and physical capabilities of each athlete.

“Therefore certain players who continuously observe Ramadan when playing: their body can adapt because they are used to it - but many players can get tired. Players will have to work on effective pre- and post-match routines that will help them conserve energy and strength.”

Both Mahamadou Diarra and Kanoute place particular emphasis on the charity work during Ramadan. They donate a large portion of their earnings to charities in Mali with the hope of building a better future for their fellow citizens.

For Kanoute, a chance to “make a difference during Ramadan” is something very close to his heart.

“During Ramadan I give my all for my club and try not to let my team-mates and the fans down," he continued. "Everyone here has been very good to me and they understand. They also understand that during Ramadan you have a chance to reach out to those in need.

“For me, my charity is very important. I wanted to help with charity work for some time and a few years ago I went ahead with it and The Mali Children’s Village cares for orphaned and vulnerable children. There is a very big need to work with children here, especially orphans.

“My father was born a Muslim but as an orphan, he didn’t really know a lot about it, but he did try to teach me a few things. Children are our future and we should always try to ensure they are safe and have a good upbringing.”

source : Mohammed Bhana,

For more information on Freddie Kanoute's charity, head to

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Prophetic Tradition on The Genetic Code

Science and Sunnah: The Genetic Code

Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed
Clinical Professor of Medicine
University of Louisville School of Medicine
Louisville, KY 40292
President, Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc
7102 W. Shefford Lane
Louisville, KY 40242-6462
Website: http://WWW.IRFI.ORG


On the authority of Abu 'Abd ar-Rahman 'Abdullah ibn Mas'ud (May Allah be pleased with him), who said: The Messenger of Allah (may the blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and he is the truthful, the believed, narrated to us:

Verily the creation of each one of you is brought together in his mother's belly for forty days in the form of seed, then he is a clot of blood for a like period, then a morsel of flesh for a like period, then there is sent to him the angel who blows the breath of life into him and who is commanded about four matters: to write down his means of livelihood, his life span. His actions, and whether happy or unhappy. By Allah, other than Whom there is no god, verily one of you behaves like the people of Paradise until there is but an arm's length between him and it. And that which has been written overtakes him and so he behaves like the people of Hell-fire and thus he enters it; and one of you behaves like the people of Hellfire until there is but an arm's length between him and it. And that which has been written overtakes him and so he behaves like the people of Paradise and thus he enters it. It was related by al-Bukhari and Muslim,

(Ref: An-Nawawi's "Forty Hadith". Translated by Ezzeddin Ibrahim and Denys Johnson-Davis. The Holy Koran Publishing House, Damascus, Syria, 1977, pp. 36-38.)

There are some Muslim thinkers who do not like the interpretation of Qur'an or Sunnah in terms of scientific terminology. However, the author believes there is nothing wrong in attempting to understand or interpret "Islam" in the light of modern knowledge. Through this article the author wants to encourage freethinking, stimulate research ideas among Muslim scholars, scientists and students so that our understanding of Qur'an and Sunnah can be furthered.

This Sunnah deals with the creation of human beings which is mentioned in great detail in Al-Qur'an. However, the astounding and astonishing matter about this Hadith is the angel who blows the breath of life into man and writes down four matters: (1) his means of Livelihood, (2) his life span, (3) his actions, and (4) whether happy or unhappy.

Before the scientific discovery of the Genetic Code and the award of Nobel Prizes to the three discoverers in 1968, it was humanly impossible to scientifically understand this Hadith. In 1990s, we are able to unravel the genetic code with regard to a person's inheritance of certain disease carrying genes. This information may tell us about an individual's life span and/or whether he will be happy or unhappy. Science is yet to discover the genes responsible for a person's "rizq" (food habits, dietetic profile, etc.) and a person's "actions" or behavior such as Type A, B, or C personality.

The present article attempts to show our current knowledge in our ability to perform genetic screening in order to understand a person's inheritance of carrying or developing a certain disease through the study of that person's genes. Our knowledge is still incomplete and we are very far away in attaining the knowledge about the four matters mentioned in this Hadith.

Inside the nucleus of a living cell there are 46 chromosomes which are visible only when the cell divides. The chromosomes are made of DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid. A certain length of the DNA is called the gene. That length of DNA that codes for complete synthesis of a protein is also called a gene. Along the 46 chromosomes of every human cell are some 100,000 genes. The U.S. Government is funding a $3 billion, 15-year Human Genome Project, under the joint leadership of the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Energy, which will allow scientists to know exactly where on our chromosomes each of our 100,000 genes reside. Among these 100,000 genes, there are a few genes, which can be lethal. Every person has a unique set of these seven or eight deadly genes. They are usually hidden, but in the wrong environment or in combination with certain other genes they can express themselves in dangerous ways. Some families carry genetic diseases for generations and they know what type of lethal genes they carry. Most of the people do not know if they carry any genetically defective genes.

In the near future it is possible to get a blue print of our genetic inheritance-and with the knowledge of the most likely cause of our own death. This test can be performed by walking into a physician's office and giving a blood sample with a finger prick. The results of the test reveal if a person has any defective genes that will cause a certain disease or the result may be negative in which case that person will not carry the disease. Most of the adult-onset diseases involve several genes. For example there are at least 17 genes responsible for just one aspect of coronary heart disease-and the genes express themselves only under certain conditions. For most of the genetic diseases it is impossible to predict with a certainty. Geneticists now say that diabetes, hypertension, and cancer run in families. In other words these diseases are genetically inherited. Geneticists can treat adults for the presence of a handful of relatively rare genes - among them those that cause Huntington's disease (causes progressive brain degeneration); adult polycystic kidney disease (causes gradual loss of kidney function); polypsos (this condition leads to colon cancer); hemochromatosis (which could cause liver failure); and certain forms of cancer such as retinoblastoma, some leukemias, and small-cell carcinoma of the lung.

There are two important questions, which have not been answered so far. The first one is whether knowledge of the information is itself potentially hazardous to the individual; and the second one is whether institutions will misuse that knowledge to promote their own dominance and control.

There are two types of tests: prenatal tests and genetic screening tests. The prenatal tests inform future parents of a child's chances of inheriting a condition for which the parent is a carrier-Tay-Sachs disease, sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis- or of inheriting a condition from which a family member has already died-muscular dystrophy, hemophilia, beta-thalassemia. The genetic screening test tells the adults about their own genetic destiny. But do we really want to know? Are we willing to learn the details of our genetic destiny-especially when it involves diseases for which there is no cure? Are we capable of understanding the uncertainties inherent in this high-tech fortunetelling?

Adult polycystic kidney disease comes late in age and causes degenerative condition of the kidneys resulting in gradual loss of kidney function. It is carried on a single, dominant gene. If a man has the disease, then his son has a 50-50 chance of having the gene and if he has two daughters, their chances of having the disease is also 50-50. Usually this disease strikes when one is in his or her 110's. The genetic test only tells whether a persons has the gene that causes the disease, but it doesn't tell whether that person gets the disease in his UO ' s or in his late 60's. No treatment exists to prevent kidney failure in polycystic kidney patients.

There is a certain amount of unwillingness on the part of humans to know their future. However there are individuals who have taken the tests for the occurrence of Huntington's disease which is a neurological disease, a progressive and untreatable brain and muscle degeneration with symptoms that usually show themselves in the 40's. The chances of inheriting this disease

causing gene is also 50-50. Those who took the test and whose results were positive, there were no instances of suicide and only one of severe depression, and one marital breakup among the 71 patients screened.

Nancy Wexler of the Hereditary Disease Foundation says "If the information is limiting, enervating, depressing, if it tears at your self-esteem, if it gives you nothing to do, it might be better not to know." She devoted her professional life to the search for the gene for Huntington's disease which killed her mother and for which she and her sister are at risk.

Scientists stress that the results of genetic testing are ambiguous: genes alone do not determine a disease's prognosis. One can say whether or not an individual appears to have the gene, and those who have the gene have gone on to develop the disease. But one cannot say anything about when the disease will start, what will be the course of the disease, and what will be the relevant aspects of the illness.

The danger comes when imprecise tests are used inorder to predict the future, and when institutions actually use them to construct the future: when employers refuse to hire or train individuals at high risk of dying in their prime; when health-insurance companies insist on knowing the genetic profiles of their potential subscribers before paying for pre-existing genetic conditions; when schools require a permanent genetic record to anticipate which children will exhibit behavioral problems or learning disabilities. In United States genetic discrimination already exists. The risk of increasing the number of people defined as unemployable, uneducable or uninsurable exists. Genetic tests can identify employees who are susceptible to workplace toxins and companies may prohibit hiring such employees because they may contract occupational illnesses. 17 companies out of 500 had used genetic tests within the last 12 years, and 59 were considering the possibility. There is the danger of using the genetic tests for purposes of "eugenics." Eugenics means the deliberate manipulation of the gene pool with the idea of creating a master race. Defective people walking around may not be allowed to reproduce for the betterment of society.

Many of the conditions that will be uncovered through genetic studies are not life threatening, but might not fit into some societal scheme: genetic dyslexia, for example; genetic shyness; genetic arrogance; genetic left-handedness.

It is known that left-handed people have shorter life expectancies, which is relevant to insurance companies. But left-handed people may suffer for lack of knowledge whether left-handedness occurs for reasons other than genetic. They may be construed from birth as brain-damaged.

Allah is all knowing.

Source :

Tuesday, April 27, 2010



by Shahid Athar,M.D.

*Clinical Associate Professor, Indiana University School of Medicine, and Chair, Medical Ethics Committee, Islamic Medical Association of North America. Presented at "Islam in America Conference" DePaul University, Chicago, September 29, 1995.

Medical Ethics: An Islamic Perspective

The introduction of newer technology in medicine in areas of life support in terminal patients, abortion, organ transplantation, biotechnical parenting, and care of AIDS patients has posed Muslim physicians and patients some new questions of ethics. The ethics is not being right or wrong, all black or all white, but as having shades of gray. It is the process of making better decisions or worse decisions compared to the worst decision. Islamic medical ethics are based on the priciples of the sanctity of human life and safeguarding its values, taking the lesser of the two evils. We look upon these issues from the perspective of Muslim physicians in that we have to face the dilemma in medical ethics on a daily basis.

Life, though short as it may look on this planet, is still a precious gift from God. Since we did not create our life, nor are the owners of it, we should not have the absolute power over it either. For our soul and spirit to live in our body for a certain period can be compared to living in a beautiful, leased apartment or house. The only thing which the landlord would like the tenant to do is to live with certain rules and regulations and do things to improve upon the apartment or house rather than destroy it. We have a duty to preserve our life and to use it for glory and pleasure in the service of God as the quality of life would permit.

The guiding principle in Islamic medical ethics which is mentioned in Quran and also in the Torah is, "If anyone has saved a life, it would be as if he has saved the life of the whole of mankind." However, the question that we are faced with, in terms of saving life, is at what cost and what quality. Does the quality of life modify our decision-making process and when resources are scarce, who takes precedence, the individual or the community?

In addition to the emphasis on preserving life and the quality of life, the principles of biomedical ethics include promoting and restoring health, alleviating suffering, respecting patients' autonomy, doing medical justice, telling the truth, and doing no further harm.

We, the physicians, cannot remain aloof from the religion of our patient as we ourselves, in patients not only expect me to help them in arriving at a medical decision, but also ask me to pray for them. If we, the physicians, understand the religion of our patients, we can communicate to them better and help them make viable decisions and comply with a prescribed treatment. Sickness precipitates questions about himself and his future in the mind of a patient and drives him closer to God, whatever his distance might have been at the beginning of the illness. During illness, many patients go through spiritual growth and find their spirituality at the end. A physician's own belief may influence his treatment options for the patient's outcome. For example, a physician who is totally against abortion will never advise his patient to undergo an abortion, and a physician who does not value the sanctity of life may become a suicide-doctor. The Muslim physician, knowing that we have no right to take our own lives, should not assist his patient in that, either.

Some of the rules of medical ethics include a) respect for the autonomy and b) beneficence.
People are autonomous in the decision-making process if they are able to understand and make intelligent decisions for themselves which are intentional and voluntary. The right of patient self- determination accepted by the State is based on this principle.

The second principle is that of beneficence, which obliges persons to benefit and help others. This principle requires positive action to prevent what is bad or harmful, to remove what is bad or harmful, and to do, or promote, what is good and beneficial.

The Islamic principle of forbidding what is wrong and enjoining what is good illustrates this. The knowledge of medical technology obliges Muslim physicians to offer what medical justice requires. Medical justice by itself is a principle of fair distribution of benefits and burdens. Justice requires that persons receive that which they deserve and to which they are entitled. These principles involve decisions to allocate scarce health resources. The actual implementation of this principle remains somewhat controversial. Physicians' response to individual justice differs at times with "societal" justice.

Another rule is nonmaleficence. This principle obliges persons to refrain from harming others including refraining from killing them or treating them cruelly. It is one of the non-intervention.

It also requires the person to exercise due care so that they do not unintentionally harm others such as malpractice in medical or surgical care. Let us discuss the questions of rights and obligations.

These rights mavbe considered in relation to the right to die, the right to abort a viable fetus, the right to have a child in case of infertility, or the right to donate or receive an organ, or the rights of the individual whose disease maybe due to an deviant lifestyle. Not only should we discuss the right of the individual, but also the rights of the spouse, relatives, physician and other care- givers, the unborn, and God. While discussing the rights, we must also discuss the obligations of the State, community, the individual, the spouse, and the relatives.

In the question of the right to live or die, the question is should one prolong the life or the misery. Who determines (the unconscious patient, the family, or the doctor), that the plug should be pulled and the life support system stopped? What is the definition of death, acceptable to both the medical technology and Islamic jurists? Is a living will justified? Is stopping the life support system an act of mercy, a medical decision, a murder, or a financial decision?

While Islam gives importance to saving life, it also makes it clear that dying is part of the contract with God and part of the journey on this planet. The final decision of the term is up to God. The quality of life is equally, if not more important than the life span on this planet.

Physicians and the family should realize the limitations of medical technology and should not attempt to do heroic measures for a terminally-ill patient who is in a vegetative state and cannot be resurrected to a quality of life acceptable to him. The heroic measures taken at the beginning of life like saving a premature baby are more justifiable than at the end of the life span. We consider euthanasia an act of murder. We do not see the difference between the gun used by a husband for his dying wife and the syringe used by the physician for his dying patient; both are weapons of death no matter what the intention of the killer was.

The ethical questions in the area of organ transplantation are what are the rights of the living donor, the dead body, and the recipient. To prolong life, does the recipient have a right to take away the organ from the dead? Is the sale of the organs justified? Is the taking of animal organs justified? Is accepting organs from aborted fetuses justified? Is harvesting fetuses to get more fetal tissue justified? Is the cost of transplantation worth the benefit derived from it? The total cost of heart transplantation is in excess of several hundred thousand dollars, with an average post-transplantation life of two to three years, and the quality of post-transplantation life is not necessarily the same level as it was before the development of end-stage heart disease. I have not seen a single heart transplant patient going back to work.

Transplantation, in general, is permitted especially if it is a gift from a living donor to another living person. From the Islamic perspective, transplantation from the dead to the living may not be permitted unless a free will is available before the death of the person. The relatives and the physicians should respect the rights of the dead body even though their intention to save another life is noble.

The ethical questions in cases of abortion are when does life begin? If a fetus is a living individual than is terminating its life a murder? What are the rights of the fetus? Who guards those rights? Do both parents even if unwed have the same rights over the life of the fetus? What should be done with the pregnancy that is the outcome of a rape? Should all such pregnancies be terminated?

What if the women wants to keep her baby even if she did not want it to begin with? Is promoting or not preventing abortion which will lead to more sales of aborted fetuses for transplantation of fetal tissue and organs or their delicate skin to make expensive cosmetics justified? Islam believes that life begins when the zygote is formed.

The women of pagan Arabia, before Islam, killed their infants for the fear of poverty or the shame of birth of a girl. Both of these acts have been condemned in Quran, but the women of today are killing their infants not for either cause but to sustain and enjoy the life of sexual freedom. God reminds them: "Such as took their religion to be mere amusement and play, and were deceived by the life of the world. That day shall We forget them as they forgot the meeting of this day of theirs, and as they were wont to reject Our Signs." (Qur'an 7:51).

There are many questions in the area of biotechnicall reproduction and surrogacy. Infertility is a disease and to desire to seek a cure for the disease is Islamic. However, this has to be done within the life span of an intact marriage between husband and wife. The marriage is a legal contract not only between man and a woman, but also between God and the couple. Thus the question is whether the child was born of an intact legal marriage or outside the marriage. In case of a surrogate father, who is the real father and does the child have the right to know his identity? In case of a surrogate mother, who is the real mother, the one whose ovum is being used or the one who lets her uterus be used? Is renting the uterus with money for this purpose allowed or justified?

A woman who does not want to go through pregnancy, labor, or lactation can donate her ovum every month to different women, technically, to hire a uterus and have many children. In the case of mothers renting their own uterus in place of their daughters', with the sperm of their son-in law, totally disrupts the concept of marriage and social norms and of lineage. The Qur'an is specific in terms of lineage and definition of motherhood. It says, "No one can be their mother except those who gave them birth" (Qur'an 58:2). Qur'an also says, "He has established the relationship of lineage and marriage" (Qur'an 25:54).

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) has become the plague of the century. In the United States alone, over 220,000 have been diagnosed and half of them have already died. The ethical questions as to the care of AIDS are:

  • Who will pay for the cost of the billion of dollars spent on the care of AIDS patients since the insurance companies do not insure them?
  • should the AIDS patient be quarantined and forced to change their lifestyle?
  • should IV users be given free, clean needles, syringes and drugs since IV drug use and AIDS are very easily correlated?
  • should HIV positive carriers carry an ID card?
  • should everyone be tested for HIV without their knowledge, and if so, what should be done with the positive results in terms of employment and medical care?
  • does paying for AIDS cases by the public or the government mean that they endorse the lifestyle of the patient? and
  • should Muslim physicians care for AIDS patients?

The Islamic response to AIDS is, in brief, directed at a different level, firstly, to prevent the disease by having a sexual lifestyle prescribed by God. In those cases where AIDS can be acquired without a sexual contact, for example, by transfusion in case of hemophiliacs, all measures should be taken to protect the individual. After AIDS has been acquired, it should be treated like any other chronic disease.

We never question the lifestyle of patients with other diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, nor do we discriminate against them or stop caring for them. Thus Muslim physicians have an obligation to continue caring for AIDS patients while taking the necessary precautions for themselves at the same time when participating in preventive measures and education.

The Rights of God

Last but really most important, nobody seems to talk about the rights of the Creator. The Creator of life and death has certain rights over His Creations which man should acknowledge. They are:

  • He should be believed in,
  • His will and injunction should be sought,
  • Once known, His and His messengers' decisions should be given preference over man's ever changing opinion (Qur'an 33:36),
  • No deliberate attempt should be made to go against the will of God (36:77).

Shahid Athar, M.D., Inc.
8424 Naab Road, Suite 2D
Indianapolis, IN 46260
Tel: (317) 872-5159