Not Just Halal, But Tayyib

By: Amaney Kazlak

Growing up in America, we have always fixated on whether this or that food is halal, or whether this meat is zabiha or non zabiha. Some of us might even have neglected to look at the ingredients of our favorite candy for fear it might have gelatin in it, rendering it forbidden to ever enjoy again.  Yet, we overlook an equally important condition: is what we’re eating tayyib (that which is pure). Allah (subhana wa ta’la) tells us in the Qur’an, “O you who have believed, eat from the tayyibat (good things) which We have provided for you . . . ,” Surat Al Baqarah, verse 172. Tayyib is that which is pure, good, wholesome and nutritious for the body.

Nowadays, most of us would agree that eating a lot of fast food would quickly result in a decline in health, but do we realize that our supermarkets and our personal pantries are also filled with items which aren’t in the best interest of our body or health? When a group of friends and I decided to become more health conscious, we challenged ourselves by completely eliminating all sources of processed sugar from our diets. Three months – and dozens of declined cookies later — the results have been amazing: weight loss, clear skin, more focus, less irritability and mood swings. In fact, the results have been so satisfying that when ICNA Relief started it’s #NoMoreCupcakes campaign, I immediately signed up for that, too! The campaign is about abstaining from sugary desserts for a month and donating the money saved to ICNA Relief’s food pantries so that they can provide healthy, halal groceries to families in need.

It’s completely understandable why it’s easier to indulge in all the cookies, crackers, chips, granola bars, cupcakes and chocolate. After all, there is a vending machine on every floor of a public building! However, we must become more conscious of the decisions we make every day, at every meal, and with every bite we take because those decisions become our choices for the sources of fuel with which we choose to power our bodies with.

The rest of the verse I mentioned says this, “and be grateful to Allah if it is [indeed] Him that you worship.” We must be grateful that Allah (subhana wa ta’la) blessed us so much that we have a choice in what we choose to nourish our bodies with. “Will I have an apple or cupcake?” There are hundreds of people (who probably live in the same neighborhood as you and I) that don’t have the luxury of making a choice between that cupcake or apple. They live day to day not knowing where their next meal is coming from. There are hundreds of other people that don’t have the liberty in making a decision on what to eat because of diet restrictions based on their health, subhanAllah.

The next time your deliberating whether to go for the apple or the cupcake, “be grateful to Allah” that He has blessed you with the luxury of making a decision and pledge to do something for those who don’t. And remember, “eat from the tayyibat (those things that are pure).”