Raising Awareness, the Halal Way
We see many people active in these awareness programs. Churches hold fundraisers, or just simple health forums in order to inform their communities about such health issues. Marathons are organized in order to donate for causes such as research. But it seems due to the “cultural taboo”, or call it what you will, we do not see many of our Muslim folk getting involved or starting our own awareness programs in our communities. How about getting a small crowd to join a marathon that is already taking place?
The pink ribbons. The TV commercials. Bumper stickers, marathons, fundraisers. There are many awareness programs when it comes to different kinds of health diseases and/or complications. Breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, and the list can go on.
We see many people active in these awareness programs. Churches hold fundraisers, or just simple health forums in order to inform their communities about such health issues. Marathons are organized in order to donate for causes such as research.
But it seems due to the “cultural taboo”, or call it what you will, we do not see many of our Muslim folk getting involved or starting our own awareness programs in our communities. How about getting a small crowd to join a marathon that is already taking place?
There are many Muslims who are, have been, and will be diagnosed with these health issues, so why are we not up for the cause? Holding awareness sessions in our centers, just to get the word out there.
As most of us know, it is not too common to see our elders going for their yearly check-ups, or even going for specific tests that catch things such as breast cancer or prostate cancer. Let’s face the facts now: we’re all human beings. We all have been blessed with our physiology and all the sophistication that comes along with it! Allah has told us to put our trust in Him, indeed. But he did not say just sit back at home, have all the symptoms, and do nothing about it. He has also blessed us with knowledge and the ability to study the sciences, health, and become doctors. In return, we are to take care of our health and be aware of our problems. If you have a cough you seek a remedy for that cough – be it herbal tea, honey with pepper, or some Robitussin. The findings today have brought us much information in regards to issues such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, and even sexually transmitted diseases. We see majority of non-Muslim campaigning for awareness and public service in regards to making sure fellow human beings take care of their health – unfortunately, their awareness strategies and ideas are usually very explicit, vulgar, and for some, quite offensive.
Although their purpose is good, the approach is not quite so “halal”. We should gather ideas in our communities, those who are more aware of the situations, for example, our young medical students, doctors, nurses, or anyone really, and come up with fun, catchy, “halal” ideas to promote awareness just as well. Because God forbid our fellow Muslims fall ill to these things when it could have been taken care of by detecting it earlier with a test, but the test wasn’t taken because it was just too “taboo”.
Fortunately there are many Muslim women doctors. I encourage all women to find one in their area and have a checkup twice, at least once a year. Having a mammogram – which detects breast cancer – is a must, especially for elder women, and for elder men, getting checked for prostate cancer.
For younger Muslims, coming up with creative ways, and also instilling the importance of taking care of our health is a very important issue. Unfortunately the cycle continues in some families, and even those who may have a disease which runs in the family do not care to go and get checked. We need to stop those cycles and make going to the doctor and taking care of our health a priority in our lives. Today we find more and more young Muslims doing drugs, smoking cigarettes, eating unhealthy, and more focused on what fits, rather than exercising to make the clothes in their closets fit. Slowly we see the effects of bad media hypnotizing getting to young people.
Recently, the Islamic Education Center of Houston held an “Imam Sajjad Health Fair” in which many doctors, both male and female, were present. They invited all elders of the community to come get their blood checked, blood pressure, ask questions, get information about healthcare, etc. It was quite a success and it seemed to be a lot of fun, as people were doing something positive for themselves, and for others.
Similarly, there is the annual “Pink Hijab Day”, whereby participants (Muslim and non-Muslim) wear a pink scarf in order to raise breast cancer awareness.
Even posting a board in the halls with facts or health tips is a great way to share health success with your fellow community members.
And there are always those marathons and fundraisers taking place. Make a small group and join one of them to at least experience what it may be like, and maybe one day using the same idea and having a similar marathon for raising money to help needy Muslims get their healthcare taken care of.
The ideas are endless, and the results are healthy!