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The Islamic Bulletin

Issue 10

Page 7

The Islamic Bulletin

Issue 10

Some food products have the labels which say ‘U’

or ‘K’. What are those letters?

The use of the letter “U” inside of the letter “O” is authorized by

the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, more

familiarly known as the Orthodox Union, for use on foods that

comply with Jewish dietary laws.

The letter “K” indicates that the food is Kosher-that is, it also com-

plies with Jewish dietary laws and has been processed under the

direction of a rabbi. The Hebrew word “Kosher” means permitted

according to Torah Law.

When you see these letters, they mean that the product does not

contain anything from an animal or pork origin. But it still may

contain alcohol. So please check labels.

It is recommended, however, to read labels before buying food

products. Read the ingredients on the food labels and understand

the meaning of every ingredient. Always ask the food industries

about ingredients or preservatives that are doubtful. Effort is being

made by the Muslims on the East Coast to have a Halal (Muslim)

letter for food products that meet Islamic requirements.

What are mono-and diglycerides? It is my under-

standing that they come from vegetable sources

and should be HALAL. Is it not the case?

Monoglycerides and diglycerides or mono- and diglycerides, as they

commonly appear on food labels, are a mixture of fatty substances

containing glycerol and one (mono) or two (di) fatty acids. They are

manufactured from the breakdown of fats and oils. They are avail-

able as monoglycerides only, diglycerides only, or a mixture of both.

These are widely used in the preparation of baked goods and varied

food products. The consumer may also find them listed as Polysor-

bates, monostearates, Tween and Span. Glycerides are processed

from fatty acids, both animal and vegetable.

The special qualities of these products which act as surfants, making

water and oil soluble, make them invaluable components in many

food items, such as margarine, shortenings, cream filings, toppings,

coffee creamers (be careful with the Carnation powder brand

which most people overlook) prepared cake mixes, doughnuts,

and puddings. It should also be pointed out that ice cream, frozen

desserts, instant mashed potatoes, peanut butter, snack pack foods,

and many breakfast cereals contain di-glycerides and, therefore

requires careful attention.

In addition, a product whose ingredient list states ‘emulsifier’ or

‘emulsifier added’ is indicative of the use of glycerides and requires

certification. Many chocolates and candies contain such glyceride


Many breads are made with shortenings, specially prepared dough

conditioners, in which shortenings and di-glycerides are basic in-

gredients. Be very careful.

Commercially available mono- and diglycerides may be manufac-

tured from vegetable oils, beef fat, LARD, or marine oils. Therefore,

Muslims should stick to labels saying vegetable or marine, mono-

and diglycerides.




- 1 3lb. chicken

- 1 lb. lean stewing lamb

- ½ lb. beef short ribs

- 1 can chick peas, drained

- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced

- 2 turnips, peeled and sliced

- 2 celery stalks, sliced

- 1 onion, stuck w/ 2 cloves

- 4 tomatoes, peeled & chopped

- 1 large clove garlic, minced

- 4 small zucchini, sliced

- 1 lb. couscous*

- 4 tbsp. butter, melted

- ¼ cup raisins, plumped in hot water

- 1 or 2 hot chili peppers

- salt to taste

- 1 tsp. paprika

- cayenne pepper

* Couscous--wheat semolina--is available in one-

pound packages in many markets or in bulk in stores

selling Middle Eastern foods.


1. Put meats in large pot, cover with water, and bring

slowly to boiling point.

2. Skim off fat then add carrots, turnips, celery,

onion, tomatoes, and garlic, bring again to boiling


3. Skim again, then season with salt, cover and sim-

mer for 45 minutes.

4. Add chick peas and hot peppers, cover again and

simmer 15 to 20 minutes longer.

5. Remove meats and keep them hot in a little of the


6. Add zucchini to broth, cook 5 minutes longer, strain

broth and reserve vegetables.

7. Put strained broth in the bottom part of couscous pot

(couscoussiere) or in a large pot.

8. Put the top part of the couscous pot or a colander

lined with cheesecloth on top.

9. Moisten couscous with a little cold water and work

with your fingers to break up lumps.

10. Put couscous on top of couscous pot or in the col-

ander and place over the boiling broth.

11. When the steam begins to come through the grains,

remove top, put couscous on a plate and sprinkle with ½

cup cold water, stir well with a wooden spoon to break

up any lumps.

12. Return top or colander to the pot and steam another

30 minutes.

13. Pour the cooked couscous in a bowl, sprinkle surface

lightly with a little fat from the top of the broth and the

melted butter.

14. Toss it lightly with raisins.

15. Arrange the meat and vegetables around the mound

of couscous.

16. Take a cupful of the broth, stir in paprika and enough

cayenne pepper to make it quite hot, and serve on the



Over the next several months we will attempt to focus on different

topics concerning Women in Islam as evidenced by verses in the

Quran and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). One of the

greatest areas of misunderstanding in the western (non-Muslim)

world is that of the status of women. We will attempt to rectify some

of these misconceptions regarding the spiritual status of women,

intellectual status of women, relations between the sexes, rights

and duties of women, marriage and family in Islam, divorce, right

of inheritance, and society and dress.

First, let’s begin with “Spiritual Status of Women”. The Quran states

categorically that men and women who practice the principles of

Islam will receive equal reward for their efforts:

“For Muslim men and women,- for believing men and women,

for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men

and women who are patient and constant, for men and women

who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity,

for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard

their chastity, and for men and for women who engage much in

Allah’s remembrance for them has Allah prepared forgiveness

and great reward.” (Quran 33:35)

And God says: “Whoever works righteousness, male or female,

and has Faith, Verily to him will We give a life that is good and

pure, and We will bestow on such reward according to the best

of their actions.” (Quran 16:97)

Each of the Five Pillars of Islam: Belief, Prayer, Fasting, Zakat, and

Pilgrimage--is as important for women as for men, and there is no

differentiation of their reward. One may also mention that one

of the most famous mystics in Islam, Rabi’a al ‘Adawiyya, was a


Having established beyond question the spiritual equality of men

and women in Islam, what of their intelligence, knowledge and

education? The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said:

“The search

for knowledge is duty for every Muslim (male or female).” He

(pbuh) also said: “Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.”

Knowledge for a Muslim is not divided into sacred and secular, and

the implication of these sayings of the Prophet (pbuh), in modern

terms, is that every Muslim boy or girl, man or woman, should

pursue his or her education as far as it is possible, bearing in mind

the words of Allah in the Holy Quran:

“Those truly fear Allah, among His Servants who have

knowledge: for Allah is Exalt in Might, Oft-Forgiving.” (Qu-

ran 35:28)

In Islam, therefore, both men and women are credited with the

capacity for learning and understanding and teaching, and one of

the aims of acquiring knowledge is that of becoming more conscious

of God. It is considered in Islam that the more a person, male or

female, studies the creation and observes its workings, the more

he or she becomes conscious of the Creator, the Power who made

and sustains the creation.