The Islamic Bulletin
The Islamic Bulletin
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-
- 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
13. Pour the cooked couscous in a bowl, sprinkle surface
lightly with a little fat from the top of the broth and the
14. Toss it lightly with raisins.
15. Arrange the meat and vegetables around the mound
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:
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-
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.