“And who is better in speech than one who calls to Allah and does good, and says: I am surely of those who submit? And not alike are the good and the evil. Repel (evil) with what is best, when lo! he between whom and thee is enmity would be as if he were a warm friend. And none is granted it but those who are patient, and none is granted it but the owner of a mighty good fortune.” –Holy Qur’an, Surah 41, verses 33-35
Webster’s dictionary defines coffee from the Arabic word qahwah. It is a beverage made by percolation, infusion, or decoction from the roasted and ground seeds of a coffee plant, known as Arabica: a dehydrated product made from brewed coffee (instant), also a beverage made from this. Coffee has been a controversial subject throughout its history and most particularly in the last several decades regarding its health benefits. While the Mxodus coffee team was in a retreat in Sedona, Arizona, two years ago, there appeared a book on the shelf in my room entitled, “The great Coffee book,” by authors Timothy J. Castle and Joan Nielsen. I was surprised to find so many interesting and intricate details on the subject of coffee on page 3 we read, “Specialty Coffee Revolution.” Nutritionally, coffee has very little to offer except, of course, for the stimulating effects of a little caffeine; the other exception to this is a very recently discovered class of healthful antioxidants. Yet, if caffeine were the only reason people drank coffee, we would probably just pop No-Doz instead. Perhaps the antioxidant compound exerts some instinctual pull upon us because of their potentially health-giving properties. Or possibly there are other compounds in coffee that for one reason or another appeal to our psyches for reasons that we do not yet understand.”
The author continues in his collection of facts about coffee and speaks of his first trip to Guatemala and Chiapas, Mexico. He states that when he returned from Mexico he brewed a cup of coffee he brought back from a mill in Chiapas. He was immediately reminded of the air, plants, and earth of Chiapas, as clearly as if a videotape were being played for him. It turns out that in the Central American and South American land where coffee is grown that Chiapas is the center of the best collected and distributed coffees in the Western Hemisphere. Remember that Webster’s dictionary defines coffee from the Arabic word qahwah. The author states that this word does not mean “giver of strength” as is often proposed in books and articles on coffee but rather comes from an Arabic verb meaning “to put off.”
In our future studies and research concerning coffee and this particular region of Chiapas, being the center of coffee production, will be explored further as we meet and interview the Indigenous people who live in this region and are the protectors of the rain forest and the temple pyramid sites that exist throughout the State of Chiapas. I end with this quote from “The great Coffee book,” with an interesting analogy that he makes in reference to Muhammad’s history: “All of this early coffee history occurred before the prophet Muhammad established the Islamic faith. Sometime shortly after his arrival in Medina, in A.D. 622 and before his death in 632, he decreed that the faithful should not consume any alcoholic beverages purportedly due to the rampant drunkenness he found in that city. After that time only the coffee sun tea, known as qishr was consumed. Qishr is still drunk today, either as a sun tea or brewed by boiling water.”
According to the Divine Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, he stated to me in a conversation about coffee that “The Saviour,” referring to Master Fard Muhammad, that coffee was good for us and gave us a heightened mental illumination associated with the brain’s ability to think. As we read in How To Eat To Live, coffee along with lemon water, (lemonade) may be accompanied with our times of fasting. He never recommended black coffee but added that we should put a little cream and sugar for taste. I close with the story behind Project Mxodus with a research paper on “The Benefits of Coffee,” written by Sis. Callie Muhammad and Dr. Darnita Muhammad.
In “How to Eat to Live,” coffee is one of the few beneficial beverages specified by the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. While nutritional and medical scientists have tried feverishly to promote the detrimental effects of coffee as linked to hypertension, heart disease, cystic formation, etc.,avid coffee consumers still reach for their cups of java in the comfort of their homes or the coziness of a coffee shop. Coffee remains a social favorite primarily due to a fanciful variety of flavors, yet could the popularity of this rich, dark drink be linked to its ability to stimulate the body and mind in a way that promotes physical and mental healing?
Researchers from the University of Scranton, in an August 29, 2005 report, found that coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the American diet. Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in food that can prevent or slow oxidative damage to the cells of our bodies. When our cells utilize oxygen, they naturally produce oxidants, which can cause damage to other cells. Antioxidants act as oxidant scavengers and hence prevent and repair the damage inflicted by theses oxidants. While fruits and vegetables are hailed as the richest source of antioxidants, the consumption of antioxidant-rich brewed coffee may inhibit diseases caused by oxidative damage.
Scientific studies have examined the relationship between coffee consumption and an array of medical conditions. Coffee appears to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, heart disease, diabetes mellitus Type 2, cirrhosis of the liver and gout. Some health effects are due to the oils found in coffee, which are a good source of lecithin and other unknown substances beneficial to the body. These oils contain the only vegetable lecithin that is available for use in the human body. Lecithin is a substance the body uses to coat all brain, nerve and sex cells. It helps each cell connect with its environment by relating its activities with outside conditions. The energy and vitality levels of our emotions, minds and bodies change as a direct result of the amount of lecithin covering our brain and nerve cells. Without lecithin, consciousness is impossible; there is stupor and then death.
The caffeine in a daily cup of coffee can also improve our mental performance. It awakens the brain and increases our alertness and attention in activities, which can help you better process information and thus facilitating relevant learning. Have you ever been bogged down in tedious study? Coffee can motivate you and give you the energy to make the best of it.
The caffeine in coffee also acts as a stimulant to the brain, drawing our mind’s focus to what is necessary to learn, leading to fewer distractions. During a 1979 meeting of his laborers, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said thatthe Honorable Elijah Muhammad once told them that drinking coffee after Fajr (early morning) prayer stimulates the creative imagination.
Historically, coffee has been used for medicinal purposes and in spiritual practices. Its origin as a plant, bean and finally as a beverage dates back to 800 B.C. In the Americas, the use of coffee was not well known until only 300-400 years ago. Unfortunately, the benefits of coffee are virtually misunderstood by most practitioners of health and nutrition today.
Research is rapidly revealing the health benefits of coffee, negating the notion that coffee should be avoided. But what must be challenged is the chemicalized way in which coffee is grown, manufactured, decaffed and roasted. These are the offenders and contaminators of good coffee that can have a harmful effect on our bodies and health. It is coffee from the pure coffee bean with pure water that can offer health benefits that we may not have known.
“And if a false imputation from the devil afflict thee, seek refuge in Allah. Surely He is the Hearing, the Knowing. And of His signs are the night and the day and the sun and the moon. Adore not the sun nor the moon, but adore Allah who created them, if he it is that you serve.” —Holy Qur’an, Surah 41, verses 36-37
To be continued.