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Selma Cook

This article is based on an interview with Dianne Charles Breslin

“In Arabic we talk about nutrition for the soul, rather than only being concerned with the body,” says Dianne Breslin. This is a very important point as we are now in Ramadan and this blessed month gives us the chance to feed the spirit and make fundamental changes in the way we think and behave.

Breslin sees that the issue of being overly-concerned with outward appearance is almost epidemic nowadays. “As an American, I see that people’s fixation with the external and material world, as well as with their own personal self have increased to point of no return. It is as though we have turned into shells with nothing going on inside.” She believes this is largely due to a lack of attention and focus on organized religion while at the same time there is so much attention from the media on external physical beauty; things like being athletic and fashionable, and more and more focus on hair, make up, and cosmetic surgery. She sees that young people are being told that all they have to do is look good and then everything else in life will automatically just work out and they will have a happy life. She adds, “In fact, this is not happening! Thinking like this has led us on a downward spiral and we have more anxiety and depression than we’ve ever had before.”

Breslin mentions two Quranic surahs: Surat Quraish and Surat At-Takathur because she sees that these are the best surahs to elucidate what she is trying to say. She believes that in this time; that of globalization, world trade is being homogenized and people hope that the have-nots will get more, while the haves get even more. In this context, Breslin says, “Surat Quraish deals with a main concern of today’s world. The tribe of Quraish lived along the trade routes of that time and they were subject to highway robbers and many dangers, so Almighty Allah reminds them that He protects them while they are trading.”

In this surah Almighty Allah says (what means): “(It is a great Grace and Protection from Allah), for the taming of the Quraish, (And with all those Allah’s Grace and Protections for their taming, We cause) the (Quraish) caravans to set forth safe in winter (to the south), and in summer (to the north without any fear). So let them worship (Allah) the Lord of this House (the Ka’ba in Makka). (He) Who has fed them against hunger, and has made them safe from fear.” (Quraish 106:1-4)

Breslin comments, “It would be well for all traders to be reminded that there is a Lord above them who brings them great profit or loss. It is a real mistake if someone thinks that he gained wealth through his own cunning or expertise.”

Breslin continues, “The next surah is Surat At-Takathur where Almighty Allah says that people will be constantly concerned with accumulating more and more until they are in the grave. At that time the person will know for certain as he looks at Hell and will be asked about the blessings and favors Almighty Allah has given him.”

 Indeed, these days there is so much emphasis on achievement and more and more success. People are expected to have a better job, a better house, better food, higher degrees, and more opportunity to travel. Along with all this, a young person has to worry about what he or she looks like; what his or her body looks like as well as worrying about the future and finding a career. Young people are in competition with those who can perhaps afford better schools and universities and maybe their competitors have a sharper mentality. Perhaps a young person is not able to get a degree; perhaps he or she just does not have the opportunity to do that.

Breslin comments saying, “That doesn’t mean you’re a loser! Of course not! You could be the most loved by Allah and have less of worldly things. So it’s well to stop and ponder about the Lord above who caused you to come into being and who will judge you one day and to whom you will certainly return.”

To achieve true and lasting success you have to submit to Almighty Allah and know that your Lord has given you a life’s plan. If you start to study the
Qur’an and Sunnah you will feel great peace and comfort and your confusion will lessen and your anxiety will probably just disappear. This is because Almighty Allah says that with His name the hearts find peace and contentment. Breslin observes, “Through the knowledge of Almighty Allah all things will be made easy and through remembrance of Allah you will be grateful and thankful and Almighty Allah will help you to be a good servant.”

Breslin made a final important comment, “The Prophet (peace be upon him) told us a D
u`aa’ that we should say at end of each prayer: ‘O Allah! Please help me to remember You, thank You and be a good worshipper”.


Dianne Charles Breslin is an American Muslim. She embraced Islam 24 years ago and has written, translated and published under the name Umm Salah Idden. She has also written many articles for Islamonline.net. Her specialty is Aqeedah, Quran and Arabic language.