As Muslims, we don’t need health magazines to show us how to respect and care for our body. We don’t need celebrities to follow as an example. We don’t need social media to tell us what is beautiful & what isn’t and we know better than to compare ourselves to others.
Instead, we aspire to follow the Sunnah, the way of life of the Last Messenger Muhammad Sall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam sent by Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla as a Mercy to Mankind. We are the Ummah of Muhammad SubhanAllah.
One of the main responsibilities of a Muslim is fasting during the Holy Month of Ramadhan. It is fardh unless you have a medical condition, are sick, are pregnant, on menses, during the postnatal time after giving birth or those travelling. There is also optional fasting at other times aswell and this is a Sunnah practice.
If you think about eating and your diet we have all, more or less, been taught that eating
three meals a day plus snacks is the ‘normal’ even though it’s not necessarily the healthiest eating pattern. There are a lot of pressures to have that particular eating pattern – there’s a lot of money involved. The food industry — are they going to make money from skipping breakfast like I did today? No, they’re going to lose money. If people fast, the food industry loses money. What about the pharmaceutical industries? What if people do some intermittent fasting, exercise periodically and are very healthy, is the pharmaceutical industry going to make any money on healthy people?
Eating excessively is not part of Islam. Despite the fact most Muslim cultures eat meat excessively. 89% of Egyptians eat more than 2kg of meat monthly. This figure rises along with social class. The study revealed that wealthy Egyptians often consume more than 8kg of meat each month.
Dietary changes have long been known to have an effect on the brain. One example is children who suffer from epileptic seizures have fewer of them when placed on caloric restriction or fasts. This is because intermittent fasting enhances the ability of nerve cells to repair DNA. This is exactly what happens to your body when you fast. Subhan’Allah.
Basically, fasting kills off old and damaged immune cells, and when the body rebounds it uses stem cells to create brand new, completely healthy cells.
If you are interested in Health & Fitness you might have heard of the “5:2 Diet.” This is a recommended way of fasting in Islam whereby 2 days of the week you Fast and on the other five days of the week, you can eat normally.
If you are Muslim this might remind you of the diet of Prophet Muhammad Sall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam who used to fast on a Monday and a Thursday; i.e 2 days per week.
There are more reasons than just medical as to why Muslims fast. Fasting not only heals the body and makes us more healthy internally, it is psychologically and spiritually healing. We are reminded of the most important, yet simple, parts of life, we are reminded of the millions of people around the world who have no choice but to starve on a daily basis, we are reminded of Allah subḥānahu wa ta’āla through every pang of hunger and thirst therefore, we become more Grateful to Allah for all our Blessings in life.
To truly fast in Islam does not mean just physically. Allah’s Messenger Sall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam said, “He who does not give up false speech and evil actions, Allah does need his refraining from food and drink.”
If you simply give up your food and drink, but do not refrain from swearing, backbiting, do not pray, do not withhold bad habits you are not fasting.
Furthermore, this becomes easier because the shayateen (devils) will be chained during the month of Ramadan so that they do not have any influence on the believers by whispering to them and misguiding them, any sins we do make during this month are due to our own soul.
“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you made aware of your duty [to Allah] (that is, learning self restraint).” Surah 2 Ayah 183; Holy Qur’an.
The purpose of religion is to control yourself, not criticise others & out of many things that I admire about our Prophet Muhammad Sall Allāhu ʿalay-hi wa-sallam was his ability to stay calm, polite and smile in situations in which probably all of us would’ve broken down or exploded out of anger. How much strengh he must’ve had to see the best in others, to forgive and to suppress ever atom of rage and sadness! This attitude is a miracle itself subhanAllah. This self control and ability to control his feelings & treat each and every individual with the utmost respect comes from Fasting.
Do something today you will be proud of in a year.