Ramadan is just 1 week away! Why fast?

1 Jul

For the Body

(Part Two of Two)

 RamadanImage2

As-salaam alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. Just a little less than a month ago I wrote the first part of this mini-series, and I feel like it was just yesterday I was putting the post up. Time flies by so quickly, subhanallah.

Finding information about some of the health benefits for fasting was a a bit harder than I thought, since there is so much controversy out there in regards to fasting in general.Some non-Muslims believe fasting is bad for your body, and others consider it to be beneficial. So it took me a while to finally gather up authentic, valid websites and documents that could help us benefit from them.

In the end, Allah is Allah. He is the Creator of the Universe, the Creator of the Earth, of you and me and of every single thing we can see. So who are we to judge whether or not something Allah ta’aala, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful, has prescribed for us?

Ramadan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur’an as a guide to mankind also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So everyone of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting but if anyone is ill or on a journey the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you. He does not want to put you to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.

(2:185) Qur’an

Some articles get into heated debates about the negative side effects for the elder, for women that are breast feeding, and so on. Alhamdulillah! Allah has made fasting obligatory, except for those that cannot perform fasting, including the elder, the ill, women that are pregnant, breastfeeding and so on. If only we knew how easy Allah wants this Holy month to be for us, we would realize how Just Allah ta’aala is.

The importance here is how we can benefit from this month. I strongly believe the true benefits are for our soul. Health benefits are additional, and you shouldn’t fast for anything else that isn’t for the sake of Allah.

Muslims fast for the tawqaa (God-consciousness, piety, fear of Allah) we have towards our Creator. When you fast, you realize you have nothing without Allah. It’s also to help you remember the poor, those that are in difficult situations and that cannot have even a drop of water to drink throughout the day.

So let’s see some health benefits that come from fasting during Ramadan.

Leaving poor habits behind

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One of the preparations for Ramadan is to leave any bad habits behind. This can include anything from smoking, to watching too much television, to eating too much fast food.

How many times have we gorged ourselves with food out of anxiety, or have led ourselves to obesity or other health conditions because of our poor diet? When was the last time you committed yourself to actually stop smoking and spend that money on something beneficial for yourself?

The truth is that we as humans will fall into bad habits constantly. From stuffing ourselves with food, to not drinking enough water daily, to smoking, to any other bad habit that harms our body.

This also includes actions that don’t benefit us, besides dietary ones. For example, watching too much television, playing too many video games, being on the Internet for too long and other time consuming things that will limit us from performing beneficial actions. These can include reading and studying the Qur’an and Sunnah, watching videos that can help strengthen our emaan, spending time with our friends and family, and others.

Ramadan is a month of self-restraining and also of self-training our body and mind to control these needs inside us. As it says in the Qur’an:

O ye who believe! fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you that ye may (learn) self-restraint.

(2:183) Qur’an

I strongly believe Ramadan is a month of benefit for our health, as it helps us cleanse our bodies and have awareness of what it’s like to be hungry and thirsty and not be able to have food or water for long periods. It’s not the same to feel empathy for someone that is going through hunger, then to actually go through hunger yourself and realize how important it is to help others.

Alhamdulillah that we have such a beautiful month to make us realize these things and learn to control our desires and needs.

Body Cleansing

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Ramadan has so many benefits, so this is why I decided to divide this article in two: one for the soul and one for the body. You can read my article For the Soul here.

Not only do we restrain from foul language, learn to help the needy and understand what our true intentions are as humans during Ramadan, but it is also a month where our body can take a break from all the bad things we’ve put it in.

If you’re someone that likes to eat tons of fast food, or fried foods, your digestive system will finally be able to cleanse itself.

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Anas b. Mâik narrates that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to break his fast with fresh dates before going to prayer. When fresh dates were unavailable, he would break his fast with dried dates. When dried dates were unavailable, he would take a few sips of water.

[Sunan Abî Dâwûd (2356)]

It is Sunnah (the prophetic way) to break your fast with dates or water if you can’t find dates. Also, for your suhoor or early morning breakfast just before praying fajr, it is recommended to have a balanced, healthy meal full of proteins and vitamins, to stay away from fried foods and salty food such as cheese as they will make you thirsty, to not drink tea as it will make you want to go to the bathroom too often, and to drink at least 2 cups of water or more so that your body remains hydrated during the day.

Ramadan should not be a month to make diets, or to lose weight as some people consider it to be. Also, it shouldn’t be a month where you sleep all day and wake up at night to break your fast. Not only is this incorrect since you should be spending as much time possible reading Qur’an and remembering why we fast, but it will also make you gain weight.

We must remember that fasting in the month of Ramadan is the month for Allah (subhana wa ta’aala).

Imam al-Sadiq (A) said:

“God-Almighty said: ‘ Fasting is for Me and I bestow its reward upon the fast observer.”‘

(Wasail al-Shi’a, vol. 7, p-290)

Let’s also remember that fasting is a benefit for us, and not a burden for our ummah. During the month of Ramadan, the gates of heaven are opened and the gates of hell are closed, as is mentioned by the Prophet Muhammad (salalahu alayhi wa salaam).

The Holy Prophet (S) has said:

“The Fasting is a shield for protection against Hell’s fire.”

(Wasail al-Shi’a, vol. 7, p-289)

ramadan_kareem

May Allah guide us in this Holy Month that is soon to come. May our hearts be full of emaan and tawqaa, and may we always worship Allah ta’aala in any circumstance we may be, as He is the all Hearer, the all Knower, and the only one that can hear and answer our prayers. Ameen.

And Allah truly knows best.

Chao

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The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The child of Adam fills no vessel worse than his stomach. Sufficient for the child of Adam are a few morsels to keep his back straight. If he must eat more, then a third should be for his food, a third for his drink, and a third left for air.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhî (2380) and Musnad Ahmad (17186) and authenticated by al-Albânî in Sahîh al-Jâmi`]
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One Response to “Ramadan is just 1 week away! Why fast?”

  1. What is Ramadan July 5, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    Thanks for the very nice post. Am just waiting 8 more days left for a precious month of Ramadan. These are the main things which we have to careful specially in this month.

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