Ramadan benefits: Spiritual, physical and medical to human body
By Halima Ahmad Ishaq
Ramadan is the holy month when Muslims fast daily from early dawn until sunset.
They are not allowed food or beverage. It is a period of reflection, devotion, generosity, and sacrifice observed by Muslims around the world. In the Quran, Muslims are commanded to fast so that they may “learn self-restraint” (Quran 2:183). This restraint and devotion are especially felt during Ramadan, but Muslims are expected to strive to make those feelings and attitudes stay over during their “normal” lives. That is the true goal and test of Ramadan.
Fasting during the month of Ramadan, called the sawm, means “to refrain” It involves abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual relations from dawn to sunset, in the hope that it will lead to greater “taqwa”, or consciousness of God and is considered one of the five pillars of Islam.
Fasting is a special act of worship which is only between humans and God since no one else knows for sure if this person is actually fasting. Thus, God says in a hadith qudsi that “Fasting is for Me and I only will reward it.” In another hadith, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has said, “if one does not give up falsehoods in words and actions, God has no need of him giving up food and drink”
Ramadan is actually considered the holiest month in Islam. In other words, there’s a lot more to it than simply skipping meals. This holy month commemorates a very significant moment in Islam: when the holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Fasting plays a major role in reaffirming Muslims’ faith. Beyond avoiding food and drink from sunset to sundown (and breaking the fast with a meal known as an iftar every night), “fasting” also means avoiding bad behavior. This might mean cutting back on gossip, practicing patience, or controlling your temper — any social habit you have that may end up hurting others. When you’re fasting, you become aware of everything you do and how you react in every situation.
Fasting during Ramadan purifies the actions and thoughts of Muslims. According to experts also, apart from spiritual, physical and social benefits, fasting has countless health benefits, too.
However, if you are unaware of the numerous benefits that fasting can bring, take a look at some of them below:
Detoxifying: Abstaining from all matter of solids and surviving on liquids for a few days is a great way to cleanse the human body and detoxify; improving the function of organs whilst promoting a cleansed digestive system – improving blood circulation and getting rid of any harmful toxins in the body.
Appetite Suppressant: Do you ever get that feeling of not being able to tell when you’re full? Or eating out of pure boredom? Fasting can help solve those problems. By structuring your day around everything apart from eating, your body eventually gets accustomed to not feeling hungry all the time. Naturally, fasting also decreases the appetite which reduces the hunger hormone levels in the body.
Metabolism: One of the more obvious results of fasting is alleviating obesity; fasting prompts the liver’s enzymes to break down cholesterol and fats to convert them into bile acid, which, in turn, converts to heat – ultimately stimulating faster metabolism. Naturally, fasting also decreases the appetite which reduces the hunger hormone levels in the body.
Weight Loss: The term fasting means to refrain from food or drink or even both at the same time; when the human body is undergoing the starvation process, the body turns to fat in order to utilize and burn any stored energy first. If done correctly, fasting can do wonders for weight loss.
Immune System: Partaking in fasting promotes healing in the human body as it applies core focus to its immune system and metabolism as opposed to focusing on digestion, further enhancing muscle growth in the process.
The immune system is largely comprised of white blood cells and fasting encourages your body to recycle any old white blood cells which results in a healthier, more robust immune system.
Blood Pressure: A decrease in the body’s salt intake and loss of salt through urine lowers the body’s blood pressure.
Training: HGH, also known as Human Growth Hormone, is organically produced by the human body and is known to build muscle mass which effectively burns fat. Many athletic professionals tend to utilize the fasting method in the lead up to big games as it is key for burning fat whilst targeting and optimizing muscle growth.
Improved Cardiovascular Function: Fasting can lead to a healthier heart, lowering cholesterol and promoting improved muscle performance along with enhanced blood vessel growth.
Mental Health: Fasting also goes a significantly long way towards balancing the mind and reducing mental stress. Fasting is also known to strengthen the mind, sharpen focus and provide mental clarity – this is primarily due to a reduction in calorie, sugar and salt intake.
Blood Sugar: During the fasting process, glucose levels are stabilised which can lead to the prevention of type 2 diabetes as a result.
Radiant Complexion /Anti-ageing: It is said that fasting could potentially slow down the aging process, keeping you younger and fitter for longer and it could also potentially increase lifespan. Fasting leads to the production of restored tissues and cells within the human body, degrading unnecessary cells in the process. This enables you to produce collagen, leading to healthier and more radiant skin.
Ramadan always remains the most holy month for Muslims, in which we fast, congregate for prayers and makes our community friendships stronger. Invite our relatives for iftar meals. Many Muslims arrange an iftar at the mosque and share meals as a community.…….
But this year’s Ramadan is one with a difference Muslims around the world will observe the holy month of Ramadan under lockdown and tight restrictions due to the corona virus outbreak that has paralyzed entire countries.
With strict curfews and physical distancing directives enforced to limit the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 disease, many of Ramadan’s rituals and traditions will be curtailed this year.
Nevertheless my dear sisters and brothers I advise you to recite Qur’an and pray at home with your families , listen to Ramadan lectures through internet and other virtual means during this holy month. As Muslims, we are not however oblivious of the fact that death is inevitable, but we must not be reckless with our lives.
May Allah accept our fasting, forgive our sins, and guide us all to the Straight Path. May Allah bless us all during Ramadan, and throughout the year, with His forgiveness, mercy, and peace, and bring us all closer to Him and to each other.
Happy Ramadan to all Muslims.
Ishaq wrote in from Radio Kano.