Al-Jazeerah
Al-Haram Mosque in Makkah The Prophet's Mosque in Madinah . Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem

 

 

 

Islam: God's Message of Guidance to Humanity

 

By Hassan Ali El-Najjar

 

Table of Contents

 

I. Introduction: Basic Information

 

1. Islam: A Brief Introduction

 

2. Three Levels of Faith: Islam, Iman, and Ihsan 

 

3. The Scientific Evidence That God Exists and the Holy Qur'an Is His Message to Humanity 

 

4. Creation and Evolution in the Holy Qur'an

 

5. Humans, As God's Caliphs on Earth

 

6. Adam's Contest With the Angels, and Getting Out of Paradise


7.
Worshippers By Choice Or Forced Slaves?  

 

8. The Relationship Between the Spiritual and the Physical Aspects of Islamic Teachings  

 

9. Mind, Self, Soul, Spirit, and Happiness from an Islamic Perspective 

 

10. Heart-Mind Relationship in the Holy Qur'an  

 

II. Islam: The Five Pillars of the Faith Structure

 

11. Islamic Proclamation of Faith

 

12. Performing Islamic Prayers

 

13. Giving Zakat, Charity, The Third Islamic Duty

 

14. Fasting and Ramadhan, Great Gifts from Allah to Muslims

 

15. Haj, Pilgrimage, the Fifth Pillar of Islam

 

III. Iman: Allah, His Angels, Messengers, Messages, Latter Day, and Qadar

 

16. Allah, As He Described Himself in the Holy Quran 

 

17. Angels

 

18. Noo'h, Noah, in the Holy Quran  

 

19. Ibrahim, Abraham, in the Holy Quran

 

20. Moussa, Moses, in the Holy Quran

 

21. 'Eissa, Jesus Christ, in the Holy Quran  

 

22. Muhammed in the Holy Quran

 

23. Prophet Muhammed's Night Journey and Ascent to Heavens, Al-Issra Wal Mi'raj

 

24. The Last Day: The Hour, Resurrection, Reckoning, and Judgment

 

25. God's Precise Measurement and His Just Decree, Al-Qadar Wal Qadha

 

IV. I'hsan: Watching Allah in Speech and Deeds

 

1. Introduction to Islamic Law, Shari'a, Part I, Prohibition, Don't Do, and Do Commands in the Holy Quran

 

2. The La (No) Commands

 

3. The Imperative Commands 

 

***

 

Articles with Islamic Perspective:

 

Health Care Crisis in the US: An Islamic Perspective

 

"Terrorism" & "Islamo-Fascism" Propaganda Campaigns: An Interactive Lecture

 

Six Questions About Islam, Muslims and Jews

 

Five Islamic Issues: Predestination and choice, position toward other religions, angels, and the End of Days

Food Islamic Rules and Teachings
 

 

Are Muslim women second-class citizens  

 

The French Ban on Islamic Headscarf, an Interview with

 

Links to Islamic Topics 2007-2010

 

Links to Islamic Topics 2007

 

Links to Islamic topics 2006

 

Links to Islamic topics 2005

 

Links to Islamic topics 2004

 

Links to Islamic topics, 2003

 

2002 Links to Islamic topics

 



























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































 

Islam:

 

God's Message of Guidance to Humanity

 

14

 

Fasting and Ramadhan:

 

Great Gifts from Allah to Muslims

 

By Hassan Ali El-Najjar

 

Friday, 20th of Ramadhan, 1435 - 18th of July 2014

 

Updated on 24th of Rajab, 1438 - 20th of April, 2017

 

***

 

:

 

 

 

1435 - 2014

 

1438 \ 2017

 

***

 

 

I seek refuge with Allah from the Stoned Shaytan (Satan)

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

 

 

 

Introduction

 

Allah, praise to Him, decreed that Muslims should fast for the full month of Ramadhan, during which they also observe other ways of worship, such as the recitation and study of the Holy Quran, giving charity, performing night prayers (Tarawi'h), and increasing good deeds.

 

Like all other ways of worshipping Allah, fasting has direct benefits to those who observe it, empowering them spiritually and physically. In addition, fasting and increasing good deeds have great benefits not only to the involved individuals but also to their families, their communities, their society, and humanity in general, as people are thus trained to be more merciful, compassionate, and caring of each-other on all of these levels. As such, this Chapter addresses some of the meanings and benefits, which are associated with fasting and the month of Ramadhan.   

 

 

Meaning and Benefits of Fasting

 

The fasting command, as a way of worshipping Allah, praise to Him, is mentioned in verses 2: 183-187 of the Holy Quran. When we analyze the main five ways of worshipping Allah (the proclamation of faith, performing prayers, fasting Ramadhan, giving charity, and the pilgrimage), we find that all of them aim at benefiting us first. So, we live happily in this life and in the hereafter. At the same time, Allah rejoices that we perform these ways of worship out of love to Him and obedience to His commands. [1]

 

Fasting means that Muslims should not eat, drink, smoke, and have sexual intercourse with their spouses, during the day time, from dawn to the sunset. Fasting also includes abstaining from injecting anything else into the human body, which may lead to causing changing in it. [2]

 

Without proper understanding of Islam, fasting may be perceived as an act of starving people and inflicting pain on them. In fact it has so many benefits both to the body and the self, which makes it a great gift from the Creator to people. [3]

 

Physically, it strengthens the body through getting rid of unnecessarily gained fats throughout the year. If people fast properly, by doing the same daily activities and eating normal food in quantity and quality, they will lose weight at the end of the fasting month. It is a very well-known fact that losing weight is prescribed by medical doctors as a solution for and prevention of many diseases. It keeps you healthy and looking good.

 

Fasting is also beneficial for some organs of the body, like the stomach and the intestines, which are bombarded for many hours every day with a lot of foods and drinks to process and digest. Fasting the month of Ramadhan gives these digestive organs a break, during the second half of the day, which rejuvenates them and makes them healthier. [4]

 

Spiritually, fasting leads to contemplation about hunger and hungry people in a person's community and around the world. This is due to the fact that fasting allows people to feel what it means to be hungry. That is why Muslims are most generous in Ramadhan, as reflected in giving more charity and increasing acts of support for the poor and the needy.

 

Fasting is also a training of the self to resist body desires and control them. It follows that the strength gained by the self enables it to resist other desires like aggression, controlling others, or taking advantage of them, which are prevalent in our planet at this time.

 

Thus, Allah has promised a great reward for Muslim men and women who fast the month of Ramadhan, as stated in Verse 33: 35 of the Holy Quran:

 

 

﴿ 33: 35﴾.

 

 

Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so - for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward (Al-A'hzab, 33: 35). 

 

Further, fasting is so appreciated by Allah, praise to Him, that He made it a way for wrong doers to approach Him for forgiveness, as He mentioned in verses 4: 92, 5: 89, 5: 95, and 58: 4, as follows:

 

 

 ۚ ٰ  ۚ  ۖ ٰ  ۖ  ۗ ﴿ 4: 92﴾.

 

 

And never is it for a believer to kill a believer except by mistake. And whoever kills a believer by mistake - then the freeing of a believing slave and a compensation payment presented to the deceased's family (is required) unless they give (up their right as) charity. But if the deceased was from a people at war with you and he was a believer - then (only) the freeing of a believing slave; and if he was from a people with whom you have a treaty - then a compensation payment presented to his family and the freeing of a believing slave. And whoever does not find (one or cannot afford to buy one) - then (instead), a fast for two months consecutively, (seeking) acceptance of repentance from Allah. And Allah is ever Knowing and Wise (Al-Nissa, 4: 92).

 

 

ٰ  ۖ  ۖ  ۚ ٰ  ۚ  ۚ ٰ ﴿ 5: 89﴾.

 

 

Allah will not impose blame upon you for what is meaningless in your oaths, but He will impose blame upon you for [breaking] what you intended of oaths. So, its expiation (reparation) is the feeding of ten needy people from the average of that which you feed your (own) families or clothing them or the freeing of a slave. But whoever cannot find (or afford it)- then a fast of three days (is required). That is the expiation for oaths when you have sworn. So, guard your oaths. Thus, Allah makes His verses clear to you that you may be grateful (Al-Ma-ida, 5: 89).

 

 

 ۚ ٰ  ۗ  ۚ  ۗ   ﴿ 5: 95﴾.

 

 

O You who have believed, do not kill game while you are performing pilgrimmage (in Makkah and Medina). And whoever of you kills it intentionally - the penalty is an equivalent from sacrificial animals to what he killed, as justly judged by two just men among you as an offering (to Allah) delivered to the Ka'bah, or an expiation: the feeding of needy people or the equivalent of that in fasting, that he may taste the consequence of his deed. Allah has pardoned what is past; but whoever returns (to violation), then Allah will take retribution from him. And Allah is Exalted in Might and Exacter of Retribution (Al-Ma-ida, 5: 95). 

 

 

 ۖ  ۚ ٰ  ۚ  ۗ ﴿ 58: 4﴾.

 

 

And he, who does not find (a slave to free) then a fast for two months consecutively before they touch each other; and he who is unable - then the feeding of sixty poor persons. That is for you to believe (completely) in Allah and His Messenger; and those are the limits (set by) Allah. And for the disbelievers is a painful punishment. (Al-Mujadala, 58: 4). 

 

 

The Quran Fasting Command and Rules

 

While the fasting command is included in verse 2: 183 of the Holy Quran, fasting rules are mentioned in verses 184-187. Thus, verse 183 tells us that fasting has been ordained on Muslims as it was ordained on other believers before them, teaching them to be pious. Verse 184 names the three categories of Muslims who are permitted not to fast during the month of Ramadhan, though it is better for them to do so, if they can. These are the sick, the travelers, and those who can't fast because of weakness (such as in the case of the elderly, pregnant women, and nursing women). Verse 185 explains that those who can't fast during the month of Ramadhan can do that when their conditions change to normality. It also tells us about the importance of the month of Ramadhan, as the revelations of the Holy Quran started in it, as guidance to people, who should respond by thanking Allah, praise to Him, for this guidance.  Verse 186 encourages believers to increase calling on Allah, praise to Him, during Ramadhan, as He has promised to answer the calls of those who call on Him, as He is close to believers, particularly when they are fasting. Finally, verse 187 tells Muslims that, during the month of Ramadhan, it is permissible for them to have sexual intercourse with their spouses, to eat, and to drink all night, from the sunset until dawn.  

 

 

﴿١٨٣

 

ۚ ٰ ۚ ۖ ۚ   ۖ ﴿١٨٤

 

ٰ ۚ ۖ ٰ ۗ ٰ ﴿١٨٥

 

ۖ ۖ ﴿١٨٦

 

ٰ ۚ ۗ ۖ ۚ ٰ ۖ ۚ ۗ ۗ ٰ ﴿١٨٧﴾ ( 2: 183-187). 

 

 

I seek refuge with Allah from the Stoned Shaytan (Satan)

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

 

O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those (believers) before you that you may become righteous - (183)

 

(Fasting is for) a limited number of days. So, whoever among you is ill or on a journey (during the month of Ramadhan) - then an equal number of days (are to be made up). And upon those who are unable (to fast) - a ransom (a substitute) of feeding a poor person (for each day). And whoever volunteers excess - it is better for him. But to fast is better for you (than not fasting), if you only knew (184)

 

The month of Ramadhan (is that) in which the Quran was revealed, guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and furqan (differentiation between right and wrong). So whoever sights (the new moon of) the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey - then an equal number of other days. Allah wants for you ease and does not want for you hardship, and (He wants) for you to complete the period (the month of fasting), and to glorify Allah for that (to) which He has guided you; so you may be grateful. (185)

 

And when My worshippers ask you (O Muhammad) about Me - indeed, I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So, let them respond to Me and believe in Me, that they may be guided. (186)

 

It has been made permissible for you, (during) the night preceding fasting, to go to your wives (for sexual relations). They are clothing for you and you are clothing for them. Allah knows that you used to deceive yourselves (by going to them when you were not supposed to). So, He accepted your repentance and forgave you. So now, have relations with them and seek that which Allah has decreed for you. And eat and drink until the white thread of dawn becomes distinct to you from the black thread. Then, complete the fast until the night (sunset). And do not have relations with them while you are staying for worship in the mosques. These are the limits (set by) Allah. So, do not approach them. Thus, Allah makes His ordinances clear to the people, that they may become righteous. (187) (Al-Baqara, 2: 183-187).

 

 

More Fasting Rules from 'Hadith

 

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him (pbbuh), explained other rules and virtues of fasting and the month of Ramadhan, with more details, in his Hadiths (sayings). Here are eight of them. [5]   

 

1. Fasting is not just abstaining from food and drinks but it is also abstaining from harming others, and involvement in insult exchange with them. 

 

:

 

" : . . : . . " (: 1904 : 1151 ).

 

Companion of the Prophet, Abu Hurayra, may Allah be pleased with him (mAbpwh), said, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him (pbbuh), said: 

 

Allah, the Exalted and Glorified, said: "Every (good) deed a child of Adam does is for his/her (direct benefit in this life and reward in the hereafter), but fasting will yield greater reward, for it is done (in obedience) to Me." Fasting is protection. When one of you fasts, he/she shouldn't argue with or scream at (others). If anyone curses on (insults) him, he/she should say: I'm fasting. By Allah, the smelling of the mouth of a fasting person is regarded by Allah better than the smell of musk (the best perfume). The fasting person has two happy moments: when he/she breaks the fast and when he/she meets with his/her Creator (Al-Bukhari: 1904, Muslim: 1151, Authenticated by Al-Albani). 

 

2. Ramadhan starts when Muslims see its crescent, and ends when they see the crescent of the following month (Shawwal). If it is cloudy, then they complete the month by fasting thirty days (as lunar months are either 29 or 30 days). 

 

: " . () (: 1909 : 1081).

 

Companion of the Prophet, Abu Hurayra, mAbpwh, said, the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said: 

 

"Fast when you see it (the new crescent), and break the fast when you see it. If it is cloudy (that you can't see the crescent), then complete the (month of) Sha'ban to thirty days (Al-Bukhari: 1909, Muslim: 1081). [6] 

 

3. Muslims are encouraged to be generous to the poor and the needy throughout the year, particularly during Ramadhan. They are also encouraged to study the Holy Quran every night of the fasting month, following the Sunna of the Prophet, pbbuh, as we learn from the following Hadith:

 

: " . . . " (: 6 3220).

 

Companion of the Prophet, Ibn 'Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, said: "The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, was the most generous among people, and was the most generous in Ramadhan, when he would meet with Jibril, and Jibril used to meet with him every night of Ramadhan, to teach him the Quran. The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, would be more generous than the flowing wind, when he meets with Jibril" (Al-Bukhari: 6, 3220).

 

4. Fasting Muslims are encouraged to eat as soon as the sun sets, as this was the Prophets, pbbuh, Sunna, as we learn from the following Hadiths. 

 

: " : " (:  700 : 7241).

 

: " ()" (: 1957 2/ 692 1856 2/ 771 1098).

 

: " " ( : 2356 : 696 : 12676).

 

Companion of the Prophet, Abu Hurayra, mAbpwh, said, the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said: "Allah, praise to Him, said: "The one among my worshippers whom I love most is the one who breaks the fast as soon possible" (Al-Tirmidhi: 700, Ahmed: 7241). 

 

Companion of the Prophet, Sahl Bin Sa'd, mAbpwh, said, the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said: "People will be in good shape as long as they break their fast quickly" (Al-Bukhari: 1957, 2/692, 1856, Muslim: 2/771, 1098). 

 

Companion of the Prophet, Anas, mAbpwh, said, the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, used to break his fast by eating some ripe-fresh dates before praying (Maghrib). If he does not find fresh dates, then he breaks his fast by eating dried dates. If he does not find dried dates, then he would sip some water" (Abu Dawood: 2356, Al-Tirmidhi: 696, Ahmed: 12676).  

 

5. Cleaning one's mouth, using a toothbrush is a sure Sunna, as the Prophet (pbbuh) used a miswak, made of a plant root, to brush his teeth and clean them.

 

: " " (: 5 4569 135).

 

The Mother of Believers, 'Aisha, mAbpwh, said that the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, also said: Siwak (cleaning teeth with a toothbrush) is a purification of the mouth and pleasing to the Lord" (Al-Nissa-i: 5, Abu Yala: 4569, Ibn Khuzayma: 135).  

 

6. The sick and the travelers are given permissions not to fast during their sickness or travel, and to make that up later after the month of Ramadhan, as stated in Verse 2: 184. The Prophet, pbbuh, observed this rule in his travel, particularly when it was hard and hot, and ordered his companions to do so.        

 

: : " ()." : " " ( : 154 : 8032 : 1079).  

 

Companion Abdullah, the son of 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with them both, said that the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said: "Allah likes for his permissions to be used, as are His commands." However, Imam Ahmed narrated another version of the 'Hadith: "Allah likes for his permissions to be used, as He hates for sins to be committed" (Abu Yala: 154, Al-Tabarani: 8032, Al-Qadha-i: 1079). 

 

7. If a person eats or drinks while forgetting about the fast, he/she should continue the fast. 

 

" " (: 6669 : 1155).

 

Companion of the Prophet, Abu Hurayra, mAbpwh, said that the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said: "Whoever ate while forgetting about the fast, he should continue the fast because Allah gave him what he ate" (Al-Bukhari: 6669, Muslim: 1155).

 

8. The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, recommended that Muslims eat the pre-dawn meal (Su'hoor), describing it as a blessed meal. He also recommended that people can continue to eat until about one minute before the emergence of dawn.

 

: : " " (: 1923 : 1095).

 

: . : " . : " (: 1092).

 

Companion of the Prophet, Anas Bin Malik, mAbpwh, said, the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said: "Eat the pre-dawn (su'hour) meal, it's a blessed meal" (Al-Bukhari: 1923, Muslim: 1095).

 

Companion of the Prophet, Ibn 'Umar, may Allah be pleased with him and his father, said, the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, had two (companions), who call for prayers, Bilal and Ibn Um Maktoom. 

 

The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said: "When Bilal calls for prayer, it's still night. You can eat and drink until Ibn Um Maktoom calls for prayer." 

 

Ibn Umar added that the difference in time between the two calls is the difference between the first caller coming down (off the mosque's roof) and the second caller going up (Muslim: 1092).

 

 

Ramadhan's Great Blessings 

 

1. Fasting has been decreed by Allah, praise to Him, during the month of Ramadhan, for its greatest spiritual benefit, righteousness (taqwa), as mentioned in verse 2: 183 of the Holy Quran. Obedience to Allah, praise to Him, by following His command of fasting for the full blessed month, is training of the self to be righteous. The more such obedience is based on contentment and conviction of the goodness of His commands, the more righteous the self becomes, and consequently more capable of doing various good deeds, as stated in verse 2: 177 of the Holy Quran.

 

 ( 2: 183). 

 

O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous (Al-Baqara, 2: 183).  

 

ٰ ٰ ٰ ٰ ۖ ۗ ٰ ۖ ٰ ( 2: 177).

 

Righteousness is not turning your faces toward the east or the west, but righteousness is (represented by the one) who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets, as well as (the one who) gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the (needy) traveler, those who ask (for help), and for freeing slaves. (Righteousness is also represented by the one) who establishes prayer, gives charity (zakat), and those who fulfill their promise when they promise, and those who are patient in poverty, sickness, and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and those are the righteous (Al-Baqara, 2: 177).  

 

2. The month of Ramadhan is distinguished with the Tarawee'h ( Qiyam) prayer, which is performed after the night ('Isha) prayer. One of the great spiritual benefits of this prayer is following the Sunna of the Prophet, pbbuh, particularly resisting the tendency of the self to relax and sleep, after the night prayer. In addition, as a loudly-performed prayer, it is an occasion for Muslims to recite, or listen to the recitation of, all or most of the Holy Quran, in one month. The Taraweeh prayer also brings happiness to the worshiippers, as it reinforces the feelings of affiliation among them. Finally, this prayer is concluded with the Qunoot (devotion) supplication, during the last odd prayer unit (raka), which is a practical application of the Prophets Hadith: supplication is the worship (of Allah). [7]

 

The Taraweeh prayer also has great physical benefits. It is an exercise for various body organs, as it involves standing, bowing, prostrating, and sitting on the floor, in a repeated pattern of movements. The physical benefits are increased by the duration of the exercise, which lasts about one hour, every night, for the entire month of fasting. This strengthens the body muscles, activates the blood circulation, and burns out many of the calories, which are accumulated from the Ramadhan heavy meals.

 

The Tarawee'h (Qiyam) prayer is composed of eight units (rak'as), prayed in two units each, in addition to the two Shaf units and the last odd (witr) unit. Thus, it is a total of eleven units (rak'as), after the 'Isha prayer, as we learn from the Hadith.  

 

" ( : 1334  : 738 : 1601 ).   

 

The Mother of the Believers, 'Aisha, mAbpwh, said: "The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, used to pray ten prayer units (rak'as) at night (after 'Isha prayer, in Ramadhan), ending (the tarawee'h prayers) with one unit (with prostration." She added that he would pray two more dawn (fajr) Raka'a (with prostrations). Thus, he prayed (a total of) thirteen units at night (in both tarawee'h and fajr) (Abu Dawood: 1334, Muslim: 738, Al-Nisa-i: 1601, and authenticated by Al-Albani). 

*** 

After the death of the Prophet, pbbuh, his companions prayed more than ten units (rak'as). For example, 'Umar, mAbpwh, prayed twenty units, closing with the odd (witr) unit. So, it's up to the imam to pray eleven units or more. However, the Tarawee'h prayers are not mandatory every night, as the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, taught us by his practice of praying at different nights in different years, as we learn from the following two 'Hadiths: 

 

:  : " " ( : 1375 : 806 : 1327 : 1364   : 21419 ).

 

Companion Abu Dhar, mAbpwh, said: "Whoever stands (in the Tarawee'h prayers) with the Imam until he leaves, a night of prayer is recorded for him/her" (Abu Dwood: 1375, Al-Tirmidhi:806 , Ibn Maja: 1327, and Al-Nisa-i: 1364, Ahmed: 21419, and authenticated by Al-Albani). 

 

  . : " " ( : 1373 : 1129 : 761 : 1603 ).

 

The Mother of the Believers, 'Aisha, mAbpwh, said that the Prophet, pbbuh, prayed in the Mosque, followed by people, at the first night (of Ramadhan, after 'Isha). He also prayed at the second night but with a bigger number of people. At the third or fourth night, people gathered (in the Mosque waiting for him) but he did not come out to them.  

 

In the morning, he said: "I saw what you did (last night, waiting for me, for prayer) but I did not come out to (pray with) you because I was afraid that it would become mandatory (on you to pray Tarawee'h every night), in Ramadhan (Abu Dwood: 1373, Al-Bukhari: 1129, Muslim: 761, Al-Nisa-i: 1603, and authenticated by Al-Albani). 

 

3. Ramadhan is the month of giving away to the poor and the needy, including the Iftar Zakat and various kinds of charity (Sadaqat), following the Sunna (model) of the Prophet, pbbuh, in being the most generous to the needy as well as studying the Quran every night, as we learn from the following 'Hadith. 

 

: " " ( : 6370 : 3220 : 2094 ). 

 

Ibn (son of) Abbas, mAbpwt both, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, was the most generous among people, and he was most generous during (the month of) Ramadhan, when he would meet with Jibril, peace be to him. Jibril would meet him every night to study the Quran with him, the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, then would be more generous than the flowing wind." (Narrated by Abu Dawood).

 

: " . " ( : 1609 : 1492 ). 

 

Ibn (son of) Abbas, mAbpwt both, said: "The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, made Fitr Zakat (breaking the fast charity) as a required duty, as it purifies those who fast Ramadhan of any obscenity or prohibited desires they may commit. It's also food for the needy. It's an accepted Zakat if it is given before the (Eid) prayer, but if it is given after that, it's a charity" (This 'Hadith was narrated by Abi Dawood, 1371).

 

: " " (: 984 : 1611 : 676).

 

Ibn (Son of) Omar, mAbpwt both, said: "The Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, made the Fitr Zakat a required duty in Ramadhan, as a Saa' on every Muslim: free or in bondage, male or female (Muslim: 984, Abu Dawood: 1611, Al-Tirmidhi: 676).

 

The meaning of the Hadith is that the Fitr Zakat is a required duty in Ramadhan, to be given to the poor, as a Saa' (unit of measurement of about 2.5 kilograms, or about 5.5 pounds) of dates or barley. The Muslim head of a household has to give the Fitr Zakat, or its equivalence in money, on behalf of every member of his/her household.

 

4. For some Muslims, Ramadhan is the month when they give the wealth Zakat, which is the third major duty (worship) a Muslim has to do (after the proclamation of faith and prayers). Although it may be given at any time during a year, giving it during the month of fasting represents material assistance to the poor and the needy and a show of solidarity with them. 

 

5. Ramadhan is an opportunity to be as close to Allah, praise to Him, as possible through Nawafil, various voluntary acts of goodness, in addition to the recitation and study of the Holy Quran, standing for prayers, and helping others. [8]

 

The ultimate prize is gaining the love of Allah, praise to Him, as the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said in a Qudsi Hadith, that Allah, praise to Him, said: 

 

" " (: 6502 : 1782 : 316\25 " ").

 

"I will grant My Love to My worshipper who keeps approaching me with Nawafil, various voluntary acts of goodness" (Al-Bukhari: 6502, Al-Albani: 1782, Ibn Taymiya: 316/25). 

 

Nawafil are various voluntary acts of goodness, other than the five ordained ways of worship (proclamation of faith, the five prayers, giving zakat (charity), fasting the month of Ramadhan, and making the Haj (pilgrimage) journey.

 

Examples of Nawafil include fasting Mondays and Thursdays, the Six White Days, Ninth and Tenth of Muharram, performing extra prayers other than the five ordained ones, mentioning the Names of Allah and exalting Him, following the traditions of the Prophet, pbbuh, such as brushing teeth, giving charity, and humility. 

 

6. A highlight of Ramadhan is observing the Night of Decree (Laylatul Qadr), in which Allah, praise to Him, blesses His worshippers with mercy, forgiveness, and Peace. The Prophet, pbbuh, advised Muslims to observe it, and to expect it as one of the last four odd nights of the month of fasting. One of the greatest blessings of that night is that the reward for worship in it is equal to the reward of worship in one thousand nights, or about 83 years, which is the average human life span, as we learn from verses 97: 1-5 of the Holy Quran and from the Hadiths.

 

ٰ

﴿١ ﴿٢﴿٣﴿٤﴾ ٰ ﴿٥﴾ ( 97: 1- 5). 

Indeed, We sent the Quran down during the Night of Decree. (1)  

 

And what do you know about the Night of Decree? (2)  

 

The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. (3)  

 

The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. (4)  

 

Peace it is until the emergence of dawn. (5) (Al-Qadr, 97: 1-5). 

 

: " " (: 1901 : 760 : 1372 : 683 : 9445 : 2512). 

 

Companion Abu Hurayra, mAbpwh, narrated that the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said: "Whoever stood in prayer at the Night of Decree (Laylatul Qadr), as an act of faith (in Allah), and hope for His rewards, his previous sins will be forgiven" (Al-Bukhari: 1901, Muslim: 760, Abu Dawood: 1372, Al-Tirmidhi: 683, Ahmed: 9445, Al-Nisa-i: 2512). 

 

: " . . " ( : 373\24   : 5729   : " ").

 

The Companion Ubada Bin Al-Samit, may Allah be pleased with him, said that the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said: "The Night of Decree (Laylatul Qadr) is one of the last ten (nights) of Ramadhan. Whoever stands in prayer during them, for the sole purpose of getting their reward, Allah forgives his/her previous sins. It is (one of the odd nights) either 23rd, 25th, 27th, or 29th, or the last night" (Ibn Abdul Barr: 373/24, Ibn Katheer: 5729, who added forgiveness of later sins, too). 

 

: " " (: 2017 : 2922).

 

The Mother of Believers, Aisha, mAbpwh, said that the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said: "Look for the Night of Decree (Laylatul Qadr), as one of the odd nights, during the last ten nights of Ramadhan" (Al-Bukhari: 2017, Al-Albani: 2922).

 

Thus, to gain the great blessings of Laylatul Qadre, Muslims try to do their best to observe it in the last ten nights of Ramadhan, by praying Tarawee'h at the Masjid, reciting and studying the Holy Quran, giving charity (Zakat and Sadaqat), as well as increasing their good deeds, during the month of fasting.  

 

 

Ibn Katheer's Interpretation of the Night of Decree (Laylatul Qadr)

 

Ibn Katheer, may Allah reward him for his great work, mentioned Ibn Abbas's interpretation of the first verse (We have sent it down at the night of Al-Qadr (Decree), as descending the Holy Quran at once at that Night, then revealing it to the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him (pbbuh), in 23 years after that. 

 

" " , ; . , ; : " ."

 

" .

 

. " " . " " .  

 

In interpreting the third verse of Surat Al-Qadr (Chapter 97) of the Holy Quran, Ibn Katheer said that worshipping Allah at that night is better rewarded than worshipping Him for a thousand months, or about 83 years and 4 months, that is an average person's life time.

 

In interpreting the fourth verse, Ibn Katheer said that the angels descend from heavens at that night to bless worshippers and ask Allah to accept their calls, Du'a, saying Amen.

 

They come with mercy and blessing, surrounding believers in their prayers and their Quran studies, and carrying God's commands about various affairs. The whole night will be in peace until dawn, as Satan won't be able to do harm to believers.

 

It is also the Night, in which wise issues are decreed, as narrated by Qutada in his interpretation of Verse 4 of Surat Al-Dukhan (Chapter 44) of the Holy Quran. 

 

" " ( 44: 4).

 

ٰ

 

﴿١ ﴿٢ ۚ ﴿٣ ﴿٤ ۚ ﴿٥ ۚ ﴿٦( 44: 1-6). 

 

In the Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful

 

"Ha, Meem. (1) By the clear Book, (2) We sent it (the Quran) down during a blessed night. We were to warn (humankind). (3) (At that night) every precise matter is made distinct. (4) A decree from Us. Indeed, We were to send (a messenger) (5) As mercy from your Lord, He is the Hearing, the Knowing. (6) (Al-Dukhan, 44: 1-6).

 

 

Al-Qurtubi's Interpretation of the Night of Decree (Laylatul Qadr)

 

Al-Qurtubi, may Allah reward him for his great work, mentions that it is the Night of Decree, in which Allah praise to Him decrees what He wills for a year, concerning important issues related to people, such as deaths, life spans, and earnings. He then charges the four senior angels to implement His decrees. These are Issrafil, Mikail, Ezrail, and Jibril, peace be upon all of them.

 

He also mentioned that it was called the Night of Qadr because of its high status and high honor and because worshipping Allah in it is greatly rewarded.

 

It is finally better than one thousand month of doing good deeds, worshipping Allah, and asking Him for forgiveness.

 

.

 

  . : , , , .

 

: : . : .

 

: . 

 

 

Al-Tabari's Interpretation of the Night of Decree (Laylatul Qadr)

 

Al-Tabari, may Allah reward him for his great work, mentioned that the Holy Quran was descended as a whole to the Nearest Heaven at the Night of Qadr (Night of Decree). It is the Night of Decree, in which Allah praise to Him decides affairs of the coming year, including such serious issues as life spans, deeds, and earnings.

 

Worshipping Allah, praise to Him, at that Night is better (in rewards) than one thousand months (of worship). The Spirit, Jibril, descends with the angels, by permission from their Lord, Allah praise to Him, to carry out His will about people's serious affairs, such as their life spans and earnings. 

 

It will be peace until the emergence of dawn. 

 

" " , , .

 

" " .

 

" " .

 

" " .

 

" " .

 

 

What may a Muslim do at the Night of Qadr (Night of Decree)?

 

In order to gain the generous rewards of Allah, praise to Him, which are equal to the rewards of worshipping Him for one thousand months, a Muslim may do the following, according to the above-mentioned 'Hadiths: [9]

 

1. Standing in the regular Maghrib and Isha prayers.

 

2. Making Du'a, asking Allah, praise to Him, for forgiveness, saying:

 

"O Allah, You are the Forgiver, You like to forgive, forgive me."

 

3. Mentioning Allah (Dhikr), praising Him (tasbee'h), and reciting as much as possible of the Holy Quran.

 

4. Standing for the night prayers (tarawee'h), two Raka'a (units) each, ending with one before dawn.

 

The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him (pbbuh), used to pray eleven Raka'as as Ramadhan night prayers (tarawee'h), after 'Isha prayer.

 

After the death of the Prophet, pbbuh, the Companions used to pray twenty Raka'as, during the time of Caliphs Omar, Uthman, and Ali, may Allah be pleased with all of them, before ending the night prayer with one (witr) Raka'a.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Allah, praise to Him, decreed to Muslims to fast, as He did to believers before them. Fasting, like all other ways of worshipping Allah, has direct benefits to those who fast, empowering them spiritually and physically.

 

Fasting has been decreed to be during the month of Ramadhan, which also includes several other ways of worship, such as studying the Holy Quran, giving charity, performing night prayers (Tarawee'h), and increasing good deeds.

 

Fasting and the Islamic observance of the month of Ramadhan have great benefits not only to the involved individuals but also to their families, their communities, their society, and humanity in general.

 

Fasting is one of the greatest signs about how much the Creator, praise to Him, loves humanity. He ordained it for the good of humans in their life on Earth and for their everlasting life in the Hereafter.

 

The least humans can do is recognizing this great blessing and thanking Allah, praise to Him, for His care to teach them about it, and for decreeing it as one of the closest ways of worship to Him, by saying:

 

Thanks to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds!

 

 

========================================================================================================================================

 

Notes:

 

[1] For more details about the benefits we gain from performing Islamic ways of worship, see Chapter 8, "The Relationship Between the Spiritual and the Physical Aspects of Islamic Teachings."

[2] According to the ISNA calendar, used in many websites, such as islamiccity.com, the start of the "true dawn" ( ) varies throughout the year, from 68 minutes before the sunrise, in March and October, to 83 minutes before the sunrise in June. For more information about the "true dawn," see Endnote # 7 of Chapter 12, "Performing Islamic Prayers."

[3] For a discussion about the human self, see Chapter 9, Mind, Self, Soul, Spirit, and Happiness from an Islamic Perspective


[4] There are many internet articles about benefits of fasting to the body, written by Muslim and Non-Muslim authors, and some of them are appended below, such as:

 

1. The Health Benefits of Fasting | Serendip's Exchange: serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1834/  

 

2. The Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting | Mark's Daily Apple: www.marksdailyapple.com/health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting

 

3. Nutrition Diva : What are the Health Benefits of Fasting? :: Quick and ...
nutritiondiva.quickanddirtytips.com/benefits-of-fasting.aspx 

 

4. The Many Benefits of Fasting in AllAboutFasting: www.allaboutfasting.com/benefits-of-fasting.html

 

5. Better you: The benefits of fasting - chicagotribune.com

 

6. benefits of the one-day fast: www.librarising.com/health/onedayfast.html  

 

[5]  The main sources for 'Hadiths in this Chapter, about rules of fasting (and in the book as a whole), are the Books of Al-Bukhari and Muslim, as well as the Sunan books, which are posted in many websites, and authenticated by the 'Hadith scholars. Some of the 'Hadiths have also been mentioned by the renowned Islamic interpreters of the Holy Quran (Al-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi, and Ibn Katheer). Some of the main websites, which provide 'Hadith sources are: https://dorar.net/hadith, http://hdith.com/, https://www.ahlalhdeeth.com/, and http://hadith.al-islam.com.

 

Another source for 'Hadith in this Chapter was "Riyadh Al-Saliheen (Gardens of the Righteous), by Imam Abu Zakariya Yahya Bin Sharaf Al-Nawawi (died in 671 Hijriya)." Beirut, Lebanon: Dar Al-Arabiya Press, Pages 307-310), which contains 1903 strongly-documented 'Hadiths.

 

The authentication of the 'Hadiths mentioned in this Chapter, in particular, is quoted in parentheses, from Al-Durar Al-Suniya website (https://dorar.net/hadith), which is supervised by Alawi Abdul Qadir Al-Saqqaf.

 

[6] There are two main methods to determine the new lunar crescent every month, including the month of Ramadhan. The first is the eye-sighting method (which also includes using telescopes) to see the new crescent every month. For more information about this method, see the following article at: http://www.crescentwatch.org/cgi-bin/cw.cgi


The second is the astronomical-calculation method, on the basis of which astronomers prepare calendars showing dates and times of new lunar crescents for many years in the future. For more information about this method, see the following article at:
http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/phase/phase2001est.html.

 

[7] More verses and Hadiths about Nawafil:

 

First, verses about love for Allah and His Messenger:

" "  ( : 3: 31).

 

Say: If you love Allah, then follow me, and Allah will love you, and forgive your sins, He is Forgiving, Merciful (Al-Imran, 3: 31).

 

( 5: 54).

 

O you who have believed, whoever of you should revert from his religion - Allah will bring forth (in place of them) a people He will love and who will love Him, [who are] humble toward the believers, powerful against the disbelievers; they strive in the cause of Allah and do not fear the blame of a critic. That is the favor of Allah; He bestows it upon whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing (Al-Ma-ida, 5: 54).

 

Second, Hadiths about doing Nawafil (various voluntary acts of goodness) more and more, which get a believer closer and closer from Allah, until Allah loves him/her. Gods love for a believer will lead to supporting him/her on various levels.

: 

 

" :

 

 

The best my worshipper can try to be closer to Me is doing what I ordained for him to do. If he does more than that (nawafil) and continue to do that to be closer to Me, then I will love him. When I love my worshipper, I will be his hearing, sight, had, and leg. If he asks Me, I will give him and if he seeks refuge with me, I will grant him that (Al-Bukhari, Musnad Ahmed).

: :  

 

" : : ֡ : ǡ " ( ).

 

" ." : " "

 

: . : " " ( : 388).

 

Third, Hadiths about Nawafil prayers, which are recommended to be performed at home: 

 

  :

 

  : " ( )

 

 

Abdullah, Son of Omar, mAbpwt both, said that the Prophet, pbbuh, said: Make some of your prayers at your homes. Otherwise your homes become like graves.

 

: : " " ( ).

 

Fourth, a Hadith about the number of rakas (units) in the Sunna prayers:

 

:

. : ( ).

 

[8] What may a Muslim do at the Night of Qadr? 

 

In order to gain the generous rewards of Allah, praise to Him, which are equal to the worship of one thousand months, a Muslim may do the following:

 

ѿ

 

1. . : : " " ( ).

1. Standing for prayer.

 

2. . : : ǿ : ": " ( ).

 

2. Supplication.

 

The Mother of Believers, Aisha, mAbpwh, said: O, Messenger of Allah, if I realize that Im witnessing the Night of Qadr, what should I say? He said: Say, O Allah: You are the Forgiver, You like to forgive, forgive me (Ahmed, Ibn Majah, and Al-Tirmidhi).

 

3. .

3. Recitation from the Holy Quran.

 

4. ():

 

. : : " " ( ).

 

. : " ."

 

4. The Night Prayer (Tarawi'h):

 

The Prophet, pbbuh, used to pray the night prayer (tarawih) with eleven-rakas (prayer units), in two-rakas (prayer units) each, with one raka (prayer unit) at the end, as we learn from the Hadith:

 

Abdullah Bin Omar, mAbpwth both, said that the Messenger of Allah, pbbuh, said: The night prayer (tarawih) is prayed in two-raka each, and one at the end, before the dawn prayer (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

 

However, the Prophets Companions started to increase the night prayer to twenty-rakas, (prayer units), at the time of Omar and Uthmans caliphates, as narrated by Al-Tirmidhi, who said: Thus, I saw people in Makkah praying twenty-rakas.

 

 

========================================================================================================================================

 

Appendix

 

Some articles about the health benefits of fasting

 

***

 

Ramadan Fasting - Key to a good Health  

 

http://www.ezsoftech.com/ramadan/ramadan13.asp

 

Fasting has its advantages from the point of view of health and hygiene. Islam wants a Muslim to be healthy, clean, alert, agile and energetic.

 

And physicians today acknowledge the many benefits of fasting that ensure health and the soundness of one's body and mind. Some of these positive points have a direct influence on psychology and physique of the fasting individual.


Fasting has been found to be an effective treatment for psychological and emotional disorders. It helps a person to firm up his/her will, cultivate and refine his/her taste and manners, strengthen his/her conviction of doing good, avoid controversy, petulance and rashness, which all contribute towards a sane and healthy personality.

 

Besides nurturing resistance and ability to face hardships and endurance, fasting reflects on outward physical appearance by cutting out gluttony and getting rid of excess fat. The benefits of fasting on health do not stop there but are instrumental in alleviating a number of physical diseases, including those of the digestive systems, such as chronic stomachache, inflammation of the colon, liver diseases, indigestion, and conditions such as obesity, arterio-sclerosis, high blood pressure, asthma, diphtheria and many other maladies.


A Swiss physician, Dr. Barsilus, noted that: The advantages of hunger as a remedy exceed those ingesting medicine several times.


Moreover, several physicians advise patients to skip meals, sometimes for a few days, before prescribing them a controlled diet.


Generally speaking, fasting hastens the destruction of the decaying tissues of the body by means of hunger, and then builds new tissues through nutrition. This is why some scientists suggest that fasting should be regarded as an effective means of restoring youthfulness and longevity. However, Islam exempts from fasting sick and old people whose health is bound to deter.


But fasting should have its regulations too, and not simply the disorderly skipping of meals, that is bound to harm health and stamina, rather than improving them. Here again Islam provides the answer, and in order to realize the benefits of fasting, it recommends the pre-dawn meals called suhoor (pre-dawn meal) and the breaking of the fast after the sunset. Of course, to ensure good health one should abstain from gluttony after breaking fast.


Moderation

 

It is difficult to identify the moderation in the desires for food and sex because of the different needs and energies of individuals. Moderation of an individual may be considered as exaggeration or shortage for another. The relative moderation is to have only the quantity that is sufficient, away from greed and fill. The best criterion in this regard is that which was stated by Imam Ali Bin Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him:


"Son! May I instruct you four words after which you will no longer need medicine? Do not eat unless you are hungry. Stop eating while you are still hungry. Chew food deliberately. Before sleeping, go to toilet. You will not need medicine if you follow."


In the holy Quran, there is a Verse gathering the whole matter of medicine. It is: "...Eat and drink but do not be excessive." (7:31)

 

=======================================================================

 

The Health Benefits of Fasting

 

By Will Carroll

 

Biology 103 1994-2005

 

Biology 103 2002 First Paper On Serendip

 

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1834/

 

Submitted by SerendipUpdate on Tue, 01/15/2008

 

 

The Health Benefits of Fasting

 

There has been much contention in the scientific field about whether or not fasting is beneficial to one's health. Fasting is an integral part of many of the major religions including Islam, Judaism and Christianity. Many are dubious as to whether the physiological effects are as beneficial as the spiritual promoted by these religions. There is a significant community of alternative healers who believe that fasting can do wonders for the human body. This paper will look at the arguments presented by these healers in an attempt to raise awareness of the possible physiological benefits that may result from fasting.

 

Fasting technically commences within the first twelve to twenty-four hours of the fast. A fast does not chemically begin until the carbohydrate stores in the body begin to be used as an energy source. The fast will continue as long as fat and carbohydrate stores are used for energy, as opposed to protein stores. Once protein stores begin to be depleted for energy (resulting in loss of muscle mass) a person is technically starving. (1)

 

The benefits of fasting must be preceded by a look at the body's progression when deprived of food. Due to the lack of incoming energy, the body must turn to its own resources, a function called autolysis. (2) Autolysis is the breaking down of fat stores in the body in order to produce energy. The liver is in charge of converting the fats into a chemical called a ketone body, "the metabolic substances acetoacetic acid and beta-hydroxybutyric acid" (3), and then distributing these bodies throughout the body via the blood stream. "When this fat utilization occurs, free fatty acids are released into the blood stream and are used by the liver for energy." (3)The less one eats, the more the body turns to these stored fats and creates these ketone bodies, the accumulation of which is referred to as ketosis. (4)

 

Detoxification is the foremost argument presented by advocates of fasting. "Detoxification is a normal body process of eliminating or neutralizing toxins through the colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph glands, and skin." (5). This process is precipitated by fasting because when food is no longer entering the body, the body turns to fat reserves for energy. "Human fat is valued at 3,500 calories per pound," a number that would lead one to believe that surviving on one pound of fat every day would provide a body with enough energy to function normally. (2)These fat reserves were created when excess glucose and carbohydrates were not used for energy or growth, not excreted, and therefore converted into fat. When the fat reserves are used for energy during a fast, it releases the chemicals from the fatty acids into the system which are then eliminated through the aforementioned organs. Chemicals not found in food but absorbed from one's environment, such as DDT, are also stored in fat reserves that may be released during a fast. One fasting advocate tested his own urine, feces and sweat during an extended fast and found traces of DDT in each. (5)

 

A second prescribed benefit of fasting is the healing process that begins in the body during a fast. During a fast energy is diverted away from the digestive system due to its lack of use and towards the metabolism and immune system. (6)The healing process during a fast is precipitated by the body's search for energy sources. Abnormal growths within the body, tumors and the like, do not have the full support of the body's supplies and therefore are more susceptible to autolysis. Furthermore, "production of protein for replacement of damaged cells (protein synthesis) occurs more efficiently because fewer 'mistakes' are made by the DNA/RNA genetic controls which govern this process." A higher efficiency in protein synthesis results in healthier cells, tissues and organs. (7)This is one reason that animals stop eating when they are wounded, and why humans lose hunger during influenza. Hunger has been proven absent in illnesses such as gastritis, tonsillitis and colds. (2) Therefore, when one is fasting, the person is consciously diverting energy from the digestive system to the immune system.

In addition, there is a reduction in core body temperature. This is a direct result of the slower metabolic rate and general bodily functions. Following a drop in blood sugar level and using the reserves of glucose found in liver glycogen, the basal metabolic rate (BMR) is reduced in order to conserve as much energy within the body as can be provided. (2) Growth hormones are also released during a fast, due to the greater efficiency in hormone production. (7)

 

Finally, the most scientifically proven advantage to fasting is the feeling of rejuvenation and extended life expectancy. Part of this phenomenon is caused by a number of the benefits mentioned above. A slower metabolic rate, more efficient protein production, an improved immune system, and the increased production of hormones contributes to this long-term benefit of fasting. In addition to the Human Growth Hormone that is released more frequently during a fast, an anti-aging hormone is also produced more efficiently. (7) "The only reliable way to extend the lifespan of a mammal is under-nutrition without malnutrition." (5) A study was performed on earthworms that demonstrated the extension of life due to fasting. The experiment was performed in the 1930s by isolating one worm and putting it on a cycle of fasting and feeding. The isolated worm outlasted its relatives by 19 generations, while still maintaining its youthful physiological traits. The worm was able to survive on its own tissue for months. Once the size of the worm began to decrease, the scientists would resume feeding it at which point it showed great vigor and energy. "The life-span extension of these worms was the equivalent of keeping a man alive for 600 to 700 years." (8)

 

In conclusion, it seems that there are many reasons to consider fasting as a benefit to one's health. The body rids itself of the toxins that have built up in our fat stores throughout the years. The body heals itself, repairs all the damaged organs during a fast. And finally there is good evidence to show that regulated fasting contributes to longer life. However, many doctors warn against fasting for extended periods of time without supervision. There are still many doctors today who deny all of these points and claim that fasting is detrimental to one's health and have evidence to back their statements. The idea of depriving a body of what society has come to view as so essential to our survival in order to heal continues to be a topic of controversy.

 

References

 

1)"Dr. Sniadach True Health Freedom 3

2)fastingforbetterhealth

3)"Ketosis by Sue Reith"

4)"Nutriquest, March 11th, 2000 Ketosis and Low Carbohydrate Diets"

5)"WebMD Detox Diets: Cleansing the Body"

6)"Fasting"

7)"Fasting Good Morning Doctor"

8)"The health Benefits of Fasting"

 

=========================================


Health Guidelines for Ramadhan Fasting

 

http://www.ezsoftech.com/ramadan/ramadan13.asp

 


This article provides useful advice on how to avoid some common problems encountered in Ramadan. If followed, it would enable one to fast comfortably and enjoy fully the spiritual benefits of Ramadan.


During the holy month of Ramadan, our diet should not differ very much from our normal diet and should be as simple as possible. The diet should be such that we maintain our normal weight, neither losing nor gaining. However, if one is over-weight, Ramadan is an ideal time to normalize one's weight.


In view of the long hours of fasting, we should consume slow digesting foods including fiber containing-foods rather than fast-digesting foods; slow digesting foods including fiber containing-foods rather than fast-digesting foods. Slow digesting foods last up to 8 hours, while fast-digesting foods last for only 3 to 4 hours.


Slow-digesting foods are foods that contain grains and seeds like barely, wheat, oats, millet, semolina, beans, lentils, whole meal flour, unpolished rice, etc. (called complex carbohydrates).


Fast-burning foods are foods that contain sugar, white flour, etc. (called refined carbohydrates).


Fiber-containing foods are bran-containing foods, whole wheat, grains and seeds, vegetables like green beans, peas, sem (papry), marrow, mealies, spinach, and other herbs like methie, the leaves of beetroot (iron-rich), fruit with skin, dried fruit especially dried apricots, figs and prunes, almonds, etc.


The foods eaten should be well balanced, containing foods from each food group, i.e., fruits, vegetables, meat/chicken/fish, bread/cereals and dairy products. Fried foods are unhealthy and should be limited. They cause indigestion, heartburn, and weight problems.


AVOID:


- Fried and fatty foods.
- Foods containing too much sugar.
- Over-eating especially at suhoor (pre-dawn meal).
- Too much tea at suhoor: Tea makes you pass more urine taking with it valuable mineral salts that your body would need during the day.

- Smoking cigarettes: If you cannot give up smoking, cut down gradually starting a few weeks before Ramadan. Smoking is unhealthy and one should stop completely.


EAT:


Complex carbohydrates at suhoor, so that the food lasts longer making you less hungry. Haleem is an excellent source of sugar, fiber, carbohydrates, potassium and magnesium. Almonds are rich in protein and fiber with less fat. Bananas are a good source of potassium, magnesium and carbohydrates.


DRINK:


As much water or fruit juices as possible between iftar (sunset breakfast) and bedtime so that your body may adjust fluid levels in time.


CONSTIPATION:


Constipation can cause piles (hemorrhoids), fissures (painful cracks in anal canal) and indigestion with a bloated feeling.


Causes: Too much refined foods, too little water and not enough fiber in the diet.
Remedy: Avoid excessive refined foods, increase water intake, and use bran in baking, brown flour when making roti.


INDIGESTION AND WIND:


Causes: Over-eating. Too much fried and fatty foods, spicy foods, and foods that produce wind e.g. eggs, cabbage, lentils, carbonated drinks like Cola also produce gas.
Remedy: Do not over-eat, drink fruit juices or better still drink water. Avoid fried foods, add ajmor to wind-producing foods.


LETHARGY (low blood pressure)


Excessive sweating, weakness, tiredness, lack of energy, dizziness, especially on getting up from sitting position, pale appearance and feeling faint are symptoms associated with "low blood pressure". This tends to occur towards the afternoon.


Causes: Too little fluid intake decreased salt intake.
Remedy: Keep cool, increase fluid and salt intake.
Caution: Low blood pressure should be confirmed by taking a blood pressure reading when symptoms are present. People with high blood pressure may need their medication adjusted during Ramadan. They should consult their doctor.


HEADACHE:


Causes: Caffeine and tobacco-withdrawal, doing too much in one day, lack of sleep, hunger usually occurs as the day goes by and worsens at the end of the day. When associated with "low blood pressure", the headache can be quite severe and can also cause nausea before Iftar.


Remedy: Cut down caffeine and tobacco slowly starting a week or two before Ramadan. Herbal and caffeine-free teas may be substituted. Reorganize your schedule during the Ramadan so as to have adequate sleep.


LOW BLOOD SUGAR:


Weakness, dizziness, tiredness, poor concentration, perspiring easily, feeling shaky (tremor), unable to perform physical activities, headache, palpitations are symptoms of low blood sugar.


Causes in non-diabetics: Having too much sugar i.e., refined carbohydrates especially at suhoor. The body produces too much insulin causing the blood glucose to drop.


Remedy: Eat something at suhoor and limit sugar-containing foods or drinks.


Caution: Diabetics may need to adjust their medication in Ramadan, consult your doctor.


MUSCLE CRAMPS:


Causes: Inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium foods.


Remedy: Eat foods rich in the above minerals e.g. vegetables, fruits, dairy products, meat and dates.


Caution: Those on high blood pressure medication and with kidney stone problems should consult their doctor.


PEPTIC ULCERS, HEART BURN, GASTRITIS AND HIATUS HERNIAB:


Increase acid levels in the empty stomach in Ramadan aggravate the above conditions. It presents as a burning feeling in the stomach area under the ribs and can extend up to the throat. Spicy foods, coffee, and Cola drinks worsen these conditions.


Medications are available to control acid levels in the stomach. People with proven peptic ulcers and hiatus hernia should consult their doctor well before Ramadan.


KIDNEY STONES:


Kidney stones may occur in people who have less liquid to drink. There fore, it is essential to drink extra liquids so as to prevent stone formation.


JOINT PAINS:


Causes: during Ramadan, when Tarawee'h prayers (extra prayers after night prayer, "'Isha") are performed the pressure on the knee joints increases. In the elderly and those with arthritis this may result in pain, stiffness, swelling and discomfort.


Remedy: Lose weight so that the knees do not have to carry any extra load. Exercise the lower limbs before Ramadan so that they can be prepared for the additional strain. Before physically fit allows greater fulfillment, thus enabling one to be able to perform salah with ease.

 

 

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New Research About Fasting and Longevity

 

The BBC made a documentary film about fasting. Part of it was news from the University of Southern California, where Dr. Valter Longo has conducted research on fasting. He compared a mouse which eats normally with another mouse which is subjected to fasting. He found that fasting leads to longer life by about 40%, without suffering from heart diseases, diabetes, and cancer.

 

The has been genetically engineered so its body produces very low levels of a growth hormone called IGF-1, high levels of which seem to lead to accelerated aging and age-related diseases, while low levels are protective.

 

A similar genetic mutation has been found in humans with Laron syndrome, a rare condition that affects fewer than 350 people worldwide. The very low levels of IGF-1 produced by their bodies means they are short, but this also seems to protect them against cancer and diabetes, two common age-related diseases.

 

The IGF-1 hormone (insulin-like growth factor) is one of the drivers which keep our bodies in go-go mode, with cells driven to reproduce. This is fine when you are young and growing, but not so good later in life, as you become older.

 

There is now evidence suggesting that IGF-1 levels can be lowered by abstaining from eating for a certain time period.

 

The reason seems to be that when our bodies no longer have access to food they switch from "growth mode" to "repair mode".

 

As levels of the IGF-1 hormone drop, a number of repair genes appear to get switched on according to ongoing research by Professor Valter Longo.

 

Source: Michael Mosley presented Horizon: Eat, Fast and Live Longer on BBC Two at 21:00 BST on Monday 6 August, 2012.

 

Article Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19112549

 

Video: http://www.documentarytube.com/eat-fast-and-live-longer-bbc-horizon-2012

 

The IGF1 is a growth hormone which has a considerable affect upon certain peoplebut is there a link?

Protein is a linkwhich pushes us to drive forward instead of slowing us down. How do we lower IGF1fasting

 

Micheal Mosley of the BBC embark upon a week of 5 days normal food and 2 days fasting.

 

Here are the results after 5 weeks of fasting two days a week:

 

 ■ Body fat down from 27% to 20%

 ■ IGF-1 dropped by 50%

 ■ Diabetic glucose  back to normal

 ■ Cholesterol great improvement.

 

http://www.documentarytube.com/eat-fast-and-live-longer-bbc-horizon-2012

 

This means that the more protein you consume the higher the growth hormone (IGF-1) level in your body.

IGF-1 acts as a fuel for the cells and it tells them to keep dividing. So cellular division and repair rate become too much for the system to handle and that leads to things like aging and cancer.

 

There seem to be numerous benefits from fasting. Lower IGF-1, lower LDL cholesterol, lower blood pressure, increased insulin sensitivity, and potentially weight loss.

 

http://thewolfweb.com/message_topic.aspx?topic=630072

 

:

 

" ۖ "   ( 2: 184).

 

Allah, praise to Him, has told us the truth in stating:

 

But to fast is better for you, if you only know (Al-Baqara, 2: 184).

 

May Allah enable us to observe His command for us to fast the month of Ramadhan, so that we get the best benefits intended for us in this life and in the Hereafter.

 

========================================================================================================================================

 

 

About the Author and the Book:

 

* The author of this book has a Ph.D. in Sociology and a Masters degree in Cultural Anthropology. He was born in Gaza, Palestine in 1369 Hijriya (1950) but he has been living in the United States since 1986.
 
The authentic Quran Arabic text is used as a reference for the translation of the meanings of the Quran verses, particularly from www.tanzil.net
.

 

The works of the three renowned Islamic scholars Al-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi, and Ibn Katheer, have been used throughout the chapters of this book, as these are the most credited interpretations of the Holy Quran, for their use of 'Hadith, companions' interpretations, and their thorough knowledge of the Arabic language.
 

  ( 61: 8).  

 

They want to extinguish the light of Allah with their mouths, but Allah will perfect His light, although the disbelievers dislike it (Al-Saff, 61: 8). 

 

 

 

Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah's.

editor@aljazeerah.info