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'Abd-al Latif
09-04-2007, 03:24 PM
Peace be upon the seekers of truth. Before you read, please note that this is not a refutation nor am I trying to spark any problems, this is no more then an article which I hope everyone finds useful inshAllah.



Question:
I live in Russia where I am studying. Most of our professors are communists who do not believe in the existence of the Creator. One of them said to us: “How can this God of yours command you not to eat and drink during the day when this is damaging to the health?” How do you advise us to respond to this communist, may Allaah humiliate him?.

Answer:
Praise be to Allaah.

Fasting – as well as being basically an act of worship that is prescribed in Islam and an obligation enjoined by Allaah, is also one of the most beneficial of remedies and most effective means of strengthening one’s body. This is according to the testimony of non-Muslim doctors, let alone Muslim ones.

Fasting plays an effective role in treating psychological problems and strengthening the will-power of the fasting person, softening his feelings, and making him love to do good and keep away from argumentative and hostile tendencies; it also increases his spiritual feelings. So it strengthens his personality and makes him more able to bear problems and burdens. Undoubtedly this is reflected positively in a person’s health.

This is one aspect. From another angle, fasting also plays a role in treating many physical disorders, such as diseases of the digestive system like gastritis, irritable bowel syndrome, liver diseases and indigestion, as well as treating obesity, hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, angina, asthma, etc.

The Swiss doctor Barcellus wrote:

The benefit of hunger as a remedy is many times better than using medicines. Doctor Helb used to forbid his patients to eat for several days, then he would offer them light meals. In general, fasting plays a role in destroying the worn-out tissues at the time of hunger, then rebuilds them when food is ingested. This is the reason why some scientists, including Pashutin, regard fasting as a means of restoring youth.

Tom Burns of the Columbia School of Journalism says: I regard fasting as an experience which is deeply spiritual more than physical. Despite the fact that I started to fast with the aim of losing excess weight, I realized that fasting is very beneficial for the mind. It helps me to see with greater clarity and to develop new thoughts and to focus my feelings. Within only a few days of starting my fast in the spa I began to feel that I was passing through a very spiritual experience.

Of course fasting may be harmful and extremely difficult for some people in certain situations; Allaah has exempted them from fasting – such as those who are sick and those who are traveling.

Moreover the benefits of fasting come when one adheres to the etiquette of fasting, such as delaying suhoor, hastening to break the fast, not being extravagant in the manner or amount of food eaten, and avoiding being extravagant in serving a large variety of foods.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica says: Most religions enjoin fasting and it it is something that people used to do even at times other than religious occasions; some individuals fast in response to human nature.

In the twentieth century a number of books appeared in America and Europe which spoke of the medical benefits of fasting. There was Treating sickness by fasting by Shelton; Medical Fasting: The Ideal Nutritional System by Alan Coutt; Fasting, the Elixir of Life by Enrique Tanner; Return to a Healthy Life through Medical Fasting by Watzener.

Fasting is of great benefit in treating some diseases of the heart, because 10% of the blood that the heart pumps to the body goes to the digestive system during the digestive process; this amount is reduced during fasting, when the digestive process does not occur during the day. This means that the heart works less and can rest more.

Fasting is also used to treat skin diseases, because if the amount of water in the blood is reduced, the amount of water in the skin is also reduced.

It increases the skin’s impermeability and resistance to bacterial disease.

It reduces the extent of skin diseases that can spread over a large area of the body such as psoriasis.

It reduces allergies and other skin problems.

Fasting reduces toxic secretions in the intestines and reduces the fermentation that can lead to ulcers.

These are some of the health benefits of fasting, from which you may understand that what that communist atheist says has no sound basis.

Moreover we fast in obedience to the command of Allaah Who has enjoined us to fast, as He says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)”

[al-Baqarah 2:183]

And Allaah knows best.

www.islamqa.com
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glo
09-07-2007, 05:30 AM
I found this article in wikipedia on fasting:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasting
Amazing how many religions practice fasting. I wasn't aware of that.

Peace
Reply

ranma1/2
09-07-2007, 06:50 AM
im curious what info out there goes into detail the benefits, problems and details of fasting.

Whats good, whats bad and whats the evidence for this.
Reply

Ummu Sufyaan
09-07-2007, 07:03 AM
hi Ramna.
I think this should help answer your question:
The Swiss doctor Barcellus wrote:

The benefit of hunger as a remedy is many times better than using medicines. Doctor Helb used to forbid his patients to eat for several days, then he would offer them light meals. In general, fasting plays a role in destroying the worn-out tissues at the time of hunger, then rebuilds them when food is ingested. This is the reason why some scientists, including Pashutin, regard fasting as a means of restoring youth.

Tom Burns of the Columbia School of Journalism says: I regard fasting as an experience which is deeply spiritual more than physical. Despite the fact that I started to fast with the aim of losing excess weight, I realized that fasting is very beneficial for the mind. It helps me to see with greater clarity and to develop new thoughts and to focus my feelings. Within only a few days of starting my fast in the spa I began to feel that I was passing through a very spiritual experience.

Of course fasting may be harmful and extremely difficult for some people in certain situations; Allaah has exempted them from fasting – such as those who are sick and those who are traveling.

Moreover the benefits of fasting come when one adheres to the etiquette of fasting, such as delaying suhoor, hastening to break the fast, not being extravagant in the manner or amount of food eaten, and avoiding being extravagant in serving a large variety of foods.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica says: Most religions enjoin fasting and it it is something that people used to do even at times other than religious occasions; some individuals fast in response to human nature.

In the twentieth century a number of books appeared in America and Europe which spoke of the medical benefits of fasting. There was Treating sickness by fasting by Shelton; Medical Fasting: The Ideal Nutritional System by Alan Coutt; Fasting, the Elixir of Life by Enrique Tanner; Return to a Healthy Life through Medical Fasting by Watzener.

Fasting is of great benefit in treating some diseases of the heart, because 10% of the blood that the heart pumps to the body goes to the digestive system during the digestive process; this amount is reduced during fasting, when the digestive process does not occur during the day. This means that the heart works less and can rest more.

Fasting is also used to treat skin diseases, because if the amount of water in the blood is reduced, the amount of water in the skin is also reduced.

It increases the skin’s impermeability and resistance to bacterial disease.

It reduces the extent of skin diseases that can spread over a large area of the body such as psoriasis.

It reduces allergies and other skin problems.

Fasting reduces toxic secretions in the intestines and reduces the fermentation that can lead to ulcers.
:)
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glo
09-07-2007, 07:31 AM
Originally Posted by ranma1/2
im curious what info out there goes into detail the benefits, problems and details of fasting.

Whats good, whats bad and whats the evidence for this.
I tried to google this, ranma, but it seems that most links which are pro-fasting also have a strong spiritual/religious/alternative medicine bias.
So far I have not found a medical site on this topic.

I know that my dietitian colleague at work does not think that denying your body food and drink for longer periods of time is medically beneficial.
It affects your metabolic rate, bloodsugar levels, hydration etc.

As a Christian I do fast, usually for periods of 24 hours without food (I always still take fluids).
I can certainly witness (as probably most others who have fasted can) that it can have negative physical effects, such as light-headedness, headaches, feeling cold, etc.
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Malaikah
09-07-2007, 07:42 AM
:sl:

We all fast whether we like it or not- it is called SLEEP! :thumbs_up
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Ummu Sufyaan
09-07-2007, 07:45 AM
:sl:
subhanallah!! we do to!! i didn't even think of that.
:sl:
Reply

ranma1/2
09-07-2007, 07:58 AM
Originally Posted by maryam11
hi Ramna.
I think this should help answer your question:

:)
do you have info on this doctor?
Reply

Muezzin
09-07-2007, 10:09 AM
If he's a Commie, no wonder he doesn't want to fast. They only get a weekly loaf of bread to share between the whole town.

/end bad Cold War propaganda sarcasm.
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Isambard
09-07-2007, 01:41 PM
Originally Posted by Muezzin
If he's a Commie, no wonder he doesn't want to fast. They only get a weekly loaf of bread to share between the whole town.

/end bad Cold War propaganda sarcasm.
lol nice

I can think of one situation where fasting is bad for a healthy adult, if you are physically active (no, simply walking doesnt count :P)

I remmeber fasting last yr for Ramadan and aside from constant irritability, I remmeber feeling very weak and even losing muscle. If you are trying to stay in good shape or maintain a certain volume of muscle you need to keep your metabolism up which is best done thru eating a (very) small meal every 2 hrs or so. That keeps your energy up and metabolism high.

Aside from that thou,I cant think of anything else fasting would harm (as long as you dont go overboard).
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جوري
09-07-2007, 05:25 PM
The Spiritual and Health Benefits of Ramadan Fasting
By Shahid Athar M.D.

At the onset of Ramadan Muslims all over the world start fasting from dawn to dusk daily for 30 days as ordained in Quran.

"O you who believe fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you so that you can learn Taqwa" (Quran 2:183)

The Arabic word Taqwa is translated in many ways including God consciousness, God fearing, piety, and self restraining. Thus we are asked to fast daily for one month from dawn to dusk and avoid food, water, sex and vulgar talk during that period.

But why do we need to fast? It is our experience that temptations and ways of the world tend to spoil our purity and austerity. Thus we indulge in food all of the time, snacking and nibbling the whole day, heading to obesity. We drink too much coffee, or tea, or carbonated drinks. Some sexaholics can not stay away from sex unless they do it at least once or more a day. When we argue, we leave our decency aside and resort to vulgar talk and even physical fighting.

Now when one is fasting, he or she cannot do all of that. When he looks at the mouth watering food, he cannot even taste it and he has to give up snacking and nibbling as well as smoking cigarettes if he does. No constant coffee, tea or Coke drinking either. Sexual passions have to be curtailed and when he is provoked to fight, he says " I am fasting that I cannot respond to your provocation". To achieve God consciousness or God nearness, a better word, we are advised to do additional prayer and read the Quran.

Medical benefits of Ramadan
Muslims do not fast because of medical benefits which are of a secondary nature. Fasting has been used by patients for weight management, to rest the digestive tract and for lowering lipids. There are many adverse effects of total fasting as well as of crash diets. Islamic fasting is different from such diet plans because in Ramadan fasting, there is no malnutrition or inadequate calorie intake. The calorie intake of Muslims during Ramadan is at or slightly below the nutritional requirement guidelines. In addition, the fasting in Ramadan is voluntarily taken and is not a prescribed imposition from the physician.

Ramadan is a month of self-regulation and self training, with the hope that this training will last beyond the end of Ramadan. If the lessons learned during Ramadan, whether in terms of dietary intake or righteousness, are carried on after Ramadan, there effects will be long lasting. Moreover, the type of food taken during Ramadan does not have any selective criteria of crash diets such as those which are protein only or fruit only type diets. Everything that is permissible is taken in moderate quantities.

The difference between Ramadan and total fasting is the timing of the food; during Ramadan, we basically miss lunch and take an early breakfast and do not eat until dusk. Abstinence from water for 8 to 10 hours is not necessarily bad for health and in fact, it causes concentration of all fluids within the body, producing slight dehydration. The body has its own water conservation mechanism; in fact, it has been shown that slight dehydration and water conservation, at least in plant life, improve their longevity.

The physiological effect of fasting includes lowering of blood sugar, lowering of cholesterol and lowering of the systolic blood pressure. In fact, Ramadan fasting would be an ideal recommendation for the treatment of mild to moderate, stable, non-insulin diabetes, obesity, and essential hypertension. In 1994 the first International Congress on "Health and Ramadan", held in Casablanca, entered 50 extensive studies on the medical ethics of fasting. While improvement in many medical conditions was noted; however, in no way did fasting worsen any patients' health or their baseline medical condition. On the other hand, patients who are suffering from sever diseases, whether type I diabetes or coronary artery disease, kidney stones, etc., are exempt from fasting and should not be allowed to fast.

There are psychological effects of fasting as well. There is a peace and tranquility for those who fast during the month of Ramadan. Personal hostility is at a minimum, and the crime rate decreases. Muslims take advice from the Prophet who said, "If one slanders you or aggresses against you, say I am fasting."

This psychological improvement could be related to better stabilization of blood glucose during fasting as hypoglycemia after eating, aggravates behavior changes. There is a beneficial effect of extra prayer at night. This not only helps with better utilization of food but also helps in energy output. There are 10 extra calories output for each unit of the prayer. Again, we do not do prayers for exercise, but a mild movement of the joints with extra calorie utilization is a better form of exercise. Similarly, recitation of the Quran not only produces a tranquility of heart and mind, but improves the memory.

One of the odd nights in the last 10 days of Ramadan is called the night of power when angels descend down, and take the prayer of worship to God for acceptance.

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, the Prophet Mohammad (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".

Happy Ramadan to all Muslims.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Shahid Athar M.D. is Clinical Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, Indiana University School of Medicine Indianapolis, Indiana, and a writer on Islam.

Read other articles by Dr Shahid Athar here.
source
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Karina
09-07-2007, 05:48 PM
I have been aware of the health benefits of fasting for a while now.... there are multiple excellent health, healing & psychological benefits if common sense and precautions are used.

Personally I think it's a good thing.... :statisfie
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The_Prince
09-07-2007, 06:06 PM
well i aint never gotten sick while fasting, i used to even play football (soccer) while fasting :) no problemo
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Nσσя'υℓ Jαииαн
09-07-2007, 07:33 PM
I love fasting....very helpful indeed =)
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Isambard
09-07-2007, 07:34 PM
Originally Posted by The_Prince
well i aint never gotten sick while fasting, i used to even play football (soccer) while fasting :) no problemo
meh, different nutrishional requirements for playing soccor, and weight training/ Boxing :P
Reply

glo
09-07-2007, 07:35 PM
Karina, Prince and Jazzy - can you explain a bit more in your own words what you personally perceive the benefits of fasting to be?
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Nσσя'υℓ Jαииαн
09-07-2007, 07:42 PM
Hey Glo :)

Some reasons are mostly spiritual benefits. But also I like that it keeps me from over eating, which I'm sure most people do in a normal days life. Granted I'll be hungry during the day, but once i start eating, I tend not to be so hungry. And I like that, cause it helps me maintain my diet and weight. And in Ramadhan I eat less fattening stuff and more healthy things. I love LOVE to eat dates. I cant explain everything but I know I always feel more healthy during Ramadan. It's only for a couple hours that we don't eat. Like sis Malaikah said, we're technically fasting when we're asleep. The only difference is that we aren't awake :p Well that's just my opinion.
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'Abd-al Latif
09-07-2007, 08:41 PM
Originally Posted by glo
I tried to google this, ranma, but it seems that most links which are pro-fasting also have a strong spiritual/religious/alternative medicine bias.
So far I have not found a medical site on this topic.

I know that my dietitian colleague at work does not think that denying your body food and drink for longer periods of time is medically beneficial.
It affects your metabolic rate, bloodsugar levels, hydration etc.

As a Christian I do fast, usually for periods of 24 hours without food (I always still take fluids).
I can certainly witness (as probably most others who have fasted can) that it can have negative physical effects, such as light-headedness, headaches, feeling cold, etc
.
Thats because muslims don't fast 24 hours, we fast from sunrise to sunset...but we don't eat nor drink. But not eating anything for 24 hours doesn't seem healthy. Im curious to what christianity says about fasting because technically u can take energy drinks or something which may serve as a temporary substitute for solid foods? Isn't that really just saying ur going on diet cuz fasting is meant to be make u spiritually stronger i.e. teach you patience, grattitude and what not.

I mean its the whole reason why Allah says in the Quran;

“O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)”
[al-Baqarah 2:183]
Reply

glo
09-08-2007, 05:17 AM
Originally Posted by nomadicsoul
Thats because muslims don't fast 24 hours, we fast from sunrise to sunset...but we don't eat nor drink. But not eating anything for 24 hours doesn't seem healthy. Im curious to what christianity says about fasting because technically u can take energy drinks or something which may serve as a temporary substitute for solid foods? Isn't that really just saying ur going on diet cuz fasting is meant to be make u spiritually stronger i.e. teach you patience, grattitude and what not.

I mean its the whole reason why Allah says in the Quran;
Greetings, nomadicsoul

I don't think we should be critical of each others way of fasting.

As long as we do it with the right attitude - to seek God, be closer to him, deepen our relationship with him and serve him. Fasting is about being in relationship with God, and I believe strongly that he knows our intentions and our heart.

May you find this Ramadan a beneficial experience.

Peace
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Ummu Sufyaan
09-08-2007, 06:14 AM
Originally Posted by ranma1/2
do you have info on this doctor?
hi ranma.
I have tried researching info on this doctor, but am not able to find anything.
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'Abd-al Latif
09-08-2007, 12:08 PM
Originally Posted by glo
Greetings, nomadicsoul

I don't think we should be critical of each others way of fasting.

As long as we do it with the right attitude - to seek God, be closer to him, deepen our relationship with him and serve him. Fasting is about being in relationship with God, and I believe strongly that he knows our intentions and our heart.

May you find this Ramadan a beneficial experience.

Peace
greetings to you too.

sorry, i shouldnt have said it like that. but i was just curious to whats said about fasting in the bible..?
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glo
09-08-2007, 12:48 PM
Originally Posted by nomadicsoul
greetings to you too.

sorry, i shouldnt have said it like that. but i was just curious to whats said about fasting in the bible..?
No harm done, brother. :)

With regards to fasting in Christianity, you might find this thread interesting. (It's not too long, and should be quite managable to read)

Peace :)
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