It is coming up to that time of the year, where Muslims from all around the world participate in the month of holy traditions, which is fasting. A time of reflection, prayer and spending time together and helping others.
It serves us all a reminder to focus in all that we have, that gratitude is imperative at times like these, and should always be, however the experience of fasting and praying can open us up to the true meaning of life, to be grateful in all that we have rather than what we should have.
Ramadan or Ramzan will commence this year around April the 12th and last exactly 30 days and its important to adhere to the Ramadan timetable to perform in this holy month correctly. There are major benefits to Ramadan in terms of body, mind and soul so let’s discuss in more depth:)
What Is Ramadan?
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims cannot drink or eat during the day, typically between late night till late evening. They cannot eat, smoke or drink anything for 17 hours.
It is a custom that followers of Islam follow this through every year as the prophet Muhammad, received revelations of the Qu’ran which is a holy prayer book for Muslims and thus it came into existence for the religion.
During this holy time, we encourage doing good deeds to one another such as charity, feeding the poor, sharing food and to abstain from anger. It is about having self-control and having a closer relationship with God’s blessings and appreciating all that we do have and life itself.
“The main purpose of fasting in the holy month is to attain righteousness,” it is all about reminding ourselves to be generous and to refrain from acts of wrong doings such as greed or devour.
Muslims usually eat two meals a day, typically when they end their fast at sunset which is known as iftar, while the other meal, known as subhoor, is when they just stop eating around dawn time and prepare to fast for another day. Healthy Muslims take part in fasting and those of whom cannot is down to underlying health conditions.
It truly is a prestigious time for Muslims to follow but can make changes to sleep patterns as well with eating habits. While there are more pros than cons to the holy month of fasting which will be discussed below:)
Benefits of fasting
In general, many people from all around the globe may choose to fast and limit their intake of food daily. While many people, particularly westerners like to commit to eating a breakfast, lunch and dinner and perhaps some snacks along the way, certain cultures eat in different ways.
The ayurvedic diet includes that you should only eat until satisfied rather than full and to eliminate snacks in between meals to allow for complete digestion to take place whereas health officials to the National library of medicine has commented that “reducing meat consumption is central to many of the scientific debates on healthy, sustainable diets.”
The benefits of reduced eating can be seen prevalent in many people quite quickly and beneficial to the body in more ways than one –
- Improves spiritual and physical health overall and as it may improve mood and stop focusing on food too much.
- Can prevent health conditions such as obesity as it can help to maintain weight and avoid gaining unnecessary pounds.
- If you like to eat regularly then your mind is mostly fixated on your next snack or meal and can distract your mind from important necessities of growth, development and perhaps happiness.
- There is a significant reduction in blood sugar levels and the release of insulin, giving your body a break and letting your body to regenerate naturally.
For some more than others, fasting can be seen as a choice through intermittent fasting which involves periods of eating and fasting and those that follow the ayurvedic diet may skip or go light on breakfast, go light on dinner while lunch would be their heavy meal. What works for you? Have you ever tried fasting?
It is always best to seek professional advice for individual personalized needs and find out what works for you.
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Is fasting done only during Ramadan?
Fasting is a practice shared with people from all around the world, where it was more prevalent than today in certain cultures. Christians, Catholics and many more practice fasting for 40 days in the tradition of Lent in which they would fast every day for 40 days with the exception of certain days such as Sundays.
The Chinese people can observe fast within certain groups that refers to a strict vegetarian fasting diet that many follow.
Many people choose to fast through intermittent fasting and have regular breaks in between meals and eating. They tend to eat only when they feel the urge or need doing so and some people feel a form of discipline is needed in this area and willpower.
Fasting is practiced within various religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism and many more and is certainly a way of life as it carries on and is practiced even today in many parts of the world.
How to cope while fasting?
During Ramadan, while Muslims cannot consume anything for many hours, it is advised to abstain from some form of physical work that can obstruct the fasting period.
Exercising should be avoided while you fast and really only participated after some time, once a fast is broken after some time.
Some people may leave earlier from workplaces, if allowed, by missing out on breaks and easing the process a lot more.
Others may really like to take it easy and sleep the majority of the time and truly relax and take it easy throughout the fast.
We all like to distract our minds from food during this time and the internet may have you learning, reading and catching up with perhaps some online shopping or learning more about other topics you have been meaning to check, certainly staying away from the kitchen can help!
It is also advised that to be able to stay dehydrated throughout the day and to ease the period of fasting, to drink as much as the individual can between iftar and subhoor.
There is no denying that fasting certainly has some benefits to health, mind and soul, always taking into consideration of the individuals needs and simply giving your body a break from anything is undeniable beneficial, that can ease your body to such a degree which includes food too.
Ramadan is a time of taking a step back and slowing down while thinking about others and giving to others.
It is also a time of celebrations and to self reflect but bearing in mind that many people cannot participate in the tradition and to respect all circumstances during this period.
Thank you for reading and if you do have any questions or comments, please leave below and I’ll be sure to help you out!