Fasting as a religious practice was established in the Torah, Bible, Old and New Testament, Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita among other religious texts. Fasting is seen as a way to connect and be closer to the Creator – God. Many religions require fasting as an act of faith or repentance – often as a means of purification.
Millions of Muslims around the world fast from morning to night every day for a full month of Ramadan. Fasting was prescribed in the Koran. “O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, so that you may learn Taqwa ”(Quran 2: 183). Taqwa means God Consciousness, Fear of God, piety, and self-dominating. Islam makes fasting mandatory in Ramadan and commands its followers to abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, sexual relations and all bad practices from dawn to sundown. During the month of Ramadan, almost all Muslims fulfill a different religious obligation by paying zakat, a certain part of their wealth, to charity and thus helping poor, needy, marginalized and desperate people.
The third religious obligation to say regularly and especially Prayers (salaat) give devotees spiritual wellbeing during Ramadan along with fasting and paying zakat.
Most Muslims around the world fast for 11 to 16 hours during Ramadan. In this day and age, many methods of fasting have been developed whose goals are to lose weight, improve overall health, or improve metabolic health. One of those methods known as Intermittent Fasting (IF) has received tremendous social attention, has been the subject of scientific research, and has been shown to be a source of tremendous medical benefits. In one protocol from IF, you go 16 to 18 hours without food each day, which is called the fasting window and only eat during the remaining 6-8 hours known as the feeding window. This method is commonly known as “16/8” fasting. During fasting, the hormonal signals cause the body to use stored fat that burns for energy. Hence, regular and disciplined IF results in weight loss for a few weeks. This is the greatest health benefit of IF. The practice of IF is almost identical in type and duration to the compulsory fast that Muslims observe in the month of Ramadan. Therefore, the health benefits of Ramadan fasting can be similar to those of intermittent fasting methods.
Other health benefits besides the weight loss of the Ramzan fast are:
- Improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol and
- Insulin sensitivity
- Body detox
- Strengthening the immune system
- Reduce inflammation
- Stabilization of blood sugar
- Relaxation of the digestive system
- The production of high endorphin levels – “feel-good hormones” – can have a positive effect on psychological wellbeing.
It must be emphasized that Muslims do not fast during Ramadan for medical benefit. They do it to fulfill a religious obligation to be close to Allah (God) – the Supreme Being.
Dr. Aqueel Khan,
Former Professor and Head of the Department of Biochemistry,
RTM Nagpur University,
E-mail: [email protected]
Ramadan & Benefits of Fasting … Understanding a Holistic Scientific Perspective
One such method, known as intermittent fasting (IF), has received tremendous social attention, has been the subject of scientific research, and has been shown to be a source of tremendous medical benefits.
TPT news bureau
THE POLITICAL TIMES