In the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Introduction:Scientists see that Islamic Fast is a kind of protection and immunity against a great many kinds of diseases and illnesses. It may be the only cure for some incurable diseases, such as cute stomach inflammation, tenacious vomiting during pregnancy, some kinds of diabetes, high blood pressure, failure of kidneys, angina pectoris, chronic digestive inflammations, and gallbladder calculus, and some other skin diseases.
Fast as a treatment:In fact, Islamic Fast, which plays an important role in the treatment of some diseases, can be very effective if it is practiced according to the Prophetic Sunna and Tradition of Allah’s Messenger, Muhammad, (PBUH).
Fast for psychological health:As confirmed by medical scientists, Islamic Fast is also a kind of psychological treatment, as it provides spiritual enhancement and strengthens the feeling of being free from physical limitations and habits. This is because, as it is rightly said, the best habit is not to have any habit. For example, if one is able to give up smoking while observing the Fast during the holy month of Ramadan, this means that one is able to give it up altogether.
Fast strengthens man’s will:Therefore, man’s will is strengthened by the Fast, and so is his devotion. This is because the Fast is a kind of devotional worship. It enhances man’s moral feelings, as he voluntarily abstains from eating or drinking although different kinds of foods and drinks are available and close at hand.
Some physical benefits of fast:Among the great many physical benefits of Islamic Fast is that during the holy month of Ramadan, the stomach and digestive system are both at rest, and so are such other organs and systems as the heart and circulatory system, the kidneys and refining system. If anything went wrong with these organs and systems of the body, man’s life would be a piece of Hell. If, for example, the kidneys suddenly stopped working, life would be unbearable. If the heart weakened, the arteries got narrowed and inflexible, and the heart suffered from infarction, things would be too hard. In fact, the diseases and illnesses that afflict the heart are innumerable, and so are those that badly affect the stomach, intestines, liver, kidneys, urinary system, digestive system, circulatory system, and excretion system. All such organs and systems can be protected by the Fast. Therefore, the Fast is not only a cure but a protection as well.
An essay about heart diseases goes: The heart’s work and safety are subject to the amount and kind of food that man eats. In other words, safety and proper function of the heart and arteries have to do with the kind and amount of food that a person eats. That is why Allah’s Messenger, (PBUH), bids us to be moderate in eating and drinking. Allah, Most Gracious, also bids us to be as such. He, Most Merciful, says,
“And eat and drink, but do not be immoderate. Verily, He (Allah) does not like the immoderate.”Those who go beyond bounds in food and drink have a priceless opportunity during the holy month of Ramadan to go back to normal and to have their digestive system restored to health. In other words, man’s bad food habits as well as malnutrition throughout the whole year are corrected by the Fast during the holy month of Ramadan. But a person committed to the Prophetic Sunna and Tradition in food and drink throughout the whole year becomes healthier an more energetic by observing the Fast during the holy month of Ramadan.
In his book “Ihya’ ‘Uloum Ad-Deen” (Revival of Religious Knowledge) Imam Al-Ghazali singles out a whole chapter for what he calls “Merits of Hunger”. He says: “All good is to be sought in Hunger, which does not mean undue starvation but rather moderation in food and drink. This is because a full stomach causes dullness; and excessive untimely over-eating causes not only idleness, inactivity, and laziness but also intestine putridity and heart weakness.” In this context, the month of the Fast, Ramadan, comes to help man restore his good health, which is, according to the teachings of Islam, indispensable for his happiness and prosperity in the life of this present world. In the sight of Islam man’s precious life is limited and, therefore, should by no means be spent in idleness or illness. However, there is not enough room in this lecture to enumerate the great many benefits of the Islamic Fast, which can be summed up by the Prophetic Hadith:
“Fast, and you will be healthy.”
Preventive health:As used in the above Prophetic Hadith, the word “healthy” means “free from diseases or illnesses”. This is because if you observe the Fast during the holy month of Ramadan, you protect your body from serious diseases and illnesses. But if you abstain from food and drink during the day and then, at sunset, you sit down to lots and lots of food and drink, you waste the merits of the Fast. In other words, you should be moderate in eating and drinking during the days of Ramadan. If you eat at sunset all the food stuff that you usually eat during a whole day, you get no benefit out of your Fast! A heavy meal at sunset is sure to make one too lazy to move, and so does another heavy Sohour (a meal before daybreak). Without moderation in having food and drink upon the break of the Fast, it would be a mere shift of meals that brings no good and keeps diseases and illnesses of malnutrition unhealed.