Channel: Tarek Kareem Harris
Fr TAYYIB Book, forward by Mufti Menk
Chapter 14, the medical and spiritual secrets of fasting
on these pages, we will start with a range of issues that have led to the popularity of fasting, even in secular and non Muslim communities. I will list those first and then we will come to the whole layer of additional advantages that come from doing things the Islamic way.
So, first of all the physical advantages of fasting to anyone, ah, weight loss by burning the body's own fat
increased metabolic rate, after a few days of fasting metabolic rate can go up to around 13% higher than normal,
improve circulation in the brain and body generally as a result of heavy fats being removed.
improvement in insulin control for people with diabetes, reduction in pain from arthritis and other weight dependent conditions. reduction in cancer risk due to the body consuming waste compounds better during the fasting state. reduction in heart attack risk due to clearer arteries and less pressure on the organs through abdominal crunkle fat
increases in levels of beneficial hormones, such as growth hormone, testosterone, and certain brain chemicals like BNF p, which goes up when you fast, helping the brain to restructure and repair neurons,
better immunity to infection and other diseases as well.
In considering the mental advantages, just to fasting alone, improvements in energy level because of increased metabolic rate, and because of a sense of being lighter, both in reality and mentally
improvement in brain functioning including attention and concentration. This has been shown in studies which are of people who are fasting compared to those who aren't, there is more stable emotional functioning. Because less swings in insulin and blood sugar lead to a better, more stable supply of energy to the brain.
More immunity to stress because of being physically healthier, and mentally feeling more on top of your own health in command of the environment.
better sleep. And this happens because there's less fat in the tissues surrounding the breathing passages. And fasting tends to restore and refresh one sleep pattern. We'll look at this later in the book
reduced risk of memory problems and confusion due to dementia in old age. Studies have found that elderly people who do fasting seem to have better cognitive function, fending off the effects of depression and memory loss
and better control of poor eating habits and hunger because impulse control is improved. And we get command over things like false hunger when we fast.
But that is just fasting without the tube element. There is a whole load of other things which happens when you add the player.
It goes on to make it much more complete and much more part of your lifestyle. It has a deeply peaceful and gentle philosophy, a mental and spiritual set of guidelines and aims, which brings us a number of additional benefits.
These are all together at a higher level.
There is an improved sense of self worth, self care, and attention to our environment. By looking at the Islamic philosophy for how we eat and how we regard the provisions of Allah.
There is the feeling the reality of what Allah has told us about the precious nature of our food, about moderating our relationships with others, and the precious nature of all things in this world.
There is better conduct and character through reducing unnecessary behavior through examining our excesses and our habits and our addictions and being more gentle and more reflective and more modest.
There are improvements in energy and concentration and physical ability to praise Allah and carry out other duties in the course of Muslim life.
There is better resistance against bad decisions. There is a control over the excesses of the knifes overall, with better control of anger, Islamic techniques to manage emotions and anger. Reduce impulsivity. Remember our better conducts to seek refuge in Allah and be more resistant to making bad decisions.
There's also the community center
A sense of unity in purpose, and improved motivation that comes from that. So many millions of Muslims fast with us, the prophet himself did it. And they fast the same two days per week as we might.
Of course, there are the immense blessings from doing an activity that Allah Himself is very pleased by.
Of course, the third method includes eating more nutritious and better tasting foods. So we take into account the other days, not just the fasting days, we consume less wastefully and we are more mindful of the environment. And taking on the third way, can if we all do it result in better living conditions and treatment of animals.
Think about the impact that we can have.
We learn how to eat with greater attention and enjoyment. Because we learn from the Islamic way, how to time our foods, when to eat, how slowly to eat, even the color of our plates.
We get to examine hunger, and other emotions more closely, we can separate out the false from the real in a much more deep way. Because fasting in Islam is never far from the act of reflection and appreciation for which was always intended, we get the benefits of greater patience, we regain a sense of mastery over our lives. We claiming time to spend it in better ways, such as with our community and our families. The things that Islam stresses are important, rather than being distracted by things which we've struggled with but not succeeded with.
We get to focus on the here and now more attentively. We can live well today. We don't need to have targets as such, or just go through phases of difficulty like diets would suggest, we get less drawn into concerns about the future or the past. We live for today.
We have a far better ability to see out difficulties and setbacks. We see from the guidance of Allah, that difficulties are just as they are temporary things and they are opportunities to gain blessing.
And when we organize our life, for the fasting days we do, we actually end up being more efficient, rearranging our time around the things of fasting, and we cut out the unnecessary and focus more on the good, the wholesome and the useful.
If someone very important to you, let us something precious, like an expensive car, I'm sure you would look after it properly before giving it back. You wouldn't set out to damage it.
Sure, the lender would understand if the car got a bit of wear and tear under your custody. And if you borrowed it for several years, it would show normal signs of age.
If an accident befell it, you do your best to get it fixed properly.
Now, suppose the owner has asked you to return it. It's been several years, you tried to look after it, but somehow just didn't work out too well. Somehow the car got worn down and ended up in a poor state. Obviously, now you're gripped by worry, any decent person would be.
You look at the poor car and your heart sinks. How did this happen? Maybe the maintenance instructions you were given were wrong. Maybe you had such a busy and demanding life that you fail to look after it as you should have.
Maybe the instructions were fine, but you read them wrong. Maybe you became sick and couldn't look after it and last few months or years, or maybe sometimes happens. You occasionally misused the car because it was fun or convenient to do so.
You drove it on rough roads, gave it cheap fuel, or you didn't change the oil to save a few pennies.
So the person who lent it to you now looks at you.
It turns out that they knew how you treated it. Maybe it has one of those dash cams in it that you didn't know about.
If you had done your best and failed, the owner would not hold it against you at all.
But if you mistreated it, he would surely be disappointed as we do.
Now, a lot of lent us our bodies. Our bodies are mere vessels for our souls. So we are due to return our bodies when we die and allow and of course recall the debt at any time.
I believe that most people don't set out to damage their bodies. For one thing, much of the information we've learned about what's good for you how to manage your weight and so on has been totally wrong, or at best unrealistic. Sure. We also neglect our bodies sometimes but I truly believe that if we knew how to look after them more easily, we would take greater pride in them because it's a virtuous circle. better care leads to better results.
And vice versa.
In the end, when we are taken, we would like to return our bodies in a reasonably sound state.
We all think we have some idea about what to eat and what to avoid in terms of halal and haram and healthy and unhealthy
applying the Ube rules, really puts the shine the finish and gives you a much better chance than you've had until now.
End of Chapter