Some would look at the above title and think, “hmmmmmph! What benefits do I get? My stomach is aching, I’m starving, thirsty, dizzy, tired, and I can’t go about my usual routines!”
Read on dear readers, read on…
Let’s begin with the physical benefits. Fasting is detoxifying to your body. Your body clears itself of the excess fat reserves, and stored food. Oxford anaesthetist Razeen Mahroof, says “A detoxification process also occurs, because any toxins stored in the body’s fat are dissolved and removed from the body.”
After a heavy meal, it is estimated that your body uses 65% of its energy to break up and digest what you have consumed. By fasting, there is no meal to digest, so the body uses this ‘spare’ energy to mend broken tissues and cells.
Fasting opens the way to healthier eating habits. Eating two fair sized meals a day, in line with the Prophetic Sunnah, can help maintain a healthy weight. Fasting makes it easy to cut out those fatty snacks, and thereby help you to lose weight; it may just be your ticket to achieving that hour glass figure. Remember the Prophet taught us that the worst container a human being can fill is his stomach (Ibn Majah).
Did I forget to mention that it can help you sleep better too? Michaelson et al.’s study in 2003, and found that fasting can get you a better night’s rest.
It has been proven to improve brain health. It helps with the homeostatic process of neuronal autophagy, and increases levels of BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor), positively affecting the cognitive part of our brains. Fasting for a few days causes higher levels of endorphins in the blood, which makes us more alert and attentive, and thus an improved state of mental well-being.
Michaelson et al. in 2009 found that fasting alleviates depression and improves anxiety. Other studies have found that it alleviates migraines, and decreases the risk of diseases including ischemic strokes, Huntington’s disease, depression and Alzheimer’s among others.
When one complies with the Prophetic method of fasting, one will find that their mind is clear as one is not occupied with trivial matters. One’s focus when fasting should be to seek the pleasure of Allah, and thus their mind is constantly seeking out ways of achieving Allah’s pleasure.
Fasting is not short of these advantages; the rewards are abundant and plentiful. The Prophet told us that Allah has said, “Fasting is for me and I will give reward for it…” (Bukhari). Fasting is a means of drawing closer to Allah, and piling up the rewards.
The doors of heaven are opened during this beautiful time of year, a symbol of Allah’s mercy, indicating that paradise is available for everyone who tries, and who seeks it. Also, Allah has made it easy for you to come closer to Him and maintain the purity of your fast by tying up the devils.
Fasting is a prophetic remedy for the body, mind, heart and soul. I leave you with this hadith to ponder upon,