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The Divine Banquet of Fasting (5)

The Divine Banquet of Fasting (5)


“O Allah, place me this day among those who plead for Your forgiveness; place me therein among Your righteous and obedient servants; and place me therein among Your close friends, with Your compassion O Most Merciful of the merciful!”

Fasting is an act of worship that is not mere abstention from food and drinks during the daylight hours. It is in fact, a spiritual exercise for enlightening our minds and souls. Among the highly recommended acts during this blessed month is the recitation of the holy Qur’an and reading of the special supplications of Ramadhan that definitely increase our devotion to God Almighty and helps us acquire a better cognition of our Loving Creator. A conscious person naturally adheres to the wise laws of the Lord Most High. Thus, in this month, the fasting persons make sincere efforts by striving selflessly towards the infinite mercy of God. The blessed month of Ramadhan is the month of practice. In this blessed month in which the gates of divine mercy are open to all, whoever steps towards light, God will enlighten his heart. Another important point is the manner of nutrition in the month of Ramadhan, which is of great significance, in view of a hadith of the Prophet that says: Fast in order to be healthy. Physicians confirm this reality, since gluttony increases diseases like blood pressure, heart diseases and even cancer. The blessed month of Ramadan is thus a wonderful opportunity for avoiding gluttony. By observing moderation in consuming food, one can be immune from the ailments of the digestive system. Doctors believe that there is no need for consuming too much food during Iftar and Sahar. But what is important is the appropriate nutrition in the blessed month of Ramadhan. Human body has a regulating mechanism which becomes active during fasting. As a result the extra calories and fats are burnt effectively. A balanced diet for preserving a person’s health is sufficient in Ramadhan. Usually the disorders of the digestive system stem from the gluttony and unbalanced nutrition.

The taking of nourishing foods and liquids during Sahar or the pre-dawn meal can provide the energy required for the daily activity and decrease the side effects resulting from shortage of food and liquids. The Sahar meal should contain sufficient protein and carbohydrates. Also liquids like water or fruit juice could be taken in Sahar. During Iftar, or the breaking of the fast after sunset, the body is in need of an energy source especially for the brain and nerves cells. Dates and fruit juice are good sugar sources. The best food to break the fast is some dates. We all know this as it was the practice of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Dates are highly concentrated in sugars, primarily fructose, which is the sugar that is used by the liver and then supplied directly to the brain! The first food that the Prophet consumed instantly replenished the energy in a vital organ, that is, the liver, and also the brain. The liver plays a major role in metabolism; hence the consumption of dates provides and prepares this organ with the much needed energy to accomplish this task adequately. The first real meal after performing the ritual prayers should consist of protein (e.g. chicken, egg white etc) and carbohydrates which are high in protein, such as beans, lentils, bread, etc. Try not to drink too much liquid with your meal as this shall impair digestion. Some 30-to-60 minutes after the meal would be an ideal time to consume some liquids.

Ramadhan is the season for strengthening our soul and spirit as well, along with proper nutrition for the body. The nutrition for the soul and spirit is piety. This is obvious. Pious persons enjoy good characteristics which distinguish them from others. Fulfillment of promise, cheerful countenance and good temper towards others are among these good characteristics that reflect inner piety. These good characteristics are reflected both in a person’s words and deeds. Certainly having a good temper and cheerful countenance has positive effects on the society as well as the atmosphere at home. The importance of this characteristic is to the extent that the Prophet used to say that the reward of the one who has a good temper is like that of a fasting and praying person. Sometime a kind look and a kind word can gladden the hearts of others. The Prophet says: Among the best acts in the Divine Court is to gladden the faithful. Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) was the embodiment of the Best of Morals. As we read ayah 4 of Surah Qalam, God says regarding the excellent manners of the Prophet:

“And most surely you conform (yourself) to sublime morality.”

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