Posts Tagged ‘health’

There are many examples in the Qur’an and Hadith of the virtues of a positive mental attitude, perseverance and optimism in the face of adversity. However, did you know that patience and a positive outlook on life are two of the greatest healing tools that you can use?

The Qur’an (2:155) says, “Give glad tidings to those who exercise patience when struck with adversity and say, ‘Indeed, we belong to God and to Him is our return.’ Such ones receive [the] blessings and mercy of their Lord, and such are the guided ones.” According to the findings of modern science, it appears that this mercy may often come in the form of improved health.

Bernard Jensen says, in his book The Science and Practice of Iridology, “The doctor of the new day will recognize that a man’s most important workshop is not the physical body, but the mind that controls it.” Dr. Ted M. Morter confirms this in his book, Your Health… Your Choice, when he says that “negative thoughts are the number one acid producer in the body (and high body acidity levels are a major cause of disease)… because your body reacts to negative mental and emotional stress brought about by thought the same way it reacts to ‘real’ threats of physical harm.”

In fact, hospital studies show that, of all the patients who consult outpatient clinical facilities in the United States, an astounding seventy percent are found to have no organic basis for their complaint. That figure is amazingly high. However, although medically these patients are not found to have an obvious organic source for their complaints, there actually is a physical basis for this phenomenon. Since Freud popularized the idea of psychoanalysis, people have often focused exclusively on the mental realm to solve certain problems, forgetting that we cannot separate the physical and mental realms.

 The mind is in the brain, and the brain is an organ. Like all other organs, it feeds from the same pool of nutrients that other body organs feed from and is susceptible to all of the same problems. Ultimately, the brain is just a part of our body like all of the other parts and is completely dependent on the body. It requires sugar to develop energy unlike other tissues that can develop it from potassium and fats. Consequently, it is the first organ to suffer from low blood sugar and it reacts most severely. Freud himself said that psychoanalysis was not suitable for treating diseases such as schizophrenia, and he postulated that their causes eventually would be found to be biochemical.

If we keep in mind that the brain is an organ and that it works in harmony with the other organs and feeds from the same bloodstream, we can understand how various mental events can affect us physically. For example, simply using our brains to think and study burns up nutrients in our system, particularly phosphorus. Heavily exercising the brain can cause us to suffer from a phosphorus deficiency. And we find that the reverse is also true in this relationship. People who have high intellectual capacity usually have high levels of phosphorus in their system.

There is much wisdom in the Prophet’s (SAW) statement (narrated by Abu Huraira), “The strong [person] is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong [person] is the one who controls himself while in anger.” In fact, staying patient and calm is key to physical strength.

Phosphorus is not the only nutrient that can be depleted by mental stress and a lack of spiritual calm. If the thyroid gland, the primary organ to handle our emotions, works overtime, we can suffer from a deficiency in iodine. Stress from a demanding job, a divorce or relocating can cause a loss of potassium and sodium in the body because it effects the adrenal glands creating more of a need for these minerals.

Even hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) can be caused by excitement. The prophet (SAW) recommended our taking the more moderate path in life; however, we often engage in or expose ourselves to intense excitement by yelling, excessively watching television, and going to the mall, movies, parties, amusement parks, etc. When we see something exciting, our adrenal cortex is stimulated and there is an increase in our blood sugar. This, in turn, stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin into the blood to lower the sugar level, causing us to then feel tired or weak.

It produces calm and health to practice saying, “Alhamdulillah” for what we have and for what we are faced with. We should try to keep our home and work environments peaceful and as free from stress as possible. One way we can counteract the effects of stress are to simply be aware of the stress we are encountering, and to consume sufficient nutrients and supplements such as herbs.

For instance, if a person is up late praying or reading Qur’an during Ramadan, they can eat phosphorus rich foods and those that will help them maintain their phosphorus intake. If a person is moving, traveling or making Hajj or Umra, they may want to increase their intake of foods high in potassium and sodium as well as vitamin B complex.

If we completely ignore the relationship between mental and physical health, we are missing an important detail in the picture of personal health. And, as in most health problems, practicing prevention is superior to finding a cure. Therefore, the best manner to avoid having negative attitudes and emotions control our bodies is simply to practice the wisdoms that we have been given throughout the Qur’an and Hadith.

We should say, “Alhamdullilah” for what we have; “Insha’Allah” for what we intend; and, “Subhana’ Allah” when we see something exciting or amazing. We should remember to say, Astaghfir’Allah” when we lose our tempers or become weak, and most importantly, “Allahu Akbar” when we are faced with the challenges of life. These five phrases, said regularly, are like taking a multi-vitamin for holistic health.

 

source:onislam.net

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The Spiritual and Health Benefits of Ramadan Fasting

At the onset of Ramadan Muslims all over the world start fasting from dawn to dusk daily for 30 days as ordained in Quran.

“O you who believe fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you so that you can learn Taqwa” (Quran 2:183)

The Arabic word Taqwa is translated in many ways including God consciousness, God fearing, piety, and self restraining. Thus we are asked to fast daily for one month from dawn to dusk and avoid food, water, sex and vulgar talk during that period.

But why do we need to fast? It is our experience that temptations and ways of the world tend to spoil our purity and austerity. Thus we indulge in food all of the time, snacking and nibbling the whole day, heading to obesity. We drink too much coffee, or tea, or carbonated drinks. Some sexaholics can not stay away from sex unless they do it at least once or more a day. When we argue, we leave our decency aside and resort to vulgar talk and even physical fighting.

Now when one is fasting, he or she cannot do all of that. When he looks at the mouth watering food, he cannot even taste it and he has to give up snacking and nibbling as well as smoking cigarettes if he does. No constant coffee, tea or Coke drinking either. Sexual passions have to be curtailed and when he is provoked to fight, he says ” I am fasting that I cannot respond to your provocation”. To achieve God consciousness or God nearness, a better word, we are advised to do additional prayer and read the Quran.

Medical benefits of Ramadan:
Muslims do not fast because of medical benefits which are of a secondary nature. Fasting has been used by patients for weight management, to rest the digestive tract and for lowering lipids. There are many adverse effects of total fasting as well as of crash diets. Islamic fasting is different from such diet plans because in Ramadan fasting, there is no malnutrition or inadequate calorie intake. The calorie intake of Muslims during Ramadan is at or slightly below the nutritional requirement guidelines. In addition, the fasting in Ramadan is voluntarily taken and is not a prescribed imposition from the physician.

Ramadan is a month of self-regulation and self training, with the hope that this training will last beyond the end of Ramadan. If the lessons learned during Ramadan, whether in terms of dietary intake or righteousness, are carried on after Ramadan, there effects will be long lasting. Moreover, the type of food taken during Ramadan does not have any selective criteria of crash diets such as those which are protein only or fruit only type diets. Everything that is permissible is taken in moderate quantities.

The difference between Ramadan and total fasting is the timing of the food; during Ramadan, we basically miss lunch and take an early breakfast and do not eat until dusk. Abstinence from water for 8 to 10 hours is not necessarily bad for health and in fact, it causes concentration of all fluids within the body, producing slight dehydration. The body has its own water conservation mechanism; in fact, it has been shown that slight dehydration and water conservation, at least in plant life, improve their longevity.

The physiological effect of fasting includes lowering of blood sugar, lowering of cholesterol and lowering of the systolic blood pressure. In fact, Ramadan fasting would be an ideal recommendation for the treatment of mild to moderate, stable, non-insulin diabetes, obesity, and essential hypertension. In 1994 the first International Congress on “Health and Ramadan”, held in Casablanca, entered 50 extensive studies on the medical ethics of fasting. While improvement in many medical conditions was noted; however, in no way did fasting worsen any patients’ health or their baseline medical condition. On the other hand, patients who are suffering from sever diseases, whether type I diabetes or coronary artery disease, kidney stones, etc., are exempt from fasting and should not be allowed to fast.

There are psychological effects of fasting as well. There is a peace and tranquility for those who fast during the month of Ramadan. Personal hostility is at a minimum, and the crime rate decreases. Muslims take advice from the Prophet who said, “If one slanders you or aggresses against you, say I am fasting.”

This psychological improvement could be related to better stabilization of blood glucose during fasting as hypoglycemia after eating, aggravates behavior changes. There is a beneficial effect of extra prayer at night. This not only helps with better utilization of food but also helps in energy output. There are 10 extra calories output for each unit of the prayer. Again, we do not do prayers for exercise, but a mild movement of the joints with extra calorie utilization is a better form of exercise. Similarly, recitation of the Quran not only produces a tranquility of heart and mind, but improves the memory.

One of the odd nights in the last 10 days of Ramadan is called the night of power when angels descend down, and take the prayer of worship to God for acceptance.

Fasting is a special act of worship which is only between humans and God since no one else knows for sure if this person is actually fasting. Thus God says in a hadith qudsi that “Fasting is for Me and I only will reward it”. In another hadith, the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) has said “If one does not give up falsehoods in words and actions, God has no need of him giving up food and drink”.

 By Shahid Athar M.D.

 What is Fasting (Sawm)? Sawm (Arabic: صوم) is an Arabic word for fasting regulated by Islamic jurisprudence. In the terminology of Islamic law, Sa…wm means “to abstain from eating, drinking or seeing what is against Islam, the saying of rude language”.[1] The observance of sawm during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, but is not confined to that month. Etymology Ṣawm is derived from Syriac: ܨܘܡܐ ṣawmā. Literally, it means “to abstain”, cognates to Hebrew tsom. Other languages For example, the Muslims of Afghanistan, India, Iran, Bangladesh, and Pakistan use the word rozah which comes from the Indo-Iranian language of Dari.

In Turkey, Sawm is called oruç (compare Kyrgyz öröz), while the Malay community in Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore call it puasa, which is derived from Sanskrit, upvaasa. Puasa is also used in Indonesia, Southern Thailand and Southern Philippines. Interestingly, the word is also found in the Maltese language.

 Definition Muslims are prohibited from eating, drinking, smoking, and engaging in sexual intercourse from dawn (fajr) to sunset (maghrib). Fasting is essentially an attempt to seek nearness to Allah and increase one’s piety. One of the remote aims of fasting is to sympathize with those less fortunate ones who do not always have food and drink readily available. Also one must try to avoid cursing and thinking evil thoughts. Fasting is also viewed as a means of controlling one’s desires (of hunger, thirst, sexuality, anger) and focusing more on devoting oneself to God.

Sawm also carries a significant spiritual meaning. It teaches one the principle of love: because when one observes Fasting, it is done out of deep love for God. Conditions of Fasting Intention (Niyyah) For a fast to be intentional/valid in the first instance, an intention (niyyah) must be made beforehand; this is considered to form an oath. If this is not performed then the fast is not valid, it is not required to be made verbally. General conditions Throughout the duration of the fast itself, Muslims will abstain from certain provisions that the Qur’an has otherwise allowed; namely eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse. This is in addition to the standard obligation already observed by Muslims of avoiding that which is not permissible under Qur’anic or Shari’ah law (e.g. ignorant and indecent speech, arguing and fighting, and lustful thoughts).

Without observing this standard obligation, Sawm is rendered useless, and is seen simply as an act of starvation. The fasting should be a motive to be more benevolent to the fellow-creatures. Charity to the poor and needy in this month is one of most rewardable worship. If one is sick, nursing or traveling, one is considered exempt from fasting. Any fasts broken or missed due to sickness, nursing or traveling must be made up whenever the person is able before the next month of Ramadan. According to the Qur’an, for all other cases, not fasting is only permitted when the act is potentially dangerous to one’s health – for example; those elderly who are too weak to fast for extended periods of time, diabetics, nursing, and pregnant women, but this must be made up by paying a fidyah which is essentially the iftaar, dinner and suhur for a fasting person who requires such financial help.

According to the clear guidance of the Qur’ān and the Sunnah if someone does not afford fasting due to illness or traveling he is permitted to leave the fast and complete the left over fasts later on. However, the question of those suffering a permanent disease has not been resolved in the sources. One view is that they can leave the obligation if medical experts advise this. As to the question how to compensate for the failing it is held that they can feed a poor person a meal in lieu of every fast to make up for the obligation. Such a delinguent person should always be willing to fast when granted health. Observing the fast is not permitted for menstruating women. However, when a woman’s period has ceased, she must bathe and continue fasting.

Any fasts broken or missed due to menstruation must be made up whenever she can before the next month of Ramadan. Women must fast at times when not menstruating, as the Qur’an indicates that all religious duties are ordained for both men and women. Beginning and Ending the Fast In accordance with traditions handed down from Muhammad, Muslims eat a pre-dawn meal called the suhoor. All eating and drinking must be finished before Salat-ul-Fajr, the pre-dawn prayer. Unlike the Salat-ul-Zuhr and Salat-ul-Maghrib prayers, which have clear astronomical definitions (noon and sunset), there are several definitions used in practice for the timing of “true dawn” (al-fajr as-sadq), as mentioned in the hadith. These range from when the center of the sun is 12 to 21 degrees below the horizon [1] which equates to about 40 to 60 minutes before civil dawn.

There are no restrictions on the morning meal other than the restrictions on Muslims diet. After completing the suhoor, Muslims recite the fajr prayer. No food or water is allowed to go down the throat after the suhoor. However, water unlike food may enter the mouth, but not go down the throat during wudu. The meal eaten to end the fast is known as al-Iftar. Muslims, following the Sunnah of the Prophet, Muhammad, break the fast with dates and water, before praying Salat-ul-Maghrib, after which they might eat a more wholesome meal. Why Do Muslims Fast In Ramadan? It has been enjoined on us so that we may become pious. A pious Muslim and Muslimah does whatever Allah and His Messenger have told them to do.

Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! Observing As-Sawm (the fasting) is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become Al-Muttaqoon (the pious)? [al-Baqarah 2:183] And Allah says in a hadeeth qudsi: “Fasting is for Me and I will reward for it. He gives up his desire and his food and drink for My sake.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 7492; Muslim, 1151. The purpose of fasting is not to just get hungry and thirsty but it is to become pious. So one should stay away from Un-Islamic things such as: – Getting angry – Using Bad language – Back biting and gossip – Arguing and fighting with Muslims. – Being rude and impolite – Looking, touching , flirting with non-mehrems of the opposite sex. – lying and cheating – Engaging in riba (interest, usury) – women non wearing Hijab – men shaving beards and having cloths below ankles – allying with the enemies of Islam against the Muslims – promoting Un-Islamic ideologies such as democracy and socialism. – basically staying away from anything that is Haram. Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Whoever does not give up false speech and false actions and ignorance, Allah has no need of his giving up his food and drink.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 6057.

He also (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “A fasting person may get nothing from his fast except hunger and the one who prays at night may get nothing from his qiyaam but a sleepless night.” Narrated by Ibn Maajah, 1690; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Ibn Maajah. – The reward for fasting is immense, as mentioned in the following Hadeeth : “Every action of the son of Adam is given manifold reward, each good deed receiving then times its like, up to seven hundred times. Allah the Most High said, ‘Except for fasting, for it is for Me and I will give recompense for it, he leaves off his desires and his food for Me.’ for the fasting person there are two times of joy; a time when he breaks his fast and a time of joy when he meets his Lord, and the smell coming from the mouth of the fasting person is better with Allah than the smell of musk.” [al-Bukhaaree] Also, Sahl ibn Sa`d said that the Prophet (peace be upon him.) said: “Indeed there is a gate of Paradise called ar-Rayyaan. On the day of Resurrection those who fast will enter through it; no one enters it except for them, and when they have entered, it is closed so that no one enters it, so when the last of them enters it, it is closed, and whoever enters it drinks, and whoever drinks never becomes thirsty.” [Ibn Khuzaimah, Saheeh]. – Fasting is a shield against the Fire:

“Fasting is a shield with which a servant protects himself from the Fire.” [Ahmad, Saheeh] – On the Day of Judgment, “Fasting will say: O My Lord I prevented him from food and desires so accept my intercession for him.” [Ahmad, al-Haakim and Abu Nu’aim, Hasan] – Fasting is a means for one’s sins to be forgiven. The Prophet (peace be upon him.) said: “He who fasts Ramadan, due to Iman and hoping for reward (from Allah) then his past sins are forgiven.” [al-Bukhaaree, Muslim] – The supplication of the fasting person is answered: “There are in the month of Ramadan in every day and night those to whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication which he can make and will be granted.” [al-Bazzaar, Ahmad, Saheeh] Source: – Wikipedia – Al-Siyaam – 70 Matters Related to Fasting – Book by Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid