Go Hungry, Author: Issa Abbasi


As human beings, we have innate needs and tendencies.  You’ve probably heard of psychologists using “Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs” that states humans have basic needs (food, shelter, water) first and foremost.  In terms of food, there is a saying I like to abide by and Islam as a religion would agree from its beginning; as a society, we should be eating to live and not living to eat.  It is human nature though that we do enjoy food and gather around it.  We take pictures of our meals when we make something creative or dine out, we watch television shows about how to cook and we read recipes and abide by them to the letter.  But outside of the month of Ramadan, where every Muslim (who is eligible to do so) fasts, do we normally go hungry not because we can’t feed ourselves right away, but to build our patience and become better people? 

Fasting in the Qur’an and Islam

Fasting is prescribed for Muslims in the month of Ramadan as it was the most blessed month, the same month that the Qur’an was revealed.  But also, “Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain taqwaa (God consciousness).” [2:183]  So going hungry from dawn until sunset has its benefits, spiritually that is.  How though (one may ask)?  It’s simple, really.  If one was to abstain from any worldly pleasure (focus here particularly on food and drink) for roughly 10-12 hours, he (or she) would be observing patience, a virtue which is said to be half of the religion of Islam.  However, if one were to become upset at something and thus lose their temper, their fast would have no value.  “He whose fasting does not prevent him from evil and doing it, Allah does not have any need that he quits having his food and his drink.” [Narrated by all hadith collectors but Imam Muslim]

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) also recorded that “fasting is a protection, so if it happens that it is a day of fasting, then let him not utter profanity, or shout with anger. If someone cursed him or fought him, then let him say: I am fasting. By him whose hand my soul is in.”  As a reminder, if you’re ever voluntarily fasting outside the month of Ramadan and someone comes to you to proverbially “pick a bone” with you, say “I am fasting” and let it go.  You will be taking the high road and rewarded for this by Allah.

Scientific Benefits

Fasting also has its scientific benefits.  Besides not overly ingesting food and drink all day, fasting (the Islamic way) has been shown to increase a body’s metabolic rate, raise blood glucose levels and did not change energy intake.

Now I am no scientist, but I can tell you from a personal account that fasting, when broken at dusk with a moderate and light meal, is more energizing than anything else.  But when the fast is broken with a heavy meal, you only become lethargic.  When the body has to adjust to a change in its routine, it will do so and in my view, perform more efficiently than when it has to conform to a norm.  Simply, our bodies need change in order not to become complacent.

Rewards

The best part of fasting is its reward as we do not know what it is.  The Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) reported “there are two joys for a fasting person; he is joyful when he breaks his fasting, and when he meets his Lord.” In another narration reported by Imam Muslim, “Every deed of son of Adam is his except fasting; it is mine (God’s) and I am the one who gives rewards for it: he abstains from his desires and his food for me.”

But wait, there’s more.  The Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) said: “The sleep of a fasting person is regarded as an act of ibaadah, his remaining silent is regarded as a tasbeeh, the reward for his good deeds is multiplied, his duas are accepted, and his sins are forgiven.”  Just think, everything you do to wake up and fast the whole day is considered an act of worship and when you break your fast, your du’a (supplication) is accepted!  That’s like having 10 cell phone bars for cell phone reception between you and Allah!

Can you imagine what are the other benefits fasting?  In another hadith, Abu Said al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah, said: “No servant fasts on a day in the path of Allah except that Allah removes the hellfire seventy years further away from his face.”

So the only question left to ask is, will you help revive the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) by fasting on Mondays, Thursdays and the 3 white days of each month?

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~ by Yousaf on March 29, 2010.

3 Responses to “Go Hungry, Author: Issa Abbasi”

  1. Very good articles, makes me want to hit my head on the wall over not fasting today 🙂

    Keep them coming and may Allah give you all the good deeds we do

  2. JazakAllah for the reminder. I use to do the fasts, but for the past couple of weeks I haven’t been able to wake up. InshaAllah, with renewed intentions, I will begin again. May Allah reward you.

  3. This was an excellent reminder! JazakAllah!

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