Ramadhaan – A Date with Dr. Zakir
Benefits of Fasting
(Duration – 46 minutes)
Yusuf Chambers: Dear brothers and sisters in Islam and Humanity, Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu, May peace, mercy and blessings of Allah (swt) be on all of you. Welcome to the show Ramadhaan – A Date with Dr. Zakir. I am your host Yusuf Chambers and today we will be discussing the topic – ‘Benefits of Fasting’.
Dr. Zakir once again, I greet you with salaams, Assalamualaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh!
Dr. Zakir: Wa Alaikum Assalam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu
Yusuf Chambers: The benefits of fasting Dr. Zakir, in the previous episode we discussed the objectives of fasting and within the objectives of fasting we mentioned the spiritual religious benefits, are there any other benefits that you need to tell the audience about.
Dr. Zakir: Alhumdulillah, Was Salaatu Was Salaam Aala Rasoolillah Wa Ala Aalihi Wa Ashaabihi Wa Ajma’een, Amma Baad.
A’uzu billahi minash shaytan nir-rajeem, Bismillah hirrahman nirraheem.
Rabbish rahli Şadri Wa Yassir Li ‘Amri Wa Ahlul `Uqdatam Min Lisaani Yafqahu Qawli.
As far as benefits besides religious and spiritual benefits there are various benefits of fasting and as you rightly mentioned in the last interview we discussed about the religious and spiritual. There are other benefits which can be categorized into 3 different categories
Physical benefits of fasting, there are psychological benefits of fasting as well as there are social benefits of fasting
Yusuf Chambers: I see, lets move on to the first category, the physical benefits. What exactly are the physical benefits of fasting?
Dr. Zakir: Since fasting mainly involves in abstaining from food drink and sex from dawn upto sunset. Today we realize that the stomach is the main organ of the body which has the maximum diseases, maximum number of ailments that’s why our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saws), he said:
It’s mentioned in Ibn Maajah vol no. 4 hadith no. 3349 our beloved Prophet said that
“There is nothing better that a son of Adam can fill in the container with more evils than stomach, it is sufficient for a man to be on his feet with a morsel but if he has to eat more than he can divide the stomach into three parts, one third for the food one third for the drink and one third for his breath, or one third for the air”
So what we realize that the maximum diseases originate in the stomach because it’s house for bacteria and the food that we eat it enters the stomach from the stomach it gets digested it goes into the intestinal tract then the food enters in the blood stream and then it almost goes into all the organs of the body and we realize that our stomach is working continuously through out the life, it never gets any rest. When we fast the stomach which is a very delicate organ though it’s very delicate it is a very complicated organ it’s delicate at the same time its very important it keeps on working though out the day. This organ while we fast when no food enters for several hours it gets rest and the toxins that are there in the body they are removed they are purged out. So fasting is a very good way physically it’s beneficial for the body, it removes all the toxins and it helps in various diseases.
Yusuf Chambers: What about the psychological impacts upon the human psychic regarding fasting, I think that’s very important
Dr Zakir: As far as the psychological dimension is concerned fasting help in patience forbearance and perseverance. It helps a person to increase the self control his self worth it helps him increase the self reflexivity also the self training and discipline is improved. The main psychological benefit is increase in patience and perseverance and it can make a person who says I cannot do it can make a person I can do and fasting helps in the conditioning the heart body mind and soul, it improves the overall dimension of the human being and fasting is a sort of training it even helps in behavioral change and changing a behavior is very difficult, a person who is used to a particular behavior to change a persons behavior is very difficult as we say that the best type of jihad is jihad fin nafs i.e. striving against ones own soul. So to change the habits is one of the things which is most difficult which fasting can do.
And since jihad that is going into the battle field is the utmost important when required is you cannot do jihad, if you cannot strive against your own soul how can you strive against the enemy so therefore fasting helps in the dimension that’s the reason fasting was made fard before jihad, fasting was made fard 15 years after prophet hood in the second Hijri and next year one year later Jihad was made fard. So Allah (swt) first wanted to train and make the Muslims fit psychologically with the help of fasting and then the kitaal part was made fard so psychologically it’s very helpful and normally a human being he eats 3 meals everyday in a week about 21 meals now that is changed that behavioral pattern of eating is changed to two meals light meal late in the evening or early in the night and before dawn the whole pattern is changed and this helps is various psychological aspects the training. And today psychologists they tell us that if you can control your hunger, you can control almost all your desires.
Yusuf Chambers: Actually from the physiological aspect myself just to add something there. It was the fasting in the last week and a half of Ramadhaan which changed it for me, it changed my mind totally.
Dr Zakir: Alhumdulillah.
Yusuf Chambers: And that’s what I actually led me to taking the Shahadah.
Dr Zakir: Alhumdulillah.
Yusuf Chambers: Basically so Alhumdulillah…. and that’s what I mentioned physiological aspect is very important. Onto the next question regarding the social impact of fasting and there are very specific areas that you can shed light for us today?
Dr Zakir: As far as the social impact is concerned, in fasting a person realizes about the other human beings who are poor, who don’t have food, who don’t have shelter. And it makes us realize that how does it feel when a person is hungry. Many of us who are rich, who have no problem of eating food. When we fast we realize how does it feel when a person is hungry. So our love and our care for the poor people increases and furthermore even we realize the bounties of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. How many times do we really thank Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala for the food He has given us, for the water. Imagine the air that we get, that we breathe! How many times do we thank Allah for that? So the food, the water that Allah provides us, the rich people hardly, their mind goes towards it but while fasting, they realize that. It helps them to care for the poor people; it also helps them in being generous with the other human beings, in sharing with other human beings. It also helps in forgiving other people’s faults. So fasting helps the society in various ways.
And further more our beloved Prophet Muhammad, (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said, its mentioned in Sahih Al Jaami Vol. no. 1 Hadith no. 896 that
“If you have mercy on those on the earth then those who are in the heaven will have mercy on you”
And if you are merciful with other human beings Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala will have mercy on you.
So this fasting helps us in building the society better. It helps us in being generous, helps us in loving, in caring for the other human beings. And besides not only the poor people, it helps us in being good with all the human beings. It helps us in being good with the family, helps us in being good in society and many a times we don’t realize that we don’t give enough time to our family especially in the western world. At least in fasting you are with your family twice and people make it a point that while fasting at least they should do the Suhoor with their family and at least break the fast with their family. So at least they are with the family twice in a day. So the bonding in the family increases. There is a family get together. Parents get more close to the children especially in the western world where this is neglected.
As far as the society is concerned it is very helpful in keeping the society together. We many a times go to our neighbors. During Iftaar we call our friends, call our neighbors and the beloved Prophet Muhammad, (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said its mentioned in
Sahih Muslim Vol. no. 3 Hadith no. 5379, the Prophet said
“Whenever you are invited do not refuse”
So people invite each other during Iftaar during the month of Ramadhaan so it helps in getting the human beings closer to one another whether it be the neighbors whether it be the society at large. And it’s also a very good time for self improvement as well as doing Islaah and Da’wah. We meet people in the Mosque, many people don’t go to the Mosque in the month of Ramadhaan, they come to the Mosque, we meet them, we can chat with them, we go for Taraweeh and this is the time we can do Islaah. We can do Da’wah to the non-Muslims and as you rightly said Ramadhaan was the month, the time which changed your heart and Allah gave you Hidaaya, it is very important and that’s why beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said
Its mentioned in Sunan Tirmidhi (Book of Birr Was Silaah) Hadith no. 1924 that
“Allah bestows His mercy on those who themselves show mercy to others”
Again our Prophet says and he continues in the hadith that
“If you are merciful, the merciful will show mercy on you and He further says that if you show mercy to those on earth those in the Heavens will show mercy to you.”
So fasting in building up the society and getting people closer to one another.
Yusuf Chambers: JazakAllah Khair, Dr. Zakir. Let’s move on the next question. I want to come back to ummm…some of the point you mentioned under the physical changes and benefits of the fast. What are the medical implications of fasting?
Dr. Zakir: There are innumerable medical benefits when a person fasts. It organizes the heart beat and relaxes it. It reduces the pressure on the heart arteries and it reduces the fat, the cholesterol as well as the acids. It releases the pressure on the liver. Fasting also decreases the secretion of the digestive glands which normally causes ulcer. There are less chances of having kidney stones when a person fasts. Fasting is also helpful in non-insulin dependant diabetes. And fasting is also helpful in reducing the weight. Fasting as a whole, it is beneficial for the whole digestive system as well as central nervous system. Fasting helps in removing the toxics form the body. Fasting increases the immunity of the body. Fasting also reverses the aging process. It increases the longevity, life span of a human being. Fasting also helps in creation of more of T-cells which are known as killer cells. And fasting as a whole, it rejuvenates and overhauls the complete body. And there are various diseases which are helped when a person fasts.
For example when a person is suffering from certain diseases and if a person fasts its helpful for him. for example in cardio vascular diseases if a person is suffering form Asthma, from Arthritis, form digestive disorders, if he is suffering from lupus, from skin disorders, if he is suffering from non- insulin dependant diabetes. There are various, the list can go on and on and it is even helpful in removing a person who is addicted to things which are Haraam and even medically they aren’t good for example smoking, a person who is an alcoholic or a person who is chain smoker. Fasting helps him in breaking this wrong habit and addiction.
Yusuf Chambers: Lets move on to the next question related to the science behind the benefits of fasting. There are some people and I want to know whether they are right or not, who say that fasting actually has some harmful effects on a person physiological, social, physical etc. is that correct?
Dr. Zakir: Several researches have been done by scientists as far as fasting is concerned and what effect does it have in various aspects of the human body. And scientists will tell us that when a person takes in food it increases the metabolism of the body. When the food intake reduced or when the person fasts the body metabolism rate goes down by about 22% and if you fast continuously for several days or for a month then this stabilizes at a lower rate. So the body metabolism rate is reduced by fating.
Further there was a research done on various groups of male and female Muslims while fasting and showed that there was a slight reduction in the body weight. But there was an increase in the glucose level. As far as all the other things are concerned, it remained constant whether it was the testosterone or the cortical whether it was sodium, potassium, urea whether it was cholesterol whether it was HDL, High density lipoprotein whether it was LDL Low density lipoprotein whether it was TG Triglyceride all these the body level, they remained the same. The fasting did not have any effect on them except it increased the glucose level and there was a slight reduction in weight.
And another research was conducted in Iran where some men fasted for about 17 hours for about 30 days in the month of Ramadhaan it showed that it had no effect on the male reproductive hormone, on the testosterone and it had no effect on the HPTA as well as on the thyroid hormones.
There were several researches conducted, there was also a research, there was a study made which was called as increase in the oxidation in the month of Ramadhaan on healthy women. A way for maintaining the weight, weight maintenance. And it showed that during fasting there was no change as far as the physiology of the body was concerned. The weight was same and all the functions were the same. Fasting increases the fat oxidation and decreases the carbohydrate oxidation. And we have to realize that we have to let the physicians of the western world, they should know that they should note the levels of bilirubin and glucose while fasting.
There were further studies conducted that fasting increases the Lycosa developed, B lymphocyte cell responsiveness. But it did not show a change in the B lymphocyte responsiveness of the Rumoral arthritis and the health volunteers. But in fasting it increases the longevity of the life. It increases the lifespan. There were many researches conducted in the animals, it increases the life span.
Further a research was conducted on the lactating women when they fasted. The fasting did not increase or decrease; there was no change in the milk volume as well as the content of the milk. The glucose level was the same, the fat concentration was the same, the lactose content was the same, there was no change per se as far as the lactating mothers were concerned.
There were researches done regarding fasting’s effect on menstruating women as well as the reproductive cycle. And when the research was done there was no change what so ever. There wasn’t any change in the menstrual cycle in fasting or there was no negative, no positive effect so it is wrong to say that fasting has an ill effect. There are many benefits which we discussed earlier but there are certain positive points that fasting has helped in certain diseases from example Rheumatoid Arthritis, Austin arthritis it helps. And what we realize that the researches were done that on animals when they are sick, they don’t prefer having any food. Same thing with the children.. when children get sick they don’t prefer having food, it is the family members who force ham to have food. And research has shown that when food is taken when a person is sick, it prevents him from getting well early, it hampers his immune system. So when a person fasts when he is seriously ill, it helps him to recover faster. That’s the reason we find that that there are many treatments which include fasting for various diseases which are followed by the western world. Because when a person fasts, his body gets rest and the toxins are removed from the body so it helps him to recover faster. And fasting is also good to change the behavior pattern and if a person is addicted or a person is alcoholic as I mentioned earlier or is a chain smoker, if he fasts it’s a good point that he can stop it throughout his life. And people who are habituated to things like tea, coffee, junk food when they fast and they stay away from it, when they taste buds, they don’t have for the full month, the taste buds don’t crave for that and when they have healthy food they start liking it. So it’s a good time to stay away form junk food, if you can do it for one month, you can do it throughout your life.
Yusuf Chambers: Yes.
Dr. Zakir: And there are certain diseases for example insulin dependant diabetes, a person whose suffering form insulin dependant diabetes he should not fast because he has Ketosis. Normally the keystones are used as a source of energy but if a person has insulin dependant diabetes he is unable to use this. So therefore a person who has insulin dependant diabetes, he should not fast. But natural if he takes insulin and fasts and with the medical advise, its fine. But the other type of diabetes which is more common non insulin dependant diabetes, fasting is helpful for that.
And as I mentioned earlier its helpful in various diseases like cardio vascular disease, asthma, arthritis, digestive tract diseases in lupus, skin diseases you can name a list of diseases in which fasting is of great benefit.
Yusuf Chambers: I think it would be really interesting to know, I mean this research has it been done by Muslims or non-Muslims?
Dr. Zakir: These researches have been done by both, Muslims and non-Muslims and there are hundreds of non-Muslim scientists who have done research on fasting. So its not only the Muslims, more of the non-Muslims do research on fasting. But there are even Muslims for example if you read the book ‘Fasting – A way of Life’ by Allan Cott, he writes that fasting is all together; it gives rest to the digestive tract as well as the central nervous system for the whole body and he is a non-Muslim.
And there was a research done by Indian doctor by the name of Dr. Shanti Rangwani and she says that when a person fasts there is no intake of food so the toxins are created by the food that you eat so no new toxics are created and whatever toxins are there present in the body from before it gets excreted from the body. So fasting is a very good method of excreting all the toxicants from the body and it purifies the body system. It was told by a non-Muslim.
There are researches done by even Muslims. There was a research done by Dr. Suleiman in the university hospital in Amman in Jordon and he did a research on a group of men and women, there were 42 men and 26 women and the research was done when they fasted and the changes in the body was noted and they found out that there was a slight in the weight and there was increase in the glucose level. But as far as the other components are concerned, testosterone, cortisol, sodium, potassium, urea, all of them were the same there was no change as per in the body constituents except the glucose level increased and the reduction in the weight of the human being.
There were several researches done buy the non-Muslims. There was a group if non-Muslim scientists who did research in Africa in areas where there was famine. And they realized that people when they did research that people who were starving because of famine and they lived in the same refugee camp some people who had food and some people who were starving but those who were starving they had less chances of having tuberculosis as well as malaria. So fasting increases the difference in mechanism against tuberculosis and malaria. So its Allah’s mercy, Alhumdulillah. Can you believe that because they were starving it prevented them from having tuberculosis as well as malaria.
Yusuf Chambers: Allahu Akbar!
Dr. Zakir: There were researches done by the non-Muslims they show that fating increases the longevity, increases the life span. And it has a reversal on the ageing process. There was a research done by a Muslim scientist by the name of Tato Sama kandil in the Harvard University, Muslim but in a non-Muslim country, non-Muslim university and he did a research on patients suffering from cancer. And he tried to find out what way do the cells function especially the killer cells which attack the cancer cells and he did a counting just before they started fasting and then he again did a counting on the 21st day of Ramadhaan then 28th day of Ramadhaan and he found that there was a marked difference after 21 days and 28 days the number of cells, the killer cells, they increased and these cells, they attacked the cancer cells and it shows that even the immunity increased, the defense mechanism of a human being because of fasting, it increased.
And there was another research again done in the same patients and it found out that the T cells which are normally required for the difference immunity of the human being they increased to a greater level. And T cells are mainly responsible when anyone has a disease, they are mainly the soldiers or they are called the Major General of the army that you have, they are the T cells. And they go and they see to it that any disease is there it goes and tries and destroys the diseases. And AIDS is a disease which mainly attacks these T cells. Therefore it is known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. So when you fast these cells increase and the immunity of the human being increase.
I would like to mention one more research done by a European non-Muslim by the name of Dr. Jeffery and what he says that fasting is not only done by human beings. Fasting is even done by the animals and the plants and he gives the example that animals that live in cold countries during heavy snow falls they stay separately and they don’t eat and they go in hibernation and there are examples of animals like frogs which go in hibernation and here they don’t eat, they fast. And he gives the example in his book that even the trees in winter when they don’t get water, they are fasting but the moment later when during spring you find that the tree is filled up with colorful leaves, with flowers, with fruits and he suggested that every human being, every year should at least fast for 40 days.
And we know that it’s Fard for every Muslim to fast in the month of Ramadhaan that’s approximately 30 days and further if you keep the 6 days of fasting in Shawal that makes it 36 days. So Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and our Prophet has already given us this guidance which the non-Muslim European has given us recently.
So there are many researches done by non-Muslims on fasting and it is very beneficial for the human body.
Yusuf Chambers: Dr. Zakir, most of the research that you have mentioned I suspect lot of the other research but we don’t have time to mention them ah..was done relatively recently. Was this knowledge, this scientific knowledge available for the Muslims in history?
Dr. Zakir: As far as the earlier Muslim are concerned some of the facts were known, some were not known.. Not on the same way what we have come to know by research today and I will give you the reason why, later. But as the main question is concerned that were they aware about these aspects of fasting? In a different way may be not in the same way as we know today. That reminds me, I read a book by Maulana Abul Hassan Nadwi, Arkanul Arba where Maulana Abul Hassan Nadwi he writes in his book Arkaanul Arba and he gives an incidence at the time of Khalifa Haroon Rashid and there he gives a dialogue between the Christian Physician of Khalif Haroon Rashid and a Muslim by the name of Ali bin Hussain bin Wakid and this Christian Physician of Khailf Haroon Rashid, he says that the Quran is considered to be a book of sciences and we know that there are 2 types of sciences. Science of the body, science of the soul so what does your Quran speak about medical science? So Ali bin Hussain bin Wakid he said that Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala in half a verse of the Quran he combines both these sciences.
When He says in Surah A’raaf ch. no. 7 verse no. 31
“Eat and drink but do not waste in excess for Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala likes not the people who waste”
Then the Christian stands and says but what did your Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) say about medicine?
So he said that he has mentioned that the stomach is the main house of diseases and prevention is the best thing for ailment and prevention is better than cure.
And as I mentioned our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) said, its mentioned in
Ibn Maajah Vol no. 4 Hadith no. 3349, the Prophet said
“The son of Adam does not fill a vessel more worse, more evil than stomach. A few morsels are sufficient to keep him on his feet, if he has to eat more, one third for the stomach can be the food, one third for the drink and one third for his breath.”
So then the Christian physician said that means when you had the guidance of your Allah and Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam), he did not require Galiness. Galiness, he was a very famous non-Muslim physician of that time. So what Prophet and Allah say is in telegraphic message which we have done research today but the Prophet also has already given in a nutshell the message before.
And in that same book, Arkanul Arba, Maulana Abul Hassan Nadwi he mentions and he gives the example of another non-Muslim scientist who is an American he says that every human being whether poor or rich, he should fast for some days every year, it will keep him healthy and then he says that Islam is the best religion which has made it compulsory on a its followers to fast. and he said that Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was the best physician who has prescribed fasting and he said that that there is no better healthy way than fasting and after that Taraweeh in which you have to do some exercise according to him which helps in digestion. So if we realize that the non-Muslims, he appreciated the religion of Islam after doing research.
Though many of the Muslims were aware about the medical benefits of fasting but we Muslims we don’t fast for these medical benefits, we fast for sake of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, for the pleasure of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. We don’t fast for the medical benefits. These medical benefits are ancillary.
Yusuf Chambers: Ya.
Dr. Zakir: Or they may be the… may be sweet dishes may be the dessert our main Biryani, our main meal course is for pleasure of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala which we discussed in the objective of fasting. We don’t fast for medical benefits even if these medical benefits were not there, we Muslims would have fasted for Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. But as whatever we do for Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, Allah gives us back in return. So all the acts that we do it actually benefits us in various ways even in this world as well as in the Aakhira. But we Muslims don’t fast for these medical benefits, these are just bonuses that we get. Irrespective whether we get or not yet we will fast for the sake of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.
Yusuf Chambers: Ya, that’s good. So when you listen to the commandments of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala or Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) look at his life and implement those things immediately you get some benefits in this world.
Dr. Zakir: Alhumdulillah.
Yusuf Chambers: SubhanAllah.
Dr. Zakir: Alhumdulillah.
Yusuf Chambers: Dr. Zakir, may Allah give us great benefit through the fasting we’ve discussed so may benefits there are so many to discuss Dr. Zakir, I think we’re got to have 3 programmes just on this.. on this subject alone. But Alas! We can’t spent that much more time in the interview stage because it’s come to an end and we need now to take some questions from the audience, from the people watching Peace TV.
So let’s move on now. The first question we have from one of our viewers is many Muslims fast during the day but overeat in the night time during the month of Ramadhaan. Many eat more food in the month of Ramadhaan during the night than they do during non-Ramadhaan time. Will they be in a position to derive the medical benefits that the person who doesn’t eat too much will get?
Dr. Zakir: As far as deriving the medical benefits those people who over eat in the night and we know that there are many Muslims unfortunately who eat a lot during Iftaar they eat in excess and many of them keep on eating most part of the night and then they fast. This is against the command of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala.
Allah says in Surah Araaf ch. No. 7 verse no. 31
“Eat and drink but do not waste in excess. Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala does not like the wasters”
Here we know that people buy food they have Iftaar parties where they make a variety of dishes, it goes in waste and a loss of lot of money which can benefit the poor people. Surely this is not the way of Islam. And as I mentioned earlier our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam), its mentioned in the Hadith of
Ibn Maajah Vol no. 4 (Book of Foods) Hadith no. 3349 that
“The son of Adam does not fill a vessel more worse than the stomach. Few morsels are sufficient to keep him on his feet. If he wants to eat more, he should divide the stomach into three parts, one third for the food, one third for the drink and one third for his breath, or one third for the air”
Based on this but natural overeating is against the Sunnah, against the commandment of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala and even he will not get the benefit of fasting. Fasting means a person abstains from food and then has normal, doesn’t overeat. So most of the benefits that are mentioned and the medical benefits most of them, he will not get. Some he may get. Sometimes if he overeats excessively its may cause a damage to his health. Its like I gave the example in the last episode person eats then he puts his finger in the throat and vomits out. So the food he eats will not make him healthy. So here the fasting will not benefit if he overeats. It goes against the principal of fasting.
Yusuf Chambers: Good, I think that’s a very concise answer and that’s what we need… there’s a lot of questions we need to get through, Dr. Zakir.
Second question from one of our viewers again. If a Muslims fasts with an intention of reducing his or her weight or dieting will he get the reward of fasting? He or she.
Dr. Zakir: If you are talking about reward in general. Islamic talking about Jannah, forgiveness etc.
Our beloved Prophet said in Sunan Tirmidhi Book of Fasting Hadith no. 2331 that
“There is no fast for a person who does not intend to fast the night before”
Intention is a must. Intention means for the sake of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, for the pleasure of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. A person who doesn’t have this intention surely he will not get the religious benefits, he will not get the spiritual benefits. The reason why we fast that is Taqwa what we discussed in the last episode.
As far as the other medical benefits if the person does for dieting or if he does for weight loss he may get those benefits. Like there are people who fast may be for political reasons… people do hunger strike, people they fast for a pressure some people fast as you mentioned for weight loss, for dieting so that part of the medical benefit they may get but not the benefit completely of Islam.
And as Allah says in the Quran in Surah Hud ch. no. 11 verse no. 15 and 16
“Anyone who does any deeds for this world, Allah will surely give him the reward without diminishing for this world but he will have no reward in the hereafter except for hellfire. And he is really… the person who does such deed is really misguided”
So fasting only for weight loss, dieting it is penny wise pound foolish but I have realized that we have to mainly fast for the sake of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala then we can get the overall benefit.
Yusuf Chambers: Okay…I prefer to be a little bit fat and then go to paradise actually, wouldn’t you?
Dr. Zakir: No you can become thin and yet go to paradise if you fast the completely right way, like the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam).Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) wasn’t fat.
Yusuf Chambers: Absolutely… Alhumdulillah. Yes I get your point Dr. Zakir. Next question the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) we’ve heard in previous episodes of series and used to break fast with the dates and its therefore highly recommended to break fast with the date. And can you inform us about the medical benefits of dates?
Dr. Zakir: Dates is a wholesome food. Dates contain high level of carbohydrates, 44 to 88%. It has a low fat content 0.2 to 0.5%. there are about 15 minerals and salts in dates about 6 vitamins. The protein level is 2.3 to 5.6%. it has a high fiber content 6.4 to 11.5% depending upon the different types of dates. And if we realize that because of the high carbohydrates content it is a very good source of energy. The moment you have date immediately it gives you energy. It if far better them any other whether you have glucose powder etc, the date gives instant energy. And a person can survive only on dates and water for days and months together. And our Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alaihe wa sallam) there used to be no food for days and weeks together and he used to survive only on date and water. Sometime on date and camel milk. So date is a wholesome food. The fat content, it doesn’t increase you weight, hardly any. So there is no risk you know a person who is you know afraid that ‘O the weight will increase’, that’s not there.
As far as the minerals are concerned it contains about 15 different minerals. It even contains fluoride which prevents the tooth decay, it contains selenium which fights against cancer and increases the immune system of the human body. It contains about 6 vitamins though to a less degree, less content, it contains Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Niacin, it contains vitamin A. it has proteins which has 23 different amino acids and this fruit date has amino acids which are not contained in other fruits which normally people have. Its not present in apple, oranges, banana but it is there in the date.
And date also has a very high content of fiber, it’s a fibrous diet so its good for digestion. When you have date the digestion gets cleared, it can clear constipation and the digestive system is clear. It has various benefits and it is a wholesome food and we realize that Alhumdulillah ion the last 40 years the production of date has increased by 2.9 times and the population of the world has increased twice. So the date population is much more than the population of other human beings because it’s very wholesome food and instant energy.
Yusuf Chambers: Next question, somebody wants to know how does fasting differ from anorexia?
Dr. Zakir: anorexia by definition means loss of appetite. It’s a medical word used for loss of appetite and many a times this happens in certain people those who do dieting its common in young ladies. It’s a sort of a disease that those who diet, they abstain from food and then that becomes their habit and they don’t want to have anything and sometimes they might go into anorexia nervosa that’s a physiological disorder that they fear eating thinking that if they eat they will increase weight and that becomes a physiological disorder. So anorexia is nothing but loss of appetite and dieting is not preferred because most of the people that diet they moment they come off the diet they either go into anorexia nervosa that’s a physiological disorder as I mentioned in which they fear eating anything, increase of weight and then they lose weight, the health goes down or they go into a binge of overeating, bulimic, you know, they eat excessive food.
And there were several researches conducted on this including in Michigan in 1995 where about 557 young ladies enrolled in the university out of which 86% were dieting only 2% of them they used to eat excessively but in 6 months time 19% added into the bulimic category, they started eating more because the moment you stop dieting you tend to eat excessively and you become more fat or you go vice versa on the other side anorexia nervosa, where you don’t eat at all and that damages your body.
Yusuf Chambers: SubhanAllah. Well.. May Allah help us not to get into that. Next question, what is the scientific difference between fasting and starvation?
Dr. Zakir: Fasting scientifically starts somewhere close to within 12 hours to up to 24 hours and when the carbohydrate reserves of the body and are used as a source of energy, its called as fasting. Moment it starts after may be a few hours initially the food is utilized when the food intake reduces and when the carbohydrate reserves of the body is used for energy source it’s called as fasting. But after the carbohydrate source in the body depletes that’s completely used up then the protein is used but protein is used as source of energy it’s called as starvation. Then you find that the muscle mass keeps on reducing, the person becomes thin and he becomes unhealthy.
Scientifically when the carbohydrate source gets depleted and the protein source is used it’s called as starvation which is not good for the body at all. Fasting is healthy for the body, starvation is unhealthy.
Yusuf Chambers: Well, JazakAllah Khair once again Dr. Zakir. We have heard many benefits of fasting tonight and I hope and I pray, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala enables us to take those benefits, those benefits and the instructions you’ve given tonight and utilize them during this wonderful month of Fasting.
Jazak Allah Khair!
Dr. Zakir: Jazak Allah Shukran…Wa Eeyaka
Yusuf Chambers: Dear brothers and sisters, May Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala bestow benefits for the whole of this month regarding the fasting especially as now you got no excuse because you have heard all the medical ways on dieters and all the spiritual, religious, physical, physiological medical reasons you got absolutely no excuse so please take benefit of Dr. Zakir Naik’s advice in this show and in the preceding shows and we will join you same time tomorrow. And we will be discussing ‘Ramadhaan – The Month of Repentance’
Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh!