A common misconception about fasting is that it weakens the body. On the contrary, there are many health benefits of fasting on the human body. Scientists have proved that fasting during the specific hours of the day in the whole month of Ramadan, brings healthy outcomes.
However, for Muslims, it is obligatory to observe fast during Ramadan. Allah says in Holy Quran:
يٰٓاَيُّهَاالَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامَ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَی الَّذِيۡنَ مِنْ قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُوْنَ. اَيَّامًا مَّعْدُوْدَاتٍ. فَمَنْ كَانَ مِنْكُمْ مَّرِيْضًا اَوْ عَلٰی سَفَرٍ فَعِدَّةٌ مِّنْ اَيَّامٍ اُخَرَ. وَعَلَی الَّذِيۡنَ يُطِيْقُوْنَهُ فِدْيَةٌ طَعَامُ مِسْكِيْنٍ. فَمَنْ تَطَوَّعَ خَيْرًا فَهُوَ خَيۡرٌلَّهُ. وَاَنْ تَصُوْمُوْا خَيۡرٌ لَّكُمْ اِنْ كُنْتُمْ تَعۡلَمُوۡنَ.
(Qur’an: Chapter2, Verse 183-184)
“O you who believe, fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those (who were) before you so that you become righteous. A few countable days. So whoever of you is ill or on a journey, let him complete the count in other days. And on those who do not have strength, is the ransom of feeding a poor person. So he who excels in goodness is better for him. And the best thing for you is to fast if you know.”
As it is evident from the above-mentioned verse, those who do not have the strength to observe fast such as in the condition of severe illness, are permitted to break/ leave fast and they will in return feed a poor needy man.
Health Benefits of Fasting
Following are the physical health benefits of fasting during Ramadan:
There are four major risks of heart disease i.e. high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, and obesity, which can be reversed by fasting.
Healthier Blood Pressure:
Fasting helps to maintain healthier blood pressure. Studies show that fasting can assist in lowering blood pressure. As a result, it reduces the risk of developing heart disease.
Maintenance of Cholesterol Level:
High cholesterol levels may lead to the development of heart disease. When there are excessive levels of cholesterol in the blood, it may build up in the walls of arteries, causing a condition known as atherosclerosis in which the arteries become narrowed and blood flow to the muscles of the heart is compromised. This results in the development of heart disease. Fasting helps reduce the cholesterol level and maintains it to an ideal level. This in turn reduces the risk to develop heart diseases.
Diabetes is caused by high blood sugar levels, which in turn leads to the development of heart disease. During fasting hours, the stored sugar(in the form of glycogen) in the liver, is utilized by the body. Time taken by the body to utilize this stored sugar is up to 8 hours. As a result, sugar levels are reduced, and the risk of developing heart disease too.
Obesity is one of the major causes of leading to heart disease. Being obese can lead to the development of fat material in your arteries, so the blood supply to the heart is blocked that leads to heart failure.
During the hours of prolonged fasting, when glycogen stores are depleted, your body starts utilizing fat for energy instead of glycogen. This will result in reducing excessive fat from your body, reduce body weight, and ultimately the risk of developing heart disease is reduced.
Digestive and immune benefits of Fasting:
Fasting reduces the stomach acid, which in turn digests the food and reduces bacteria.
Fasting also assists in maintaining gut health. Fasting for a whole month during the month of Ramadan, stimulate the production of new white blood cells. It is the regeneration of the entire immune system. This will further strengthen the body in warding off the various bacterial and virus infections.
When people avoid unhealthy habits during the month of Ramadan, practice self-control, avoid unnecessary thoughts, they become psychologically more powerful and stronger.
Fasting improves cognition and thinking ability. It slows down neurodegeneration, reduces brain damage, and improves functional recovery after stroke.
The Pleasure of Allah:
The most beautiful benefit of Fasting is the pleasure of Allah. It has been narrated in Hadith Qudsi that Allah says:
كُلُّ عَمَلِ ابْنِ آدَمَ لَهُ إِلَّا الصِّيَامَ، فَاِنَّهُ لِی وَاَنَا اَجْزِیْ بِهِ
“Every action of Ibn-e-Adam is for him, except fasting, So it is for (the sake of) me and will reward for it.”
As Muslims, we must observe fasting during the whole month of Ramadan. Its benefits are not religious limited only. Fasting benefits us with many physical and psychological benefits. It helps to reduce the risks of many dangerous diseases. We must seek the pleasure of Allah in each deed, then we will be able to get the real positive outcomes.
Mohammed Tadeeb Ansari is an Islamic blogger and founder of the Ala Hazrat Books website, dedicated to spreading the awareness of Islam through digital mediums. You may read more about him and his articles at https://alahazratbooks.com/.