soundness of one's body and mind.
Some of these positive points have a direct influence on psychology and
physique of the fasting individual.
Fasting has been found to be an effective
treatment for psychological and emotional disorders. It helps a person to firm
up his will, cultivate and refine his taste and manners, strengthen his conviction
of doing good, avoid controversy, petulance and rashness, which all contribute
towards a sane and healthy personality. Besides nurturing resistance and
ability to face hardships and endurance, fasting reflects on outward physical
appearance by cutting out gluttony and getting rid of excess fat.
The benefits of fasting on health do not
stop there but are instrumental in alleviating a number of physical diseases,
including those of the digestive systems, such as chronic stomach ache,
inflammation of the colon, liver diseases, indigestion, and conditions such as
obesity, arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, asthma, diphtheria and many
A Swiss physician Dr. Barsilus noted that:
The advantages of hunger as a remedy exceed those ingesting medicine several
As readers are well aware, several
physicians advise patients to skip meals, sometimes for a few days, before
prescribing them a controlled diet.
Generally speaking, fasting hastens the
destruction of the decaying tissues of the body by means of hunger, and then
builds new tissues through nutrition. This is why some scientists suggest that
fasting should be regarded as an effective means of restoring youthfulness and
longevity. However, Islam exempts from fasting sick and old people whose health
is bound to deter.
But fasting should have its regulations
too, and not simply the unorderly skipping of meals, that is bound to harm
health and stamina, rather than improving them. Here again Islam provides the
answer, and in order to realize the benefits of fasting it recommends the late
midnight meals called
Sohour (before the formal start of a fast) and
the breaking of the fast at the time prescribed. Of course to ensure good
health one should abstain
( 15 )
gluttony after breaking fast. *
How kind is Allah the Exalted Whose mercy
to His creatures knows no limits. The All-forgiving has opened to us the gates
of repentance, granting us the chance to return to His Grace, but it is we who
stand to blame for our failure to avail forgiveness, because of our blind
"Say: 0 my
servants! who haie acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair
of the mercy of Allah; surely Allah forgives the faults altogether; surely He
is AU-forgiving, All-merciful."
Holy Qur'an (39: 53)
Allah the Exalted knows that the human
beings, due to their earthly constitution, are likely to sin and err. They,
therefore, are in need of an opportunity enabling them to repent and reform
themselves, and hence the chance of repentance in the month of Ramadhan. Divine
forgiveness is an opportunity for reform. Repentance is a process of
transformation in the manner of life and nature of behaviourl and intellectual
changes. It is also the outcome of a new resolution undertaken by the repentant
for a fresh way of life to which he decides to adhere. The repentant of his
sins as such is as if he had committed no sins at all.
Part of the divine favours to mankind is
to keep the doors of forgiveness and mercy always open. Ramad/zan is the
month of pardon and forgiveness, the season for praying and remembering the
Almighty's favours. It is for us to avail this wonderful opportunity of
repentance and ask forgiveness for all faults in sincerity, with an intention
not to repeat them again. We should allow it to be a time of self-criticism and
self-reproach, so that one may begin a new course, ushering in a true change in
soul and thought, through one's deeds of faith during this period. This
month-long opportunity to lead an Islamic way of life will enable one to
observe Allah's commandments and adhere to the straight path of righteousness
The month of Ramadhan creates an
atmosphere of congregational
* Medicine in the Glorious Qur'an.
Dr. .lbdul-l-Iatnid Diyab and Dr.