Insha-Allah, in a few days (either next Tuesday the 7th of May or Wednesday the 8th of May), we will observe the month of fasting of Ramadan.
The month of Ramadan does not only mean fasting. The ultimate goal is to attain piety as mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. So, it is up to us to make sure to increase our Taqwa and get closer to the Creator during this blessed month. All Muslims must devote more time to acts of worship (Ibadat) such as: Zikr-i-Ilahi (remembrance of Allah through meditation), and Tilawat-i-Quran (reading the Holy Quran).
Do not waste time in the kitchen to prepare several cakes and other foods and therefore letting a precious time go to waste. You should instead use this time to connect to Allah in the mandatory and supererogatory prayers. There are good numbers of Muslims who prepare “Iftaar parties” and thus do not really know the philosophy of fasting Ramadan. A crazy time is lost in the preparation of dishes of all kinds, and this concerns not only women but also men. They invite a large number of people to Iftaar as if this sacred moment is a feast, a moment of enjoyment that is far from the spirit of Ramadan!
It is true that Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) had advised Muslims to share Iftaar with a faster, but one should not go beyond limits, losing time by preparing great kinds and large quantity of food, and foregoing the time of prayer etc.
What are Iftaar Parties? It is rather an innovation because the philosophy behind the fast of Ramadan is that we must devote ourselves more and more in the spiritual field by making sacrifices for the pleasure of Allah (twa). Muslims are called by divine order to fast for the pleasure of Allah, and to make certain sacrifices that will make them feel a closeness to Allah and also to all of humanity, especially the poor.
Take Care of Your Physical & Spiritual Health
Ramadan is a sacred month, and it has a great importance in the lives of all Muslims, without exception. Wake up a little earlier than usual, before the Sehri / Suhur, and enjoy supererogatory prayers such as Salat-ul-Tahajjud and remember Allah a lot. Even for the elderly who cannot fast or who are sick and who must take medication, they are advised not to take any risks. But they (those who cannot fast) should not forget to pay Fidya. And the elderly must benefit more in this blessed month in terms of doing Tawba which is also an act through which one gets closer to Allah. Even if you do not fast, then you should maximize this blessed month in the obligatory and supererogatory prayers, the Zikr, the Tilawat-i-Quran and if you cannot read Arabic, then you can also read them in your own language, and also recite the Darood Shariff.
Fasting during Ramadan can have effects on our health. Because of this, it is advisable for people who suffer from any disease to do a medical check-up before the beginning of this holy month. People suffering from non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular and renal diseases must have the advice of their doctor before starting to fast.
Our body is robust and can cope with any type of situation. However, if we can give it a preparation before fasting for a month, it will be in better shape and full of energy. The human body is able to cope with changes. But it is advisable to follow a good diet beforehand so that we are able to fast without any problem. Plus, lazy people in this regard will have no excuse for not fasting!
As Sehri is a meal made with great difficulty, the foods eaten are generally low in vitamins and minerals. That’s why you have to eat mineral-rich meals a few days before to prepare the body.
Iftaar is often composed of fried foods rich in fat. Eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals made from a variety of vegetables and fruits to avoid deficiencies. A lack of iron can be linked to a state of fatigue. Muscle cramps can also be felt due to lack of magnesium.
Refraining from water during the fasting period may exacerbate an existing urinary tract infection. Treat this infection before fasting. Drinking enough water, can be a good preventive method, and even eliminate it (i.e. water can cure many diseases).
The Benefits of Ramadan for our Body
Allah (swt) has decreed the fast of Ramadan for the welfare of His servants. If you analyze this divine order in depth, abstaining from food for a period of 12-15 hours a day during fasting proves to be beneficial for health. The body linked to a dietary change will reduce the level of glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, promoting good cardiovascular health. But we must also promote weight loss and body mass index among others, after fasting.
There is also a decrease in abdominal fat and waist circumference: Both are related to cardiovascular disease (waist circumference - 80 cm for women and 94 cm for men increases the risk of cardiovascular disease).
Fasting also promotes a decrease in the level of glucose, triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood. There is an increase in the level of bad cholesterol due to excessive consumption of festive foods (fried foods, fatty meats, etc.) and there is a decline in the consumption of healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables. This should not be like so.
The family ties woven around the table at the time of Sehri and Iftaar also bring a lot of benefits, a sense of well-being.
SMALL PRACTICAL ADVICE
Eat balanced meals (morning and evening). Reduce the consumption of fried foods and sugary drinks, and replace them with fruits and vegetables, nuts and water. Consume dates and a glass of water for Iftaar followed by a balanced dinner. Drink enough water, 8 glasses a day or 2 litres. Keep a bottle of water with you after Iftaar to have a good measure of the amount of water consumed. Limit the intake of caffeine (tea, coffee) that acts as a diuretic and causes excessive water loss.
If you must break the fast, do it with dates because therein are a blessing advocated by the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh) more than 14 centuries ago. Indeed, the ideal would be to break the fast with a sweet food that has a rapid assimilation (good digesting factor) like the date. It is advisable to consume it preferably with water or milk. The goal is to quench thirst, soothe feelings of hunger, regulate blood sugar, prepare the stomach to digest the rest of the food avoiding digestive disorders, such as bloating and stomach pain.
On the eve of Ramadan, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) gathered the Sahaba (Companions) to give them advice on the best way to spend this month in full fervour. I thus cite a Hadith that every year when Ramadan starts, this Hadith is mentioned to make understand the importance and benefits of Ramadan.
Hadhrat Salman (ra) reports that on the last day of Shabaan, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) addressed the companions saying,
“O people! A great and blessed month is dawning upon you. It is a month that includes a day that is better than a thousand months. Allah has made fasting compulsory in this month and standing in prayer (Tarawih, Tahajjud) an act of tremendous merit.
Whoever carries out an act of (voluntary) virtue during this month will receive the reward of carrying out an obligatory act during any other month and whoever carries out an obligatory act during this month will receive the reward of carrying out seventy obligatory acts during any other month.
It is a month of patience and the reward for patience is Paradise. It is also a month of sympathy and a month when the sustenance of a believer is increased.
Whoever provides something for a fasting person to terminate his fast shall receive the reward of the fasting person without his reward being diminished in the least.”
“O Messenger of Allah!” the companions said, “Not all of us can afford something to give a fasting person to terminate his fast.”
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) consoled them saying, “Allah shall grant this reward to any person who gives a fasting person even a single date or a sip of water or milk to drink.
It is a month that has mercy at the beginning, forgiveness in the middle and emancipation from Hell at the end. For the person who makes work light for his slaves during this month, Allah will forgive him and free him from Hell.
In this month, you should endeavour to do four things in abundance. Two of these will please your Lord while you cannot do without the other two. The two that will please your Lord are to recite the Shahada “Laa Ilaaha Illallah” (There is no god but Allah) and to seek Allah’s forgiveness. As for the two without which you cannot do, it is to beg Allah for Paradise and to seek protection from Hell.
Whoever gives the fasting person something to drink to end the fast, Allah shall give him such a drink from my pond after which he shall never be thirsty ever again.” (Ibn Khuzaima, Baihaqi, Ibn Hibban).
Like the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said in other Hadiths:
Do not get angry. Do not insult anyone, even if someone insults you. If he does that, and you stay quiet, then you will be rewarded. Stay away from backbiting because backbiting is worse than fornication. Keep away from envy, jealousy, because, do not forget that one of the sons of Adam (as) killed his brother out of envy.
Be forgiving towards your brother (fellow human being). Do not judge your brother, because Allah knows more than you the causes and the remedies. Have a lot of pity on your Muslim brothers and sisters.
Do not be arrogant/ proud, for it is out of arrogance/ pride that Iblis refused to prostrate before his Lord (i.e. He disobeyed Allah’s command). Do not walk like a braggart or a rebel as if you will cut asunder the earth for Allah (swt) does not like the boastful, arrogant.
By your way of doing things, do not hurt anyone’s heart. Do not offend anyone. Speak with great humility and repent for your mistakes and failures, for Allah loves him who repents.
All this is a training in the blessed month of Ramadan for the next eleven months. We will have to continue the good practices of Ramadan during the rest of the year, until the next Ramadan.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “The first night of Ramadan, an angel calls out: ‘O seeker of the good; come near!’ and ‘O seeker of evil; stop!” (Tirmidhi).
It is in these terms that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) tells us that the angels announces the arrival of the month of Ramadan.
With these advices, in my own name and in the name of all members of the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam, at National and International level, we wish all our Muslim brothers and sisters: RAMADAN KAREEM - RAMADAN MUBARAK.
Seize this opportunity to ask Allah different duahs, and I pray that He will accept them all, especially those that are lawful, those that will benefit you in this world and in the hereafter, for your physical, moral and spiritual health. May Allah accept our works and our acts of devotion in this blessed month of Ramadan. Ameen, Summa Ameen, Ya Rabbal Aalameen.
----Friday Sermon of 03 May 2019~26 Shabaan 1440 AH delivered by Imam- Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam International, Hadhrat Muhyi-ud-Din Al Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Saheb (atba) of Mauritius.