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  1. #1
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    Default Ramadan & Health

    This article is simliar to the one about medical benefits of prayer (see Salat forum). Like that article, the author to this article is not suggesting that we fast b/c of the medical benefits, he is just discussing them for our information and interest. We are not suggesting that Muslims should fast for any other purpose except that we are ordered by Allah to fast.

    By the way, the last paragraph to this article mentions benefits of prayer as well.



    Medical Benefits of Ramadan
    by Shahid Athar, M.D.

    Most Muslims do not fast because of medical benefits but because it has been ordained to them in the Quran. The medical benefits of fasting are as a result of fasting. Fasting in general has been used in medicine for medical reasons including weight management, for rest of the digestive tract and for lowering lipids. There are many adverse effects of total fasting as well as so-called crash diets. Islamic fasting is different from such diet plans because in Ramadan fasting, there is no malnutrition or inadequate calorie intake. The caloric intake of Muslims during Ramadan is at or slightly below the national requirement guidelines. In addition, the fasting in Ramadan is voluntarily taken and is not a prescribed imposition from the physician.

    Ramadan is a month of self-regulation and self-training, with the hope that this training will last beyond the end of Ramadan. If the lessons learned during Ramadan, whether in terms of dietary intake or righteousness, are carried on after Ramadan, it is beneficial for one's entire life. Moreover, the type of food taken during Ramadan does not have any selective criteria of crash diets such as those which are protein only or fruit only type diets. Everything that is permissible is taken in moderate quantities.

    The only difference between Ramadan and total fasting is the timing of the food; during Ramadan, we basically miss lunch and take an early breakfast and do not eat until dusk. Abstinence from water during this period is not bad at all and in fact, it causes concentration of all fluids within the body, producing slight dehydration. The body has its own water conservation mechanism; in fact, it has been shown that slight dehydration and water conservation, at least in plant life, improve their longevity.

    The physiological effect of fasting includes lower of blood sugar, lowering of cholesterol and lowering of the systolic blood pressure. In fact, Ramadan fasting would be an ideal recommendation for treatment of mild to moderate, stable, non-insulin diabetes, obesity and essential hypertension. In 1994 the first International Congress on "Health and Ramadan", held in Casablanca, entered 50 research papers from all over the world, from Muslim and non-Muslim researchers who have done extensive studies on the medical ethics of fasting. While improvement in many medical conditions was noted; however, in no way did fasting worsen any patients' health or baseline medical condition. On the other hand, patients who are suffering from severe diseases, whether diabetes or coronary artery disease, kidney stones, etc., are exempt from fasting and should not try to fast.

    There are psychological effects of fasting as well. There is a peace and tranquility for those who fast during the month of Ramadan. Personal hostility is at a minimum, and the crime rate decreases. Muslims take advice from the Prophet who said, "If one slanders you or aggresses against you, say I am fasting.'" This psychological improvement could be related to better stabilization of blood glucose during fasting as hypoglycemia after eating, aggravates behavior changes.

    There is a beneficial effect of extra prayer at night. This not only helps with better utilization of food but also helps in output. There are 10 extra calories output for each rikat of the prayer. Again, we do not do prayers for exercise, but a mild movement of the joints with extra calorie utilization is a better form of exercise. Similarly, recitation of the Quran not only produces a tranquility of heart and mind, but improves the memory. Therefore, I encourage my Muslim patients to fast in the month of Ramadan, but they must do it under medical supervision. Healthy adult Muslims should not fear becoming weak by fasting, but instead it should improve their health and stamina.
    Last edited by Aaminah; Sep-10-2007 at 09:57 AM.

    “Say: O My slaves who have transgressed against themselves! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (39:53)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Medical Benefits of Ramadan

    Salaam wa alaikum wrwb....

    The first paragraph really made me laugh a lot....i can easily sense that the "NOT" is meant for me with regards to my earlier posting......if i am wrong then forgive me...lol

    i do know that prayer and fasting has medical benefits and agree on that...but i did not like the author in your last posting taking some hadiths and giving some different interpretation than what is meant to convey....

    for example when he says about thehadith about the heart...it is meant for eeman and not physical state ofheart...and Allah knows the best and may Allah forgive us for our errors...ameen....

    still the motive cause should be the pleasure of Allah ...ameen....

    jazakallah khair......

  3. #3
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    Default fasting ramadan-articles

    Patience & Understanding is the key to happiness. Is it not time to remember & trust in Allah?
    Mother of Light Islamic Info / Stories of the Prophets
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    Yes, I know a lot, links yet 4 networking , A little word of mouth, can go a long way everywhere.
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    Default Prophet's Khutba for Ramadan

    Assalamu alaikum wr wb

    Prophet's Khutba for Ramadan
    Ibn Khuzaima reported on the authority of Salman al-Farisi that the Prophet (saaw) delivered a Khutbah on the last day of Sh'aban saying: "O people: You are about to enter the shadow of a great blessed month. A night therein is better than a thousand months. Allah (swt) made fasting during this month an obligation and encouraged people to perform extra prayers. during its nights. Seeking nearness to Allah (swt) through a good deed would be considered like performing an obligatory act of worship. In turn, performance of an obligatory act of worship during this month would be rewarded seventy times more than during any other month. It is the month of patience, and the reward for patience is Jannah. It is the month of comforting others, and the month during which believers would enjoy plentifulness. The Prophet (saaw) went on to say:" Make sure you frequently do four things, two of which would please your Lord and the other two are indispensable for your salvation in the Hereafter. As for the two things that would please your Lord, they are: testifying to the oneness of Allah (swt) and seeking repentance. And the other two are: asking Allah the favour of entering Jannah and seeking refuge in Him from the Hell Fire."
    And here is another hadith worth keeping in mind, inshaAllah. The Prophet said, "Whoever does not give up false statements (i.e. telling lies), and evil deeds, and speaking bad words to others, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (fasting)." Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 8.83, Narrated by Abu Huraira.
    Patience & Understanding is the key to happiness. Is it not time to remember & trust in Allah?
    Mother of Light Islamic Info / Stories of the Prophets
    / My Recipes & Talk Blog / My Rant Talk / My Kids Adv / My Own Free Mind
    ask for my FB and Twitter

    / Body by vi 90 day Challenge / 90 day Challenge
    / Donate to Families in Need

    Yes, I know a lot, links yet 4 networking , A little word of mouth, can go a long way everywhere.
    F/T mom of 2 boys, & a girl->

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    Default Re: Prophet's Khutba for Ramadan

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    Default Re: Prophet's Khutba for Ramadan

    jazakALLAH khair for sharing that ukhtee.
    Think Death. Think Grave. Think End. Then, Think Life. Dunyaa is Temporary.

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    Default Ramadhan Health Guidelines

    Assalam Alaiykum Wa Ramatullah was barakarthu
    We are very shortly, inshallah 5th Oct to enter our blessed month. A time for reflection, re-evaluation, to improve ourselves and help those around us, inshallah. I was sent this information and want to share it with you. Please include me in your duas, LOL.

    Ramadan Health Guideness

    This article provides useful advice on how to avoid some common problems encountered in Ramadhan. If followed, it would enable one to fast comfortably and enjoy fully the spiritual benefits of Ramadhan.
    During the holy month of Ramadhan, our diet should not differ very much from our normal diet and should be as simple as possible. The diet should be such that we maintain our normal weight, neither losing nor gaining. However, if one is over-weight, Ramadhan is an ideal time to normalise one's weight.
    In view of the long hours of fasting, we should consume slow digesting foods including fibre containing-foods rather than fast-digesting foods. Slow digesting foods last up to 8 hours, while fast-digesting foods last for only 3 to 4 hours.

    Slow-digesting foods are foods that contain grains and seeds like barley, wheat, oats, millet, semolina, beans, lentils, wholemeal flour, unpolished rice, etc. (called complex carbohydrates).
    Fast-burning foods are foods that contain sugar, white flour, etc. (called refined carbohydrates).
    Fibre-containing foods are bran-containing foods, whole wheat, grains and seeds, vegetables like green beans, peas, sem (papry), marrow, mealies, spinach, and other herbs like methie, the leaves of beetroot (iron-rich), fruit with skin, dried fruit especially dried apricots, figs and prunes, almonds, etc.

    The foods eaten should be well-balanced, containing foods from each food group, i.e. fruits, vegetables, meat/chicken/fish, bread/cereals and dairy products. Fried foods are unhealthy and should be limited. They cause indigestion, heart-burn, and weight problems.


    Fried and fatty foods.
    Foods containing too much sugar.
    Over-eating especially at sehri.
    Too much tea at sehri. Tea makes you pass more urine taking with it valuable mineral salts that your body would need during the day.
    Smoking cigarettes. If you cannot give up smoking, cut down gradually starting a few weeks before Ramadhan. Smoking is unhealthy and one should stop completely.


    Complex carbohydrates at sehri so that the food lasts longer making you less hungry.
    Haleem is an excellent source of protein and is a slow-burning food.
    Dates are excellent source of sugar, fibre, carbohydrates, potassium and magnesium.
    Almonds are rich in protein and fibre with less fat.
    Bananas are a good source of potassium, magnesium and carbohydrates.


    As much water or fruit juices as possible between iftar and bedtime so that your body may adjust fluid levels in time.

    Constipation can cause piles (haemorroids), fissures (painful cracks in anal canal) and indigestion with a bloated feeling.
    Causes: Too much refined foods, too little water and not enough fibre in the diet.
    Remedy: Avoid excessive refined foods, increase water intake, use bran in baking, brown flour when making roti.

    Causes: Over-eating. Too much fried and fatty foods, spicy foods, and foods that produce wind e.g. eggs, cabbage, lentils, carbonated drinks like Cola also produce gas.
    Remedy: Do not over-eat, drink fruit juices or better still drink water. Avoid fried foods, add ajmor to wind-producing foods.

    LETHARGY ('low blood pressure')
    Excessive sweating, weakness, tiredness, lack of energy, dizziness, especially on getting up from sitting position, pale appearance and feeling faint are symptoms associated with "low blood pressure". This tends to occur towards the afternoon.
    Causes: Too little fluid intake, decreased salt intake.
    Remedy: Keep cool, increase fluid and salt intake.
    Caution: Low blood pressure should be confirmed by taking a blood pressure reading when symptoms are present. Persons with high blood pressure may need their medication adjusted during Ramadhan. They should consult their doctor.

    Causes: Caffeine and tobacco-withdrawal, doing too much in one day, lack of sleep, hunger usually occur as the day goes by and worsens at the end of the day. When associated with "low blood pressure", the headache can be quite severe and can also cause nausea before Iftar.
    Remedy: Cut down caffeine and tobacco slowly starting a week or two before Ramadhan. Herbal and caffeine-free teas may be substituted. Reorganise your schedule during the Ramadan so as to have adequate sleep.

    Weakness, dizziness, tiredness, poor concentration, perspiring easily, feeling shaky (tremor), unable to perform physical activities, headache, palpitations are symptoms of low blood sugar.
    Causes in non-diabetics: Having too much sugar i.e. refined carbohydrates especially at suhur (sehri). The body produces too much insulin causing the blood glucose to drop.
    Remedy: Eat something at sehri and limit sugar-containing foods and drinks.
    Caution: Diabetics may need to adjust their medication in Ramadan, consult your doctor.

    Causes: Inadequate intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium foods.
    Remedy: Eat foods rich in the above minerals e.g. vegetables, fruit, dairy products, meat and dates.
    Caution: Those on high blood pressure medication and with kidney stone problems should consult their doctor.

    Increased acid levels in the empty stomach in Ramadhan aggravate the above conditions. It presents as a burning feeling in the stomach area under the ribs and can extend upto the throat. Spicy foods, coffee, and Cola drinks worsen these conditions.
    Medications are available to control acid levels in the stomach. People with proven peptic ulcers and hiatus hernia should consult their doctor well before Ramadhan.

    Kidney stones may occur in people who have less liquids to drink. Therefore, it is essential to drink extra liquids so as to prevent stone formation.

    Causes: During Ramadhan, when extra salah are performed the pressure on the knee joints increases. In the elderly and those with arthritis this may result in pain, stiffness, swelling and discomfort.
    Remedy: Lose weight so that the knees do not have to carry any extra load. Exercise the lower limbs before Ramadhan so that they can be prepared for the additional strain. Being physically fit allows greater fulfilment, thus enabling one to be able to perform salah with ease.

    Dr. Farouk Haffejee
    Islamic Medical Association of South Africa - Durban

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Ramadhan Health Guidelines

    is sehri the same as suhoor?

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    Default Re: Ramadhan Health Guidelines

    "The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger." (Sahih Al Bukhari Vol 8. No.135)

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    Default Virtues of fasting in summer’s heat

    Virtues of fasting in summer’s heat

    Since Ramadan is during summer this year, Ibn Rajab’s section in “Lata’if Al-Ma’arif” (p. 272-273) about the virtues of fasting during hot days will serve as good encouragement:

    “From the acts of worship whose reward is multiplied during the heat is fasting, and this is because of the thirst that one experiences in the midday heat.”

    This is why Mu’adh Bin Jabal expressed regret on his deathbed that he would no longer experience this midday thirst, as other early Muslims did.

    It was related that Abu Bakr would fast in the summer and not in the winter; and Umar advised his son Abdullah on his deathbed, “Try to obtain the characteristics of faith.” The first one he mentioned was fasting in intense summer heat.

    And Al-Qasim Bin Muhammad said that Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) would fast in the intense heat. He was asked: “What drove her to do this?” He replied: “She would take advantage of the days before death.”

    Some righteous women would choose the hottest days for fasting, saying: “If the price is low, everyone will buy,” meaning that they wanted to do deeds that only a few were capable of due to how hard it was to do them. This is indicative of the high aspirations these women had.

    Ka’b said that Allah said to Musa: “I made it incumbent upon Myself that whoever is thirsty for My sake will have his thirst quenched on the Day of Resurrection.”

    When Amir Bin Abd Qays went from Basrah to Sham, Mu’awiyah would ask him to tell him what he needed. Amir said: “All I need is for you to return the heat of Basrah to me to make the fasting a bit harder, as it is too easy in your lands.”

    Al-Hajjaj was on a journey between Makkah and Madina. He pulled out his dinner and invited a bedouin to eat with him, and the bedouin said: “I have been invited by One who is better than you and I have accepted the invitation.” He asked: “And who is this?” The man replied: “Allah invited me to fast, and I fasted.”

    Al-Hajjaj asked: “On this very hot day?” The man replied: “Yes. I am fasting it in anticipation of a much hotter day.” Al-Hajjaj said: “So, eat today and fast tomorrow.”

    The man replied: “Only if you can guarantee that I will live until tomorrow.” Al-Hajjaj said: “This isn’t in my hands.” The man said: “How can you ask me to do something now when there is something of the future that isn’t in your hands?”

    Ibn Umar went on a trip once with some companions, and they saw a shepherd who they invited to eat with them. He said: “I am fasting,” and Ibn Umar said: “You are fasting in heat like this, and while you are in the midst of all these plants and sheep?” The shepherd replied: “I’m taking advantage of my remaining days.”

    Ibn Umar was impressed by this reply and said: “Can you sell one of your sheep to us? We’ll feed you from its meat when you break your fast, and we’ll also pay you for it.” The shpherd said: “It doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to my master.”

    Ibn Umar said: “What would your master say if you told him that it was eaten by a wolf?” The shepherd raised his finger to the sky and said: “What about Allah?”

    Ibn Umar kept repeating this phrase that the shepherd was saying, and when he got to the city, he went to the shepherd’s owner and bought him (the shepherd) and his sheep from him. He then freed the shepherd and gave him his sheep as a gift.

    Abu Ad-Darda’ would say: “Fast the very hot days in anticipation of the Day of Resurrection, and pray two rak’at in the darkness of night in anticipation of the darkness of the grave.”

    When those who fast for Allah in the heat are patient despite their intense thirst, Allah will set aside a specific gate of the gates of Paradise for them.

    This is the gate called Rayyan, and whoever enters through it will drink, and whoever drinks after entering it will never be thirsty again. When they enter through it, it will be locked for those after them, and none will enter through it except them.”

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    Default Second Hand Smoke and Fasting

    Second Hand Smoke and Fasting


    We know that smoking is prohibited, however what is the evidence that it breaks your fast? What about second hand smoke, does it break ones fast?


    Whatever enters your throat may Allaah bless you; is either in the form of food, drink or whatever takes their ruling. Smoke is in reality, something that was previously solid that turned into smoke [by burning in this case]. So if a person breathes in this smoke, [some of it] turns back into a liquid form, and any liquid that enters a person’s throat invalidates his fast.

    Smoking is prohibited to begin with, because it is harmful. The scholars state that this smoke turns into a liquid after it is breathed in, and it is this liquid that brakes your fast.

    Likewise even Bakhoor (incense), which is a fragrance in the form of smoke, the scholars say that it is not permissible for a fasting person to breathe it in because it turns into a liquid.

    As far as second hand smoke, if a smoker is next to you, you must take the necessary precautions by closing your mouth and nostrils, or ask him/her to stop smoking, just as you would do if you came across a small sand storm [i.e you would cover your mouth and nostrils].

    Shaykh Muhammad ibn 'Abdil Wahhaab al 'Aqeel

    Reference: Audio Tape: Taking Advantage of the Last Ten Days of Ramadaan

    Last edited by Muslim; Jul-9-2013 at 07:03 PM.

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    Default 5 ways to avoid Ramadan weight gain

    5 ways to avoid Ramadan weight gain

    Ramadan is a time in which we rejuvenate ourselves spiritually. The fast is a form of ibada that we do solely for the sake of Allah, seeking only his rewards and his pleasure. We must keep our intentions pure for this sake and this sake alone. We read articles on the physical benefits of fasting and we talk long winded about our "need" to fast for physical restoration. But the fast of Ramadan is not intended for this purpose. It is essential that we maintain its intent and purpose for indeed the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wasalam) said "he who fast with the intentions of pleasing Allah his reward is with his lord".

    However on the practical side of fasting, every year we deviate from the sunnah and we suffer physically. It's often manifestation is weight gain, which then leads to tiredness which prevents us from staying awake for our late night ibada and thus the physical harm effects us spiritually and it comes full circle. Our intentions are not to make the fast a month of dieting but minimally make it a month in which we do not worsen our physical condition. The following are some practical tips on how to avoid the "notorious" Ramadan weight gain that many Muslim suffer from.

    1. Eat protein in the morning

    Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day. So much so that it is a Sunna. When eating zahur resist the erg to try to make up for the food you will be missing during the day. We are not whales, thus we do not have an extra stomach to hold food for later. Don't eat a stack of pancakes thinking if you eat 5 instead of your normal 3 you will be satisfied longer. Calories from carbohydrates (i.e. pancakes, grits, waffles, toast etc) are burned much faster than protein. Even though hunger during some part of the day is inevitable with fasting 13 hours days, you can delay when the hunger kicks in by having a healthy portion of protein with your suhoor. Having eggs with your pancakes or waffles or a protein shake with your oatmeal will have a better effect on your system than a pure carbohydrate meal.

    2. Drink plenty of water when you break your fast

    It is very easy to become dehydrated and not drink enough water during Ramadan. We spend most of our alert hours not drinking anything. When the Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wasalam) could not find dates to break fast with he would break fast with water. Water is an essential part of a healthy diet even when you are fasting. Dehydration is often misinterpreted as hunger. When we are dehydrated when we break fast, then we have the hunger of the fast on top of the mistaken hunger of being dehydrated. Break your fast then drink 2 large glasses of water before you eat your iftar meal. Eat slowly, consciously and with intent to eat for nourishment not to satisfy your hunger and cravings.

    3. Eat consciously

    One of the joys of a fasting person is mentioned in the hadith when Allah says in hadith kudsi that a fasting person will have two joys, one when he breaks his fast and one when he meets his lord. There is very little that compares to having fasted all day then sitting in front of a nice spread with every dish you had been fantasizing about, everything from your favorite roasted lamb to cake and cookies. However there is very little that can compare to the amount of self control we must have when faced with such a feast of the eyes and the palette. We must remember that we are hungry because we are Muslims and as Muslims we much keep the Sunnah in mind and in actions. Remember the advice of the Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasalam) was a one-third rule: One-third food, one-third drink and one-third air. When we sit and eat to our full at iftar we violate the sunnah and we violate our bodies. The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alayhi wasalam) said: "A Muslim should never loosen his waist wrapper due to over eating". Ramadan is a time in which we are trained in self control. This self control and discipline is not limited to the day. This training during the day extends to all parts of our lives and our behavior. And there is no better time to show the benefit of this training then sitting down to an iftar spread and NOT eating everything in sight,.

    4. Limit sweets

    Sweets are the indulgence of just about every culture during Ramadan. From the special Moroccan halwa, to African American cross cultural pies and cakes. Ramadan is the month that even the "cooking handicapped" practice their skills. We all have a tendency to justify the extra calories with the fact that we fasted most of the day. But the fact remains that it doesn't matter if you consume the calories throughout the day or all at iftar. A calorie is still a calorie and too many still adds up to stored fat. Okay it's unrealistic to say do not eat any sweets. In fact it's okay to enjoy the sweetness of your Muslim sister's cooking. But have a piece of cake AFTER you have eaten a balanced meal, drunk a large glass of water and prayed Magrib to give your digestive system time to settle and register the food you have eaten. If you still crave the sweets have a small serving then leave the rest for someone else to enjoy. Drinking the water will help fill your stomach and leave less room for over indulgence in sweets. And waiting after salat allows for the 15 to 20 minutes it takes for your stomach to communicate its fullness to your brain.

    5. Avoid late night snacking

    When we are up late night doing ibada we tend to take detours through the kitchen to "taste" all the things we won't be able to have during the day. Leave the night for ibada and you will benefit much more. But if you happen to leave your Qur'an in the kitchen and must go in there to get it, then grab a small portion of protein rich food instead of the extra piece of cake. Eating carbohydrate and sugar rich foods late at night increases the chance of those carbohydrates being stored as fat. Eating a "small" portion of protein will balance your insulin and leave you feeling fuller longer. May Allah Bless each reader to have a successful Ramadan.

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    #1 Eat Pancakes For Sahoor (Breakfast)

    Pancakes and syrup, even the all-natural Maple syrup from the tree, are simple sugars that’s going to give you an insulin spike then a crash. The little bit of energy you would have had until 12-noon will be cut short and you will find yourself feeling fatigue and brain fog earlier in the day. In addition pancakes have minimum nutritional value during a time when we should be focused more than ever on the quality of our food instead of the quantity. If you are only going to have time to eat two full meals then you need to make them nutrient dense meals to stave off hunger and fatigue as long as possible in the day.

    #2 Cooking 3 Course Meals For Iftar (Dinner)

    Ramadan is a time for spiritual renewal and development. Often times, women in particular, spend hours in the kitchen each night making extravagant 3 course meals for their family or for their guest. Although there is blessing in feeding the fasting person and of course we want our families to eat well after such long days, this reduces the amount of time that we spend doing traditional Ibadah which gets more blessings. And Yes, there is an Ibadah hierarchy. It is reported by Ibn Masood that the Messenger of Allah (saw) was asked which deed is most loved to God and he said, “Prayer in its time. Then I said, “then what,” and he said, “Being good to your parents.”….. (Agreed Upon) So ditch the, I need to be “Ramadan Betty Crocker” routine, plan some crockpot meals and set a goal to make more Salah with Kushoo (Concentration and attentiveness).

    #3 Keep the Same Daily Routine

    Despite the fact that we love being Muslim and for us the spiritual benefits far exceed the physical challenges of fasting it’s still hard sometimes, and that’s okay. Although, Christians and Jews fast as a part of their spiritual ritual, the Islamic fast is the most strict and extensive of all the Abrahamic faiths. There are unavoidable physical effects of fasting, especially since we will be fasting with no food or drink for 15-17 hours a day. You will get weak towards the end of your day due to lack of food. The speed and clarity in which a fasting person thinks towards the end of the day is reduced due to the drop in insulin level. Physical fatigue is a real problem after a couple weeks due to dehydration. These things are real, but fasting is obligatory to every Muslim so we have to adjust and plan around it.

    Try to do your most physically and mentally taxing work earlier in the day if you can. If you have a job or a co-worker that may change shifts with you for a month so you can work earlier or the night shift when you are not fasting. Offer to work on Christmas and Easter and other holidays for them. If changing your shift isn’t possible, don’t be shy to have a heart to heart with your boss and co-workers. Let them know you will be fasting and may feel a little fatigued some days but will do your best to maintain the same quality of work and professionalism you do the rest of the year. Most of the time non-Muslims are very respective and helpful. It fascinated many of them that we would and could fast the way we do and they will offer to take a project or give you lighter assignments.

    #4 Exercise While You Are Fasting

    Please drop the “Fit Ramadan” routine. Fasting 17 hours a day is no joke and it doesn’t make you a fitness queen when you work out while you are fasting. In fact it does the opposite. After a workout our body looks to our nutrients to build and restore muscles. This is the reason a well thought out fitness plan includes post-workout snacks. Building and maintaining muscle is absolutely vital to every fitness goal. If you want to “tone up”, muscle is what creates that tight and toned look. If you want lose weight, for every pound of muscle you gain you boost your metabolism 50 calories a day which helps you not only lose weight but keep it off as well. If you want to get arms like Michelle Obama, yeah that’s muscle too. When you exercise while you are fasting you leave a critical nutritional window immediately following your workout open and empty so in response your body will begin to cannibalize its own muscle, leaving you with a slower metabolism, less tone and less strength. So if you insist on workout during the month of Ramadan, scale back the intensity and workout in the evening.

    #5 Use Fasting as a Weight Loss Diet

    Every year I cringe when people tell me they are going to use Ramadan as a time detox or diet. The first problem with this is a spiritual one. Every action is judged for its intentions and if your intentions are to make your fast a diet then you have just voided all spiritual benefit. Secondly “detoxing” and dieting can have negative side effects that can make you physically ill and unable to fast. It’s not uncommon for people to “detox” and have flu-like symptoms the first few days. If this happens then you have basically sabotaged your own self and missed the blessing of fasting that day. Yes, you can make it up later if you are sick but in addition to not being able to fast, if you are sick you probably won’t be able to do other forms of Ibadah with focus if at all. Ramadan is a time for spiritual cleanse not physical cleanse. It’s a time for a diet of Nafs (the lower desires) not a food diet.

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    16 Suhoor Foods to Curb Hunger and Thirst

    You need to get smart about your suhoor choices, there are various foods that will last you for a good few hours after consumption because they are digested much slower than, say, a chocolate or a pizza. There are also foods that will make you thirsty the next day while others will actually curb your thirst and hunger pangs. Foods with low Glycemic Index (GI) will keep your blood sugar and insulin levels at bay, which isn’t only healthy, but it also keeps you feeling satisfied for a while.

    Here’s a roundup of 16 foods you should have over suhoor and seven that you should avoid like the plague.


    Proteins like turkey: Proteins, especially lean meat, are great to keep your hunger at bay. Opt for a turkey sandwich with brown bread to keep you going through the fast.

    Oatmeal: Foods that are high on fiber keep you feeling full for a while after consumption because they take a while to be digested. Oatmeal is also high on complex carbs, which is the good sort of carbs if you’re wondering.

    Apples: Apples are also high on fiber, but they are also high on water.

    Avocados: these are packed with nutrients and are also loaded with healthy fats and fat soluble vitamins that leave you feeling full.

    Bananas: Filled with potassium and help reduce thirst.

    Foul (fava beans): Your mother was right, foul will actually last you through the next day because it has a low GI and is slowly digested. This means that it will keep releasing energy for a while after consumption and will keep you from getting hungry or weak.

    Fruits and vegetables: Not only are those high on fibers, they’re also what your body needs to keep going the next day. Their water content means they will keep releasing water into your body as they’re being digested.

    Brown rice and pasta: These are both packed with fibers because the grains are unbleached and so their nutrients are kept in tact.

    Lentils: These are high in fibers and proteins, grab a cup of lentil soup (ads) for suhoor but be careful as some cannot digest lentils well.

    Beans: Beans, like foul and red beans, are packed with fibers and proteins. Opt for a bean salad at night followed by a mint tea drink to help ease the gas if your stomach cannot tolerate beans well.

    Hummus and chickpeas: These are also high on fibers and proteins and make great salads and sandwiches.

    Dates and figs: These give the body the energy kick it needs without leaving you to feel too full to breathe or sleep.

    Eggs: High on protein and low on calories.

    Nuts: Nuts like almonds and walnuts are great sources of protein and nutrients, but they’re also high on calories, so keep your consumption to a handful each day.

    Yoghurt: Yoghurt is great to keep your thirst at bay the next morning. Add fruits to yoghurt as they are filled with water and help you retain it over the next day.

    Cucumbers: These are known to be almost all water and so are great with thirst; chop on your yoghurt or dip it in humus for some variety.


    Sugar-loaded foods: Not only are those high in calories, foods with high sugar content are digested fast and increase your blood sugar levels, which leave you feeling hungry.

    Caffeine: Sure, the first thing you want to reach to after iftar is that cup of coffee or tea, but caffeine is a diuretic which means it stimulates the process of excreting water and so it will leave you feeling thirsty.

    Pastries: A croissant for suhoor won’t do because it has about zero fibers and is bound to cause sudden insulin increases, leaving you hungry right after consumption.

    Kiddy-Corner Cereals: While some cereals are loaded with fiber (like Muesli or Fitness from Nestle), many others are high on simple carbs and sugar (the likes of Cheerios). Avoid the kiddy-corner cereals and opt for whole grain brands instead.

    Salty foods: These, needless to say, we hope, leave you feeling thirsty the next day. So avoid things like sardines or adding loads of salt to your iftar or suhoor meals.

    Deep fried foods: Avoid sambousek or french fries for suhoor as deep frying leaves you bloated and feeling heavy. Bake your potatoes, if you must, instead.

    Spicy foods: Spicy food will leave you feeling thirsty, so don’t add chili to your foul over suhoor.


  15. #15
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    Jan 2007


    5 Tips for Healthy Eating During a Summer Ramadan

    By Yvonne Maffei

    I've spent more than 10 years fasting but the last two years Ramadan has fallen in weather that was significantly warmer than in previous years and days when the fast was much longer. That means extra preparation and knowing what to eat during non-fasting hours is essential to good health and endurance during the entire month.

    During my teaching years I remember listening to community members and school kids with stories about how they'd wanted to change the foods they ate in Ramadan in order to feel healthier, which is one of the reasons I began working on solutions by providing healthy recipes and cooking tips.

    A fasting person needs good, nutrient-rich food that provides the energy necessary for the priorities of daily life and no other time of year is that more important than during Ramadan when we're fasting for long hours, some of us in very hot climates or in the summer season.

    Here are my top tips for eating healthy during that short time of day in the month of Ramadan when food and drink are meant to be consumed.

    Eat Real Food, Not Processed and Junk Foods

    Sure, processed foods can seem convenient, but they're usually filled with unhealthy things like high-fructose corn syrup, MSG (to enhance flavor), lots of sodium and typically all the wrong heart-clogging oils. If you're in a hurry, there are healthy and halal-convenient options that are particularly good for breaking the fast, so get to know the halal food businesses that make and serve them.

    Junk foods like chips, candies, and more are basically void of nutrients and should not be used as a side dish (believe me, I've seen it before). How will you have any energy to get you through a long day of fasting and long night of prayer if your food gives you nothing in return for eating it? Instead, shop for locally produced fruits and veggies from farmers markets and grocery stores, which are now following the trend of sourcing ingredients from local vendors. Because of a higher demand for such goods, the prices are finally coming down somewhat. Furthermore, when you eat food that is wholesome and packed with nutrition, you'll feel more satisfied. In fact, you may even find yourself needing to eat less of it than filler foods that hardly satisfy the stomach and make you crave more and more of them.

    Avoid "White" Foods

    White foods (i.e., white bread, white rice, white sugar, etc.) can fall into some of the above categories, but they're worth the mention for what not to eat. White breads are made from white flour, which is processed and stripped of the nutrition that should be in bread and the same goes for rice and even the type of sugar you use. Instead, choose breads from whole grains and organic brown rice (even basmati). Surprisingly, they don't have to break the bank, either, since much of this is available in bulk at quality grocers like Whole Foods.

    Know the Foods That Hydrate Your Body

    When fasting, we're slowly being dehydrated over the course of the day, so once we break our fast and during the non-fasting period we need to have foods that put water into our body, not deplete it further. It can be difficult to eat a lot of watermelon or squash, even though they're super-hydrating foods, but you can make juices out of the fruits and soups out of the vegetables to give your body the additional water it needs. Avoid salty spice mixes and condiments that sneak their way into our rice and meat dishes only to leave us wondering why we're so thirsty afterwards. A great way to break the fast is to enjoy your favorite dates, of course, but also consider having coconut water, or making smoothies, coolers and fruity drinks which are super-hydrating. They can be consumed at the Suhoor (pre-dawn meal before the fasting day begins) or at the Iftar (meal at the time of breaking the fast) followed by soup to preface your main meal. Consider limiting coffee and tea which are very dehydrating to the body, to about half of what you normally drink.

    Avoid Fried & Sugary Foods

    In an effort not to spoil any cultural traditions in Ramadan foods, I'm not advocating that everyone forgo their favorite samosas or empanadas at Iftar. I love them, too! But, I do know that it's possible to bake them instead of fry, so consider that an option. Fried foods are heavy in oil and that makes them harder to digest, especially when they're the first foods to be eaten after a long fast.

    Let's save the sweets for 'Eid ul Fitr (the celebration that comes after the month of fasting) and try to hold off on as many desserts as possible to avoid any sugar crashes later in the day. If you must have something sweet, make it natural -- use real honey or natural raw cane sugar (turbinado) in your recipes, or eat fruits that are a bit more on the sweet side to satisfy the craving... naturally.

    Go Easy on the Carbs

    While I love a good bowl of pasta, a hefty portion of potatoes or rice with meat, these are all carbohydrates to minimize during Ramadan. Carbohydrates are converted into sugars and can eventually take their toll on your body way after you've finished eating. When you do have your carbohydrates, be sure to pair them with protein-rich foods like beans, meat or eggs to balance the meal.

    May everyone who observes the blessed month of Ramadan have a peaceful, healthy and happy time with family, friends and community.


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