ALL ABOUT FASTING IN RAMADANWilly William
Even Ramadan almost comes to the end, I guess it is still not late for ALPS Medical Centre to wish happy fasting to all Muslims all around the world.
In this page, I would like to share some information on fasting and Eid celebration.
WHAT IS FASTING?
Fasting is a condition of abstaining from consume any drink and food during day. Fasting can be varies based on religions. In Islam, all Muslims obliged to fast starting from dawn until dusk for whole month of Ramadan (30 days). Usually, we will eat before dawn around 5am and we will break the fast during dusk around 7pm.
Depending on countries, the length of daytime may different. So, Malaysia typically only 13 – 14 hours of fasting. In western countries, it could be up to 19 – 20 hours. Apart of restraining themselves from eating and drinking, all Muslims also are not allowed to smoke and involve in sexual activities during daytime.
Each religion outlines the benefits of fasting in their point of view. Like Hinduism, fasting on specific days in a week gives their deity blessed. Fasting in Islam is compulsory to all Muslims. It is one of the 5 pillars in Islam. Some of non-Muslims people might wondering why Muslims fasting. There are lots of reason behind this.
First, it is for spiritual. Muslims devoted themselves to their only one God. By fasting, it is a way for them to close with the God. Fasting month is a Holy month and it is strongly recommended for all Muslims to guard their desire, to multiply good deeds and avoid doing bad things.
Secondly, it is good for social interactions. It would be a lie if someone fasting but not feel hungry at all. They must feel thirsty at least. Fasting teach people to be patience. When patience is difficult to practice among all people, it can be slowly developed among fasting people.
Fasting in medical perspective is good as it helps to maintain your weight. Even fasting helps in maintain weight, but most people use it as weight loss tool. Fasting should not be the main tool for fasting, practice healthy lifestyle instead.
THE BAZAR RAMADAN
The best part during Ramadan is the bazar Ramadan. What is so amazing about bazar Ramadan? Bazar Ramadan is a bazar that sell food and drinks only. Bazar Ramadan is all over the place. Not specifically for Muslims only but others also can enjoy variety of food sold at bazar. Most of the food sell at Bazar Ramadan are the food that you rarely can find in usual month. It is meant for Muslims to buy food and drinks for breaking fast. That is why everyone is looking forward for Bazar Ramadan.
Bazar Ramadan in other way could be a test for Muslims. How? Because there are variety of delicious food plus with hungry and thirsty, there must be at least a spark of uncontrolled lust in buying food. Buying food while hungry is always not a good thing. This concept is also applied during buying groceries. Both could lead to unintended expenditure as well as overspending money. Here the Muslims is tested on their desire to eat more and drink more then end up with waste.
EIDUL-FITRI, MONTH OF CELEBRATION
As a reward, all Muslims can celebrate Eidul-Fitri for 30 days also, as much as fasting month. Eidul-Fitri is a joyful and delightful celebration as to appreciate the sacrifice of Muslims restraints themselves from eating and drinking during fasting month. The first day of Eidul-Fitri must be celebrated happily and every Muslims will go for a prayer.
In Malaysia, Eidul-Fitri is rejoice by everyone including non-Muslims. It is mainly due to the food. Every festival has their unique style of celebrations and all celebrations have special dishes like Eidul-Fitri, most of the dishes can be enjoyed by every religions and races. For example, lemang, ketupat, nasi impit and many more.
During Eidul-Fitri, all families will gather around and have pleasant time together. It is a routine for every Muslims to apologize to each other. These special two months of Ramadan and Syawal, it is best for Muslims to do nice things as their god has showered them with blessed and even more rewards for those who do more sincerely.
BENEFITS OF FASTING
As I mentioned earlier, it helps to maintain rather than lose weight. It does not help in losing weight per se however for certain people, losing weight might happen to them. But then, few questions to ask, if fasting could lose your weight, then for how long you will be fasting in order to achieve weight target? What happen if you stop fasting? You weight would be maintained or increased?
Thus, the best way to lose weight is to alter current portion intake and limit all those high potency weight gain kind of food like high fat food, sugary food and processed food. All those weight loss tips and ideas on internet might sound good to be true and some of them is irrelevant. Always ask for advices from nutritionist, health advisor or dietitian on nutrition part and fitness coach or sports advisor on fitness part to prevent future complications.
Benefits of fasting can be varying. In term of financially, it saves your money from buying lunch and snacking time. Like usually, you have spent about RM10 – RM15 for lunch and other food, with fasting you could save up to RM450 – RM500 per month. In term of working hours, most company would allow their Muslims staffs to come early and go back early as to prepare food and drink for breaking fast.
Other than that, fasting also helps to improve overall health (watch video at below for better understanding). At first, fasting maybe difficult to cope but after a week, the body accustomed with the fasting schedule and adapt with the situation. Body undergo healing and repairing process during fasting. Hence, it is crucial to take care of food intake in this month. During day, depending of certain location, temperature could be near to 40-degree Celsius. Stay hydrated and drink lots of water at the left hours is very important.
FASTING AND NUTRITION
Within 24 hours, minus with 13 hours of fasting, there will be another 11 hours left to sleep, eat and drink. Food intake during Ramadan is crucial as it will retain your energy for the rest of the day.
Sahur (pre-dawn meal)
Sahur is pre-dawn eating, sort of like breakfast but around 4 – 5 in the morning. Sahur is important as to prevent discomfort in stomach and quickly hungry. Good food choice eaten during sahur should help you to maintain energetic until the breaking fast time. Normally, bread is the easiest food to eat early in the morning however it depends on the family culture. Sometimes they prepare rice and some dishes or reheat the leftover dishes from breaking fast one and eat.
Hormone ghrelin is ‘hunger hormone’. It is produce by gastrointestinal tract which functions as neuropeptide in brain. This hormone can be controlled with consume high protein diet. Eating protein-based food helps to reduce the production of ghrelin and increase production of glucagon, hormone to increase blood glucose in blood. This could prevent from incidence of empty stomach with high gastric acid and faster hungry.
High fiber food is well known with their benefits. It is recommended to eat high fibre food such as oat, vegetables, whole grains food for longer fullness. This is mainly because fibre would slow down the digestion and help to regulate blood glucose in blood.
Iftar (breaking fast)
Iftar is most awaiting moment for all Muslims after almost 13 hours fasting. Here, it is important to control the portion. Indeed, with hungry sometimes we could lose our mind and tend to overeat. Just like the normal diet, portion intake during Ramadan also need to be similar. As to prevent overeat and bloating, start the meal with fruit like dates because it is sunnah and recommended. Dates is full of nutrients and high in fibre. Eating three medium size of date might help to prevent overindulge the heavy meal.
Moreh (late night snack)
Since Ramadan is the month of blessing, later night we will have special prayer (tarawih) in mosque. This special prayer only done during Ramadan. Even though it is not compulsory, by doing that it will help to double the rewards. Not double, it is actually more than that. At some mosque, after the prayer, they will prepare some food to be given to all Muslims who come to that special prayer.
In brief, Malaysian is such a beautiful country because each religion respect to each other religions. They are being considerate to not eating in front of Muslims staffs. They offer to treat iftar together. As a Muslim, it is very great opportunity to do good deeds as much as we could during Ramadan since it only come once in a year and there is no guarantee that we will meet with Ramadan in the next year.