Rasha’s Blog – No food, no drink?


Being part of the GSA for the past 2 years, I gained amazing friends from different faiths, and faithless backgrounds. One of my dear friends once asked me: “why do Muslims congratulate each other at the start of Ramadan. Do you congratulate each other on having to suffer a month of hunger?!! I would understand if you congratulate each other at the end of the month, not at the beginning!”

I smiled and replied that we have a different view of it all. We view the month of Ramadan as an opportunity to become closer to God. We believe that God is very merciful and forgiving, and that we are especially ready to receive his mercy and forgiveness in the month of Ramadan. So, we think of Ramadan as a spiritual benefit.


Still, my friends commented: ‘it must be so hard’, so I challenged them to try it for even one day, and they would be amazed of what their bodies are capable of. As for myself, believe me, after a day or two, the body just naturally adjusts to the change of eating and drinking habits.

But allow me to introduce you to ‘Why’ we fast:

*The main objective of fasting is to learn self-control and to prepare oneself for the challenges that life may offer. It is a way of spiritual discipline, and as you are aware discipline is a necessity to achieve success in life. Some non-Muslims often mistakenly assume that fasting is some act of self-punishment, or a way of weakening the body. No, it is not at all ☺ we do not have this concept in Islam. For example, Muslims who are ill or travelling do not fast. Pregnant women do not fast too. Some children start by fasting a few hours a day, for them it is not compulsory. Only those who are physically capable are required to observe the fasting.

** Secondly, fasting increases empathy for the poor and deprived, because for an entire month, the fasting person must do without the simplest daytime pleasures, and hence consider the much greater sufferings of those who are less fortunate than him/her.

*** Thirdly, fasting increases confidence in one’s self. By the end of the month, Muslims find that they have great endurance than they thought they had, and that with some patience, determination, and God’s help, a seemingly very difficult task could become quite achievable. Via fasting, Islam encourages such a positive attitude; the sense of achievement, the ‘I CAN DO IT’ attitude ☺

As for the health benefits, According to Nature (2009) and Cell (2016), fasting fights cancer by stimulating the body to produce stem cells. Fasting can even help prevent Alzheimer as fasting cleans the brains cells from bad proteins that cause Dementia in a process known as autophagy (PNAS, 2013)
We feel it’s an honour to fast, and I encourage you to try it, you will be amazed of what your body is capable of ☺



Acknowledgement to:
-Prof. Jefferey Lang (University of Kansas)

-Dr. Mohamed Osman (University of York)

20th June 2017