10 Facts About Ramadan to Share with Your Non-Muslim Friends: Part IIby Farida Haji
We are only a week away from the holiest month in Islam. Fasting for an entire day? Going hungry from dusk to dawn? Well, share these facts with your curious non-Muslim folks and enlighten them.
Last week we shared 10 wonderful facts. Here is the second installment of the 2-part series for you to share with your non-Muslim friends about Ramadan:
#1 Brain Booster
Fasting triggers a mild stress response in the brain. Guess what the brain does when stressed? It gets more active! This leads to more brain function, thus positively impacting mental well-being and increasing spiritual focus.
#2 Combating Stress
While slight discomfort or changes activate the fight or flight responses a.k.a stress, fasting helps reverse the effect. After fasting for a few days, the body regulates the release of hormones with a higher level of endorphins and reduces the levels of cortisol resulting in better alertness. It also normalizes the adrenal glands and reduces sodium levels that help lower blood pressure.
#3 Natural Detoxification
Detoxification is a natural body process that involves the expulsion of toxins through various organs. Fat reserves are used when the body doesn’t consume food. These fat reserves release chemicals that are eliminated via the kidney, lungs, liver, colon, lymph glands, and skin.
#4 Mild Dehydration
No matter the weather or place, not a drop of water is to be consumed. This can lead to dehydration. However, intermittent dehydration for 10-14 hours during a fasting day is not bad for our health. Our bodies have their own water conservation mechanisms; upon breaking fasts Muslims are encouraged to consume fluids to replenish their systems. Thus there are no fatal side effects from slight dehydration.
#5 Patience and Peace
Fasting requires us to be patient. Multiple factors test our patience like striving for food, and keeping your routine stable without the consumption of food. Nonetheless, those who truly understand patience also earn inner peace and contentment. If one can control their hunger and desire for food, they can control other desires as well, such as their emotions, wants, etc.
The rich and poor alike feel hunger during Ramadan. It is a common realization among the masses of the needs of people around us. There are no separate rules for the rich or poor. All are equal in the eyes of God. Fasting helps suppress the need to boast about one’s self-worth and wealth.
Fasting, apart from boosting mental wellness, helps strengthen willpower that only comes when we start conditioning ourselves to cope with challenges. While fasting in Ramadan helps us refrain from committing sins, it builds a sense of self-respect and confidence that aids in establishing willpower.
It is often assumed that pious or religious people prefer to spend their time solely immersed in acts of worship, aloof in a sanctuary or the mountain tops. However, Islam teaches us to achieve higher goals for humanity by living among others. You will find pious Muslim walking, mingling going about their daily life, and being spiritually conscious at the same time.
Fasting is not about skipping meals and harming your health. In fact, extending the fast beyond the given times is discouraged. Allah says in the Quran,
يَـٰبَنِىٓ ءَادَمَ خُذُوا۟ زِينَتَكُمْ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَكُلُوا۟ وَٱشْرَبُوا۟ وَلَا تُسْرِفُوٓا۟ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلْمُسْرِفِينَ
O children of Adam, take your adornment [i.e., wear your clothing] at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.
[Surah Al-A’raf 7:31]
As much as Islam condemns extreme forms of withdrawals from sustenance, it equally encourages good health and habits.
#10 Devotion to God
Ramadan is unique for Muslims because they believe strongly that all good deeds are done for themselves or others while fasting is an act of worship done solely for Allah. Attaining closeness to Allah is one of the primary objectives for practising Muslims.
Islam is a religion of peace. There is no greater show of devotion than that of a practising Muslim during Ramadan. Our hectic lifestyles deprive us from taking a step back and living in the moment. Ramadan is the month that helps relax our racing minds and paces. It forces us to slow down and live in the moment.
Share this article with your colleagues, friends, and family. Leave a comment and highlight any other interesting questions about Ramadan. May you have a blessed Ramadan and may your non-Muslim counterparts join you in making it more memorable. InshaAllah.