Fasting is a Shield

Fasting is a shield [Bukhari]

Fasting is a shield for a person which protects them from Shaytan, Allah’s punishment and Jahannam. However, one needs to make sure the shield is not damaged in any way. Otherwise it will not be effective in doing its job. The actions that damage this shield and render it useless are sins like Backbiting, Lying, Evil Glance, Swearing, Nonsensical Conversation, Arguments, Slander, Haram Sustenance, and every other evil.

Besides the compulsory fasting in the month of Ramadan, one should try to fast during those days for which Rasoolullah (صلي الله عليه و سلم) has mentioned many rewards, for example:

  • 6 days of Shawwal
  • Day of Aarafah
  • Ashoora (9th & 10th or 10th & 11th of Muharram)

Source: Riyadul Jannah Issue 2 Vol 13

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Sunnah of Fasting

Here are some Sunnah for Fasting

  1. To partake in Suhur (Sehri), the pre-dawn meal
  2. To break the fast immediately after sunset
  3. To open the fast with Dates
  4. To pray Tarawih prayer at night
  5. To be generous in giving Charity
  6. To increase your recital of the Holy Quran

Fasting in Ramadan – Ahadith from Riyad as-Salihin

Chapters related to Fasting in Ramadan

217. Chapter: On the obligation to fast Ramadan and clarification of the excellence of fasting and what is connected to it

Allah Almighty says, “You who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, as it was prescribed for those before you..” to His words “The month of Ramadan is the one in which the Qur’an was sent down as guidance for mankind, with Clear Signs containing guidance and discrimination. Any of you who are resident for the month should fast it. But any of you who are ill or on a journey should fast a number of other days.” (W2:182-184; H2:183-185)

1215. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah, the Mighty and Exalted said, ‘Every action of the son of Adam is for himself except for fasting. It is Mine and I repay it.’ Fasting is a shield. When someone is fasting, he should not have sexual relations nor quarrel. If someone fights him or insults him, he should say, ‘I am fasting’. By the One in whose hand the self of Muhammad is, the changed breath in the mouth of the faster is more fragrant to Allah than the scent of musk. The faster experiences two joys: when he breaks his fast he rejoices and when he meets his Lord he rejoices in his fasting.” [Agreed upon]

In one variant of al-Bukhari, “He has left his food and drink and appetites for My sake. Fasting is Mine and I repay it. Any other good deed I repay with ten like it.”
In a variant of Muslim, “Every action of the son of Adam is multiplied. A good action receives from ten to seven hundred times. Allah Almighty said, “Fasting is Mine and I repay it. He leaves his appetites and food for My sake. The faster experiences two joys: a joy when he breaks his fast and a joy when he meets his Lord. The changed breath in the mouth of the faster is more fragrant to Allah than the scent of musk.”

1216. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The one who spends out two kinds of actions in the way of Allah will be summoned from the gates of the Garden and told, ‘O slave of Allah this is better.’ All the people who did the prayer will be called from the gate of the prayer. All the people who did jihad will be called from the gate of jihad. All the people who fasted will be called from the gate of Rayyan. All the people who gave sadaqa will be called from the gate of sadaqa.” Abu Bakr said, “May my father and mother be sacrificed for you, Messenger of Allah. No one called from those gates will feel distress. Will anyone be called from all those gates?” He said, “Yes, and I hope that you will be among them.” [Agreed upon]

1217. Sahl ibn Sa’d reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “There is a gate in the Garden called ar-Rayyan which those who fast will enter on the Day of Rising, and none but they will enter it.” It will be said, ‘Where are the fasters?’ They will stand up and none but they will enter it. When they have entered it, it will be closed and no one else will enter it.” [Agreed upon]

1218. Abu Sa’id al-Khudri reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “No slave fasts one day in the way of Allah without Allah putting his face seventy years’ journey away from the Fire on account of that day.” [Agreed upon]

1219. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Anyone who prays in Ramadan motivated by belief and in expectation of the reward will be forgiven his past wrong actions.” [Agreed upon]

1220. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “When Ramadan comes, the gates of the Garden are opened, the gates of the Fire are closed and the shaytans are chained up.” [Agreed upon]

1221. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Fast when you see it (the new moon) and break the fast when you see it. If it is cloudy, then make Sha’ban complete with thirty days.” [Agreed upon]

In the variant of Muslim, “If it is cloudy, you must fast thirty days.”

218. Chapter: On generosity, charity and doing much good in the month of Ramadan, and increasing that in the last ten days of the month

1222. Ibn ‘Abbas said, “The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was the most generous of people, and he was even more generous during Ramadan when Jibril met him. Jibril used to meet him every night in Ramadan until it was over and the Prophet would go through the Qur’an with him. The Messenger of Allah was more generous with good things than the blowing wind.” [Agreed upon]

1223. ‘A’isha said, “When the last ten days of Ramadan started, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to pray during the night, wake up his family and intensify his efforts.” [Agreed upon]

219. Chapter: On the prohibition against fasting before Ramadan after the middle of Sha’ban unless that fasting is connected to what is before it and coincides with his habit, like fasting Monday and Thursday

1224. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “None of you should fast a day or two before Ramadan except for a man who customarily fasts. He should fast that day.” [Agreed upon]

1225. Ibn ‘Abbas reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Do not fast immediately before Ramadan. Fast when you see the new moon and break it when you see it. If cloud obscures it, then complete the thirty days.” [at-Tirmidhi]

1226. Abu reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “When half of Sha’ban remains, then do not fast.” [at-Tirmidhi]

1227. Abu’l-Yaqatan ‘Ammar ibn Yasir said, “Anyone who fasts the day which is doubtful has rebelled against Abu’l-Qasim.” [Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi]

220. Chapter: On what one says when seeing the new moon

1228. Talha ibn ‘Ubaydullah reported that When the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, saw the new moon, he would say, “O Allah, make the new moon shine on us with security, belief, safety and Islam! My Lord and your Lord is Allah. It is a new moon of guidance and good.” [at-Tirmidhi]

221. Chapter: The excellence of suhur and delaying it as long as one does not fear the approach of dawn

1229. Anas reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Have suhur. There is blessing in suhur.” [Agreed upon]

1230. Zayd ibn Thabit said, “We used to have suhur with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Then he stood up for the prayer.” Anas said, “I said, ‘How long was there between the adhan and suhur?’ He said, ‘Enough to recite fifty ayats.'” [Agreed upon]

1231. Ibn ‘Umar said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had two mu’adhdhans: Bilal and Ibn Umm Maktum. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Bilal calls the adhan while it is still night, so eat and drink until Ibn Umm Maktum calls the adhan.” He said, “The time between the two adhans was only long enough for the one to go up and the other to come down.” [Agreed upon]

1232. ‘Amr ibn al-‘As reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “The difference between our fasting and the fasting of the people of the Book lies in the eating of suhur.” [Muslim]

222. Chapter: On the excellence of hastening to break the fast and that with which one breaks the fast and what one says after breaking the fast

1233. Sahl ibn Sa’d reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “People will continue to be all right as long as they hurry to break the fast.” [Agreed upon]

1234. Abu ‘Atiyya said, “Masruq and I visited ‘A’isha and Masruq said to her, ‘There are two of the Companions of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and neither of them is lacking in good. One of them hastens Maghrib and fast-breaking and the other delays Maghrib and fast-breaking.’ She said, ‘Which one hastens Maghrib and fast-breaking?’ He said, ”Abdullah – i.e. ibn Mas’ud.’ She said, ‘That is what the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did.'” [Muslim]

1235. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah, the Mighty and Majestic said, ‘The most beloved of My slaves to Me is the quickest to break the fast.” [at-Tirmidhi]

1236. ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “When night advances from here and day retreats from there and the sun sets, then people fasting should break their fast.” [Agreed upon]

1237. Abu Ibrahim ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Awfa said, “We were with the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, on a journey while he was fasting. When the sun set, he said to someone, ‘So-and-so, get down and mix some sawiq for us’ He said, ‘Messenger of Allah, won’t you let it get dark?’ He said, ‘Get down and mix some sawiq for us.’ He said, ‘It is still daytime.’ He said, ‘Get down and mix some sawiq for us.’ So he got down and mixed it for them. The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, drank and then gestured with his hand towards the east, saying, ‘When you see the night advancing from here, then the faster should break his fast.'” [Agreed upon]

1238. Salman ibn ‘Amir ad-Dabi the Companion reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “When one of you breaks his fast, he should break it with dates. If he cannot find any. then he should break it with water. It is pure.” [Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi]

1239. Anas said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, used to break the fast with fresh dates before he prayed, and if there were no fresh dates, then with small dry dates. If there were no dry dates, then with a few sips of water.” [Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi]

223. Chapter: On commanding the faster to guard his tongue and limbs from incorrect actions, verbal abuse and the like

1240. Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “When someone is fasting, he should not have sexual relations nor quarrel. If someone fights him or insults him, he should say, ‘I am fasting'” [Agreed upon]

1241. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah does not require someone who does not abandon lies, and acting by them, while fasting to abandon his food and drink.” [al-Bukhari]

224. Chapter: On questions regarding fasting

1242. Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “If someone forgets, and eats and drinks, he should complete his fast. Allah has fed him and let him drink.” [Agreed upon]

1243. Laqit ibn Sabira said, “I said, ‘Messenger of Allah, tell me about wudu’.’ He said, ‘Do wudu’ thoroughly letting the water run between your fingers and snuffing the water well up your nose, unless you are fasting.'” [at-Tirmidhi]

1244. ‘A’isha who said, “Fajr used sometimes to find the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, junub from one of his wives. Then he did ghusl and fasted.” [Agreed upon]

1245. ‘A’isha and Umm Salama said, “When morning found the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, junub from one of his wives, he would still fast.” [Agreed upon]

source: Riyad as-Salihin by Imam Nawawi. Translated by Ustadha Ayesha Bewley

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Ramadhan Super Foods

Bismihi Ta’ala

By Umme Faatimah (B.Dietetics Univ. of Pretoria)

The modern world has swept us off our feet in so many ways… our dressing, our lifestyles and most noticeably our eating habits. We have so casually adapted the western culture of unhealthy eating, moving further and further away from the Noble teachings of the Quraan and Sunnah of The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him).

Yet, the newest nutritional research continues to discover the benefits of certain foods, labelled as “Super Foods”. They have also unravelled the great benefits of certain eating habits, such as washing the hands before and after meals, eating with the hands, not drinking with meals…just to mention a few. However, all of this has already been outlined in the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah more than 1400 years ago.

We are certainly the losers if we do not make an effort to practice upon the Sunnah in our homes and kitchens. What better time to bring about these changes than now? Our beautiful Deen offers us the opportunity during the beautiful month of Ramadhaan, to bring about positive changes in our lives- changes that benefit us mentally, physically and spiritually which Insha Allah (Allah Willing) can be sustained for the future.

Physically, fasting gives the digestive system a much needed rest. Energy normally used for digestion is now directed to body detoxification, tissue repair and system healing.

With that in mind I have chosen to highlight just a few of the favourite foods of our The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). With the special month of Ramadhaan fast approaching, we can all ensure we have these foods on our shopping lists. InshaAllah, by us adopting the lifestyle of The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) we will be rewarded enormously… Ameen.

DATES

Dates are the most mentioned fruit in the Quraan. They are high in energy, fibre, iron, vitamins and minerals. The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)said: ” The home with no dates is like the home with no food”.(Hadith- Sahih Muslim)

The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)used to break his fast with fresh dates and a few sips of water. If he did not find fresh dates, he would use dried dates. He (pbuh) said: “When one of you breaks the fast let him do so with dates, for they are a blessing and if he cannot find dates then with water for it is a purification” (Hadith-Tirmidhi)

He often consumed dates with cucumber, butter, cream or bread. A dessert called “Haisa” made with ghee (butter), dates, cheese and yoghurt was also prepared.

Tips: At iftaar (breaking fast) time, dates can also be used to prepare date milkshakes, date chutney, date desserts as well as sprinkled over salads. For sehri (pre-dawn meal), dates can be used as a softened spread over bread or added into muffins, rusks etc.

OLIVE OIL

Dieticians and nutritionist the world over have been advocating the use of olive oil for its excellent cardio-protective, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Ongoing research is revealing more and more great benefits on the consumption and application of olive oil.

The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)said: “Eat the olive and use it as an ointment as it comes from a blessed tree”.(Hadith-Tirmidhi)

Tips: During Ramadhaan, olive oil is best used raw as a dip for breads or as a salad dressing. The lighter olive oils are well suited for cooking and baking purposes. Whole olives can be added to salads as well as de-pitted and added to breads, muffins, pies and pizzas.

BARLEY

A recent Readers Digest article highlighted barley as one of the five healthiest foods we tend not to eat. Yet it was barley that was one of the staple foods in the diet of our The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him). Modern research is discovering that barley has a very high soluble- fibre content. This helps to keep the arteries clear and healthy. It has an extremely low glycaemic index (GI), which means it takes a longer time to digest, keeping one fuller for longer.

It is mentioned that The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) consumed barley in the following ways:

SAWIQ – a coarse broth prepared from ground wheat and barley – very much like a haleem (soup)

THARID – Barley bread covered in gravy cooked with meat

TALBEENAH – A porridge prepared using barley and milk

A Hadith in Mishkaat narrates that The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)never used sifted flour in his lifetime. We should take lesson from this, as we are all moving to consuming more refined and processed foods where all the beneficial nutrients have been stripped off. Allah SWT mentions in the Holy Quraan grains with their husks, amongst His many gifts to us. Un-sifted flour as used by The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)contains all the valuable nutrients found in the bran and germ layers and has a lower GI.

Tips: During Ramadhaan, barley can be added to soups and broths or prepared as a drink by boiling and straining mixture. A hadith in Bukhari mentions that The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) consumed “Sawiq” at iftaar. Barley flour can be used for preparing breads and rotis. Substitute 1.5 cups barley flour for every 3 cups regular flour. Cereals containing barley flakes like muesli can be purchased, or barley flakes can be added to biscuits, muffins, breads and other cereals.

Barley can be prepared as a filling porridge for sehri -Talbeenah. Soak 1-2 tablespoons whole barley overnight in a flask filled with rapidly boiling water. At sehri time, strain water out and prepare porridge with honey and milk. (Store bought “pearled barley” has been polished with some of the bran layer removed).

HONEY

Modern research has been abuzz with the myriad of health benefits associated with honey- anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, energising tonic….to name a few.Our beautiful Deen has encouraged the use of honey 1400 years ago. The Holy Quraan mentions”there comes forth from the bee’s belly, a drink of varying colours, wherin is a healing for men”.(Qur’an 16:68-69)

The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) further said ” Make use of two cures- honey and the Quraan”(Hadith-Ibn Majah)

The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) loved drinks that were sweet and cold and often consumed honey water.

Tips: Honey can be used to sweeten items like tea, fresh juices, milk drinks and cereals etc. Raw honey which is thicker and creamier has a lower GI, and can be mixed with cinnamon and used as a spread on toast for sehri.

GRAPES AND RAISINS

Grapes have been found to contain resveratrol- a powerful antioxidant that protects the body on a cellular level from damage. The seeds are rich in flavonoids which lower the risk of fatty plaque accumulation on the lining of blood vessels to the heart.

The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) loved eating grapes. Hadith in Abu Dawood mentions The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him )often consumed a drink “Nabeez”- prepared from soaked raisins. Nabeez can be prepared by soaking raisins after Esha (evening) prayer in clean water covered with a plate. The following morning the water can be drunk and the soaked fruit eaten or just use the blender to obtain a beautiful cloudy Nabeez. And, if you soak in the morning, drink in the evening. Nabeez should be consumed within twelve hours of soaking to prevent fermentation.

Tips: Nabeez or fresh grape juice can be prepared as a drink after Taraweeh (evening prayer in Ramadaan). Grapes can be served as part of salad or dessert. Raisins eaten with nuts can be enjoyed as a healthy munch after taraweeh salaat.

The Sunnah way of eating is the healthy way of eating. InshaAllah, let us all strive to revive and bring alive the Sunnahs of The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) in our homes this Ramadhaan. I have highlighted just a few. Make an intention to eat on the floor, share eating utensils and to fill a third of your stomach with water, a third with food and a third left for air.

Besides the immense health benefits outlined above our greatest rewards really lie in following the Sunnah, as it comes in Hadith mentioned by The Noble Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him):

” The person who follows my Sunnah is the one who truly loves me, and will be with me in Jannah” (Hadith-Tirmidhi)

Allah Ta’ala said to His Messenger (pbuh)”Say (to mankind), if you love Allah, follow me – Allah will love you and forgive your sins.” (Qur’an:3: 31)

Wishing you all healthy eating, the Sunnah way………………….Ramadhaan Mubarak!

Fasting is ibadah

As fasting is an act of ‘ibādah in itself, just keeping the fast means you are in a state of ‘ibādah. If you can do any other ‘ibādah at the same time, that is very good. If you cannot do any proactive ‘ibādah you should not feel guilty about it as you are already in a state of ‘ibādah. However, it is important that the fast we keep adheres to the spirit of fasting.

(Excerpt from a Spiritual Gathering held by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq)

The Thief of Ramadan

Watch out for the thief of Ramadan, the kitchen, it steals hours of our sisters time, that could have been used for ibadah (worship).
Shaykh Zahir Mahmood

The Month of Silence

Anas bin Malik ﻰﺿر ﷲ ﻪﻨﻋ relates that Ramadhan arrived so the Prophet ﷲ ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﻢﻠﺳو ﻰﻠﺻ said, ‘Indeed this month has come upon you, and therein is a night which is better than a thousand months. Whoever is deprived of it is deprived of all good, and none is deprived of it except one who is truly deprived’ [Reported by ibn Majah],

He who wastes his time in Ramadhan is truly deprived of the virtues and forgiveness of this month. The sahabah ﻰﺿر ﷲ ﻢﻬﻨﻋ ensured that not a moment passed in futility. They would complete their worldly tasks and free themselves two months prior to Ramadhan i.e. by Rajab.

Allah’s acceptance of a fast is not just conditional upon remaining hungry or thirsty but is also dependent upon the fasting of the other bodily organs i.e. the eyes, ears, heart, mind and especially the tongue.

Abu Hurayrah ﻰﺿر ﷲ ﻪﻨﻋ reports that Allah’s Messenger ﻰﻠﺻ ﷲ ﻪﻴﻠﻋ ﻢﻠﺳو said ‘Fasting is not merely abstaining from eating and drinking. Rather, fasting is to refrain from futility and indecency. So if someone abuses you or behaves ignorantly towards you, then say: “I am fasting” ’. [Reported by ibn Khuzaymah].

When fasting we should not even shout or raise our voices let alone argue. This is the month in which we should all remain silent as much as possible and not say or do anything which inconveniences others.

Source: Content Soul

Fasting for three days can regenerate entire immune system, study finds

A person’s entire immune system can be rejuvenated by fasting for as little as three days as it triggers the body to start producing new white blood cells, a study suggests

Fasting for as little as three days can regenerate the entire immune system, even in the elderly, scientists have found in a breakthrough described as “remarkable”.

Although fasting diets have been criticised by nutritionists for being unhealthy, new research suggests starving the body kick-starts stem cells into producing new white blood cells, which fight off infection.

Scientists at the University of Southern California say the discovery could be particularly beneficial for people suffering from damaged immune systems, such as cancer patients on chemotherapy.

It could also help the elderly whose immune system becomes less effective as they age, making it harder for them to fight off even common diseases.

The researchers say fasting “flips a regenerative switch” which prompts stem cells to create brand new white blood cells, essentially regenerating the entire immune system.

“It gives the ‘OK’ for stem cells to go ahead and begin proliferating and rebuild the entire system,” said Prof Valter Longo, Professor of Gerontology and the Biological Sciences at the University of California.

“And the good news is that the body got rid of the parts of the system that might be damaged or old, the inefficient parts, during the fasting.

“Now, if you start with a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or ageing, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system.”

Mini Fasts: Safe or Silly?

Prolonged fasting forces the body to use stores of glucose and fat but also breaks down a significant portion of white blood cells.

During each cycle of fasting, this depletion of white blood cells induces changes that trigger stem cell-based regeneration of new immune system cells.

In trials humans were asked to regularly fast for between two and four days over a six-month period.

Scientists found that prolonged fasting also reduced the enzyme PKA, which is linked to ageing and a hormone which increases cancer risk and tumour growth.

“We could not predict that prolonged fasting would have such a remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the hematopoietic system,” added Prof Longo.

“When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged,” Dr Longo said.

“What we started noticing in both our human work and animal work is that the white blood cell count goes down with prolonged fasting. Then when you re-feed, the blood cells come back. So we started thinking, well, where does it come from?”

Fasting for 72 hours also protected cancer patients against the toxic impact of chemotherapy.

“While chemotherapy saves lives, it causes significant collateral damage to the immune system. The results of this study suggest that fasting may mitigate some of the harmful effects of chemotherapy,” said co-author Tanya Dorff, assistant professor of clinical medicine at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center and Hospital.

“More clinical studies are needed, and any such dietary intervention should be undertaken only under the guidance of a physician.”

“We are investigating the possibility that these effects are applicable to many different systems and organs, not just the immune system,” added Prof Longo.

However, some British experts were sceptical of the research.

Dr Graham Rook, emeritus professor of immunology at University College London, said the study sounded “improbable”.

Chris Mason, Professor of Regenerative Medicine at UCL, said: “There is some interesting data here. It sees that fasting reduces the number and size of cells and then re-feeding at 72 hours saw a rebound.

“That could be potentially useful because that is not such a long time that it would be terribly harmful to someone with cancer.

“But I think the most sensible way forward would be to synthesize this effect with drugs. I am not sure fasting is the best idea. People are better eating on a regular basis.”

Dr Longo added: “There is no evidence at all that fasting would be dangerous while there is strong evidence that it is beneficial.

“I have received emails from hundreds of cancer patients who have combined chemo with fasting, many with the assistance of the oncologists.

“Thus far the great majority have reported doing very well and only a few have reported some side effects including fainting and a temporary increase in liver markers. Clearly we need to finish the clinical trials, but it looks very promising.”

The telegraph

Fasting and Tafsir of Ma’ariful Qur’an

يٰأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ ٱلصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ عَلَى ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ
‘O those who believe, the fasts have been enjoined upon you as were enjoined upon those before so that you be God-fearing.’ [Surah Baqarah, 183]

Literally, Sawm means ‘to abstain’. In the terminology of Islamic law, Sawm means ‘to abstain from eating, drinking and sexual intercourse: with the conditions that one abstains continuously from dawn to sunset, and that there is an intention to fast.’ Therefore, should one eat or drink anything even a minute before sunset, the fast will not be valid. Similarly, if one abstained from all these things throughout the day but made no intention to fast, there will be no fast here too.

Past communities and the injunction to fast
The verse makes it obligatory for the Muslims to fast in a specified period, but the command in the respect has been accompanied by the statement that the obligation of fasting is not peculiar to them. The fasting had also been enjoined upon the earlier Ummahs (communities of the past prophets). The reference to the earlier Ummahs in the verse shows the importance of fasting on the one hand, and gives an encouragement to the Muslims on the other. It indicates that although there may be some inconvenience in fasting but the same inconvenience was faced by earlier communities. This brings a psychological comfort to the Muslims, because if an inconvenience is faced by a large number of people, it becomes easier to bear. (Ruh al Ma’ani)

The words of the Qur’an ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ (those before you) have been used in general sense including all religious communities from Sayyidina Adam to the last of the Prophets (peace and blessings upon him). This tells us that, like Salah, fasting has also been enjoined upon every Ummah of every prophet without exception.

Commentators who interpret مِن قَبْلِكُمْ (before you) to mean ‘the Christians’ take it just as an example, not aiming to exclude other communities. (Ruh al Ma’ani)

The verse simply says that fasts have been enjoined on Muslims as were enjoined on past communities. From this it does not necessarily follow that the fasts enjoined upon the earlier communities were fully identical in all respects with the fasts enjoined upon this Ummah. There may have been difference in the number and the timings of the fasts etc. and, actually, there has been such a difference. (Ruh al Ma’ani)

By saying لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ (so that you be God-fearing), the text has pointed out to the inherent quality of fasting which contributes significantly to one’s ability to become abstaining from the sins and God-fearing. Fasting grows into man a power which helps him control his desires, which is really the foundation of Taqwa, the very special term of the Holy Qur’an which has been tentatively translated as fear of God, abstinence, and the warding of evil.

Ma’ariful Qur’an by Mufti Muhammad Shafi

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