Curbing excesses and making better Muslims during the holy month
Fasting is a simple yet noble feast; symbolic of repentance and thanksgiving to God / Pix: 20minutes.fr
It is that time again when Muslims the world over usher in the month of Ramadan as a precursor to Aidilfitri where Muslims rejoice, marking the end of the fasting month. During this holy month, Muslims are to adhere to strict rules or religious observance of the fasting etiquettes of Ramadan Mubarak. Ramadan is generally a month for introspection; a time to reflect on our past deeds and to count our blessings. It is a time to ponder upon the abundance which we have all been provided or inherited, as well as to contemplate about the needs of others. The challenge of undergoing fasting is often rewarded with a heap of physical benefits and intangible rewards. Malaysian Muslims generally welcome the coming of Ramadan on 26 May, and celebrate Hari Raya Puasa when the month-long fasting rite or ritual concludes. Here are simple tips and guidelines for the laymen during fasting. This article is not meant to be an authoritative guide or canonic reference on fasting. And always remember to abide by religious rules of fasting at all times!
Eating and drinking
First and foremost, eating and drinking are strictly prohibited during Ramadan. This of course is a no-brainer for the mainstream population. However, for the ignorant or the uninitiated, it is by far the toughest act to follow. Fasting (“sahur”) begins at dawn at about 5.30am, and ends with the breaking of fast (“iftar”) which starts at around 7.30pm daily for the next thirty days. For average Muslims, fasting and breaking fast are typically accompanied by the daily prayers (“solat”), whereby individuals and family members visit their local mosque to offer their thanksgiving. A typical meal consumed during sahur and iftar may include dates, cereal, congee, sandwich or nasi lemak; which are downed with a glass of water.
Fasting during Ramadan is not just about abstaining from eating and drinking alone. The act of fasting literally requires plenty of self-control, notwithstanding religious faith to boot. In addition to curbing one’s personal indulgence, refraining from other excess or extravagance such as drinking and bingeing are considered as the key traits or factors – with lust, wrath, gluttony, and promiscuity among the most reputable of sins or evils in any holy book or scripture. Hence, having an insatiable appetite for sex is a definite no-no. Entertainments such clubbing and partying are also ill-advised, whilst wholesome recreation such as picnicking, boot-camping and family outings are most welcomed and duly encouraged. Inculcating abstinence amid a hedonistic society which generally advocates entertainment and other earthly pleasures would be a tall order indeed. As usual, proper family upbringing and a pious religious education do help in fostering good habits, righteous morals and positive values among law-abiding common citizens.
Advantages of fasting
There are tons of scientifically-proven documented evidence with regards to the benefits and advantages of fasting. First and foremost, the human body will be able to take a rest, and to recover from the excesses of food which is consumed during ordinary days. The average metabolic cycle of most humans normally last approximately twelve hours. Thus, abstaining from food for half-a-day or more truly helps the physical body to recuperate, and the mind to rejuvenate during the fasting period. This would also give time to the body to enable or to facilitate the removal of unwanted waste and harmful toxins. It is also a universal truth and well-known fact that detoxification (“detox”) is one of the main elements or ingredients in creating a healthy mind and body. Once the toxins have been eradicated, the body will be recharged and reenergized, and the mind feeling refreshed and revitalized. Other benefits attributed to fasting include more discipline, better disposition, greater coordination, sharper focus, improved sleep, healthier complexion, and livelier personality. Last but not least, do beware of gastronomic pitfalls and honey traps when fasting. Homefinder Malaysia wishes all Malaysian Muslims Salam Ramadan Mubarak and Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri!