“And Eat and Drink and Be Not Excessive”

It is God’s grace upon the Islamic nation that he assigned fasting during this great month. God, the one who created us and knows best what he created, added great benefits, known and unknown, to fasting, some that He revealed, a lot that science is still discovering day after day, and some that He kept in His own knowledge, which is unknown except by the ones He chose.


The benefits of fasting interact with the three elements of our formation: the mind, body and soul. It does so in a way that no one realizes its real effects save the one who created it. As much as a believer abides by the spirit of fasting and understands its teachings and rules he can benefit from this month, taking advantage of it as much as his constancy allows by God’s will to supply him for the rest of his life and be a provision in his hereafter and resurrection.


Aside from all other sorts of worship, fasting enjoys the special quality of being ascribed to God himself. Abu Hurairah (may God be pleased with him) narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) recited the divine Hadith transmitted from God Almighty where He said “All the deeds of man are for himself except for fasting, which is for me and I reward it.” Seeing that the one who rewards fasting is the Generous One, who created all methods and distributed fortunes, what generous rewards may we expect? Could that reward have any limits?


That reward is received on earth before the hereafter. Does God prescribe a religious practice for people, one that he excludes from other practices with such a special value, without adding secrets and benefits to it that illustrate the ability of a Merciful one who knows what is best for them, benefits that overwhelm their minds as well as their bodies? What is in fasting for our bodies?


The advantages of fasting for our bodies are beyond the capacity of books.  Medicine is revealing what is considered miracles day after day.


Scientific research proved that fasting has great benefits for the digestive system, diabetes and high blood pressure that result from obesity and even on to the immune system, fighting illness and other conditions.


Getting the full benefits of fasting can only be achieved through abiding by the full etiquettes of fasting, and its hidden secrets is the moderation in consumption of Halal food at the time of Iftar (breakfast) and avoiding fullness and overfeeding. The general divine recommendation is “…and eat and drink and be not extravagant; surely He does not love the extravagant” and the advice of the Prophet “Man has never filled something worse than his stomach. It should be enough for the son of Adam to have a few bites to satisfy his hunger. If he wishes more, it should be one-third for his food, one-third for his drink, and one-third for his breath.”


Those who eat excessively at the time of Iftar lose miss out on so many benefits.


As for the body, this may cause a great harm to the digestive system and develop a lot of illnesses; it loses all the physiological as well as the hidden health benefits of fasting, which God prepared for fasting people as an earthly reward before the hereafter.


The mind, on the other hand, remains defeated against the stomach’s desires, when the lust for food at the time of Iftar makes up for all what was missed during the day or even doubles it as much as it was fulfilled at the time of Iftar.


How is the soul supposed to elevate and benefit from this great month, if the soul could not reach limpidity through prayers and late-night worship while the person weighs it down by a body filled with food?


Indulgences in different kinds of food and the extravagant prosperity of the food markets during this holy month are reflections of deep-rooted mental illnesses that show how the desires for food became inherent in bodies that weren’t trained to defeat their desires by fasting.


And how many fasting people get nothing from their fasting but hunger and thirst…