What are the physiological benefits of fasting?.Part1

What are the physiological benefits of fasting?.Part1

Human beings are created from a body and a soul. A body without a soul is worthless and a soul without a body cannot function in this transient world. Every course of action people take, every bite of food they eat, and every act of worship they observe has a certain effect upon both their body and soul.

Abstaining from food helps one reform and renew their physical and spiritual disposition and their behavior. It becomes very difficult for the carnal self to be in harmony with the heart and the spirit if the carnal self acts in whatever way it wishes, eating and drinking whatever and whenever it so desires.

It is universally recognized that there is a close connection between fasting and spiritual insight. Fasting deprives a person of food, drink, and sex during the day, and this denial of physical pleasure is reflected in the spirit, which gains more strength seeking the pleasure of Allah.

Fasting provides the body with a period of physical and psychological rest, giving it the opportunity to cleanse, heal, and rejuvenate itself. This physical detoxification becomes a means for spiritual detoxification. Through fasting, the believer finds it easier to discipline the body in order to elevate the soul and thus approach closer to Allah the Almighty.

The disciplining of one’s self by fasting, subduing the physical desires, and keeping vigils in prayer exists in the teachings of Islam. Fasting is a perfect dietary system for the body and ascetic practice for the soul. When frequently observed, the virtues and merits fasting generates are obvious. A person whose only worry is their stomach and who always strives to fill their stomach can be neither healthy nor virtuous, since it is not probable that such a person can conceive of the hunger and misery of other people and will thus not be able to lead a harmonious or healthy life.

a. Fasting helps the body to rest

Medical authorities are all in agreement that the digestive organs, which begin to function at birth, need an occasional rest.

The benefit of fasting during the day for one month is undeniable. When the digestive organs are at a state of rest, the organs of other related systems begin to relax as well.

As a result of fasting, the whole body is given a much-desired rest, and an opportunity to renew and rejuvenate. Moreover, the feelings and sentiments of the person fasting are allowed to go beyond the limits of the stomach. They begin to function in harmony with the will of Allah, because they have become pure and refined. Like newly maintained and restored machines in a factory, these emotions begin to serve their real purpose of creation.

One scholar says the following on this issue:

Many parts of the human body are either in direct or in indirect service of the factory of the stomach. If the factory of the stomach that feeds the carnal self does not cease its activity during the daytime for one month in the year, it keeps these parts busy and focuses their attention on itself, making them temporarily forget their exalted duties peculiar to each. It is because of this, since the earliest times, those closest to Allah have accustomed themselves to austere living with little food and drink to progress in spiritual perfection. Fasting in Ramadan reminds us that the parts of the body have not been created only for the service of the stomach. In Ramadan, many of those parts take pleasure in lofty spiritual pleasures, instead of material ones. The heart, the spirit, the reason, and the innermost senses of human beings are refined through fasting in that blessed month. Even if the stomach wails during fasting, these senses greatly rejoice.

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