The month of Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was sent down,
a guidance for the people, and clear verses of guidance and criterion.
[Quran: Chapter 2:183]


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ramadan Message 2008 - Day 11

Overeating During Ramadan

One of the problems that happens during Ramadan, in affluent Muslim families, is over-eating. I read this morning a newspaper article that reported the government in Jordan has come up with a public service TV advertisement for Muslims observing Ramadan's traditional dawn to dusk fast. Their message is simply, "Don't overeat" when night comes, and "Exercise and Stay Healthy".

Ramadan is supposed to be a month of abstinence and prayer, but as health officials in Arab Muslim countrires, such as Jordan, have noticed, it is also a time of unhealthy habits.

Those abstaining from food, water and smoking during the day sometimes end up bingeing at night, with heavy, rich meals or parties until dawn.

In one of the 15 cartoon commercials aired on state TV at dusk in Jordan, a middle-class Arab man eats a light meal of yogurt, tomatoes and cucumber, after his wife insists it will not raise his cholesterol.

A doctor tells viewers to "eat very lightly before you fast. Your meal must be rich in fibre, like multigrain bread, fruit, vegetables and dairy products" to avoid intense hunger during the day.

Most Arab Muslims break fast with dates, as is in the Prophet's tradition, but then move on to rich meals of meats, rice, potatoes, fried stuff, and sweets. The eating can continue all night up till just before dawn.

This is completely opposite to the spirit of Ramadan. One should break the fast with some dates or other fruits or a cup of water. The Prophet himself emphasised the importance of breaking the fast this way, when he said: “If one of you is fasting, let him end his fast by eating a few dates, and if dates are not available, then let him drink some water. Water purifies.” (Ahmad & Tirmidhi).

Then, do not continue to eat. It is preferable to go for your Mahgrib prayer. You should not needlessly delay your Mahgrib prayer to eat, if you can manage it.

After your prayers, you should have some light food, but do not stuff your stomach until you are so full, you feel bloated. That is a sure sign, you have overeaten. Stop when you are still able to eat - leaving room in your stomach.

Then, pray teraweeh, or read the Quran. For that is what Ramadan is - a month of spiritual contemplation.

Ramadan is not about starving during the day, and overeating during the night.

Pity on those who do such for they will not be lucky to reap the benefits of this month.


Special Ramadan Series

Dear Reader, Assalaamu’alaikum.

Ramadan Mubarak. We wish you a blessed and productive Ramadan! Make no mistake about it - keeping the fast and increasing our acts of worship during this blessed month is not an easy task. The physical demands of balancing work or school with fasting all day, feeling fatigued and less effective than you normally are, waking up for Suhoor, praying Teraweeh and Tahajjud prayers, dealing with sleep deficits.

But the last thing we would want is to let Ramadan pass us by without doing all that we aim and desire to. Do not allow yourself to feel guilty or regretful when Ramadan passes.

The Ramadan Series will send you emails with practical tips on how to gain and maintain the physical and spiritual energy necessary to embark on increased religious oligations so that you will reap the benefits from this blessed month. This includes special Ramadan duas to say during the month. Do sign-up today!

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