Tag Archives: science

DAY 13: Special Edition- 99 Reasons Why We Fast In Ramadan

  • Day 13: Teach A Child About The Miracles Of Fasting

Okay guys no time to waste

Get out your notebooks, pens and reading glasses.
Today’s good deed is a bit academic. This is important. We need to know our stuff.
Silence in the classroom please loool

You know, when children ask why Muslims fast in Ramadan or why God wants to torture us with thirst and hunger, they deserve a better answer than ‘We fast to feel the poor’

Like come on, who are we kidding?

A dinner table with lots of delicious hot dishes, cool yummy drinks, whipped cream covered desserts and ‘zombying’ out on the couch coz we can’t breathe after eating too much wouldn’t really convince a child we’re fasting to feel the poor.
They deserve real, logical, mind boggling answers to their question…
They deserve our investment in their knowledge of their own beautiful religion…
(And frankly we deserve it too! We need to know why Allah believes it’s ‘good’ for us to fast)
So without further ado, I present to you the Golden list of ’99 Reasons of why Muslims fast in the Holy month of Ramadan’
I tried to keep it as brief as possible, but of course I urge you to dig deeper if you need more information (that would be the advanced level for this good deed)

Here we go….

Health Benefits:

  • 1- Fasting speeds up metabolism
  • 2- Helps improve insulin sensitivity
  • 3- Fasting helps us lose weight (Sambousa-less and Konafa-less fasting that is loool)
  • 4- Fasting promotes longevity since it gives the body organs time to rest
  • 5- Fasting improves hunger by releasing the correct ‘hunger’ hormones and in turn fighting obesity
  • 6- Fasting improves the immune system since it reduces free radical damages and lets the body focus on healing itself
  • 7- Human growth hormones are released during fasting, facilitating fat burning and muscle gaining
  • 8- Fasting triggers a metabolic pathway called ‘autophagy’, resulting in cellular repair such as removing waste materials from cells
  • 9- Fasting promotes Gene expression (which are beneficial changes in several genes and molecules) protecting us against diseases
  • 10- Fasting reduces Oxidative stress and inflammation in the body
  • 11- Fasting can improve numerous risk factors for heart disease such as cholesterol levels and triglycerides
  • 12- Studies show fasting can help prevent cancer! (Yay!)
  • 13- Fasting also reduces the side effects caused by chemotherapy
  • 14- Fasting is a complex and complete detoxification system for the body
  • 15- Fasting has been proven to improve the senses of vision, hearing and taste
  • 16- Reduction of allergies is also one of the many benefits of fasting

Here is also a list of medical conditions improved by fasting (according to Dr. Fuhman’s Book ‘Fasting and Eating for Health’)

  • 17-Adult onset diabetes
  • 18- Acne
  • 19- Arthritis
  • 20- Asthma
  • 21- Atherosclerosis (if anyone knows what that is, please translate it to us in human language loool)
  • 22- Autoimmune Illnesses
  • 23- Benign Tumors
  • 24- Chronic back and joint pain
  • 25- Chronic fatigue
  • 26- Colitis
  • 27- Deterioration of the Musculoskeletal system
  • 28-Digestive disorders
  • 29- Eczema
  • 30- Hay fever
  • 31- High blood pressure
  • 32- Hyperactivity (Should probably let the kids fast more often so we can finally take those long baths)
  • 33- Hypoglycemia
  • 34- Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease)
  • 35- Insomnia
  • 36- Lupus
  • 37- Epilepsy
  • 38- Osteoporosis
  • 39- Psoriasis
  • 40- Substance abuse and addictions (well, if you can get drug addicts to fast that is)
  • 41- Uterine fibroids
  • 42- Sinusitis
  • 43- SchizophreniaOkay sheeeeshhh! I have a newfound respect for doctors who use these words in their daily conversations. I’m already tired just typing them out loool

    Mental Benefits Of Fasting:

  • 44- Fasting is the most sophisticated will power workout ever (makes sense right? If you can’t control yourself, what can you control?)
  • 45- Fasting dissipates cravings for nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and other less harsh, yet addictive drugs.
  • 46- Fasting increases neurochemical levels in the brain such as ‘Dopamine’, the happy hormone that elevates your confidence to the roof!
  • 47- Fasting actually increases the number of brain cells so it literally makes you smarter
  • 48- Fasting increases clarity, cognitive functions and promotes your ability to make better critical decisions.
  • 49- Fasting encourages better motor skills functioning and precision
  • 50- Research has found that fasting improves the overall quality of your sleep
  • 51- Fasting increases productivity. Like Robin Sharma says ‘If you want to get more done, eat less food”
  • 52- Fasting regularly results in mental breakthroughs and increased free flow of intelligence and creativity

    Beauty Benefits

    (Girls, did you just scroll down to this one?)

  • 53- Fasting promotes glowing clear skin by accelerating the body’s self healing ability
  • 54- Fasting promotes faster cell regeneration, which means healthier nails
  • 55- Fasting leads to healthy shiny hair
  • 56- Fasting promotes faster healing of scars and wounds
  • 57- Fasting lowers stress levels, and stress is one of the main culprits for premature aging

    Emotional and Spiritual Benefits:

  • 58- Fasting boosts self-esteem (it confirms in our minds the notion of ‘YES WE CAN!’)
  • 59- Deprivation leads to appreciation, which is the root of joy.
  • 60- Fasting trains us to be mindful and consciously aware
  • 61- Fasting teaches us ‘delayed gratification’, a concept proven to be the number one element behind success in this world
  • 62- Practicing patience during the month of Ramadan adds to our personal growth and us attaining maturity
  • 63- Fasting provides tranquility and peace to the heart and mind
  • 64- Fasting is the method of moving towards self-realization and reaching ‘super conscious energy’. This explains how we can stay up all night praying, feeling spiritually charged even though we are food and sleep deprived.
  • 65- Fasting is described as ‘Spiritual Catharsis’ (Sort of like a reset button to restoring the soul)
  • 66- Fasting in this Holy month expels, discharges and vacates impurities within us to purify ourselves and connect with Allah (like a shower to the soul)

    Other Extremely Important Reasons:

  • 67- So yeah in simple terms we fast because Allah said so. Fasting in Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam, without it our religion isn’t complete.
  • 68- Allah says ‘O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed to you as it has been prescribed for people before you so that you will (learn how to) attain taqwa’ (Holy Quran, 2:183)
    Attaining Taqwa (piety and fear of Allah) is the MAIN reason why we fast. It serves as a shield to protect us from sinning.
  • 69- Fating trains us to listen to our heart and make it the boss! (So when the heart s
    ays ‘lower your gaze dude’, or ‘stop gossiping girl, you’re fasting’, you’ll do it)
  • 70- Ramadan schedule encourages time management since every minute of the Holy month counts!
  • 71- Fasting teaches us flexibility. Even when we’re tired and cross-eyed, we still go to work and get things done under dire circumstances.
  • 72- And here it comes, finally, the most popular reason we all quote: Fasting helps us feel the suffering of the poor and hungry.
  • 73- Fasting strengthens faith! Even when we’re parched, cranky or just downright exhausted, we will still fast. And we won’t break it even when no one is around, because we know Allah can see us.
  • 74- In Ramadan, our sense of competition is heightened, especially with ‘who is at which chapter of the Qur’an’ kind of thing loool (or is that just me?!)
  • 75- The most beautiful ‘ummah unity’ happens in Ramadan. Two billion Muslims suddenly speak the same language, eat the same food for suhoor and even tell the same jokes (The “Ramadan is my favorite month coz I have a ‘date’ every night” tweets never get old loool)
  • 76- Which reminds me, when you follow the sunnah and have a ‘date’ for iftar, (the fruit of course!) on an empty stomach, you’ll gain multiple health benefits, since dates are rich in potassium, iron, minerals and nutrients. They’re the queens of all fruits.
  • 77- In Ramadan we pray Taraweeh together at the mosque. Do I need to list the amazing rewards of that? (Easy bonus point)
  • 78- In Ramadan, we are more likely to invest some time in learning about our religion. (Since we are right there at the mosque, we might as well listen to the shiekh’s lecture)
  • 79- And when you stand in line to pray next to hundreds of other people, you realize you’re just the same like everyone else. Ramadan is the month of unpretentiousness and humility
  • 80- Of course you’re not gonna get up and run outside right after prayer! You’ll probably say your ‘salams’ and ‘may Allah accept you’ and ‘what did you guys have for iftar?’ Praying together strengthens human relations since you see the same people every day, and get a chance to socialize with practicing Muslims.
  • 81- The month of Ramadan is a cure for loneliness. I’m pretty sure that’s the most time reverts can make new Muslim friends.
  • 82- You’ll see this the most with teenagers. Try telling them anything and they’ll debate it till they’re blue in the face, but when it comes to fasting, they do it calmly. Just proves how much fasting teaches us the most important skill of all: ‘acceptance’
  • 83- Ramadan is the month of generosity. We truly experience the joy of giving charity during this month, reminding us to do it more often, which benefits the whole society.
  • 84- The Holy month brings you closer to your family. And you know the saying, for a tree to grow high it needs strong roots…
  • 85- Ramadan is the month when the Holy Qur’an was revealed. Even Muslims who don’t touch their book during the year, will read it during Ramadan. It’s like an involuntary act, and yet it brings forth multitude of blessings.
  • 86- Since the meal of suhour is eaten right before dawn, Muslims follow it by praying Fajr (even those who aren’t used to praying it on time) And you know what the Hadith says: the sunnah of fajr prayer is worth the whole world and what’s in it.
  • 87- I know it’s an obligation, but because the Holy month is full of blessings, many Muslims are reminded or encouraged to pay their full zakat during that time. On a wider scale, such activity is good for the economy and when done regularly and promptly should prevent poverty in the Muslim world. (But you know..)
  • 88- Performing Umrah in Ramadan is equal to the reward of one Hajj (there you go, an extra gateway for those who didn’t get accepted for Hajj because Allah is so Kareem)
  • 89- Two billion Muslims taking part in the same ritual for a whole month is such a powerful demonstration of our power and effectiveness (maybe one day it will be used to change the world to a better place. Amen)
  • 90- Muslims know that fasting isn’t just abstaining from food, water and sexual relations. It’s also a practice of self-discipline namely by controlling anger. In essence, Ramadan is like a yearly anger management course.
  • 91- Since we completely change our routine, Ramadan is the best chance to adopt some new healthy habits and lifestyles. It’s like a head start for positive change.
  • 92- Allah promises us tons of forgiveness in this blessed month, In fact, whoever fasts the month ‘properly and faithfully’ will have all his or her sins forgiven. Ramadan is like a yearly chance for a clean slate with Allah (Doesn’t it just make you love Him more and more?)
  • 93- Now you wouldn’t ask and expect all these showers of forgiveness if you can’t forgive others, right? I mean that’s just rude!
    Ramadan is the month of mercy and forgiveness and it should make us better people, capable of forgiving one another
  • 94- Okay so you’re gonna forgive all these people and not yourself?
    The most person worthy of your kindness and forgiveness is ‘you.’ The Holy month comes every year to remind us of that little simple fact. Ramadan is the time to let go of the past mistakes and start anew…
  • 95- Which brings us to resolutions and stuff. Yes on New Years, many of us come up with a list of goals and pledges for the year ahead. But in Ramadan, the list is spiritual, related to our relationship with Allah, and our determination to be better Muslims and attain Paradise inshAllah. Ramadan is in a way the beginning of a new year for Muslims.
  • 96- We expect our kids to fast when they reach the appropriate age, even though it breaks our hearts to see them hungry and thirsty. But isn’t that the best training for us parents to discipline them? If we can deprive them of the means of survival like food and water loool, we can surely deprive them of what will spoil their brains and lives (like TV, too much candy, bad-influence friends and wasting time on Ipad games)
  • 97- For married couples only: Since physical intimacy is forbidden during the day, it makes spouses miss each other. Ramadan rekindles lost romance in marriages, don’t you think? (Insert innocent wink here loool)
  • 98- If you think about it, Ramadan uncovers the real meaning and purpose of this world. For when you live your life like ‘Ramadan’, your Hereafter will be like ‘Eid’ (Deep huh? Loool)
  • 99- And the finale….
    Dan Dan Daaaaaaaaaaaaa
    Laylat al Qadr: the night which is better than 1000 months. Worshipping Allah on that night is worth more than spending over 80 years (your whole life basically) worshipping Him day and night.
    What more could be said here?

So, when we say ‘Ramadan Kareem’, we actually mean it…

In 99 different ways…

All my best,
Lilly S. Mohsen

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Day Twelve: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

DAY TWELVE: There’s Always A Place To Volunteer

 

Turns out reaching a state of ‘Happiness’ is ridiculously easy.

You finally find the set of keys you’ve been looking for for over three hours and you’re ecstatic!
You see a funny video of a cute baby with a voracious appetite and you can’t stop laughing.
Your life long friend calls to cheer you up and you’re suddenly in a positive mood.

It really doesn’t take much to be happy!

And it also doesn’t take long for this happiness to subside, simply because no one can maintain one mood or emotion endlessly. No one can possibly be happy ALL the time (I mean come on, imagine how extremely annoying that would be!)

So if it’s not constant happiness that we’re pursuing (since we just found out it’s obviously unattainable) then what exactly are we running after? What’s the missing element powerful enough to take this excruciating sadness away?

What in this life is capable of making us feel alive…?

 

 

No really, what is it?

I’m actually asking you guys loool

 

Well studies have shown that selfish people who have everything and live only for themselves suffer from low-self esteem, depression and are the most likely to commit suicide.

On the other hand, thanks to MRI technology, it has also been proven that ‘giving’ activates the mid region of the brain, the same part responsible for cravings and seeking pleasure. (The scientific study uses eating chocolate as an example of intense pleasurable feelings. I think I just fell in love with scientists and researchers; such noble, knowledgeable people loool)

So I thought I’d put the theory to the test…

I joined my dear friend on one of her volunteering jobs to pack ‘Iftar’ meals for the less fortunate. On our way there, she eloquently prepared me for my first experience…

Marwa: ‘So we’re supposed to pack 1000 hot meals in less than an hour’

Me: ‘How is that even possible?

Marwa: ‘We’ve been doing it for years. You basically give up the right to breathe and instead you work NON-STOP! You hear me Lilly? No side talks, no calling the kids to check on them, no whining about the heat or about your feet going numb. And no bathroom breaks!’

Me: ‘I can do that’ (Gulp)

Marwa: ‘Oh and also… uhmmm… heads up…. The supervisor yells a lot. She will make it a point to publicly humiliate you in front of all the other volunteers if she sees you’re not doing a good job, so just be prepared.’

Me: ‘Okay stop right there! Are we volunteers or ex-cons going back to jail? I plan on donating my time not my dignity, thank you very much.’

Marwa (laughing): ‘Dignity? Honey, this is serious work. Hundreds of people around the country are expecting this food and there’s no room for mistakes. Do yourself a favor and leave your dignity at the door. ‘

 

I did….

And honestly, I never thought working in an assembly line, amongst total strangers, sweating from the heat and shivering from the fear of humiliation, getting screamed at while bagging plastic boxes like a maniac and then going home smelling like meat stock would bring me such immense joy!

Nothing, absolutely nothing, compares to this beautiful feeling…

So if you’ve never experienced it before, I’m urging you to please to give it a try….

Beginners Level:

Donate your time to a worthy cause.
Volunteer at the local hospital, orphanage, public school, soup kitchen, food bank or help clean up a district in your neighborhood.
The options are endless.
Just pick one and try it out for a day. You’ll see how the humbling experience will be life changing.
You’ll see how expecting the reward only from Allah and no one else, is so amazingly fulfilling….

Advanced Level:

It’s kind of addictive…
I can safely assume anyone who tries the beginner level will most certainly move up to the advanced level of wanting to do this every single day for the rest of eternity because …

‘When action meets compassion, lives change…’
Starting with yours….

May all your days be filled with joy and may Allah accept us all in this beautiful, generous, holy month…

Amen

 

All my love,
Lilly S. Mohsen