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Fasting reduces stress and
makes mind calm
( This article was published in Oman Daily Observer, Oman's most prestigious Newspapers.The article is reproduced with the permission of the author )
By Hasan Kamoonpuri
In today’s fast moving
world people often overstretch themselves to achieve their goals, not setting
aside any quiet moments to sit and contemplate.
One of the obvious signs of this is the growing phenomenon of stress in today’s
fast-paced world. Stress adversely affects our body system. If we are tense we
cannot utilise the full potential of mind.
Recent studies confirm that remembrance of God reduces distress and stress.
Month of Ramadhan fasting is an easy and effective way to de-stress and detoxify
the body and mind. It makes us experience the beauty of self-restraint,
self-discipline, caring and sharing and love and compassion. To put it simply,
month of Ramadhan fasting puts paid to stress and reawakens the soul, improves
mental well-being and mobilises divine energy of an individual. In addition to
awakening the soul, month of Ramadhan fasting maintains integration between
thought and action.
Scholars say the central message of the month of Ramadhan is “self-control,
perseverance and communication with the Almighty Creator”.
At both the individual and social levels month of Ramadhan provides us with a
window where we can live a close-to-ideal life. The institution of the month of
Ramadhan provides a renewed sense of solidarity and cohesion. At the global
level, it unites all Muslims and reminds people of their mission as human agents
or vicegerent of God Almighty on Earth. Overall, month of Ramadhan provides a
shift in focus and priorities where needs are distinguished from wants.
Over the centuries, the month of Ramadhan has already brought about many
blessings such as solidarity and unity among the believers. All Muslims across
the world undertake fasting and breaking their fast at sunset.
The institution of fasting, which can be found in most if not all ideologies and
religions, works on the basis that temporary deprivation, which awakens the
senses and restores balance to an imbalanced mind-soul-body relation. Fasting
can provide a period of cessation of violence, corruption, individualism, etc
and provide an example of how one could lead one’s life in a better way.
Quite a few people do not set aside quiet moments where they sit and
contemplate. Lack of contemplation explains the lack of consideration in
decisions and actions we see around us. Month of Ramadhan provides these quiet
moments with the best conditioning of mind and soul.
Fasting is a means of self-purification, introspection and piety. During this
month, Muslims not only abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sexual
relations from dawn-to-dusk, but also visit friends and family more frequently.
And exacting self-discipline is what month of Ramadhan teaches as well. This
month is widely seen as an opportunity to regulate one’s life, to become aware
of the plight of the poor, and to strive to attain piety and cleansing of the
soul through restraint and self-reflection. It is a time for performing acts of
charity, and the sharing of one’s wealth and sympathy with the sick, the needy
and the indigent. In the Holy Quran, Allah says, “You cannot attain unto virtue
unless you expend of that which you love”.
Month of Ramadhan fasting goes a long way in advancing the Islamic mission of
bringing people together by promoting the sublime values of caring, sharing,
self-discipline and self-sacrifice. These edifying Islamic values emphasise the
importance of upright moral behaviour and are the unifying force that Islam has
been calling on to drive its popularity and appeal.
Just as a firm foundation and sound structure allow you to build upward, month
of Ramadhan as a key institution and foundation of Islam is represented by its
core values of caring, sharing and sacrifice that help you build your
personality from within and contribute to society.
With the proper tools and resources, you will build sturdy exterior walls that
envelop the infrastructure. The tools and resources Islam provides in month of
Ramadhan are the quiet moments to contemplate and think what life has given us
and what we make of life as a gesture of gratitude to the Almighty Creator.
Each day, particularly in month of Ramadhan, is a chance to invest in life and
an opportunity to renew oneself. The great institution of month of Ramadhan
teaches us to be thankful to the Creator and fellow human beings and be glad of
life each day as it gives us a chance to work, to tap and utilise our potential
and to enjoy. Each year month of Ramadhan comes with the simple but powerful
message that life moves on and if you don’t stop and look at the wonders already
present, you will miss life altogether. Think big, aim high, but never forget to
appreciate the small joys of life that come through caring, sharing and
projecting good manners.