The importance of fasting and prayer in Islam can not be underestimated. After all, these are two out of Five Pillars of Islam. Therefore, today we want to tell you a little bit about the benefits of fasting and prayer. Why should you pray or fast? Find out here.
What is fasting?
Before we consider the benefits of fasting in Islam, we think that it is necessary to talk about the fasting meaning.
Fasting, also known as siyam or sawm, is the Fourth Pillar of Islam. All Muslims have to fast during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar called Ramadan. For 29 days of Ramadan, all Muslims that are of age have strict limitations on what they can and cannot do during the day (from sunrise to sundown). They are prohibited to:
- consume food or drink anything (even water);
- smoke (passive smoking also counts);
- engage in intimate relations.
However, there are exceptions to the rule. If a person is unwell (physically, mentally or both), travelling, very old, breastfeeding, pregnant, or menstruating, they are permitted to not take part in Ramadan fasting. Instead, they are meant to either fast later or help the poor and those in need.
Now that you know a little bit about what fasting is, let’s talk about its benefits.
Benefits of fasting
As long as you fast the right way, Ramadan can be very beneficial to your overall state. There are just so many health benefits of fasting that we could not possibly fit them all in one article. Instead, we will try to focus on the most important and significant ones.
First of all, you can burn a lot of fat during fasting. When you consume less food during the day, your body receives less energy. When its energy reserves deplete drastically, the body starts to delve into the fat reserves in order to fuel itself. That is why you might notice some significant changes in your body fat distribution after Ramadan.
As a result of the fat burning, the body also detoxifies itself. When the fat is burned, the toxins are released from the body (mainly from the kidneys, liver and other vital organs). This process can make you feel much healthier and more alive.
Fasting also allows your digestive system to rest. Unless you stuff yourself silly during the hours when you are allowed to eat, fasting should work as a much needed break for your digestive tract. Food breaks down more steadily, energy is released more gradually, and the balance of fluids in the body is normalised.
If you suffer from allergies or inflammatory diseases, fast can actually help you with them. Studies show that fasting helps with such diseases as arthritis, psoriasis or ulcers in your bowels.
Fasting lowers the blood sugar levels and helps with high blood pressure. As fasting aids the breakdown of glucose, this, in turn, reduces the amount of blood sugar. In addition, fasting reduces the metabolic rate and the production of adrenaline, which positively affects the blood pressure and reduces the risk of atherosclerosis.
As you might have probably guessed, fasting can help you lose weight! This is, of course, if you do not consume copious amounts of food during the time when eating is allowed. As long as you have a healthy diet, fasting can help you go down a size or two, but it is not a weight loss strategy in itself, so please use caution.
In fact, fasting can help you develop a healthy diet, as it has been proven that fasting reduces cravings for unhealthy foods. When you fast for a long time, you tend to lean more towards fruits and stay away from processed foods.
While we are on the topic of cravings, one of the benefits of fasting is that it is a great help in overcoming addictions. As you cannot drink or smoke during the day, the more you fast, the less you will want to put that poison inside of your body. Of course, it is not a 100% guarantee that you will quit smoking after fasting, but your chances will be much higher than in regular circumstances.
As a result of most of the points mentioned above, your immunity can receive a great boost from fasting. When combined with a healthy diet that contains lots of fruits, fasting can do absolute wonders for your body.
As for the spiritual benefits of fasting, it can make you feel so much closer to Allah. Fasting allows you to move all things to the background and open yourself for great wisdoms. In addition to this, you can gain spiritual clarity. Outside the fasting, your mind might be too preoccupied, but once you start it, you begin your path to spiritual enlightenment.
Nevertheless, no fasting can go without prayers. Continue reading to find out about the benefits of prayer.
Benefits of prayer
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Prayer, also known as salat, is the Second Pillar of Islam. Every Muslim needs to pray, no matter who they are or how much they have. Through prayer, believers can become more spiritual and learn how to love, understand and worship our Creator. It is often mentioned in the Quran that prayer is the foremost among all other duties of a person.
When a person prays the required five times a day, it can greatly influence their success in this life and in whatever lies beyond it. Good and regular prayer, along with faith and humility, will guarantee that you will be forgiven before Allah.
Muslims believe that prayer is the thing that could be used against a person when the Judgement Day comes. If they prayed the way they should, then their deeds would be judged as sound. If they did not, then not even their best deeds would not make any difference.
Prayer offers you a ‘direct link’ to Allah. Through prayer, you can hear and be heard. It can minimise the distance between your everyday life and your faith. You can become closer to Allah and to yourself.
Prayer also serves as a way of devoting your life to Allah. Every time you pray throughout the day, you can come to an understanding that everything you do is for God, for the purpose of worshipping and remembering Him. This way, you can find guidance and reasoning for your actions.
While fasting mostly purifies the body, prayer purifies the heart and soul. When you pray, you elevate yourself in the eyes of Allah and rise above the petty human things. You remove all the unnecessary and sometimes even hurtful things to leave nothing but purity and humility.
Regular prayers can instil the sense of responsibility, patience and discipline. They can also help to guide the moral compass, teach important values and provide an opportunity to absolve past sins to avoid committing them in the future.
Through prayer, you can find inner peace and emotional stability. In order to pray properly, you need to let go whatever is bothering you at that moment and focus on the prayer. This way, when you finish praying, you can enjoy feeling much lighter and peaceful for quite a long time. Regular prayers provide the much-needed stability in any person’s life and bring balance to it.
Therefore, as you can see, prayers and fasting are not only important for every Muslim, but they are also incredibly beneficial. We hope that you have been able to find out something new here. Take care of yourself.
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