Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

October 2007
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Health Chart

Fasting: A Powerful Therapeutic Process

Dr. Kareem, specialized in natural medicine, says that Muslims need to change their food habits to ward off many a disease. “People can prevent most of the diseases and health problems if they eat less food and prefer vegetables and fruit to red meat and fried ones,” he said. Dr. Kareem says that Muslims are disproportionately more likely than Hindus to go to hospitals because of their food habits. He claims that most of the Hindus are vegetarians and they eat less compared to Muslims, who prefer meat and fried meals to vegetables.

Unhygienic lifestyles are the main cause for the spread of many diseases. Muslims should take advantage of the fasting month of Ramadan to have changes in their food habits. “Fasting during Ramadan is beneficial to one’s health if done properly and in conformity with the dietary instructions of the Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh),” he stressed fasting is a powerful therapeutic process that can help people recover from mild to severe health conditions, including high blood pressure, asthma, allergies, chronic headaches, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, uterine fibroids, benign tumors, and lupus erythematosus, a chronic, inflammatory auto-immune disorder. Also “fasting provides a period of concentrated physiological rest during which the body can trigger its self-healing mechanisms to repairing and strengthening damaged organs.”

Dr Kareem notes that Islam introduced the month-long mandatory fasting to help Muslims improve their spiritual and physical health. “Our body has self-healing power. In order to activate this power, the stomach must be kept empty. This is a rule of nature. We see children and animals refusing to take food when they get sick. Annual fasting if done properly helps a Muslim recover from most diseases,” he says. Muslims should eat cooked food only once during the night and take a lot of fruit and vegetables for iftar and sahur to accelerate the healing process and use plenty of drinking pure water and avoid carbonated soft drinks. It is advisable not to eat fruits together with cooked food. It is also preferable to eat vegetable salad before eating cooked food as it would energize enzymes in the body and would accelerate digestion process.

(Dr. P.A. Kareem is director and chief physician at the Hygiene Naturopathy Hospital , Calicut )