What the basic act of fasting during Ramadan entails is: waking up before sunrise for a meal, not eating or drinking for an approximate 15 hours, and then eating again while the sun sets. At first glance it seems that Ramadan is an opportune month for losing a couple of pesky pounds.
Unfortunately, that’s not how it works out, usually.
A lot of typical foods for Iftar include fried goodies that are absolutely delicious, and absolutely bad in large quantities. But after a whole day of avoiding all edible energy, gorging tends to hold its own special place as a characteristic of Ramadan. Instead of losing those few pesky pounds, a few peskier pounds are gained.
The funny thing is it is difficult to eat a lot after fasting.
A few bites of food and a glass of water later, the stomach has stretched more than it has all day and it’s had enough now. But the heart is not full, and the mind is suddenly active. You’ve been thinking about all the foods you want to taste at the end of the day and now your stomach is telling you enough? Now that just feels downright rude. So you gorge. You force yourself to gorge because you want everything that you promised yourself. And that becomes the golden road to leads to the equivalent of the “freshman 15.”
This wouldn’t be an issue if not for the fact that well, gorging is kind of a sin.
According to hadith, Al-Miqdaam ibn Maadiy-Karib said: I heard the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saying: “No human ever filled a vessel worse than the stomach. Sufficient for any son of Adam are some morsels to keep his back straight. But if it must be, then one third for his food, one third for his drink and one third for his breath” [Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasaa’I, Ibn Majah – Hadith sahih].
To sum it up, eating and drinking proportionately are acts of worship.
Really, taking care of yourself and living the healthy lifestyle is an act of worship.
Think about it; we have these physical bodies that are capable of feeling and sensing so many things. We have these amazing five senses that make every aspect of every day miraculous when you are consciously aware of it. Why would we not take care of this wealth that we have been granted? If we ate the recommended way, which would mean an act of worship was committed at least three times a day outside of Ramadan.
During Ramadan, following the hadith could aid in balancing our Iftars and Suhoors (and not gaining extra pesky pounds).
We ought to remember that it’s not just fasting that is an act of worship. Eating properly can be an act of worship when it’s done with this hadith in mind. Let’s keep healthy this Ramadan!
The 30 Days of Ramadan series is written by Sobia Siddiqui, CAIR-TX Communications Intern. Enjoy more of her writing on her personal blog, Religion in the Melting Pot.