Imine's Online Reward Earner!!
Virtues of Ramadhan and Fasting
Virtues of Ramadhan and latlutill Qadr from the Holy Quran
"Ramadhan is the (month) in which the Holy Quraan was sent down, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful." ( Sura Al-Baqarah, ayah # 185)
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
1. Verily! We have sent it (this down in the night of Al-Qadr (Decree)
2. And what will make you know what the night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is?
3. The night of Al-Qadr (Decree) is better than a thousand months (i.e. worshipping in that night is better than worshipping Him a thousand months, i.e. 83 years and 4 months).
4. Therein descend the angels.
5. Peace! (All that night, there is Peace and Goodness from Allah to His believing slaves) until the appearance of dawn.
Virtues of Ramadhan from Hadith.
Abu Said al-Khudri (RAA) reported that Rasulullah (SAW), said: "No servant fasts on a day in the path of Allah except that Allah removes the Hell Fire seventy years further away from his face." [Bukhari and Muslim]
Abu Sa`eed al-Khudri (RAA) relates that Rasulullah (SAW) said "Fasting is a shield with which a servant protects himself from the Fire" [Sahih from Ahmad]
`Uthman Ibn Abil-`Aas relates that Rasulullah (SAW) said : "Whoever fasts a day in the way of Allah, Allah places between him and the Fire a trench like that between heavens and the earth". [Sahih from At-Tirmithi and At-Tabarani]
`Arfajah said "We were with `Utbah ibn Farqad while he was discussing Ramadan. A companion of the Prophet entered upon the scene. When `Utbah saw him, he became shy and stopped talking. The man [the companion] spoke about Ramadan, saying "I heard the Messenger of Allah say during Ramadan: "The gates of Hell are closed, the gates of Paradise are opened, and the devils are in chains. An angel calls out : 'O you who intend to do good deeds, have glad tidings. O you who intend to do evil, refrain, until Ramadan is completed. [Ahmad and an-Nasa'i]
Abu Huraira narrated that Allah's Messenger, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, said : "When the month of Ramadan starts, the gates of the heaven are opened and the gates of Hell are closed and the devils are chained." [Bukhari]
The Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said : "When it is the first night of Ramadahn the evil devils are chained. The gates of Fire are locked- not a single gate is opnened, and the gates of Paradise are opened- not a single gate is locked, and a caller calls out :'O seeker of good come forward, and O seeker of evil withhold, and there are many whom Allah frees from the Fire - and that is every night. [at-Tirmithi, Ibn Majah, and Ibn Khuzaimah : Hasan]
Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, climbed upon the mimbar (pulpit) and said: "Aameen [O Allah grant it], aameen, aameen". So it was said, "O Messenger of Allah, you climbed upon the mimbarand said : "aameen, aameen, aameen"? So he said :"Jibraa'eel, `alaihi assalam, came to me and said, 'Whoever reaches the month of Ramadan and does not have [his sins] forgiven and so enters Fire, then may Allah distance him, say aameen". So I said "aameen". [Ibn Khuzaimah, Ahmad and al-Baihaqui : Sahih]
Jabir,radhiya Allahu `anhu relates that the Messenger of Allah, salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said :"In every day and every night, during the month of Ramadan, there are people to whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim a supplication which he can make and will be granted". [al-Bazzaar, Ahmad and Ibn Majah; Sahih]
In the famous hadith of Mu`ath ... I said O Messenger of Allah, tell me of an act which will take me into Paradise and keep me away from Hell-Fire. He said: you have asked me about a major matter, yet it easy for him for whom Allah Almighty makes it easy. You should ..., You should fast in Ramadan .... Then he (the Prophet) said : shall I not show you the gates of goodness ? Fasting is a shield ...[at-Tirmithi]
A Few important directives for Ramadan
When one awakes for Sehri, and by eating prepares for the following day, similarly should it be considered necessary to prepare spiritually for the same period, by making at least 8 rakats or the full 12 rakats of Tahajjud, and if there is time, by sincerely reciting Tasbeeh (Subhanallah), Tahleel (La ilaha illallah), Tahmeed (Alhamdulillah), Takbeer (Allahu Akbar), and Istighfaar (Astaghfirullah). In the same way these 5 praises should not be forgotten after each of the 5 Fard Salaats. This should in earnestness, be the daily schedule.
In the second ten days devotion should be increased, and in the last ten days of Ramadaan-ul-Mubarak, in search of Laylatul Qadr, devotions should be further intensified.
For obtaining this Sawaab, if possible, the whole night or most of the night should be spent in Tilaawat (recital of Quraan) and repeating of Kalima Tayyeba, Kalima Tamjid, Kalima Tawheed, Istighfaar, Towba and performing Salaat etc.
During this time there is no objection in taking food and drink or discussing religious matters to assist in staying awake, but it should be borne in mind that by staying awake, the Fajr Salaat should not be jeopardised. For these devotions, sacrifices have to be made; for instance to stay awake one should eat less. To eat one has the remaining eleven months. Hadhrat Anas RA. relates: "Once with the approach of Ramadaan Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ?layhi Wasallam) said. 'On you has come such a month in which there is a night which is superior to one thousand months. That unfortunate person who has missed this night has deprived himself of all good and only that person is excluded from the bounty of this night who is in fact very unfortunate"'. In many Ahadeeth, mention has been made about the auspiciousness of this night.
During this month of Barakat Kalima Tayyeba, Durood and Istighfaar should frequently be read even whilst sitting, walking etc.
This month is important for the Tilaawat of Quraan, for it was revealed in this month.
It is our duty to read Durood on Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi Wasallam) and this should be read and repeated as many times as practicable.
Fasting during this month is just as obligatory as the five Fard Salaats. No Muslim should be lax with his Sawm and should be more mindful of his five Fard Salaats than at other times.
More attention must be given to Tahaarat (Paaki), Jama'at and modesty in this month.
To neglect the Sawm and make Salaat is as sinful as to observe fast and be careless with ones Fard Salaat.
In this Mubarak month it is more important to stay away from evil than to do good deeds. As much as possible one should endeavour to save the eyes, ears, tongue, heart and all parts of the body from the slightest sin. One should especially refrain from slander and harmful talk.
Kindness, good manners and the remembrances of Allah are the ornaments of this month of Barakat, and these should not be destroyed by vulgarity and bad manners.
This is the month in which sympathy should be shown to the needy and poor. Therefore one should give as much as can be afforded in Sadaqa, Khayrat, Iftari, Sehri etc., and preparation should be made for the Hereafter. It is stated in the Hadeeth that anyone who provides a fasting person with Iftari, it will assist him in having his sins forgiven, save him from the fire, and he will receive as much reward (Sawaab) as the person who has fasted. When giving charity. It must be clearly borne in mind that ones Niyyat should be free of attaining fame and publicity, for this will nullify the reward. 'A good way of making charity is to send some money at the end of every ten days with the niyyat of Sawab to the homes of the poor and needy (those who do not go out to beg). In this way one could sympathise with them.
Especially on the night of Eid, staying awake, being aware of its importance, and knowing that it is the end of the Mubarak month, one should ask for whatever one wants and seek forgiveness for ones sins. Similarly on Eid day make Miswaak, change into clean clothes and use Itr. All this should be done with the Niyyat of observing Sunnat and not in imitation of other unbelieving people. If unfortunately on this Islamic occasion one takes part in cinema shows and places of evil, then it so much resembles the ways of the unbelievers that it is difficult to call it an Islamic festival. Therefore people who regularly do these undesirable things during the year should refrain from these acts, so that non-Muslims can see the difference between the Eid of Muslims and the festivals of non-Muslims. The happiness of Muslims on this day should be because of the completion of the important Ibaadat of Roza. Contrary to this on Eid day Muslims are indulging in all sorts of unlawful activities. How wonderful will it be if Muslims could show other nations what a true Islamic Eid should be.
Untold Blessings of Ramadan
Almighty Allah Subhanahu Wata'ala declares in verses 183 to 185 in Surah Al-Baqara: "O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that ye may (learn) self-restraint, (Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed number (Should be made up) from days later. For those who can do it (With hardship), is a ransom, the feeding of one that is indigent. But he that will give more, of his own free will,- it is better for him. And it is better for you that ye fast, if ye only knew. Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful."
The meaning of 'prescribed' is to state what has been made an obligation (Fard) while 'fasting' is to abstain
from food, drink and intercourse with a clear, loyal intention to please Allah (swt). 'Those before you' refers to those nations that preceded the Muslim Ummah. 'That you may have taqwa' means that fasting helps to bring Taqwa (however, it is not the divine reason, 'illah, for fasting). Taqwa comes from the word 'waqiya', which means to protect. It is protection from the Anger of Allah (swt) and His (swt) punishment. This is why Taqwa is used to describe the performing of actions, which pleases Allah (swt) and abstaining from all actions that displeases Him (swt).
Fasting is one of the strongest factors that helps in the purification of the Nafs and cleanses it from the impurities and degenerative morals. It was narrated in both Muslim and Bukhari that Muhammad (saw) said: "O you youths, whoever has the ability (urge) so let him get married and the one who does not have this ability, let him fast, for it is a protection for him." Regarding the 'fixed number of days', this as before Allah (swt) ordered the fasting of the month of Ramadhan. Prior to this, fasting was observed three days of every month.This was then abrogated by the fasting, which was prescribed in the month of Ramadhan.
When Allah (swt) says: "but if anyone of you is ill or on a journey, the prescribed number should be made up at later days." This is a license from Allah (swt) to the ill and the traveller to break his/her fast and to make up all those days that he/she did not fast, later on. 'For those that can do it with hardship' i.e. they can fast but with a great deal of hardship. The difference between those and the ill is that the ill can recover by Allah's Will but those that are called 'zamani' are considered as those with a terminal situation. Allah (swt) has given the licence to the 'zamani' to feed a poor man a meal everyday in absence of fasting, but that he will give more of his own free will it is better for him/her. If the traveller, the patient and the 'zamani' could fast without bringing harm to them it is better than taking the licence. 'Ramadhan is the month in which the Qur'an was sent down'. Allah (swt) sent the Qur'an wholly and completed to Bait Al'Izam, the sky in Lail-a-tul Qadr (the night of power) in he month of Ramadhan. Then it was sent down gradually. The first ayat were revealed in the month of Ramadhan in the Cave of Hira to Muhammad (saw). A guidance to mankind and clear signs for guidance and a criteria'. The Qur'an guides people and shows them what they need and distinguishes between halal and haram, the Haq and Batil, Good and Bad, for them. Allah (swt) encourages man to complete the prescribed period and to glorify Him (swt) in that he has guided you, that you may be grateful.
COMMENT: The above are some explanations taken from the classical mufasireen on the Ayaat that refer to this blessed month of Ramadhan. All praise to Allah (swt) who gave us this month to further gain a strong foothold to Jannah through our worship to Him (swt) and sent down the Qur'an during this month as 'houdan linas' i.e. a (complete) guidance for mankind to live his/her life according to it. Allah (swt) says in the Qur'an:
"Nothing is left out of the book" (6:38) Also Allah (swt) says: "Follow what has been revealed to you(Surah Al-Maidah verses 49 and 50) This indicates not only the comprehensive nature of Islam which the blessed month of Ramadhan epitomises, but the second ayat clearly demonstrates the obligation to take the Qur'an and the Sunnah and apply it all of our life's affairs.
The Qur'an though revealed in Ramadhan is not intended to be restricted and applied only during the month of Ramadhan or to matters that are solely related to the personal worships. Rather Islam came for all times and all aspects of our life, whether spiritual, political, economic etc. and all are a worship to Allah (swt). Therefore, in the same way that Allah (swt) has 'prescribed' (obliged) fasting for us in the month of Ramadhan, Allah (swt) has 'prescribed' (obliged) the implementation of Islam in its entirety. Almighty Allah (swt) says: "Verily the rule is for none other than Allah." (Surah Yusuf verse 40) "Whosoever judges by other than what Allah has revealed"(Surah Maidah verse 44)
In the same manner we do no neglect the observance of our fasting, we must not and cannot neglect the observance of implementing Islam comprehensively. Its absence is a sin on our necks, which we must work to remove through engaging in those actions sanctioned by Islam to resume the Islamic Way of Life i.e. Khilafah. And it is through its establishment that we can return the dignity that rightfully belongs to Islam and to this beloved Ummah, which Allah (swt) has described as the best nation brought unto mankind. May Almighty Allah (swt) accept the fasting of this beloved Ummah.. Ameen. Baarak - Allaahu Feekum - wa sal-Allahu wa-salam 'alaa Nabiyyinaa Muhammad, was Salaamu 'alaykum wa-Rahmatullahe wa-Barakaatuhu.
Its Virtues & Rulings
Abu Umaamah (radhiyallahu anhu) said: "I said: 'O Messenger of Allah, tell me of an action by which I may enter Paradise'. He said: 'Take to Fasting, there is nothing like it.' " [An-Nasaa'ee, Ibn Hibbaan, Al-Haakim, Saheeh]
In this hadeeth, the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) singled out fasting when asked about a deed that leads its doer to the best of rewards, Paradise. This fact alone is sufficient for us to understand the greatness of fasting.
Mere knowledge of the importance and superiority of fasting, however, is not enough for a Muslim to attain Allah's pleasure and then, in shaa' Allah, His great reward.
Indeed, the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) has said: "Perhaps a person fasting will receive nothing from his fasting except hunger and thirst." [Ibn Maajah, Ad-Daarimee, Ahmad, al-Baihaqee, Saheeh] This hadeeth should raise our concern about fasting and increase our desire to perform this act of worship with the best intention and in accordance with the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam).
The first step for a Muslim to realise is the fact that fasting the month of Ramadhan is obligatory and that Allah has prescribed it for us in His Book:
"Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may attain taqwaa." [2:183]
Thus Allah Ta`aalaa teaches us that Fasting is an obligation and a means to attain taqwaa, that which increases believers in their ranks with Allah Ta'ala:
"The most honoured by Allah amongst you are those best in taqwaa." [49:13]
Furthermore, we should realise the words of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) in which he tells us that Allah the Exalted said: "The most beloved deeds with which my slave comes closer to Me are the obligatory deeds." [Saheeh al-Jami']
Virtues of Fasting as mentioned in the Qur'an and Sunnah
- The reward for fasting is immense, as mentioned in the following Hadeeth:
"Every action of the son of Adam is given manifold reward, each good deed receiving then times its like, up to seven hundred times. Allah the Most High said, 'Except for fasting, for it is for Me and I will give recompense for it, he leaves off his desires and his food for Me.' for the fasting person there are two times of joy; a time when he breaks his fast and a time of joy when he meets his Lord, and the smell coming from the mouth of the fasting person is better with Allah than the smell of musk." [al-Bukhaaree]
Also, Sahl ibn Sa`d said that the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said: "Indeed there is a gate of Paradise called ar-Rayyaan. On the day of Resurrection those who fast will enter through it; no one enters it except for them, and when they have entered, it is closed so that no one enters it, so when the last of them enters it, it is closed, and whoever enters it drinks, and whoever drinks never becomes thirsty." [Ibn Khuzaimah, Saheeh].
- Fasting is a shield against the Fire:
"Fasting is a shield with which a servant protects himself from the Fire." [Ahmad, Saheeh]
- On the Day of Judgement, "Fasting will say: O My Lord I prevented him from food an desires so accept my intercession for him." [Ahmad, al-Haakim and Abu Nu'aim, Hasan]
- Fasting is a means for one's sins to be forgiven. The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said: "He who fasts Ramadhan, due to Iman and hoping for reward (from Allah) then his past sins are forgiven." [al-Bukhaaree, Muslim]
- The supplication of the fasting person is answered: "There are in the month of Ramadhan in every day and night those to whom Allah grants freedom from the Fire, and there is for every Muslim an supplication which he can make and will be granted." [al-Bazzaar, Ahmad, Saheeh]
- Fasting is an expiation for various sins, as mentioned in the Qur'aan, in verses: 2:196, 4:92, 5:89, 5:95 and 58:3-4.
- The fasting person will be among the true followers of the prophets and the martyrs: `Amr ibn Murrah al-Juhaanee (radhiyallahu anhu) said: "A man came to the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) and said: 'O Messenger of Allah, what if I testify that none has the right to worshipped but Allah and that you are the Messenger of Allah, and I observe the five daily prayers, and I pay the zakaah, and I fast and stand in prayer in Ramadhan, then amongst whom shall I be?' He said: 'Amongst the true followers of the prophets and the martyrs.' " [Ibn Hibbaan, Saheeh]
- Fasting is a shield against one's base desires, as the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) told the youth: "O youths, whoever amongst you is able to marry then let him do so, since it restrains the eyes and protects the private parts, and he who is unable, then let him fast because it is a shield for him." [al-Bukhaaree, Muslim]
Once we realise the greatness of fasting and what achievement it leads to, we must put all our efforts in performing fasting in the best manner possible. And since fasting is worship, it must be done solely for Allah's sake, and no intention is accepted, other than pleasing Allah and seeking His Face with all one's sincerity. Without a correct intention, no deed is of any value in the Hereafter. We Muslims must constantly verify our intentions and consider why we perform fasting. Do we do so merely because it is the practice of our parents and friends, or do we do so because it is part of our tradition, or perhaps because we simply want to conform to our environment in order to avoid any problems? A Muslim who realises that only that which is with Allah remains, and that He (Swt) is the only One who grants and withholds, would not be of those to which the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) alluded in the Hadeeth: "On the Day of Judgement, a caller will cry out, 'Whoever performed a deed for someone other than Allah may seek his reward from that for which he performed the deed' " [Saheeh al-Jami].
Certain Aspects and Rulings related to fasting
- For the obligatory fast in the month of Ramadhan, it is incumbent on everyone to have intention before the appearance of Fajr.
- Fast is performed between the time of True Fajr (that which makes food forbidden for the fasting person, and makes Fajr prayer lawful, as explained by Ibn `Abbaas (radhiyallahu anhu)) and the time as soon it is seen that the sun has set.
- The interval between the end of suhoor (the pre-dawn meal) and the start of the obligatory prayer is the interval sufficient to recite fifty Aayaat, as indicated by the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) and related by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim.
- Eating the pre-dawn meal (suhoor) contains many blessings and the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) ordered us to do take it, forbade us from leaving it and told us to take suhoor to make a distinction between our fast and the fast of the People of the Book. In spite of this, Ibn Hajar reports in Fathul-Baaree that there is Ijmaa` that it is mustahabb (recomm-endation). Allah knows best.
- Falsehood, ignorant and indecent speech are to be avoided as they may render one's fasting futile.
- A fasting person can begin fasting while in the state of Janaabah (major state of impurity that requires bath due to a sexual intercourse), as explained in Saheeh al-Bukhaaree and Muslim.
- Use of Siwaak (tooth-stick) is permitted. Likewise, washing the mouth and nose is permitted, but it should not be done strongly.
- The Prophet forbade a youth to kiss while fasting, while he allowed an old man since he is able to control himself.
- Giving blood and injections which do not provide nourishment does not break the fast.
- Pouring cold water over one's head and taking a bath contain no harm to a fasting person.
- It is Sunnah of the Prophet and the practice of his companions to break the fast as soon as the Sun sets even if some bright redness remains upon the horizon. Muslims are strongly encouraged to hasten breaking the fast. The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said: "The Deen will not cease to be uppermost as long as the people hasten to break the fast, since the Jews and the Christians delay it." [Abu Daawood, Ibn Hibbaan, Hasan]
- The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) used to break his fast before praying and he used to break it with fresh dates, if not then with older dates. And if not with dates, than with some mouthfuls of water.
- The supplication of the fasting person when he breaks his fast is not rejected. The best du`aa' (supplication) is that reported from Allah's Messenger, pbuh. He used to say when breaking the fast: "Dhahaba-DH-DHama'u wabtallatil-`urooqu, wa thabatal ajru inshaa Allah." (The thirst has gone, the veins are moistened and the reward is certain, if Allah wills.) [Abu Daawood, al-Baihaqee, al-Haakim and others, Hasan]
- The Prophet said: "He who gives food for a fasting person to break his fast, he will receive the same reward as him, except that nothing will be reduced from the fasting persons reward." [Ahmad, at-Tirmidhee, Ibn Maajah, Ibn Hibbaan, Saheeh]. Also, a fasting Muslim should not reject invitation of another Muslim to break fast.
- Deliberate eating and drinking, making oneself vomit, menstruation, after-birth bleeding, injection containing nourishment and sexual intercourse all nullify the fast.
- As for Lailatul-Qadr, the Night of Decree, that is better than a thousand months (see Soorah Qadr (97)), the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) told us: "Seek it in the last ten, and if one of you is too weak or unable then let him not allow that to make him miss the final seven." [al-Bukhaaree, Muslim]. That which is the most specific states, "seek it on the (twenty) ninth and the (twenty) seventh and the (twenty) fifth." [al-Bukhaaree]
- The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) used to exert himself greatly during Lailatul-Qadr. He would spend the nights in worship, detaching himself from women and ordering his family with this. So every Muslim should be eager to stand in prayer during Lailatul Qadr out of Iman and hoping for the great reward.
The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) said: "Whoever stands (in prayer) in Lailatul Qadr out of Iman and seeking reward then his previous sins are forgiven." [al-Bukhaaree, Muslim]
- The supplication that the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) taught `Aa'isha, radiyallaahu `anhaa, to say when seeking the Night of Decree is:
"O Allah you are the one who pardons greatly, and loves to pardon, so pardon me." [at-Tirmidhee, Ibn Maajah, Saheeh]
- It is Sunnah to pray Taraweeh in congregation and the one who knew the best the practice of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) at night, `Aa'isha, radiyallaahu `anhaa, said: "Allah's Messenger did not increase upon eleven rak`ahs in Ramadhan, or outside it." [al-Bukhaaree, Muslim]
- All who are capable should take advantage of the month of Ramadhan and perform I`tikaaf, i.e. fully attach oneself to worshipping in the mosque. One should inquire how the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) performed I`tikaaf.
- Zakaatul Fitr is prescribed by Allah as a purification for those who fasted from loose and indecent talk, and to feed the poor Muslims as a provision for `Eidul Fitr. One should inquire further about rulings related to it, especially upon whom it is obligatory and what is its quantity.
- The last but not the least, we should strive to constantly improve our worship and obedience of Allah the Most High, including once the month of Ramadhan is over, inshaa' Allah.
The Medical Benefits of Taraweeh Prayers
By Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed, Ph.D
Muslims derive therapeutic and spiritual benefits starting from the Wudu to the physical movements in the Salat - Takbir, Qiyam, Ruku, Sajda, Jalsa, and Tasleems. Muslims perform five daily prayers (Salat) and voluntary prayers (Sunnah, Nafl) throughout the year and Taraweeh prayers during the month of Ramadan. This results in moderate physical exercise particularly to every muscle in the body. Some muscles contract isometrically (same length) and some contract in approximation or isotonically (same tension). The energy needed for the muscle during exercise is met by a process known as glycogenolysis. The rate of muscle metabolism increases during the performance of Salat, resulting in a relative deficiency of oxygen and muscle nutrients. In turn this deficiency causes vasodilation - an increase in the calibre of blood vessels - thereby allowing blood to flow easily back to the heart. The temporarily increased load on the heart acts to strengthen the heart muscle and to improve the circulation within the heart muscle.
During the month of Ramadan, additional prayers are performed after salatul Ishaa, called Taraweeh prayers which consists of 20 rakat with a few minutes break after every 4 rakat for chanting and extolling the Majesty of Allah. After Iftar (breaking of fast) the blood glucose level continues to rise from the food ingested. Just before the Iftar meals, the blood glucose and insulin levels are at their lowest level. After an hour or so after the Iftar meal, the blood glucose begins to rise and also plasma insulin. Liver and the muscles take up the circulating glucose. The blood sugar reaches high levels in an hour or two and the benefits of Taraweeh prayers come into effect. The circulating glucose is metabolised into carbon dioxide and water during the Taraweeh prayers.
Hence the Taraweeh prayers help in expending the extra calories and improve flexibility, coordination, reduce stress-related autonomic responses in healthy persons, and relieve anxiety and depression.
Physical and Emotional Well-Being
The gentle exercises performed in Taraweeh prayers improve physical fitness, emotional well-being and increase the longevity of the Namazi (one who performs the Salat or Namaz). When a little extra effort is made, as in performing the Taraweeh prayers, there will be a betterment in the endurance, stamina, in flexibility and strength. It was noted that the five daily prayers (Salat) produce the same physiological changes without any undesirable side effects as those produced by jogging or walking at about three miles per hour. Recent research studies performed on 17,000 Harvard alumni who entered college between 1916-1950 give strong evidence that only moderate aerobic exercise, equivalent to jogging about 3 miles a day, promotes good health and may actually add years to life. Men who expended about 2000 kcal of energy on a weekly basis (equal to a daily 30-minute walk, run, cycle, swim, etc.,) had one-quarter to one-third lower death rates than classmates who did little or no exercise. In addition to the health-boosting qualities of the Salat, the Namazi will be trained to be ever ready for any unexpected physical exertion such as sudden lifting of children, chairs, or catching a public transportation vehicle. The elderly will accomplish this more securely and efficiently. Hence this is an advantage for the elderly to maintain their physical fitness for a longer period of time. It has been observed that those who fast and perform the Taraweeh prayers report feeling much convalescing and robust.
As human beings grow older, their physiological activity diminishes, as a result their bones become thinner and if not taken care of will suffer from osteoporosis (which causes the fractures of the bones when they fall in the elderly due to a loss of bone mineral content and consequent sponginess of the bones. The bone then becomes structurally unstable, brittle and susceptible to fractures). Primary osteoporosis is most common among postmenopausal (due to reduction in oestrogen) women or those who have undergone a bilateral oophorectomy (both the ovaries removed). Women are six times more likely than men to develop Type I osteoporosis. The three major prevention strategies of osteoporosis are a high dietary intake of calcium and vitamin D, regular exercise and oestrogen replacement in postmenopausal women. The skin also becomes fragile and crinkled. The repair processes of the body become slower and immune responses are decreased. In the elderly their physical activity is reduced as a result they have lower levels of Insulin Growth Factor 1. Reserve functions of all vital organs decrease and the elderly are more susceptible to mishaps and ailments. Because of repeated and regular movements of the body during Salat the muscle strength, tendon power, joint flexibility and the cardiovascular reserve are improved. Hence Salat and Taraweeh prayers enable the elderly to enrich the quality of life and to meet with unforeseen difficulties such as falls which could injure their bodies. Therefore Taraweeh prayers will improve their endurance, self-respect and self-confidence in being self-reliant.
Adrenaline is secreted even by minor activity. The secretion outlasts the incitement. Even after the Taraweeh prayers are over the effects of adrenaline and noradrenaline are manifest. (Adrenaline also called epinephrine is produced by the adrenal glands. The middle part of these glands, the adrenal medulla, secretes the hormone, which is chemically almost identical to the transmitter substance noradrenaline produced at the ends of sympathetic nerves. Adrenaline secretion into the bloodstream in stress causes acceleration of the heart, constriction of arterioles, and dilation of the pupils. In addition, adrenaline produces a marked increase in metabolic rate thus preparing the body for emergency.) Even the thought or the intention of performing the Taraweeh prayers is sufficient to activate the sympathetic nervous system. Sympathetic nervous system (thoraco-lumbar nervous system) is one of the two division of the autonomic nervous system, which supplies motor nerves to the smooth muscles of internal organs and to the heart muscle. Sympathetic nerve fibres arise via spinal nerves in the thoracic and lumbar regions. Their endings release mainly adrenaline, which increases heart rate and breathing rate, raises blood pressure, and slows digestive processes, thereby preparing the body for "fight or flight" and antagonising the effects of the sympathetic nervous system. The adrenaline would redistribute the blood in the body to the active muscles, would mobilise liver glycogen if necessary in order to provide glucose for the active tissues, would diminish fatigue in skeletal muscles and would facilitate alveolar ventilation relaxing bronchiolar muscle, and would initiate cardiovascular changes. Exercise induces a more effective functioning of beta-adrenoreceptors located on cell membranes.
Beneficial effects of Gentle Exercise
The Taraweeh prayer is considered to be gentle exercise. The beneficial effects of gentle exercise on the body are many which are elaborated here.
Effects on Skeletal Muscle
Once muscles atrophy inspite of the availability of ample proteins. During the Salat and Taraweeh, every muscle in the body contracts isotnically and others isometrically. This gentle exercise also enhances endurance and diminishes tiredness. It helps the incapacitated to make the most of their remnant capabilities. The blood flow in strung muscle is low. During the prayers the blood flow is greatly increased to the muscles. Blood flow sometimes increases even before the start of Taraweeh prayers, with just the thought of performing the Taraweeh prayers. In addition to needing fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, the human body requires minerals such as Potassium for nerve and muscle activity. It is found in fruits, meats, seafood and milk. Potassium deficiency leads to muscular and neurologic disorders. Potassium is also important in the transmission of nerve impulses and is a major positive ion in intracellular fluids. Potassium is involved in cellular enzyme activities, and it helps regulate the chemical reactions by which carbohydrates is converted to energy and amino acids are converted to protein. Also Potassium ions cause vasodilation of arterioles. During the Taraweeh prayers, systolic Blood pressure may rise (the larger number in B.P.) a little and the diastolic Blood Pressure(the lower number in B.P.) may remain unchanged or even fall. However after the Taraweeh prayers are over, the B.P. may drop to just below normal levels which is a welcome sign. Taraweeh prayers improve respiratory efficiency; circulation in the capillaries surrounding the alveoli, or air sacs, is increased, and this brings about enhanced gas exchange and deeper breathing. The increase in the maximal consumption of oxygen is what makes the Namazi feel better. Those who perform the Taraweeh prayers, apart from the prescribed Salat, are more alert and active than those who do not perform the Taraweeh prayers, even after the age of retirement. Taraweeh prayers improve physical strength and joint stability and reduce the risk of injury to the tendons and connective tissues. After age 40, the bone mineral density falls with age. Taraweeh prayers increase bone mineral density in both menopausal and in elderly women and prevents osteoporosis and maintains normalcy in bone structures. Osteoporosis results in hip fractures in women after menopause and in elderly men. The risk of osteoporosis is substantially reduced by regular Salat and Taraweeh prayers. The prayers improve lubrication of joints, movement, and maintain flexibility. Deep vein thrombosis (the most common cause of ulceration of the legs in the elderly) is prevented by performing Salat and Taraweeh prayers.
Salat improves body weight control and expend calories without proportionate increase in appetite. A combination of moderate dietary restriction, both at the Iftar and Sahur (early morning breakfast before the start of fast) meals, accompanied by the Taraweeh prayers, should achieve weight reduction. This will also reduce both fat and body weight, but fat-free weight will remain constant or may even increase slightly. Hence during Ramadan one should not overeat at the Sahur and Iftar meals and continue to perform Salat and Taraweeh prayers in order to lose some of the excess weight.
It is well known that exercise prevents coronary heart disease (CHD), increases high density lipo-proteins (HDL or healthy Cholesterol), increases maximum oxygen uptake, slows the heart, lowers the B.P. slightly, decreases ventricular ectopic activity, enlarges the lumen of the coronary arteries and increases cardiac output. Exercise also improves carbohydrate tolerance and improves late-onset diabetes, and helps cases of chronic respiratory diseases. Beneficial changes have been recorded in the lipid profile, B.P., clotting factors, weight reduction and insulin sensitivity of muscles and other tissues in persons who exercise regularly. Growth Hormone secretion is elevated by fasting and it is further elevated by Taraweeh prayers. As Growth Hormone is necessary for collagen formation, this may be an important factor as to why the skin of those who fast regularly during Ramadan and perform the Taraweeh prayers do not get wrinkled, even when they grow old.
It is a known fact that exercise improves mood, thought and behaviour. Exercise improves the quality of life, induces greater sense of well-being and energy, reduces anxiety and depression, influences mood favourably and contributes to self-esteem and an aura of confidence; improves memory in the elderly especially with constant repetition of the Ayaat (verses) from the Glorious Quran and other Ayaat which exalt His Glory. This constant repetition of the Quranic Ayaat would help to screen the mind from the incoming thoughts. It has been found by a Harvard University researcher, Dr. Herbert Benson that repetition of a prayer, Ayaat of the Quran or remembrance (Dhikr) of Allah or muscular activity coupled with passive disregard of intensive thoughts causes a "relaxation response" that leads to the lowering of Blood Pressure and decreases in oxygen consumption and a reduction in heart and respiratory rates. All these are combined in the Taraweeh prayer which is an ideal condition for "relaxation response." It combines repeated muscular activity with repetition of Salat, chanting of words of glorification of Allah and of supplications. The Taraweeh prayer puts the mind in a relaxed state. This calm state of the mind may be partly due to the release of encephalins, beta-endorphins (endogenous morphines) and others into the blood circulation. Endorphins are any one of the neuropeptides composed of many amino acids, elaborated by the pituitary gland and acting on the central and peripheral nervous systems to reduce pain. Endorphins are categorised as alpha-endorphin, beta-endorphin, and gamma-endorphin which produce pharmacologic effects similar to morphine. Beta-endorphin found in the brain and GI(gastro-intestinal) tract is the most potent of the endorphins and is a powerful analgesic(pain killer) in humans and animals. For example during childbirth many women release endorphins reducing a woman's sensation of pain. The release of endorphins is associated with an euphoria. During childbirth, women who give birth with little or no medication sometimes label this euphoria a "birth climax."
Islam is the only religion where physical movements of Salat and Taraweeh prayers are combined with spiritual exercise. When Salat and Taraweeh prayers are practised throughout a person's life, recurring every few hours or so, trains a person to undertake the difficult task of meditation during physical manoeuvres of Salat and Taraweeh prayers, so that the Namazi(one who performs the Salat) benefits both from spiritual as well as physical exercise. Salat and Taraweeh prayers are unique in that tension builds up in the muscles during physical manoeuvres on the one hand, while tension is relieved in the mind due to the spiritual ingredient, on the other hand. The following benefits have been noted among those who perform the Taraweeh prayers: burning off calories and losing weight, maintaining muscle tone and body composition, joint flexibility (stiff joints are often the result of disuse, not arthritis), increasing metabolic rate, improving circulation, improving heart and lung function and aerobic capacity, decreasing heart disease risk profile, increasing your sense of self-control, reducing your level of stress, increasing your ability to concentrate, improving your appearance, reducing depression and resistance to depression, helping you sleep better and suppressing your appetite. Evidence is also accumulating that those who perform regular Salat along with voluntary prayers can conserve and actually retard the loss of bone mass in the elderly, thus staving off the ravages of osteoporosis that afflicts both men and women. It is also possible to retard the aging process and confer some protection to health in later life. Those who have performed Salat (Fard and Wajib), Sunnah and Nafl and Taraweeh prayers throughout life get protection and a positive effect in terms of health and longevity. They reverse the life-shortening effects of cigarette smoking and excess body weight. Even people with high blood pressure (a primary heart disease risk) reduced their death rate by one-half and their risk of dying from any of the major diseases is reduced. They also counter genetic tendencies toward an early death.
Hence Salat (Fard, Wajib), Sunnah, Nafl and Taraweeh prayers are necessary for Muslims to preserve life and their desirable qualities into old age.
Send FREE* Holiday Greeting Cards to your friends and family
Send a FREE* Holiday Greeting Card
Follow the simple instructions to easily send holiday greeting cards to your friends and family
firstname.lastname@example.org <=== address