During the month of Ramadan, Muslims are encouraged to question their behavior and abstain from all bad deeds such as fighting, gossiping etc. They are also encouraged to donate more and empathize with poor people, which is made easier by day-long hunger.
During the day, non-fasting people take great care to respect fasting people and some restaurants even stop serving alcohol. Municipalities all around the world, from New Delhi to Istanbul, from Moscow to Cairo, work with even more vigor in Ramadan, making the streets even cleaner and organize nightly festivities at city squares to ensure a beautiful Ramadan experience for all.
Stores fill their shelves with Ramadan delicacies and families rush to fill up their pantries with a variety of food, most of which is around only during this month. The food must be especially delicious at this time of the year, because fast breaking is an experience that must be done with the tastiest foods possible.
As the evening nears, a sweet exhilaration starts and after a long day of no eating and drinking, those who’ve fasted begin to prepare for delicious feasts to be enjoyed with family and friends. The street come alive with commuters rushing to get home, the minarets of mosques light up and people form long lines in front of bakeries to get hot Ramadan bread. Minutes until the breaking of the fast, everyone sits at the table and excitedly waits for the call the prayer. And when the familiar beautiful message starts washing over cities of the world, a joyful feast begins. Delicious food after a day of no eating, combined with happy conversation with beloved ones is an experience that cannot be forgotten. Rich or poor, every family makes their best efforts to have the most delicious iftar dinners every night, which is further made easier with increased donations during the month. Many rich families buy special Ramadan boxes full of Ramadan essentials and deliver them to poor families.
Fasting has many health benefits as well. As long as one is healthy, as required as a condition for fasting in the Qur’an, fasting helps the body to get much- needed rest for one month, offering effective protection against obesity, high cholesterol, hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.
With fasting, the time the body spends on digestion gets shorter, and the organs have more time to repair themselves. The body is cleaned of harmful toxins, making the person fasting feel more energized and healthy.
The stomach finds an opportunity to rest a minimum of six or seven hours a day, thus reducing the amount of blood sent to the stomach. This means the heart doesn’t need to work as hard to send blood to the stomach, also giving it an opportunity to rest as well.
Small wounds on the walls of the stomach begin to repair themselves, and toxins accumulated in the digestive cells are flushed out. This is only a small part of the extensive health benefits of fasting, as the real list is much longer.
Let’s hope that this Ramadan will help us become not only physically healthier, but also spiritually healthier and more conscious of the plight of others.
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