Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ramadhan: a time for fasting or feasting?

Muslims everywhere are fasting for Ramadan - and looking forward to the bigger than usual evening meal that ends each day. But can veering between such extremes be healthy?
The Guardian has an article on post-fast feasts 'Feast or Famine?' that also answers the oft-asked question: does fasting include eschewing water, chewing gum and smoking? (Yes)
Ed: Just for the record, Ramadan binges are more a reflection of personal and cultural preferences and are not Islamically induced, even if many Muslims are seen indulging themselves 'religiously' at sundown.
In fact, the Sunnah (tradition/practice) of the Prophet Muhammad was to break his fasts with a few dates and water.
The companion Anas bin Maalik reported: "The Messenger of Allah would break his fast with ripe dates before he would pray. If those were not available, he would eat dried dates. If those were not available, he woulddrink some water." [This hadith is related by Abu Dawood and by al-Hakim,who called it saheeh, and by At-Tirmithi, who called it hassan.]
Sulaymaan bin 'Amr reported that the Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: "If one of you is fasting, he should break his fast with dates. If dates are not available,then with water, for water is purifying." [This is related by Ahmad and by At-Tirmithi, who called it Hassan Saheeh.]

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