Better Health Through Fasting

By Zafar Nomaniprofessor emeritus of human nutrition and foods West Virginia University With the sighting of the crescent moon, the … Continued

By Zafar Nomani
professor emeritus of human nutrition and foods
West Virginia University

With the sighting of the crescent moon, the holy month of Ramadan has begun this year, marking the start of a spiritual boot camp in which Muslims fast without any food or water from sunup to sundown. To many, the rigor may seem too tasking, but, as a veteran scientist of clinical nutrition and as a 76-year-old Muslim man who has fasted since I was a boy, growing up in India, I can say that fasting can be a healthy practice not just for God but for you.

Fasting can be healthy for people of all faiths from Christians to Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and others who fast as a part of their spiritual practice. But it’s got to be done right.

Twenty-five years ago in the early 1980s, I started studying the biochemical and physiological impact of “restricted energy intake,” as we call fasting in the business, on the human body, using Ramadan fasting as a model for clinical trials that I ran in the United States and Pakistan. In my hometown of Morgantown, W.V., young Muslim students volunteered to be my guinea pigs, logging their daily meals. In the Middle East and in Lahore, Pakistan, volunteers let me study the effect of fasting on their bodies, analyzing the nutritional component of their diets using food composition tables and computer software.

What I and other researchers have discovered is that fasting has clear spiritual, physical, psychological and social benefits.

There is no doubt, on one level, we are fasting for God. Just like fasting during Lent for Christians and during Yom Kippur for Jews, fasting during Ramadan has a divinely ordained inspiration. The Qur’an (2: 183) tells Muslims, “O you who believe, fasting is prescribed on you as it was prescribed to those before you (that is Jews and Christian and other faiths) so that you may become self-restrained.”

It’s considered “fard,” or required, for healthy Muslim adults to fast. It’s called “sawm” in Arabic, which means “refrain,” and Muslims are expected to refrain from not only food and water but also from sex, smoking, foul talk and harm to others. We are supposed to control our anger, behave kindly, participate in community service, give to charity and generally help others.

The restrictions–both caloric and behaviorally–can be good for us holistically because they serve as a means for disciplining ourselves all-year-around in a world in which we are too often self-absorbed and overindulgent. Fasting serves as a spiritual check, reminding us about issues of poverty and clean water supplies in the world and encouraging us to avoid overeating and wasting food. After all, way too much food ends up in garbage cans.

Restraint from food, water and undesirable behavior makes a person more mentally disciplined and less prone to unhealthy behavior. Researchers in Jordan found a significant reduction of parasuicidal cases during the month of Ramadan. In the United Kingdom, the Ramadan model has been used by various health agencies to reduce cigarette smoking, especially among Africans and Asians.

However, there are choices we can make to be healthier about fasting.

First of all, too many people, ironically, eat too much when they’re not fasting. Scientific studies reveal that some people overeat during Ramadan, a phenomenon that contradicts the essential spirit of Ramadan. Studies indicate that health problems can emerge as a result of eating too much or eating a diet that isn’t balanced. The body has regulatory mechanisms that activate during fasting, and we don’t need to overeat to get our body the nutrients it needs. Scientific studies have shown that there our bodies efficiently utilize the body fat typically available in most of our bodies.

During Ramadan, research has shown that the basal metabolism of fasting subjects slows down. A person can stay healthy and active during Ramadan consuming a diet that is less than the normal amount of calories or food intake but balanced in nutrients.

There is no universal healthy diet for fasting because of global differences in the fasting period, the weather, daily temperature, food availability, lifestyle, cultural habits and other details. But to get the best health and spiritual benefits when fasting, it’s critical to have a diet balanced in protein, essential minerals, vitamins and physiological and protective factors such as dietary fiber and antioxidant compounds.

To start with, it’s important in any faith not to miss the meal you eat before the fast begins. In Islam, it’s said the Prophet Muhammad used to have a light “sahur,” the pre-dawn meal Muslims eat before the fast. For me, a bowl of Raisin Bran has always served the purpose. A cereal high in wheat bran or oatmeal is a great source of dietary fibers including cellulose, hemicelluloses and other non-digestable complex carbohydrates and lignin, which provides bulk and facilitates motality in the digestive tract. As a result, many harmful and toxic compounds are expunged from the body.

Alas, milk, a protein, is a kind of dehydrant. It’s critical to have extra glasses of water to avoid dehydration. Extra water is also needed to flush out urea, protein’s catabolic product, from the body. That’s true of all protein rich foods.

When breaking the fast in any faith, it’s important to consume an easily available energy source in the form of simple sugars such as glucose and fructose that nourishes every living cell, particularly the brain and nerve cells. Dates and juices are good sources of these sugars. Indeed, breaking of fast with several dates is considered “sunnah” in Islam, or a practice of the Prophet Muhammad. Another good choice: a cup of juice without sugar added to bring low blood glucose levels to normal levels. It’s also good advice to have a bowl of vegetable soup. Both juice and soup help maintain water and mineral balance in the body. They also help quenching the thirst quickly.

Too often, at least in Muslim homes, folks break the fast with sherbets and sweets. That’s the worst way to break a fast, according to many scientific studies, because they represent a high intake of sugar in form of sucrose.

For the later dinner meal, it’s essential to consume variety of foods with balance and moderation. Just because we haven’t eaten all day, we shouldn’t forget the “food pyramid” that represents the A, B, C’s of a healthy diet. That means including a vegetable salad with dinner.

Cultural preferences aside, it’s best to avoid spicy foods because it promotes acidity in the stomach and digestive tract problems.

It’s wise to eat fruit at the end of meals, such as apples, oranges, peaches, pears or whatever fruit might be in season. Fruits provide dietary fiber that facilitates the prevention of constipation, stomach acidity and other digestive health issues. What’s more, fruits and vegetables are good sources of certain nutrients such as vitamin C and vitamin A. They also provide antioxidants, flavonoids and protective phytochemicals. Fresh fruits and vegetable are good sources of water, too. They contain between 92 per cent to 97 per cent water. Between breaking fast and starting a new day’s fast, it’s critical that we consume plenty of water.

To follow the spirit of Ramadan and other fasting traditions, discipline, control and behavioral change are critical. One of the things that should go: smoking. Smoking isn’t allowed during the Muslim fast, and that’s a good thing. Smoking negatively affects the utilization of various vitamins, metabolites and enzyme systems in the body and promotes the production of free radicals (atoms, molecules and ions with unpaired electrons), a major factor in cancer. Smoking is also a risk factor for many other health problems.

Further, it’s best to avoid caffeine drinks such as Coke, coffee or tea. Caffeine is a diuretic. But it’s best to be gradual with the reduction. A sudden decrease in caffeine and nicotine, coupled with hunger and dehydration, can prompt headaches, mood swings, irritability and, even sometimes, road rage. The American Psychosomatic Society indicated that caffeine and nicotine use increases the occurrence of irritability during fasting, but the end of Ramadan the irritability drops.

It’s important to remember to brush your teeth–a habit that can fall by the wayside with the new eating and sleeping schedule.

Typically, people who are normal weight or overweight people shouldn’t gain weight. For overweight people, Ramadan is an excellent opportunity to lose weight. Underweight or marginally normal weight people shouldn’t use this time to lose weight, but a couple of pounds of body weight loss isn’t harmful. That may be due to dehydration or the somewhat reduced calorie intake.. This small body weight loss is easily regained after Ramadan.

If we eat properly a balanced diet when we fast, we will maintain our body weight, maintain our energy level and perform our daily work normally. Just like during the rest of the year, it’s critical to eat a good balanced diet while fasting.

Fasting isn’t the time to ditch exercise. It’s important that everyone engage in some kind of light exercise, such as stretching or walking. “Taraweeha,” a special Ramadan prayer that lasts for up to an hour, can have the benefit of “ibada,” or prayer, as well as light exercise. It’s important to follow good time management practices for prayer and other religious activities, as well as sleep, studies, job and exercise, to maintain a balanced life even when fasting.

Finally, it’s important to remember that fasting doesn’t mean being a martyr to good health. In Islam, Muslims don’t have to fast if they’re pregnant, traveling, breast feeding, elderly or ill. In those cases, they can feed the poor instead, perhaps making up the fasts later. People with diabetes, peptic ulcers, kidney stones, hypertension and other health problems must consult their physician on the question of whether to fast; and then if they do fast, what is the best diet for them.

Increasingly, scientists are starting to recognize the benefits of reduced energy intake on weight. A study released earlier this year at the European Congress on Obesity concluded that increased energy intake was the most significant cause of the rise in obesity in the United States since the 1970s. The issue of restricted energy intake continues to have wide consequences in the United States, where the Centers for Disease Control is reporting an alarming increase in obesity rates. Appropriately, the office of the U.S. Surgeon General is developing public education campaigns about the health risks of being overweight.

In a way, Ramadan is like an annual continuing education workshop on how becoming a better citizen of the world. It’s said that the Prophet Muhammad told his followers,
“He who does not desist from obscene language and acting obscenely (during the period of fasting), Allah has no need that he didn’t eat or drink.”

Another time, it’s said the Prophet declared, “Fasting is not only from food and drink, fasting is to refrain from obscene (acts). If someone verbally abuses you or acts ignorantly toward you, say (to them), ‘I am fasting; I am fasting.’”

Zafar Nomani is a professor emeritus of human nutrition and foods at West Virginia University. He received the King Hassan II Award at the first International Conference on Scientific and Medical Research on Ramadan, held in Casablanca, Morocco. For a follow-up feature, “Ask Zaf,” you can send your fasting questions to him at [email protected] or post them on the comment board.

About

  • lilqtpie53091

    What a wonderful article. This is so interesting and helpful. Thanks to this article, my family and I will be observing a nutritious fast this year. Thank you for enlightening us Mr. Nomani.

  • Nadia6

    What a great contribution to people of all religions. Thanks, Dr. Nomani!I have a question: In my house, we love to have a cup of tea when we break our fast. I see from your article that black tea isn’t the best idea. Would herbal, non-caffeinated tea be a good choice, like chamomille tea? With honey? Thanks so much, and I look forward to your “Ask Zaf” column. Great idea!Dr. Oz, move over!

  • Zaf4peace

    Dear Dr. OZ

  • noorismail1

    Yes,ccnl1,it must be wonderful to be such a small minded,bigoted,bitter,hate-filled little kufr.

  • hapticz

    as many homeless people know, the lack of casual calories on a daily basis makes you much more self reliant and enduring.

  • alya

    Thank you for your wonderful criticisms, but WE ARE FASTING, WE ARE FASTING. Peace be upon you all.

  • ccnl1

    I have talked to many Muslims about Ramadan. The results- “A blessed month has arrived. Observing it in fasting is mandated on you. During this month, the gates of Paradise will be opened and the gates of Hellfire will be closed. (Abu Hureirah)”The reality:Party/eat/drink all night and sleep(fast) the rest of the day.

  • noorismail1

    EcoAZ:

  • praestans

    Dr Nu’mani, Is going without water for 15 hours medically beneficial? Water does not contain calorific value as you know but it is vital. As a doctor wud you really advise peopl to refrain from drinking water – givn the length and severity of the day and heat in some lands?No wundr Muslims stuff themselvs come dusk, become all rather grumpy and cantankrus, cravin fr that nicotine fix.And I suppose the Qur’an’s permission to marry babies (q65:4) is also nutritionally meritorious for the muslim male.

  • legitbrownie

    Sure there are advocates for fasting. However, during Ramadan, the fact is many Muslims break fast by bingeing. Restaurants promote their break fast buffets heavily. The end result is too many end up putting on weight.

  • legitbrownie

    Sure there are advocates for fasting. However, during Ramadan, the fact is many Muslims break fast by bingeing. Restaurants promote their break fast buffets heavily. The end result is too many end up putting on weight.

  • noorismail1

    Non-Muslims why do you care? Why is our fast

  • trotski

    Its shocking to read the comments on here, especially after a very well written article on health and diet. Kudos to the author for such a well-written article that applies to all, regardless of the person’s religion.There is some wonderful advice in this article. I thank you for enlightening me.

  • fortycaliberglock

    I’m a US Army officer and a Christian currently serving in Afghanistan. I am fasting today with my interpreter to show respect for his faith and culture. I don’t particularly agree that abstaining from water when it’s 115 is beneficial. At 2PM, I’m rather thirsty and hungry with 5 hours to go. If he can survive a month doing this however, I can surely make it one day. The point is, as a Christian I am displaying respect for another faith, if even for a day. That in turn earns respect and trust from the people amongst whom we are living, fighting and dying. A little respect and humility goes a long way. Moreover, I think that is what Christ would want.

  • Infidel2

    NOORISMAIL1,What’s funny (and tragic) about your rants is that slavery or cross burning or whatever western atrocities you cite are all considered stains on its history, and are studied and discussed as shameful episdes in history to learn from. On the other hand, the barbaric crimes of islam are something part of the religion and something every muslim is proud of. Invading other countries and enforcing your beliefs and massacreing its people is part of what it means to be a muslim. Good thing you don’t (and never will) have any real power. Oh, and notice the irony of this and the US invasion of iraq? if only the US subscribed to islamic standards of invasions, perhaps you’d get a taste of true terror.

  • Infidel2

    Furthermore, today the west is more civilized and will be even more so as it learns and adapts whereas muslims seem to only go backwards every passing year. It’s pathetic.

  • muths

    When the body shuts down the digestive tract by fasting, all of the enzymes that normally go into digesting food, go into repairing and maintaining the structures of the body. Fasting is an excellant way of clearing toxic elements out of the body and brain. Give your digestive tract a little vacation one day a week and take more vitamin C to repair your bodily tissue!!

  • Ayah

    Salam alaikum. This is my first Ramadan and my first time fasting. Every bit of knowledge helps, thank you for the article. Ramadan kareem.

  • HypocrisyistheOpiateoftheLeft

    Ramadan fasting as practiced by most Muslims is not only unhealthy but dangerous! All day starvation followed by ravenous gorging before bedtime is not recommended by any dietitian. Mr. Nomani’s article demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of how Ramadan fasting occurs in reality. My experience with Ramadan fasting is based on my 10 years of living in Malaysia.In Kuala Lumpur, Ramadan is the time of year when every hotel and restaurant try to outdo one another with competing “buka puasa” (breaking of the fast) buffets that dwarf even the most lavish Mother’s Day buffet in the West. My first experience 10 years ago with some Muslim friends was a truly moving experience. After not eating all day, patrons attacked the buffet like a pack of rats at a Hickory Farms store. All kidding aside, most Muslims in Malaysia actually gain weight as a result of the see-saw starving and gorging. No dietician would ever advise fasting followed by uncontrolled, ravenous gorging as a healthy way to “detoxify” or “cleanse” the body. In closing, ritual without spirituality is meaningless. Like the once a year pious “Christmas Christians” who check the box “went to mass” on Christmas day, many Muslims similarly fast during the day only to gorge with embarrassing relish at the end of the day. I’ve found Ramadan and the concluding “hari raya” open houses a time of great fellowship with my Muslim friends. However, similar to Christmas holiday events in the west, the focus is more on parties and food and other superficial elements rather than true introspection and spiritual development.

  • exmuslim

    Very disappointing article. What is the health benefit of dehydration? Kidney disease! What is the health benefit of eating a big chunk of meal after starving for more than 14 hours (if you are in Alaska, good luck over there)?

  • SUBLIMEWOODY

    I’ve been thru dozens of Ramadan periods during my 20 or so years in the Muslim world, and can say that the way it’s done is not terribly healthful.Generally speaking, those who actually fast [and there are many secret eater/drinkers] go without during the day, but when the evening canon is fired they quickly pray, then wildly gorge themselves. Just before sunrise they go at it again, cramming themselves to the maximum, then sleeping all day.I fail to see how that’s especially good for you.

  • SnoopyinaBlender

    “I am fasting today with my interpreter to show respect for his faith and culture.”This is the best response to the ignorant comments on this article, which is presented as the _best_ way to go about fasting. I have no doubt that some Muslims overeat before and after the fast. That is something we Christians would never do during the Christmas season, right? :)

  • anisaqeel

    A very well researched article which caries a faith based niceties. Fasting may be an auto adjusting phenomena around different geographic areas, gender and age where some nutritious values are concerned. Some geographic regions may require more liquid than solid food and a normal human can adjust to it within a couple of days. I have practiced fasting while living in Asia, Africa and in the USA and realised that I felt hungry quicker in Asian hot weather than feeling thirsty, while in tropical & humid Africa thirst was my biggest challenge and in USA fasting is a piece-a-cake, I don’t feel much hardship after a couple of days and if someone controls as suggested by Professor Naumani, this is an excellent physical adjustment to your body for the rest of the year unless one goes in excess of anything.

  • kro2

    This is a wonderful article and I must say that I’m horrified by the negativity in some of these posts. I was first introduced to the concept of Ramadan fasting by friends who are Muslims and working in the US. They invited us all to a wonderful buffet, full of healthy foods and good cheer for a special “break fast”. Their practice inspired me to practice the traditions of my own religion in a more disciplined way and fast during Lent. It is always hard in the beginning, but found that it promoted a mindfulness my actions and connectedness to others that I do not have most of the time. Perhaps some of the people posting such hostile comments here would benefit from a little fasting… Thank you for sharing the insights from your research with us all.

  • abhab1

    Someone asks;We do not care if and how you fast. We are merely commenting on a long advertisement to us on the benefits of a certain type of fasting that supposedly have all the physical benefits. That is all!

  • Infidel2

    One last thing I forgot to add, these western atrocities were uncovered and exposed and debated and fought by westerners, but no such self-critical people seem to exist in muslim countries – nothing but propaganda on the glorious histories and such, typical of third world countries. Something like abu gharib or slavery also shows societies that can develop and improve themselves, whereas if anybody talked of similar things in muslim countries he’d have his head cut off. now for the record I don’t mind this, I like nothing better than muslims staying backward.

  • oneplanet

    I’m truly puzzled and shocked at the amount of hatred that’s hidden under the surface. Being the only Muslim on my project, it really makes me worried to think for a minute that I might have coworkers w/ such extreme ideas.

  • commntsbettrthnarticle

    “A study released earlier this year at the European Congress on Obesity concluded that increased energy intake was the most significant cause of the rise in obesity in the United States since the 1970s.

  • homeland1

    Hmmmmmmmm

  • homeland1

    It’s tome: al Islam should now ask the very sobering question: “WHY DOES THE WORLD HATE US” [Musloms/Mozlems/MoSLUMs..]?Ssmmaa [Listen] O’ Al Islam,; Hear Ye Hear O’ ex-Idol Worshiping Pagans suddenly turned al JUDEO-[Abram] iSLAM & CO. [Kosher],This RAMADAN (Fast & Pray & make Hajj) please al Islami’s, please DO-NOT even mention the Word “ALLAH” 1-one Time during this Whole month of Ramadan. INSTEADSince Allah has 99 other names, then say ‘god’ [not our 'G-D'] or say ‘lord’ instead of allah.i.e., Instead of blurting out “Allah Akbar’ or allah karim” then replace the Word ‘allah’ with word ‘god’ or ‘lord’ or ‘almighty’ etc.Can Islami’s learn to NO-not to mention allah even 1-time this ramadan. So there are 98 names too other than ‘allah’!Interesting; the reason i [WE] art saying this is because; Like jelously “Stealing” from the JUDEO[Abram]-JEWISH their word ‘Kosher’ (turning it into islams ‘Hallal’ in Arabic; not original in either Malaysi or Indonesi et al tongues either) or ‘stealing’ the Judeo-Ju word ‘Hallakah’ (turning it into Arabous’s Tribal Clansmans word ‘Sharia’ etc..) Interestingly; the [ETYMOLOGY] word “YA ALLAH” [O' my Lord], or “YA HABiBi” is a name ORIGinally blurrted by Ancient Israeli’s & Canaanites & Aegyptins et al used in Mid East Way Way Way before Mr. Mu-’Ham’-'Mad’ & CO., hijacked (not only planes but ABRHAHMs rejected’ HAGAR’s (a Gazan Concubine) 1st son ISHMAEL story & rejected Jacobs son 1st born ESAU stories too) Both such stories & Practices with a Twist!Soo, 2′s (two) of the most Original Religions SYSTEMS (man made) is a Company & 3 (three) is a Crowd! Even if there’s 4th religions or 5th or 6th.. it’s not Original. SooChristianity + Islam + Mormon + Buddhist + Confucius + Tao, Shinto et al are ALL fake Religions based on MONEY, JEALOUSY (i.e., as in competition; or my god is better/true’r than your gods attitude etc..), GREED & FEAR (Hellfire & Brimestone or Heaven where the Virgins are…!G-D is an “IT” and “IT” is NO-not a “HE” nor a “SHE”. So Islam, Learn to say “IT” instead of Allah also. “IT” has manymanymany names [infinite; nNO/not fixed [quranic/koranic] as in ’99 names’ anymore!Then Islam will be ‘a Religion of Peace’ and thus Mr. Mu-Ham-Mad “WAR BLESSINGS” will be corrected drastically! And then the Quran will have to be changed to fit the Signs & Times of the Modern Future! Hint: Forward thinking & doing; not never backward doing & thinking.O’ LORD [in Liue of Allah] forgive Shiia & Sunni’s for they too do not know what they reap & so; Doeth & doneth. ALLAH + MUHAMAD & CO., is/are at ISLAManiacs!

  • cibikay

    Fasting is not confined to Islam.Other religions too practise it as an aid to devotion.For example,a good many Hindus fast regularly throughout the year.Faith appears to be as effective as the physical process of fasting in promoting good health.Naturally,this is ignored most of the time these days.

  • gwymer

    I really have to laugh at all the comments here from the religious. If the commentator were speaking of a Jewish or Christian fast, I would say the same thing: what a bunch of tripe. If fasting is so great for your health, then why don’t you all live like that throughout the year? And is it only in Ramadan or at Easter or Christmas or at Passover that the religious are to be reminded of their own fundamental beliefs of charity, love and righteous living? Why do we comment here about these lame articles? Why is it any of our business? I guess it’s simply our convictions about humanity in general, a belief that we don’t need your insights, suggestions and gentle prodding toward righteousness and superstition. And without religion and the ridiculous nonsense that it causes otherwise intelligent people to write or say it just gets to be a little much to have to be constantly confronted with the nonsense that pervades this hyper-cultic nation. But then I must also understand that in most Islamic nations, writers have little chance of speaking their opinions without retribution from some sect of their own religion or their state. And yes, here in America, we are free to be as ignorant and stupid as we can be. (Our government prefers it that way actually; is it not obvious?). So yes, go ahead and write and talk about your wonderful lives with Yahweh, Christ or Allah. For myself, and maybe this is just my peculiarity, I think it’s better for you all to just talk amongst yourselves and be giddy together. But if you put it all out there in public, we, the non-theists or atheists, or agnostics, the humanists and secularists will and should address you. So buck up and stop your whining.

  • isheetmuhdraws

    Sorry, if you’re trying to convince me of the benefits taking in less calories based on research, that’s one thing. If you’re coming to me with some bullsh*t about the prophet Muhammad or Jesus or whatever God one believes in, that’s a totally different story. There are probably lots of reasons why there are so many offensive comments on here but I have a feeling (like your prophet) that one major reason is this notion of injecting religious based thought/practices into discussions based on science. I am sorry, if you want to preach about the spiritual principles behind Ramadan, you may want to publish this article in various countries in the middle east and see if they can perhaps have the same sort of open mindedness towards allowing other religious thought and practices to be observed in countries are based on Islamic principles. Religion has no place in scientific though, any religion. But you also have to understand why there is a higher than normal amount of negative comments because of all the countries in the world, it’s the ones that are Islamic based that tend to have the least amount of freedom for women and others who choose to follow a path different than that of Islam. I am not a Christian but I am a legal immigrant of this country and I am very thankful that it affords me the opportunity to follow whichever religion I choose and the ability to speak freely. That cannot be said of most Islamic countries….and that’s a fact!

  • ccnl1

    Hmmm, it is good to see that the Homeland1′s gibberish got lost in good commentaries. Maybe Homeland1 will finally get the message.

  • alya

    I can’t help but to wonder if this article were dealing with some aspect of the Jewish faith, would there be this many offensive comments? I doubt it, because nobody would want to be labeled an Anti-Semite. And yet there is a lot of anti-semitism coming through in these comments (for those of you who don’t know, Arabs are Semitic people, too).

  • sjmitche3

    Ramadan Mubarak, Y’All!It is also important to remember that Ramadan is time to develop new habits. 30 days to develop a new habit – stopping smoking, controlling anger, stopping backbiting, stopping bad language, or whatever good habit you want to develop. Steve Pavlina is popular and rich for the concept of 30 days to develop a new habit – proving that people want to make a change for better. What makes this process special is as Muslims we are doing this together and some things in our daily routine change. As a Muslim community we are all focusing on when the moon is sighted for the start of Ramadan and the end of Ramadan for the Eid. We fast in the day and pray at night with the hoping of getting spiritually closer to God. It is also important to separate culture from Islam as well. Binge eating at the breaking of the fast is not what Islam advocates. It advocates balance and moderation.And for all the haters, don’t knock until you’ve tried it. 30 days to a better mind, spirit and body.

  • jcpr

    Yes, I know that fasting is good for your through out the year not just on Ramadan months. Come on Its amazing how the muslims community specially the so-called experts tries hard the religious costoms to the “West” like US, Brazil and the rest of us to learn their fallible ways upon us. We are being inundated by these morons specially in Brazil with theirs religious ways. We don’t need your religion we are a free christian country and live in peace. the washington post is promoting religion and soon the Brazilian media will follow suite with same garbage. Enough. if you try science into this don;t bring special month of the year to do this, this is simple religion from the east to the West.

  • Kitka

    @ ONEPLANET:I am not a Muslim–we won’t go into the adventure that is my own spiritual journey here–but I wanted to try and offer you strength and encouragement in the wake of reading the deeply foul and reactionary comments featured here today.We are seldom given to know the deepest mind of those we live near or work with. But having a faith or a belief system, as you do, I’m sure you know you also have a powerful tool for sound, rich, and compassionate living and being in any environment you inhabit. That tool allows you to pursue time-honored methods for self-cultivation, and for nurturing the link between you and the divine; and in this very way, your belief also prepares you to transcend–through prayer, contemplation, and study–the rampant savagery of spirit and deed that characterizes so many poor, restless souls in this world.Take heart, for there are also people out there like the formidably-named FORTYCALIBERGLOCK, whom I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart for his (or her) service to our nation. Even caught up in the hellish chaos of war, this person somehow considers baptism into the Body of Christ to constitute a sacred and enduring pact, one that calls for thoughtful action to be taken wherever one might be found.Finally, to Professor Nomani: Thank you for your well-made case for responsible and informed fasting. It is obviously up to individuals, households, and communities to determine how they might like to approach this powerful discipline–and their God.I’m with FORTYCALIBERGLOCK (may I call you “FORTY”?) concerning water intake during fasting days, regardless of the weather. My feeling is that such a step would be a necessary adaptation to 21st-century life that would in no way diminish the potential for spiritual communion and development associated with religious fasting.My wish now is for a blessing upon all who read these words, and specifically for the coming of peace–the coming of holy silence–into the hearts of those consumed with enmity, and with pain.

  • homeland1

    –part 2 of 2instead, HELLO: JUDEO-YUDULLA! [as in ADAM & EVE excusively] & VEDIC-HINDULLA! [as RAMA & SiTA excusively] Remember: two’s (2′s) a Company & Three’s a crowd! note: in a way; everybody goes ‘DUTCH’ [each pays/paves/prays/meditate] their own heavenly or hellish way to: or from: “IT”!. Theres No denial nor Escape: so, forget Death & Tax’s!– HOPE, a complement of Innate Religion (not/No man made), is more Powerfull than man-made RELIGiON/Faith/Belief System(s)!Remember the “H.{O.U.R.” is Cometh already! Where “H” means H.OLY & “O” means O.UR & “U” means U.NIVERSAL & “R” = R.ELIGION/Innate!WE [i] “HUe{MATE”(s) Kinds; not HUMAN Unkinds anymore are Prophetically appearing, justly for a time; to ‘REVERSE THE “DRUNKIN NOAH” [racist] CURSE” (aka WAR BLESSING) stories; and to reverse the “ARJUNA & KRISHNA [racist] CASTE” stories and other blasphamous & PRE-Apocalyptic Illusions/Dillusions, et al SUPERSTUPIDSTITIOUS Symptoms!!Revelation: The Children of ALL iSLAM will rebel against their own Parents; especially SHARIA slavery sytems! “SECULARISM” is the PROMISE! The INHERITANCE! O’ O’ Ye foolish & Jealous Judeo-Islami’s etal, whom suddenly hath [not authentic/unique] a (MY)RELIGION!! ALLAH has foresaken All of You! [No Exceptions]!O’ Creator of PHOTONS [LiFE, aka LOVE, not SEX] DO-NOT/NO forgive them; For they knowth what they DOeth! Repentance, Forgiveness etc.. Doth not help YE Jealous & gods fearing Selfish [man-made] Religion(s)!HARK! The “RELiGION of everything, before the SCiENCE of everything” is here!HALLALUYA! Praise the Holyi NO-MAN/WOMB! Praise “IT”!

  • vicweast

    I often wonder why when religion enters the conversation so many respond with complete and utter nonsense or worse. It is interesting that something that is entirely based on an act of personal faith should result in so much blood shed and such rhetorical twisting of the will of others.As an atheist, I found this article very interesting but I also found some of the comments offensive, inflammatory and evidence that there are deeply disturbed people among us.

  • Abigail12

    I think this is a great article, it’s thoughtful, thought provoking and just plain interesting. I could definitely learn some positive things about myself through fasting – and I dare say that it would make me much more aware of wastefullness. Thank you for the intelligent and heart warming article, it’s really nice to hear different perspectives and ideas. I am saddened by the ragingly judgemental and ignorant comments being posted here, I sincerely apologize for them – I’m embarassed and ashamed that someone could write those things about a person let alone a whole culture. Perhaps the comments serve a good purpose though – to remind me that every culture has those who harbor hateful thoughts and whose actions I would hope not be used in the judgement of myself by other people and nations.Peace be with all of you. Thank you for writing this article, it’s lovely.

  • robertredick

    Please note that the furious, frothing, hysterical remarks here nearly all contain anti-Muslim sentiment. Few or none contain anti-Western or anti-Christian remarks. People, go get help! Life is short. Don’t waste it in mindless hate. And don’t imagine that you sound brave or righteous when you rant. It’s just embarrassing and hurtful. There will always be an Other to fear and despise. But that’s the easy path, and it runs downhill into darkness.

  • mcjohn

    What I find offensive is people that category all America as holding the same opinions as a few morons that make judgments base on zero facts.

  • BOBSTERII

    Posted by: mcjohnANSWER:

  • BOBSTERII

    It took 3000 dead Americans on Sept.11, it took atacking 2 Islamic countries, it took hundreds of thousands of dead muslims, it took atacking England, it took atacking Spain, it took opening two prisons for Muslims only, it took 6000 dead american soldiers and took 8 years;

  • patriot30

    Interesting that “devout” Muslims ignore sawm during Ramadan and continue bombing, torturing and killing Americans and even those of other Muslim sects. I am sure Mohammad would rather the faithful abstain from violence than food, if they have to choose only one.

  • homeland1

    Correction again:Starting at “IT’s TiME; that Al islam & CO., start asking, WHY DOES THE WORLD on S.S. EARTH HATE US [JUDEO-ISLAMICS]. AndEnding therein at, ” ALLAH + MUHAMAD & CO., is & are ANGRY at ISLAManiacs! — Note again:On the JUDEO-JU holiday “YOM KIPPUR” [Atonement, aka Respect our "MEME"s] that they too ‘MUST” starve for a Day. YetThose whom are Medically excused can & Also the KiNDA/kids from a certain young age threshold!But 30 Days???Well; We’ll get to enjoy more ‘Shishkabab’ [Lambi, Chicki..] & less price.?HOMDULLA! {praise god]!

  • Kingofkings1

    Thank you for a knowledegable and timely article.I don’t mind seeing the negative reactions because I think it’s a reflection of most societies: 10 percent evil, 10 percent saintly and 80 percent in between.

  • patriot30

    It is ironic that during Ramadan, many “devout” Muslims ignore the requirement of sawm by continuing to bomb, torture and murder Americans and even Muslims of other sects. I am sure that Mohammad would prefer his followers refrain from violence rather than fast, if they can only attain one of the decreed restraints.

  • patriot30

    It is ironic that during Ramadan, many “devout” Muslims ignore the requirement of sawm by continuing to bomb, torture and murder Americans and even Muslims of other sects. I am sure that Mohammad would prefer his followers refrain from violence rather than fast, if they can only attain one of the decreed restraints.

  • rcubedkc

    I don’t know how long ramadam is, nor do I care but if you want to be a real good muzlum, fast for the duration.Who knows, you might even go see allah.

  • noorismail1

    rksingh1987:”ONE UNIVERSAL CREATOR GOD. If this YOUR God,why so much Hate?patriot30:homeland1:Your medication is your friend.Don’t be afraid.

  • worlok

    The fasting thing is interesting and people like the late Dr Walford extolled it for YEARS. This is nothing new, and it is also called caloric restriction. Ironically Dr Walford passed too soon due to a totally unrelated disease which sadly killed him.It just disturbs me when I read in an American newspaper the quoting of that religious book from the Arabian peninsula. Why do you call it the “Holy …” and not just the “…”. Afraid that some local Muslims will boycott and attack you, or perhaps CAIR will sue?

  • thermalf

    Fasting is especially effective for obese health insurance executives. I’d like them fast for an extended period, say, 6 weeks straight :)

  • Bombones

    @oneplanet: Quoting you “I might have coworkers with such extreme ideas. I’m truly saddened to read these comments”. When I saw this article, I said, here we go!. I am not saddened by the vile,crude and crass comments against Islam/Muslims. On the contrary, it affirms my faith even more. The Glorious Koran is consistently whole in it’s teachings about total moral, socio-politcal normative values, it also admonishes believers to prefer for the worst. In it, God warned Muslims that what Jews,Christians and polytheist say about you (Muslims) is horrible but the they have in their hearts is even worst. All these overwhelming negative postings attest to that fact. And you wonder why groups like alQaeda sprung up all over the place. Oh, I forgot, Muslims just “hate”.

  • probashi

    No argument about benefits of occasional fasting. But the better way would be to limit our intake of food and beverages crammed with calories….and fat. Obese Americans have become the norm rather than oddities.Re: the Islamic practice of fasting during Ramadan, during a trip to Karachi in 1984 I was refused service at the hotel (The Hilton) when I ordered lunch. I am from the Indian sub-continent and, in appearance, could be taken for a Pakistani muslim. Shouldn’t fasting be voluntary? That is what bothers me about Islam — perhaps more than other religions it places strictures on the followers. Why must one pray five times a day! There are times when I get the feeling that fundamentalist Christians here in America would love to have the power the mullahs have. But that is another matter.

  • kindfrazier

    See Rcubedkc…(at 6:14pm)clearly offensive, clearly ugly.He’s the one who posted an earlier call for a bomb to be dropped on theOften posts when the story is about Israel.The Washington Post must love theseAnd never do a thing about their ugliness.

  • noorismail1

    Really this proves:1.The Washington Post attempted to write an article respectful of Islam.2.This is not the spirit of the majority of Americans.3.As Muslims we can not hide our heads and ignore what is happening,while4.The Jews quite wisely took steps to set groups like the Jewish Defense League,to protect their people in this country.5.”If someone puts their hands on you make sure they never put their hands on anybody else again.” — Malcolm XThat just about says it all.

  • BOBSTERII

    Those terrorists happened to be mostly muslims, and they kill people for no damn reason!!! Yeah Right!

  • Palema03

    Oneplanet, you worried that your co-workers may harbor secret anti-Muslim feelings toward you.In my experience, they would not keep them secret for long, and you would know. If people treat you decently, they probably like you and respect your tradition.Most Americans are kindly people; those who are not seem to be getting much more play via the internet than they used to.

  • noorismail1

    BOBSTERII:Well…Yeah.I should have said:

  • rcubedkc

    kindfrazierAnd you’re darn right I post when the subject is Israel. I know Israeli’s and zionists hate it when the facts of Israel’s treachery and duplicity regarding their barbaric, intentional, and repeated attacks against the USS Liberty in international waters which resulted in 34 Americans killed and 171 wounded is brought to light. Google USS Liberty and pick any of the sub headings which include cover up, attack, truth, conspiracy, false flag to see what our “ally” is really all about.And frazier, you can count on me posting about the USS Liberty and the Israel acts of cowardice by repeatedly attacking an unarmed US ship each and every time I see an article about Israel and how they suffer. Yawn

  • anasarca

    This was a good time for Obama to take a vacation.

  • kindfrazier

    Fascinating information about another culture gleaned here…great ideas for my own potential daily food habits…the part about vegetablesThoroughly interesting and worth the reading, told tenderly. Grateful for it.And how stupid and sad that the usual

  • rcubedkc

    nooris, Yup, you’re confused alright.

  • Jade_406

    It’s been around 100 degrees in Cairo all week. Not drinking water must be incredibly difficult, especially for those that work in construction or other jobs where they are in the heat all day. This is terribly unhealthy to deprive yourself of water day after day for a whole month.

  • rcubedkc

    Glad you like that culture so much frazier.Why don’t you head on over to Afghanistan, say the tribal areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan, to enjoy their hospitality?I’m sure they’d love to see you.

  • noorismail1

    rcubedkc:For that you hate the Israelis?Your people kill and wound more than that with every drone attack on a wedding partyBut Muslims have no Just Cause to fight back? You are worse than the Zionists could ever be.You hate because you are so brainwashed you cant see who this war on Islam isHint:It is damn sure not Bubba and Rita!

  • ronaldoroso

    I don’t understand what all the hubbub is about. Anyway, if you can’t fast, the least you can do is speed up a little bit.

  • Learned1

    God is great….

  • noorismail1

    rcubedkc said:”Glad you like that culture so much frazier.Why don’t you head on over to Afghanistan, say the tribal areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan, to enjoy their hospitality?I’m sure they’d love to see you.”You know considering these are some of the most hospitable and sweet people onYou, on the other would run across the street if you met my black ass on the sidewalk at night in you beloved amerekee.

  • Nofarkinidea

    Religion is the antonym of Science. Fasting LOL, scientific study, I can make some garbage about a health fad too, people have been doing it for years, dont believe what you read.

  • Montedoro

    Fasting, if done properly, may be good for your physical health. It may even help to focus your thoughts on spiritual matters. However, there is more to Ramadan than that. In addition to the fasting, followed each day by a celebratory dinner (iftar), Muslims are encouraged to read the entire Qur’an during the month of Ramadan. Remember that for religious Muslims, the Qur’an is not the “inspired Word of God”, but Allah’s literal word — perfect, complete, immutable and valid for all of eternity. Religious Muslims cannot deny the eternal sanctity of any part of the Qur’an. Non-Moslems need to be aware of this!

  • noorismail1

    Please note what another poster said earlier in this thread.”Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Matthew 7:6We all know how Americans love pork and dogs.

  • amal3674

    i enjoyed the article, and was happy to see that my family fasts and breaks fast in a healthy way.those of you who made negative comments towards muslims and islam, i agree with a previous commentor who said we are fasting.. however, please don’t generalize, yes there are bad people who happen to be muslim, there are also bad people in every other religion out ther.. also, if you don’t understand something then you really don’t have the right to make such hostile comments.. if you want to know ask.. if you don’t want to know there is no reason to be offensive.

  • bachirniah

    Let me tell all those who are ignorantly criticising Ramadan and Islam that their comments are full of hatred towards Muslims, based on stereotypes. The man who has written the article is a recognised scientist and is speaking scientifically. Then, why are your comments so emotional? Besides, just google the term “fasting” and you will find out its benefits, which are recognised by non-Muslim scientists. Islam is the fastest spreading religion in the west. Why in your opinion?

  • RezaeEsmaeili

    When I was in high school, I had a teacher who were not drinking water when playing football, it has been said this is his spiritual practice, it seems very crazy to me that time, when I grow up, I found out that human beings face many lustfulness conditions in life (lust of dirty money, dirty position, dirty sex, …) and on that time the person needs enough power to control himself, only the ones who have already practiced enough, can control theirselves at the time of need and Ramadan is the month of practicing. If you don’t understand my words, don’t argue! try to polish your heat, it is too rusty! Listen to your heart! Love your God!Practice once!

  • bgreen2224

    Perhaps fasting can promote better physical and spiritual health.

  • NC-RM

    I am not impressed. The fasting described herin sounds like a normal work day for me. I used to fast once a year for 30 days on juice and water alone. So having an early breakfast, skipping lunch and waiting until after dark to eat is nothing to brag about. Get over yourselves.

  • pnicolai

    I’m not religious at all, and I do think in many cases religion can cause more harm than good. However, this article is written in a way that doesn’t shove any religion down anyone’s throat, so I think anyone with a really nasty reaction to it probably has issues around religion they’re not admitting to themselves. We all need to figure this stuff out for ourselves first, and I know that’s not easy by any measure.No religion is all bad though. Like this article points out most of them have practices that are actually good for you and that’s usually by design. Maybe the people who cooked them up knew it’s easier to get people to take care of themselves and each other if it’s for some imaginary unquestionable deity rather than just for its own sake, which is sad but often true. If there’s anything an atheist (or anyone, really) should take from this, it’s to value life, love, happiness, freedom and justice as worthy and essential goals in themselves. If we don’t, we have no right to criticize any religious person, even ones who proselytize (which this author doesn’t, even). For all the ways religions cause harm, suffering and exploitation in this world, the idea of eating better, not smoking and not being a douchebag to those around us – even for just a month – is a silly thing to argue with.

  • HealingNews

    As an honorary Dr. of Divinity, I have studied and/or practiced most of the major World religions at points in my life. One year I actually went through the Ramadan fast, while reading the Koran cover – to – cover, and found the experience very revealing, worthwhile to ANY person of faith. I would recommend any Christian and Jewish practitioner to read the Koran – the teachings are timeless, with numerous ways of understanding that can only encourage one in leading a pious life.In all religions there are zealots, sometimes defined as fundamentalist radicals, that often do not share favorable examples for the vast majority of people in those faiths. People need to have an “open mind” to treat all as their relatives, each having a right to life. Causing harm to others really should not be part of ANY religious or spiritual practice. This is the only way to true peace.

  • robbiemd

    ‘I have heard it said that war is a necessary Evil. I would contend that it is not necessary, but it is evil.

  • rprosad

    Fasting is healthy, no doubt. It purges the body- cleanses the mind too, specially if it is done with jeal of religious fervor.I grew up in a country where more than 90% are muslim. I saw all my friends from childhood fasted during ramadan. The kind of fasting they did was less than healthy. Muslims in Bangladesh- eat a big (over the capacity they can) meaty meal (laden with all kinds of food which excites the body) just before the sunrise. After that they go to bed and sleep almost half a day to save time (not to mention the whole country paralizes during ramadan- very productive indeed!!!). After getting up during noon, even after noon- they start preparing for the food they will eat to break the fast. Their mind remains in the food all the day.A soft liquid food or very mild food after fasting would be very congenial for body- commonsense suggest. I saw the foods that are eaten during breaking of fast is everything but mild. And as cosequece whatever should happen- it happens- they routinely throw up after breaking fast. Statistics does not substantiate that the poeple in the islamic country is any healthier than others. This is not a proof that “fasting is not healthy” but the way muslims do it is definitely not.

  • mercychristian

    While I think fasting is fine, it really doesn’t make us holier. Jesus said, “I desire mercy not sacrifice.” Jesus was saying, for example that instead of fasting occasionally, we should care about others and therefore not be gluttons any part of the time but rather eat wisely so we have money to help the poor. If we focus on showing mercy to others all the time then we don’t need to make self-sacrifices to feel holy. Jesus was saying the way you score points with God – the way to be holy, is by living a life of showing mercy to others – not by making occasional self-sacrifices.

  • onehumanity

    hello everybody

  • laclede

    Although I am not Muslim, regular fasting does help me also. I feel that when I do it properly, I am closer to the Spirit of the Lord – more sensitive to God’s influence. The health benefits are a bonus, but I appreciate more the fact that through combined fasting and prayer, I have personally experienced the reality of the healing power available through the atonement of Jesus Christ. He’s not just a story figure to me, but a real friend.I hope people of all faiths discover the spiritual benefits of fasting and prayer. We may differ in our understanding of God, but I’m convinced he loves us all. Let’s all live our religions, and do our best to draw closer to God (Allah). And things will work out well.

  • aquariusveni

    I can’t believe it! Once again the people of the world are fighting among each other, offending, defending and basically just dividing the world based on religion, again! It’s shameful that God’s finest creation, humans have become the the most vilest, pathetic and evil of all. Humanity is the only religion I believe in – respect humans and their existence. And that is what God wants us to do. Committing a grave sin against another human being will definitely bar our souls from entry into any heaven regardless of how many baths we take in the holy ganga or how many trips we make to mecca or confess to a priest.

  • ccnl1

    And again Homeland1 “blesses” us with his/her gibberish. What drives this “gibberisher”? Obfuscation and/or simple blog hogging??

  • homeland1

    …………………………………………………………………

  • ccnl1

    And again Homeland1 “blesses” us with his/her gibberish. What drives this “gibberisher”? Instigation, obfuscation and/or simple blog hogging??

  • truechristian

    It is very sad that you accomodate comments full of hate but you are chosy about the comments which try to bridge gaps. I still wonder why my earlier comment was not displayed.

  • truechristian

    Being brought up from the age of 4 at a Catholic school run by nuns, then from 11 to 18 at a school run mainly by Benedictine monks, I had undergone years of formal religious education. However, except for some various stories from the Bible, I felt I hadn’t a clue as to the relationship between Christianity and real life. Also, there were just so many inherent contradictions and “mysteries” that our school teachers veered away from — so long as you had faith.So on the one hand at school we were taught to analyze and question the rationale behind biology, chemistry, and so on, but religion was above such earthly proofs. Not surprisingly, my fellow pupils did their best to escape from compulsory church services and ceremonies. I found hymns particularly dreary; saintly statues made me queasy rather than comforted. Priestly vestments and church ornamentation alienated rather than satisfied.I too had embarked on a refutation of Islam through reading. I searched for the weak spot — so then I could triumph over these Arabs! I only read booklets and books that I carefully chose myself, looking only for those that were as impartial and frank as possible, written by both Muslims and non-Muslims. I began to realize the astonishing range of issues Islam deals with, particularly on the social side. From hygiene to education, from war time and economics, to racism, to nationalism. No matter is too small to escape its rational instruction. Throughout, the Qur’an addresses mankind, not just the bickering Arab tribes of the time. It is not limited to the period of revelation but appears to speak down the ages. I found the tone consistently serious and majestic but always simple and crystal clear. It all seemed rather practical and sensible. Religion was just not supposed to be like this. Could all this be thought up by an illiterate man 1,400 years ago? Well, maybe.Christianity directs to turn the other cheek; whereas Islam says fight for your rights, but only when you are oppressed. Christianity says that a rich man will never enter heaven. Islam says that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with wealth; it is good so long as it is acquired legally and a portion (2.5 percent) given yearly to the poor. Wealth is distinguished from greed. The noble ideals of Christianity break down in the real world.

  • truechristian

    …contd..The Christian clergy of priests, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, etc. Why do we need a hierarchy? Could a religion operate without one? And there’s more, but I’ll spare you.Islam graciously cut through this ideological nightmare. One by one these muddled dogmas were clearly debunked as I dug deeper in my research. I was interested to learn that the central Christian tenets above were trashed out by a conference 300 years after Christ died. The conference was heavily prejudiced by the powerful Roman emperor of the time: not exactly divine. The monks must have forgotten to mention all that. Surprisingly, in Islam, Christ is a highly revered prophet. Also, like Muhammad, he would never be termed divine. In fact many Muslims are named `Isa (Arabic for Jesus), and Christ and Mary are mentioned in the Qur’an more times than Muhammad.Position of Jesus in Islam: Btw, imagine the hatred we have for Islam and everything related to Islam and muslims just because media is too biased against them for their vested interested.

  • truechristian

    …contd…I remember a Christian friend of mine complained that the Mass never seemed the same when they switched over from Latin to English — it was better when you couldn’t understand it.So, this is the sorry state to Christianity today. Therefore the result: My hunches that these were man-made doctrines were finally proven right. It was quite a relief. Whatever issue I examined in Islam, I could not find error nor did I have to stretch my credibility. Surely then it cannot be of human origin? No wonder the monks at school kept it all well hidden.In comparison, the Bible goes in great detail regarding local events, internal wars, what so-and-so did, and local politics. All very fascinating at the time, but hardly an eternal guide for all mankind. The Bible was, of course, composed by men — and reads like a diary of the times. For example, the Gospel according to Saint… . I long wondered how that makes it divine. There are few grand concepts. The text is addressed to the small tribes of Judea. The statements authentically attributed to Christ himself are but a few dozen, and even those are colored by St. Paul and others. Also, the version we read today is translated through from Aramaic to Hebrew to Greek to Latin to English. What text could possibly have survived unchanged —especially when so many had a vested interest in the content? The many conspicuous contradictions are well known, even by Christians.

  • truechristian

    ..contd..I often felt Islam was dogmatic, loaded with tough restrictions and regulations. Was it all necessary? Can’t we just go out and have a good time and do what we want? But upon closer examination, I saw that those who “suffer” most by such restrictions are the strongest of society. Who are these? The wealthy, young, healthy, usually male. Who are vulnerable? Women, the poor, the sick, the very young and the very old. All are strongly protected by Islamic Law, centuries before the welfare state was dreamed of. For exampleWho drinks and enjoys alcohol the most? Men. However, who actually suffers most from alcoholism? Battered wives and abused children, not to mention the thousands killed or maimed by drunk drivers.Who’s restricted most by the prohibition of sexual promiscuity? A man can walk away from pregnancy. Women are biologically inclined to monogamy. So who pays the real price of promiscuity? The unwanted baby born to a single mother left to fend for herself.Who benefits from the clothing restriction on women? Hardly the men. Women are protected and respected from predatory males, rape, and pregnancy.Who enjoys and profits financially from pornography? Throughout history this has always been a male thing. Not many magazines seem to be owned or bought by women. It’s well known that rapists and child abusers (men again, I’m afraid) are often driven and seduced by explicit pornography.Who suffers by giving obligatory charity? The rich.Who wants to care about the elderly in a society that worships youth? It’s such a nuisance to hedonistic young people. Muslims are obliged to look after their parents and all the elderly. Again the weak are given security.The list goes on.It’s clear that “harsh” Islamic rules actually protect the weak and those without a voice in society. It’s not surprising, then, that the abhorrence against Islam, even from the very beginning at the time of Muhammad, came from the high and mighty of society. The entertainment moguls of Hollywood and elsewhere today see Islam as a severe threat to their profit margins. It’s not so surprising, then, that the vast majority of those reverting to Islam are women. Also, I noticed that it was the under-trodden of society, such as the destitute Hindus of India and blacks in racist America, who feel that only Islam’s ideals can address their problems.

  • truechristian

    ..contd…We harbour so much of hatred and prejudice against muslims just because of the government sponsored media. YVONNE Ridley made headlines when, following the September 11th attacks, she was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Freed after ten days of captivity, she returned home a public figure. Almost two years after that, the multiple award-winning journalist and author again made news. On June 30, 2003, Yvonne accepted the faith of her captors — she became a Muslim. We need to ask, if muslims treat their women badly how come this learned woman embraced Islam, the faith of Taliban? Now who is intolerent We or They?

  • ibiz

    Dear Washngton Post;Please do all humanity a favor and do not publish any more articles on Islam or Moslem beliefs unless the author has “stein” or “berger” in his/her last name. Than the article will be well received or atleast people will not have negative comments as they will be frightened of lawsuit or uproar from AIPAC or JDL or being labelled “anti-Semite”As it is 8 years of Bush and the Neocons have done enough to truly label all Muslims as terrorists. So please do not publish any article about Islam in the future. Its ok when the 7th Day Adventist guys knock on my door every Saturday with Bible in their hands and waving Come to the Lord brochures in my face. Its ok when we are hammered about Jewish this and Jewish that in most American sitcoms and tv programs but its not ok writing even a bit positive about Islam in US. And talking about democracy and secularism and “freedom” in US…. we see the hatred right here for non-Christian, non-Jews. Talk about Arab countries? Well, they never call or claim themselves to be democratic or secular but Americans just pretend to be liberal and tolerant.

  • truechristian

    @CCNL1 Here is my list:The word terrorism was first coined in 1790’s during the French Revolution. The years 1793 and 1794 were called as ‘The Reign of Terror’ or ‘Years of Terror.’ During these years Maximilin Robespierre guillotined thousands of innocents. He arrested more than 500,000 out of which he executed 40,000. More than 200,000 were deported and more than 200,000 were starved and tortured to death in the prisons.Today there is a statement, which is being repeatedly bombarded, especially in the western media and that statement is, ‘All Muslims are not Terrorist, but all Terrorist are Muslims.’ But here are the historical records on terrorist attacks that speak a different picture:19th century – We hardly find any terrorist attacks done by Muslims.•1881 – Tsar Alexander was assassinated in a Bomb Blast. He was traveling in a bulletproof carriage in St. Pietersburg Street. The first bomb kills innocent 21 bystanders. The second bomb killed him while he was stepping out of the car. He was killed by Ignacy Hryniewiecki. He was Anarchists.

  • truechristian

    …Contd..After World War II•After World War II from 1941 to 1948, the Jewish Terrorists conducted 259 terrorist attacks.

  • truechristian

    ..Contd…•In UK since hundred years IRA (The Irish Republican Army) is conducting Terrorist attacks against UK. They are Catholics. But are never called as Catholic Terrorist. In 1972 IRA conducted 3 bomb blasts. In the first blast 7 were killed, in second blast 11 were killed and in the third 9 were killed.

  • truechristian

    ..Contd…In Sri Lanka, the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam) is the most notorious. It is the most violent terrorist organisation in the world. They are experts in suicide bombings and they even train children to take part in suicide bombings.Normally people know Palestinian suicide bombings, Iranian suicide bombing, but they don’t know that LITTE are people who have popularized to suicide bombings. The LTTE i.e. Tamil tigers, they are Hindus.In India majority of the terrorist attacks are talked about the Kashmiri militants. In India there are terrorist organization belonging to almost all different religions. They have Sikh terrorist, the ‘Bhindranwala’ in Punjab. If you go to South Asian Terrorism portal run by Non-Muslims, and if you see the list of terrorist attacks done by all the people, you will find the Muslims in a minority. But that is never highlighted in the media.On 5 June, 1984, the Indian Security Forces took over the Golden Temple in which 100 people were killed. In retaliation on 31 October, 1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh security guard. In Tripura there are Christian terrorist organizations called ATTF (All Tripura Tiger Force) and NLFT (National Liberation Front of Tripura). On the 2 October, 44 Hindus were killed by these Christian terrorists.Also in India, in Assam state they have ULFA (United Liberation Front of Assam). ULFA in the 16 years from 1990 to 2006 has conducted successfully 749 confirmed terrorist attacks. The ULFA will put the Kashmiri militants to shame. But in the newspapers we only hear of Kashmiri militant. Why? The ULFA are trained to kill the Muslims, they are Hindus. How many times do we hear about them?

  • truechristian

    ..Contd..From all these things we can surely say that Terrorism is not a Muslim Monopoly. Not a Muslim monopoly, it is not even a specialty of the Muslims. It is not even encouraged by Islam. The Quran says in chp.5, verse.32, that “If anyone kills any human being, except as a punishment for murder or creating mischief in the land, it will as though he had killed the entire humanity”. Most of the religions don’t preach that you should kill innocent human being. Terrorism is not the monopoly of any religion.

  • truechristian

    The human being who has killed the maximum people is Adolf Hitler. Hitler incinerated 6 million Jews. He was Christian. Joseph Stalin (Uncle Joe) killed 20 million human beings; including 14.5 million were starved to death. Mao Tse Tsung of China killed 14 to 20 million human beings. He was Non Muslim. Benito Mussolini of Italy killed 400,000 human beings. Maximilin Robespierre during the French revolution starved and tortured 200,000 people to death and executed 40,000 people. Ashoka in one battle of Kalinga alone killed more than 100,000 people. He was a Hindu. Saddam Hussein killed a few 100 thousands people. But the embargo put by George Bush and the USA alone killed more than half a million Iraqi children. In Indonesia, Muhammad Suharto killed 500,000 people.This is nothing compared to Hitler or uncle Joe nothing compare to Mao TSE sung each individual will put the Muslims to shame. I am not trying to say that these individual they were religious. If they would have religious then they would not have committed such acts. But yet we find in the international media that the Muslims are called as fundamentalist, extremists and terrorists. The American Revolution took place in the 19th century. According to the British Government the terrorist No. 1 that time was Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.

  • truechristian

    Recently in July 2009, Marwa al-Sherbini, a 32-year-old Egyptian-German pregnant Muslim woman was stabbed to death 18 times as she prepared to testify against her assailant, who was in court to appeal a previous defamation conviction against her. The assailant, knonw only as Alex W., had been convicted and fined €750 ($1,050) last year for calling Sherbini a “terrorist,” “b*tch” and “Islamist” after she asked him to leave a swing for her three-year-old son Mustafa. Alex also stabbed Sherbini’s husband, Elwi Ali Okaz while he was trying to save his wife. And adding further insult to injury, a security guard shot Okaz in the leg because he mistook the husband for the attacker because of his ethnic looks according to German prosecutors.Unfortunately not a single word from the western media about this senseless racist crime. It simply proved anti-Muslim sentiment in Europe “Just imagine if the situation was reversed and the victim was a Westerner who was stabbed anywhere in the world or in any Middle Eastern country by Muslim extremists?Remember Iran and that young girl that was supposedly killed in the streets. This was before MJ’s death. She was all over the news. Now, I don’t like the regime in Iran, but one has to think of the Western media’s double standard and the Western led Shah-protesters in Iran. The media was quick to cover her “tragic death,” but poor Marwa al-Sherbini is stabbed 18 times-18 times in a courtroom–what do the authorities do they shoot her husband. Where is the Western media? In Palestine we see the same thing everyday; the Israelis kill innocent women and children and the Western media makes it appear it was the Palestinians fault.

  • ccnl1

    Truechristian,You noted:”But the embargo put by George Bush and the USA alone killed more than half a million Iraqi children.”You might want to check your references and please share them with us. Most appear to be unsubstantiated numbers promulgated by anti-war, anti-Bush Democrats with possibly some Arab money supporting said individuals.With respect to the history of atrocities, please review one of the better studies atAnd we do have the followers of Judaism and some of the other ancient religions as “shining” examples of how to deal with “non-believers”: to wit:Exodus 32: 3,000 Israelites killed by Moses for worshipping the golden calf. Numbers 31: After killing all men, boys and married women among the Midianites, 32,000 virgins remain as booty for the Israelites. (If unmarried girls are a quarter of the population, then 96,000 people were killed.)Joshua 8: 12,000 men and women, all the people of Ai, killed. Joshua 10: Joshua completely destroys Gibeon (“larger than Ai”), Makeddah, Libnah, Lachish, Eglon, Hebron, Debir. “He left no survivors.” Joshua 11: Hazor destroyed. [Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews (1987), estimates the population of Hazor at ?> 50,000] Judges 1: 10,000 Canaanites k. at Battle of Bezek. Jerusalem and Zephath destroyed. Judges 8: 120,000 Midianite soldiers k. by Gideon Judges 20: Benjamin attacked by other tribes. 25,000 killed. 1 Samuel 4: 4,000 Isrealites killed at 1st Battle of Ebenezer/Aphek. 30,000 Isr. k. at 2nd battle. David: 1 Kings 20: 100,000 Arameans killed by Israelites at Battle of Aphek. Another 27,000 killed by collapsing wall. 2 Chron 13: Judah beat Israel and inflicted 500,000 casualties. 2 Chron 25: Amaziah, king of Judah, k. 10,000 from Seir in battle and executed 10,000 POWs. Discharged Judean soldiers pillaged and killed 3,000. 2 Chron 28: Pekah, king of Israel, slew 120,000 Judeans TOTAL: That comes to about 1,283,000 mass killings specifically enumerated in the Bible

  • beetab6

    Another killing! (1) The delegation consisting of Pandit Sundarlal, Kazi Abdul Ghaffar and Moulana Abdulla Misri arrived at Hyderabad on the 29th of November and returned to Delhi on the 21st of December 1948. During this period we toured through 9 out of the 16 district s of the state, visiting 7 district headquarters, 21 towns and 23 important villages. In addition we interviewed over 500 people from 109 such villages as we did not visit

  • truechristian

    @ CCNL1

  • truechristian

    @ CCNL1

  • truechristian

    -CCNL1

  • truechristian

    @ CCNL1

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    @ CCNL1

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    @ CCNL1

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    @ CCNL1

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