A danger to health and happiness
The idea of fasting is to allow the body to detoxify, by not consuming any food but by drinking an adequate amount of water, the digestive system gets to have a rest and the accumulated toxins in the body are released.
On a spiritual level, because there is no energy involved in digestion, energy is freed for spiritual contemplation and meditation. A great many mystics and spiritualists fast for this reason, but we should not overlook its importance for simply cleaning house.
The normal fasting procedure which is done for the health of body and mind which also has the support of the medical system is that on your last day of food, the food itself is particularly healthy and smaller than normal quantity. The fasting period can be variable and is typically between one and five days.
When one is in good health the person fasting will typically only consume a moderate amount of water, but if their helpers not very good, they may consume medicinal teas or a specially made broths. At the end of the fasting period a specially prepared light meal is eaten to re-energise or invigorate the digestive tract.
This method of fasting is a scientifically designed process to improve human well-being. But the fasting done over Ramadan (or Ramazan) although it is called a fast is simply a dietary modification that has many far-reaching effects.
For a period of 30 days Muslims around the world avoid eating and drinking during the hours of daylight, but what tends to happen is that the night becomes a time for feasting.
We are habituated by our lifestyle to have regular meals during the day and breaking that cycle can cause some emotional upheaval. Sometimes when one has missed a meal, when they sit down to eat at the next meal, they often feel particularly ravenous and consumed more than they would normally.
Excessive eating overloads the digestive tract and food that is not properly digested passes through the small and large intestine which upsets the biochemical and biological balance of the entire digestive system. Extra smelly farts are a symptom of this.
Fasting during the day should really cause no problem, it’s simply a matter of missing a few meals. What would normally happen as the body begins to detoxify and some people may experience headaches or lethargy. If a person were to drink plenty of water, that would help the detoxification process, but during Ramadan people are not supposed to eat or drink.
That means that although the body is trying to detoxify, it doesn’t have enough fluid to do the job but the ‘junk or toxins’ quite literally emerged from the body structures but there is no process to help remove them from the body. This is where drinking plenty of water is so important while fasting because it helps the body to remove the toxins and normal body wastes.
The simple analogy to fasting and not drinking is that the body systems become clogged up. Then with the breaking of the fast in the evening as happens in Ramadan, because the person is very hungry they overeat and their entire body system that is trying to eliminate toxic waste is suddenly overloaded with a rich intake of food.
In effect this is a process of turning life upside down. It moves eating from daytime to nighttime. By eating food during the day we burn off some of the energy throughout activities and our activities and simple movements also help the digestive metabolism and the proper function of the digestive tract. But by consuming a large amount of rich food at night and then sleeping on it, it causes a great deal of stagnation within the digestive tract.
The medical implications
All round the world, during Ramadan there is a large increase in the number of Muslims being rushed to hospital with heart attacks and strokes because this adaptation to lifestyle increases the risk of health problems. But it’s not only heart problems, other problems like constipation and bowel cancer can be attributed to this lifestyle change.
In essence, the fasting regime of Ramadan is against the nature of the human body. Islamic scripture says that Allah created all life and mankind is on earth and indeed a part of the creation is responsible for maintaining that life. But somehow Muslims seem to overlook the fact that they are part of life and destroying themselves.
Common findings in various studies showed increased irritability, incidences of headaches with sleep deprivation and lassitude prevalent. During the daylight hours of Ramadan fasting, practising Muslims are undoubtedly dehydrating, but it is not clear whether they suffer any long term damage.
The spiritual implications
The purpose of fasting as well as to eliminate toxins from the body is to ease the physiological pressure on the mind which is caused by imbalances within the physical body. In all spiritual traditions the idea of fasting has a great deal of merit because it has a liberating effect which enables a closeness to God.
But as the fasting regime and number done often equates to binge eating and restricting normal body function, it also clouds the mind and reduces the possibilities of a spiritual realisation. So if Muslims are going to fulfil the prophets words, they must also preserve their own individual nature or the nature of their bodies.
The fasting regime of Ramadan existed a long time before Islam. It was a pagan spiritual technology that took place around the spring equinox in the northern hemisphere. But this was a complete fast with very little or no food for this month long period but people were able to drink as much water as they needed. Consequently it served a higher spiritual purpose and even some biblical figures reportedly undertook fasting to achieve closeness with the divine.