Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ceritera 191


Assalamualaikum brothers and sisters..

I have been yearning to share this with all of you for a long time; it’s something that I feel all muslims should know. With the Ramadhan month just around the corner, it is hoped that this year we will all be able to do our ibadah with the real sense of gratitude and appreciation for knowing the science of Ramadhan. Ramadhan is indeed a holy month, everything that comes with big rewards from ALLAH swt is the best for us, and Ramadhan is one of them. Along with this month, is the practice of fasting that we so routinely do and kno w that it is good for our health. Our teachers always mention that it’s time to rest out stomach after non-stop working. But do you actually know the science behind fasting that makes it a special and a wajib practice?

Non-muslim scientists have long ago discovered this, but not even one of them mentioned in their scholarly report that (even though they know) this has been the muslims’ practice since the years of the prophets. Due to this I feel that as a muslim, I must spread the knowledge to all fellow muslims, we shouldn’t be ignorant as what the non-muslims think we are.

The term that they use for this practice is ‘caloric restriction’ and ‘the science of prolongevity’. Why prolongevity? The simple reason is that fasting and reduction in calorie intake by 40 to 60% increases lifespan (actual figure not known but >10 years), in addition to decreasing neurodegenerative disorders (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s etc) and other lifestyle related disea ses. This is equivalent to the amount of calorie intake that is recommended in Ramadhan, provided that we strictly follow the Rasulullah SAW sunnah by not overindulging ourselves at iftar and night. It isnt only about reducing weight, but it goes further down to the cellular level.

Next, is the nitty gritty detail, which I will try to simplify. Our body naturally produce small amount of free radical oxygen called superoxide during cellular oxidative respiration, triggered by food intake, to supply energy. This is OK, as our bodies are also equipped with enzyme defense systems to neutralised the radicals. Problems will occur when we overeat. The more food we eat, the more respiration will occur and the higher the metabolic rate. Unless we are very fit athletes, who consume oxygen more efficiently, the cellular respiration will leak more superoxide and cause what is called ‘oxidative stress’. These radicals are very reactive and can damage cellular components inc luding the DNA. Prolonged oxidative stress may damage DNA which may progress to cancer. In addition, superoxide can also deteriorate cellular components causing cell degeneration and death. These are all the beginning of chronic diseases, which we may not feel a thing until we reach our 40’s or even 30’s.

ALLAH created superoxide not to damage us, REMEMBER bad and unworthy things only come from ourselves and not from ALLAH. Superoxide is also released by our antibodies to fight microorganisms invading our systems, hence in this case it is doing us a favour by protecting ourselves from infection. Subhanallah, everything created by ALLAH in this world is for a good reason, even though sometimes we only see the bad side of it.

Numerous scientific studies have shown that oxidative stress is the backbone of most chronic diseases, especially neurodegeneration (nyanyuk). Maintaing sanity will ensure we will always have our aqal, a priceless gift f rom ALLAH. The brain is one of the most susceptible organs to oxidative stress because it consumes a lot of oxygen for energy. Reducing calories and fasting, slows down metabolic rate, lowers radical production and oxidative stress. To add quality to our fasting routine we are also encouraged to iftar with fresh fruits and water. Why not iced milo or cool nesacafe and murtabak etc etc?? Fresh fruits provide loads of antioxidant phytochemicals and have lower calories, and dates are high in natural sugars which will immediately boost energy, and these combinations will ensure we stay active whilst the antioxidant neutralize superoxide. The water will ensure our body is able to regulate body temperature, and helps to excrete toxic metabolic byproducts. Now, isn’t that truly what we call detoxification process? All in all Ramadhan is the month when our bodies have the least metabolic insult, and thus less damages occur. No wonder Rasulullah only slept a few hours at night or har dly sleeps at all during Ramadhan (and any other months too) and always perform Qiamullaill. All of us (sorry to mention) sleep too much (including me!) because we damage our cells too much, and need the extra rest for our systems to be repaired…

If we comply with the Ramadhan fasting and Rasulullah’s sunnah of caloric restriction (stop eating before satiety) , then we should be able to enjoy healthy and good quality life, no matter what age we get to. To further reduce oxidative stress, it’s good to practice Rasulullah’s sunnah by intermittent fasting, this will further fine tune our bodies and set our metaboic rate to the optimum level.

It’s true that lower metabolic rate will increase the tendency for your body to store fat, but bear in mind that if you follow Rasulullah’s sunnah of caloric restriction and eating small portion at a time, insyaallah you will stay healthy for life, my father is a good example and my IDOL. He’s 75, very active a nd can still teach my 14-year-old daughter Malaya’s history, when I dont even remember a single date.

Last but not least, if exercise is included in the package, not only will our bodies have low oxidative stress, it will also boost our natural antioxidant defense, ready to face any challenges (many others) which may lead to oxidative stress. and as I mentioned above, we will consume oxygen better if we are fit.

No wonder Ramadhan is the third obligation of Islam. Now, don’t you think that ISLAM is beautiful? Isn’t it truly our fitrah? Of course, you will double the bonus when you follow other sunnahs and the Al-Quran. You get to stay healthy, and ALLAH promised the jannah for good islam practice. Cool….

Many who know me will think it’s easy for me to say as I am naturally not a big eater. But the challenges are still there, fasting (especially outside Ramadhan) is not an easy task. I myself am still struggling, shame on me. Stayin g active is the hardest part, but it’s a MUST, as it trains your body to use the body’s energy store.

I am writing this not only to motivate you, my dear friends, I am also motivating myself. Let us all be good muslims and stop thinking about the enticing food offered out there. Think ISLAM, think healthy.


PS. Pls forward to all muslims.

Juliana Md Jaffri


Dept of Pharmaceutical Technology

Kulliyyah of Pharmacy

International Islamic University Malaysia

Bandar Indera Mahkota

25200 Kuantan


Taken from here

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