By Angela Smith

I hope upon reading this article that you are blessed with seeing yet another Ramadan or perhaps this is your first Ramadan as a Muslim or you know someone who is a Muslim, but you are wondering why we Muslims fast or how to properly fast.

This year is our second Ramadan in which COVID-19 is here with us which in my opinion makes Ramadan even more special if we are blessed to seeing in through until its end. Ramadan is a time in which Muslims focus on extra acts of worship, prayer, giving in charity, reading Quran, and fasting throughout this holy month from dawn to Sunset.

During this time Muslims fast not just from food and drink including water, but from smoking as well as other acts of pleasure; and because a big part of Ramadan involves food (fasting), you can imagine then that there is a big focus on food. A few years ago, I wrote about the importance of eating a healthy diet and not overindulging as if you were eating an American Thanksgiving Day feast.

In the wake of COVID-19, eating a healthy diet and exercise has become even more important now than what it was ever before. It is said let food be thy medicine and even our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), used to recommend certain foods over others.

The Noble Quran in Surat Al-Baqarah even tells us to eat from what is lawful and good. "O mankind eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Shaytan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy." (Quran 2:168)

How may one follow the footsteps of shaytan when it comes to food you may ask and is not shaytan locked up during the month of Ramadan you may add. You may not have even thought about this one, but if one becomes obsessed with food and indulges in too much unwholesome or junk food, he or she may become physically ill, weak, or distracted from the primary purpose of worshipping Allah.

Even overindulging in healthy wholesome foods can cause one to feel weak or lazy. Therefore, when you eat, try to pay attention to your body, eat without distraction, remember and thank Almighty Allah as you taste each bite of food and only eat enough to feel satisfied, not full. By the time you are feeling full, you have overindulged and have eaten too much.

A healthy diet is a balanced mixture of all the foods that Allah (SWT) had provided for us. This balanced mixture provides us with all the carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that our bodies need. Many of us tend to avoid certain food groups due to following the latest fad diet or believe that one way of eating is better than another. Our bodies do need a healthy balance of all the above nutrients.

In Chapter 16 Surat Al-Nahl of the Noble Quran, it mentions certain foods that Allah (the Almighty and Majestic) has provided for us. These foods include cattle, fish, corn, olives, dates, grapes, pomegranates, and other fruits, milk, honey, and grains! I am not saying that these are the only foods that we should eat, but what surprised me is that many of these foods that are mentioned in the Noble Quran are the very foods that many of us tend to avoid these days!

Think about that one, when you are planning your next meal. All these foods have a variety of benefits to our health and Allah mentions them specifically in the Quran, so why not try adding a few more of these to your diet this Ramadan along with your green salad or green veggies.

NOTE: Courtesy of TIES. TIES is among the projects funded and managed by Kuwaiti Society for Cultural Dialogue. TIES aims at empowering Kuwait's expats through social and educational services that promote a positive and productive role in society, and to facilitate opportunities for intra- and interfaith interactions that promote social solidarity. For more information, please call 25231015/6 or 94079426 or e-mail: [email protected].