بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
What do we need, you ask?
Why do we need more energy?
Well, because everyone I know complains that they always feel:
We need energy to do all that ibaadah (worship), so how do we get it?
Well, that’s for tomorrow’s post, insha-Allah.
PS. The pictures are, as always, from Google Images, unless explicitly mentioned.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Recently, I attended a dawah course.
The teacher was talking about the things that the daee (caller to Islam) needs to do in order to strengthen themselves for the great task ahead i.e. calling people to Islam.
He mentioned quite a few things including qiyam al-layl (the night prayer). [For those who don’t understand how that could help, please read the explanation of Surah Al-Muzzammil.]
One of the things that he also mentioned was fasting. And he said something that really struck me:
[I’m quoting from memory.]
“Fasting doesn’t make you weak. It gives you strength.”
That’s what many of us think, isn’t it? We think that fasting tires us out (which is probably why we are so unproductive in Ramadan).
However, as the brother, may Allah reward him greatly, pointed out, it doesn’t tire us out, it actually does the exact opposite.
One of the main acts of worship of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) and the Prophets (alaihimissalam) before him, and their companions (radiallahu anhum) was fasting.
Be honest: When you read their stories, do they seem like tired people or more like energizer bunnies*?
[*I hope you understand where I’m coming from. In our time, the energizer bunny is the epitome of the thing which just keeps going on and on.]
I get exhausted just reading their stories because…they were so active. They did more in one day than most of us do in a year.
There’s an ayah (verse) in the Quran that (for me) summarises why they were so full of life:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَجِيبُوا لِلَّـهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ
O you who believe! Answer Allah (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he (salallahu alaihi wasallam) calls you to that which will give you life.” [Surah Al-Anfal (8) : 24]
The commentators point out that the life means 1) the life of the heart and the soul and 2) the eternal life (i.e. Paradise).
Now, you might say: “Wait, I thought you were talking about physical energy? The ayah talks about spiritual energy.”
Well, I don’t think that there’s any contradicition because:
1) When we get re-energised spiritually, we also feel physically refreshed.
There were many times in my life when I went to a hifdh (Quran memorisation) class, or an Islamic lecture, completely exhausted. I was so tired at the beginning of the class.
By the end? I felt like a spring chicken. It’s amazing. Because I felt spiritually recharged, I also felt physically recharged.
I think that many of you would also have gone through similar situations.
2) If we answer Allah’s call i.e. apply the Shariah, we WILL be physically fit.
Why? Well, because it calls us to pay attention to our bodies and also because acts of worship like fasting and the night prayer (the two main acts of worship in Ramadan) are not just good for spiritual health, they are known to be good for physical health as well.
3) If we want to get the eternal life, we need to start working.
That alone is enough to turn one into an energizer bunny.
4) Good only results in more good.
If we obey Allah in one aspect, that will only result in more good. How can one fast (do something good) and expect that to lead to a bad thing (exhaustion)? No, that can’t be, because good only results in more good, so that exhaustion is not coming from the fasting.
So, if we understand these points, we’ll be able to understand how the earlier generations were so full of life.
Now, what am I trying to say?
Well, every Ramadan, we all complain how we are also so tired due to fasting in the morning and praying at night.
Those acts cannot be tiring us out because they are the ones giving us life and energy so there has to be something else draining our energy.
Perhaps it’s our negative attitude? Allah knows Better.
Either way, we need to change our perspective and approach both of these acts (and the whole Shariah in general) in a better manner.
Perhaps after we do that, we’ll see a different (and better) Ramadan this year, insha-Allah, hopefully one where we’ll all be full of life.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the last Prep Tip post, I pointed out that we really have to get fit.
So, how do we go about doing that?
Well, here are some tips:
1) Sunnahcise our health plans.
Yeah. Do it the way the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) did it.
For example, suppose you want to get fit because you want to have more energy to worship Allah. So, your workout now becomes an act of worship (assuming your pure intention is still intact).
Why stop there? Add something from the sunnah into your health plans so that you can please Allah even more.
For example, some of the prophetic foods include dates, black seeds, talbeenah (drink made of barley), honey, etc. Try to incorporate those into your diet.
Why? Well, if it is recommended by the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam), that means that Allah loves that we eat them.
Also, there are certain activities that the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) encouraged like archery, horse riding, etc. You can add these to your health routine as well.
In addition to these, there is also the prophetic guide on not sleeping too much nor eating too much.
Did you know that French women don’t go to the gym? Apparently, they get fit just by walking around.
You know, park a bit farther away from the destination so that you can walk more, use the stairs, go to your colleagues to ask them something instead of using the phone or gchat, etc.
To my fellow denizens of the UAE, our dear government has actually set up airconditioned walkways so that we can get fit by using our feet, instead of getting fat by using the car.
Where are the walkways, you ask?
I haven’t a clue. I just happened to read about it in the newspaper one day.
Extra tip: You can also get an pedometer to see how many steps you take per day. When I used to use one, I would make sure to walk some more just so that the number on the screen would increase…
3) Get some fresh air.
This is an issue which really affects those of us here in the UAE as we have the air conditioner switched on all the time.
In the car, in the office, at home, etc. All the time.
When are we going to get the fresh air?
Try to take a walk early in the morning or in the evening or let the windows down whilst driving (in winter, not in summer!*).
[*For those in cold countries, that would be: in summer, not in winter!]
4) Eat properly.
Everyone always said that to me but I never understood what they meant until I started to eat properly.
[It means “Eat healthy food and stop the junk food.]
How do you know that you’re eating properly? Well, perhaps it’s when every Tom, Dick and Harry stops pointing out that you look tired and pale?
5) Have a fixed time for exercise.
Whenever you want, just be sure to do it.
I think that the morning time is the best because 1) you can get it out of the way and 2) you have more energy for the rest of the day.
[Oh and 3) you have another motive to stay up after Fajr.]
I would also have added something like “work on each muscle” but I don’t want anybody to start an exercise that they’ve never done before and then proceed to feel some pain…
Now, after reading all of this, you might be thinking “Hey, I know all of this. This is old news.”
Of course, it is. Now tell me, are you fit?
If not, then what is stopping you from applying this “old news”?
Subhan Allah, there is a big difference between knowing something and then actually getting around do doing it.
We all know this stuff but most of us don’t do these things, and even if we do them, we are not regular.
So, let’s all try to be regular in getting some exercise so that we can be a bit healthier by this Ramadan which means that we will be able to do more ibaadah (worship), insha-Allah.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
In the last Ramadan 2011 Prep Tip, I mentioned how important fitness was and how unfit the majority of mankind is.
Most of us don’t exercise much.
However, there is one type of exercise that all of us seem to indulge in:
Twiddle, twiddle, twiddle…..
At least the blood circulation in our hands will improve…
[Of course, a certain group of people twiddle their thumbs more than others…]
It’s no wonder that we have no time. We’re too busy twiddling our thumbs…
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
“Get into shape?”
“That’s how you want us to prepare for Ramadan? By getting into shape?”
“What about prayer, fasting, charity, etc????”
Okay, let me give you a little rundown of our lives:
1) We crawl out of bed for Fajr because we’re so tired.
2) After Fajr, we get back into our nice cozy beds (assuming that we don’t have any work right away. If we do, skip to point 4).
3) We crawl out of bed when we need to get up again.
4) We revive ourselves with tea or coffee.
5) We sleepwalk through the day (aided by the tea and coffee, of course).
6) We come back home and crash into our beds because we’re so tired.
We’re all so tired. We have pain here and pain there. We need to keep chugging down that tea or coffee to keep us going throughout the day, otherwise many of us won’t be able to get any work done.
Why? Because most of us are seriously out of shape. We don’t have any sort of exercise routine and our eating habits are nothing to write home about.
Let me put this very tactfully:
The human race is slowly turning into a bunch of unfit fatsos roaming the Planet Earth.
[Okay, tact is not a strength of mine.]
How do we expect to do all that ibaadah (worship) in Ramadan when we don’t have any energy? Oh and keep in mind that we’re going to be fasting for the first half of the day!
There was an article I read recently where someone asked Richard Branson (one of those rich tycoons) how one can manage to get everything done in a day. His reply?
“Work out more.”
Think about it. He has a point.
All the Prophets (alaihissalam) and their Companions (radiallahu anhum) were extremely fit people.
Let me give you a simple example. Haajar (radiallahu anha) managed to run seven times from Safa to Marwa and back in the searing heat, and that too whilst being worried about her child.
I remember walking from Safa to Marwa and back seven times for Hajj. It was in an air conditioned place and the mountains were levelled off.
I was so exhausted.
From what I’ve heard, I wasn’t the only one. Most people get exhausted with all the walking that is done in Hajj.
Why? Because we are unfit!
So, what do we need to do? We need to get into shape before Ramadan rolls around.
Insha-Allah, that will help us with both with our prayers (especially Taraweeh and Qiyam Al-Layl) and fasting during Ramadan.
For me personally, the best time of my life (i.e. when my ibaadah was at an all-time high) was when I was at my fittest level, so I’ve seen the positive effect good health can have on one’s level of imaan.
What can we do to get fit? That’s for the next part, insha-Allah…
Fitness plays a HUGE role in the quality of your ibaadah (worship). If you’re healthy, you’ll be able to do much more ibaadah and it’ll be with much more focus (a healthy body leads to a healthy mind, remember?).
So, start walking and stop eating all that junk food!
PS. Question to the sisters: What do you think of starting a private blog (i.e. restricted to members alone) wherein the members keep track of their health, share ideas and encourage each other?
[Here’s Part 1.]
[My apologies to anyone who might have been waiting for Part 2.]
Okay, I know this is quite late but it might be of benefit to someone out there.
In Part 1, I uploaded a health guide which mentioned the common problems that occur to those who are fasting. As I’ve suffered from some of them, I thought I’d share my experiences.
[Note: Please spare me your sympathy.]
Before I list the various problems, let me just point out one thing. No one should say that there is “no permanent cure” for a problem. This is not a statement that should come out of a Muslim’s mouth.
Allah can do ALL things and He has made a cure for every disease.
So, the first thing that we should do is turn to Him and ask Him to cure our bodies. The next thing is to use what the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) has prescribed.
Believe me, I used so many medicines. The three things that actually solved my problems were:
2) Black seed oil
3) Cupping (hijamah)
That’s it. Only the Prophetic remedies worked for me, subhan Allah.
[By the way, we are allowed to use other types of medicines. I’m just saying that they never really worked for me.]
[As I’m short of time, this is a summarised account of my experiences.]
1) Gastritis / Acidity / Heartburn:
My treadmill misses me. Or perhaps I’m the one who misses the treadmill?
Why do I miss my treadmill? Because a Muslim needs to be fit – otherwise, he/she will not be able to all that he/she is required to do (which is basically to worship Allah in the best possible manner). It’s as simple as that.
So, with that in mind, here are some resources for us to improve our health this Ramadan:
Firstly, we need to understand the importance of health and fitness in Islam. So here goes:
1) Here’s an interesting explanation of the hadeeth of the strong believer and the weak believer.
2) Prefer listening? Here’s a very interesting lecture about the place of fitness in Islam:
Fitness in Islam by Yaser Birjas (Download):
3) 5 Health Myths that hold Muslims Back – Nice. And he backed it up with evidence.
The brother had a website but it isn’t up any more. He did produce the following short videos though:
Why are Muslims Fat?