Build the Five Pillars of Health this Ramadan
By Dr Hina J Shahid
The blessed month of Ramadan is here. A time for reflection, positive action and resolution. With the Covid-19 pandemic this Ramadan will be different, but is no doubt filled with abundant opportunities and Divine wisdom to help us really reflect and reconnect with ourselves, our Creator and creation in meaningful and healthy ways.
As well as strengthening our spiritual health, Ramadan brings about many physical health benefits too. There is evidence that fasting can help with weight loss, stabilise blood sugar levels, reduce blood pressure and risk of heart disease, boost immunity, control food binges and release endorphins which improve our sense of well being. However, these benefits tend to be offset by the indulgence and gluttony that become a defining feature of Iftar parties. So what can we do to truly gain all the health benefits of Ramadan?
We need to be conscious of our choices, and remind ourselves of divine and Prophetic teachings. Taqwa (God-consciousness) should extend to everything we do, whether in quarantine or out. The Quran commands us to eat not just that which is halal (lawful), but also tayyib (good). The Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) encourages us to keep our stomach one third empty. We are reminded in Prophetic traditions about the rights of our bodies and relationships, and the importance exercising self restraint in speech and behaviour, to serve those who are less fortunate than us, give back to our communities and connect with loved ones and those who may be suffering.
This Ramadan in quarantine is a reminder of the need to disconnect and reconnect, reset, renew and rebalance all aspects of our lives.
Use the infographic below to build the 5 pillars of health this Ramadan that you can carry forward out of quarantine too!
Dr Hina J Shahid is the Chair of the Muslim Doctors Association, a General Practitioner and a public health and policy researcher and campaigner. She has an interest in medical education, wellbeing and an integrative and holistic approach to health.