From WikiAhmadiyya, the free encyclopedia on Islam and Ahmadiyyat

"Allah" in Arabic calligraphy
Kalima Shahadah: Declaration of Faith
Salat: Prayer
    Zakat: Tax for good Quranic causes
Sawm: Fasting
    Hajj: Pilgrimage

Fasting is abstinence from food and drink during daytime for the sake of God. The practice is most common for Muslims during the 'Sawm' fasts of the holy month of Ramadan. Muslims are also expected to increase their prayer, give generously to charity and inculcate the highest moral standards during the month.

Children, pregnant women, those suffering illness and those on journeys are exempt from fasting in Islam.

Health affects

Studies have found that any adverse affects of fasting are largely limited to those who are forbidden from fasting in Islam anyway - pregnant women, new mothers, children and those with preexisting medical conditions.

There are potential benefits to fasting. Regular fasting helps reduce the risk of addiction and instills discipline. Scientists have discovered how occasional periods of reduced calorie intake can reduce the risk of certain illnesses and extend life expectancy:

Dietary restriction (DR; either caloric restriction or intermittent fasting, with maintained vitamin and mineral intake) can extend lifespan and can increase disease resistance. Recent studies have shown that DR can have profound effects on brain function and vulnerability to injury and disease. DR can protect neurons against degeneration in animal models of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases and stroke. Moreover, DR...may increase the ability of the brain to resist aging and restore function following injury. Interestingly, increasing the time interval between meals can have beneficial effects on the brain and overall health of mice.

- Professor Mark P. Mattson, Journal of Neurochemistry in January 2003

Reducing your calorie intake could help your brain, but doing so by cutting your intake of food is not likely to be the best method of triggering this protection. It is likely to be better to go on intermittent bouts of fasting, in which you eat hardly anything at all, and then have periods when you eat as much as you want.

- Professor Mark P. Mattson, 2012