By Dr. Hanan Hassan Abdul Zaher
What is the relationship between fasting and mental health? Can fasting during the Holy Month improve our mental state? Let’s see.
The Almighty says: “O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous.” 183 / Al-Baqarah.
Allah has ordered Muslims as he did with all previous nations. There must be great benefits to be redeemed from it.
What is the greatest benefit of fasting?
And what are the benefits of fasting? We can say that its greatest benefit is the forgiveness of sins, as he said PBUH, “Whoever fasts Ramadan in faith and in seeking his reward from Allah, his previous sins will be forgiven for him,” and its enough for a Muslim to know that fasting is for God Almighty, also He is the one who rewards it, as Almighty said in the holy hadeeth: “Every deed of the son of Adam is for him except fasting; it is for Me and I shall reward for it.”
There are many benefits to be gained fasting in his worldly life. Spiritual energies are increased during the fast, and fasting allows the body to get rid of its accumulated toxicity. This is true to the saying of the Prophet PBUH, “Fast and you will be healed.” There is no doubt that the body and soul’s purity indirectly affects the psychological state of man.
The believer is healthier
It is scientifically known that the mind – or the soul – affects the body and vice versa; the body in turn affects the soul. Researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center looked into how beliefs, attitudes and spiritual applications affect health. For example, a recent study of patients with HIV has shown that patients who believe in God, are sympathetic to others, have a sense of inner peace and adhere to their religion, they have a better chance of survival than those who have no faith in God and do not perform any religious rituals.
The study confirmed that a person who believes in God Almighty and prays for him, lives in hope, has more capacity for tolerance and forgiveness, enjoys stronger social relations, enjoys better health, and heals faster.
How does fasting affect mental health?
For someone to be psychologically healthy he needs to be able to face the pressures of life effectively and be a productive individual in his community. This means that they need many qualities such as patience, perseverance, and willpower. During Ramadan, the Muslim will suffer hunger and thirst, especially in hot weather. At night, he is encouraged to revive himself by praying and reading the Holy Quran. All these deeds strengthen willpower and help face the challenges of life with all his might.
Fasting achieves many psychological benefits, including the following:
- Mood Improvement
- Personal development and assuming responsibility
- Treatment for insomnia
- Strengthening willpower
- Treatment of depression
- Gets rid of negative emotions
- Treatment of psychological anxiety
- Treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Mental illness control
It is clear to us that fasting during Ramadan, and the other acts of worship that it includes, helps to improve mental health, in addition to the great rewards that the person receives.