Blessed Friday jemaah,
In this month of Ramadan that is full of barakah, let us continue to be diligent in increasing our takwa to Allah s.w.t by obeying His commands with consistency and determination, and to avoid what Allah has forbidden for us.
The month of Ramadan is a golden opportunity for us to strengthen our spirituality and bring ourselves close to Allah, our Creator. In this month, there are countless bounties for us to reap through various acts of worship. Thus, we should increase our good deeds this month and indeed, Allah is the witness to all of our deeds. Allah says in Surah At-Taubah, verse 105:
Which means: And say, "Do [as you will], for Allah will see your deeds, and [so, will] His Messenger and the believers. And you will be returned to the Knower of the unseen and the witnessed, and He will inform you of what you used to do."
As we focus on strengthening our spirituality and faith in this holy month, let us not neglect our physical aspect and health. Rasulullah s.a.w. once advised a companion who was diligent in worship to also take care of his physical needs and the needs of his family. The Prophet s.a.w. said:
Which means: “Your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you and your wife has a right over you”. [Hadith narrated by Imam Al-Bukhari]
Thus jemaah, our religion teaches us to fulfil the needs and rights of our physical health. Among the wisdom of fasting is the health benefit of fasting. This has been proven scientifically, that fasting can help to rid the toxins in our body, and to allow our digestive system to rest in a bid to increase our resilience and our health level.
However, we will not be able to reap the benefit if we do not stick to a healthy and nutritional diet. For example, if we do not have a balanced diet and eat too much when breaking our fast, we certainly will not be able to feel the physical and health benefits of fasting. In fact, it can bring physical and health problems to us if this is a habit. Jemaah, when we are choosing dishes to break our fast with, remember the advice of Rasulullah s.a.w.: “The human does not fill any container that is worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat what will support his back. If this is not possible, then a third for food, a third for drink, and a third for his breath.” [Hadith reported by Imam Ahmad and Ibnu Majah]
It is not wrong for us to enjoy good food. However, we should always remember that we must eat in balance, and that a balance diet is important in order to take care of our health. Choosing food high in nutritional value is required by our religion. Allah s.w.t. says in Surah Al-Nahl verse 114,
Which means: “Then eat of what Allah has provided for you [which is] lawful and good. And be grateful for the favour of Allah, if it is [indeed] Him that you worship”.
Thus, let us reflect upon how Allah s.w.t. has commanded us to not just eat what is halal, but what is good and nutritious.
Taking care of one’s health and adopting a healthy lifestyle is extremely important, but is often taken lightly by our community. This is especially true in the context of modern city living, such as in Singapore, where an unhealthy lifestyle and diet can trigger various illnesses such as diabetes and high blood pressure which can lead to other complications such as kidney failure, heart diseases and stroke.
According to statistics from the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), daily there are about four new cases of kidney problems. The number is expected to increase in the future, given that the number of those who suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure is increasing.
Research has also shown that our community is the second highest group to suffer from diabetes, and the highest group to suffer from heart diseases. These two chronic illnesses stem from having an unbalanced and unhealthy diet, and lack of exercise.
Our health is an amanah from Allah, a blessing that Allah has entrusted upon us. Sadly, many do not take this seriously. However, without good health how can we perform our acts of worship properly? How would we be able to contribute our energy toward the betterment of the ummah? How would we be able to fulfil our daily responsibilities as a husband, father and a son?
Remember the Prophet s.a.w. once said: “A strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than a weak believer.” [Hadith reported by Imam Muslim]
Beloved Friday jemaah,
Let us strive together to be believers who are more responsible towards the blessings that Allah has showered upon us. Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Perhaps while we are fasting we may have to reduce our exercise, but we can still adopt a healthy and balanced diet. After Ramadan, we can continue to exercise, as we normally do. For those who hardly or do not even exercise, aim to do start exercising regularly. Perhaps we can start with light exercises that can be done with our family, and will be a good family activity.
We can make use of our environment to start with these physical activities, for example, if our office or home is not on a high floor we can take the stairs instead of the lift.
Go for routine medical examinations so that any diseases can be detected early and quickly attended to. At the same time, choose nutritional food, especially when breaking our fast. Reduce food that’s oily and high in fat content.
With better heath, we will be able to perform our worship better and our obligations towards our family better, and would be able to carry out community service and good deeds better. May Allah shower us with His barakah and ease our efforts. Amin Ya Rabbal Alamin.
Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura
Friday Sermon, 11 July 2014 / 13 Ramadan 1435