“Your body has a right over you” Nabi SAW
I’d just like to start off saying I apologise if I’ve made any mistakes and pray Allah forgives me if I have done so. My intention is purely for the education and up liftment of my brothers and sisters. I’ve tried to make the article as clear and concise as I could.
- Hadith pertaining to Exercise
- Fasting and exercise
Prophet Muhammad PBUH, said, “Any action without the remembrance of God is either a diversion or heedlessness excepting four acts: Walking from target to target [during archery practice], training a horse, playing with one’s family, and learning to swim.”[At Tabarani]
So when looking at this hadith, we see The Nabi SAW mention that not being in remembrance of Allah is allowed only during certain activities. When we review these activities we see that all of them include movement or exercise. To me this speaks volumes about our Nabi SAW’s priorities and what he deemed- good for us. It is clear as day that exercise is an extremely important part of life to him and that one’s family should also be included in these activities. Instead of just being sedentary with one’s family, one should be doing activities with them.It’s very obvious here that a Muslim should be very conscious of their fitness levels and there are even recommendations of which sports to participate in:
The Prophet SAW spoke about archery, he recommended it. In a narration recorded by Imam Bukhari it states that “The Prophet passed by some people from the tribe of Aslam while they were competing in archery (in the market). He said to them, ‘Shoot children of Ishmael (Prophet) your father was a skilled marksman. Shoot and I am with so and so.’ One of the two teams therein stopped shooting. The Prophet asked, ‘why do not you shoot?’ They answered, ‘How could we shoot while you are with them (the other team). He then said, ‘Shoot and I am with you all.”
Uqbah Bin Amir RA also narrates that he heard Rasulullah SAW saying: “Whoever gives up archery after having learned it, is not of us…” (Reported by Sahih Muslim) The Prophet SAW also allowed spear practise in the masjid.
He also recommended wrestling. The Prophet SAW once wrestled with a man called Rukhanah who was well known for his strength, throwing him down more than once. (reported by Abu Dawud.)
As Muslims there’s nothing wrong with being able to defend yourself against people trying to attack you and your family or steal your property. Many scholars also encourage learning self-defence.
It is also recommended to learn how to swim and learn horse riding. In a hadith narrated from Hazrat Ibn Umar RA in which our beloved Prophet SAW said, ”Teach your children swimming, archery and horse riding”. In Sahih Muslim, the Prophet SAW said, “Practice archery and horse riding.”
There was also a game similar to polo which people used to participate in. As well as a type of weight lifting that the Muslim Arabs practised around that time.
Muslim women were also very fit, they were required to do tedious physical activities like tend to the ill and carry large buckets of water etc. The Prophet SAW also acted as a barrier for his wife Aisha RA when she was watching the Abyssinians practice sports. You could interpret this as his approval of the participation in sport as well as his approval of female interest in the like.
In a hadith reported in Sahih Bukhari, Aisha RA stated that, “I raced with the Prophet and I beat him. Later, when I had put on some weight, we raced again and he won. Then he said,” This cancels that (referring to the previous race.)”
Prophet Muhammad PBUH, advised his followers, to work, to be energetic, and to start their day early, all of which are conditions for a healthy body. He said “O God, make the early morning hours blessed for my nation.” (Imam Ahmad)
On seeing a fat man, the Prophet PBUH said: “If you did not have a paunch (belly fat), it would be better for you.”
Umar Ibn Khattab RA once saw a man with big belly. He asked the man what it was. The man said a blessing from Allah SWT. Umar RA told him rather it is a curse from Allah SWT, not a blessing.
In a hadith reported by Ali RA in Tirmidhi, he described the Nabi’s vigorous way of walking: “When he walked, because of the speed and force of the legs, it seemed as if he was descending from a high place.” Abu Huraira in another hadith in Tirmidhi narrated that, “I did not see anyone walk faster than him, as if the earth folded for him. A few moments ago he would be here, and then there. We found it difficult to keep pace when we walked with him and he walked at his normal pace.”
The Prophet SAW said, “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, while there is good in both.” (Sahih Muslim) He was referring to faith and character but also pointing out that optimum health and fitness (physical strength) were desirable.
Even sitting on the floor is a Sunnah and what many people don’t realize; is that it takes a certain flexibility and good posture to sit on the floor. Try sitting in mosque for a while in Ramadan and see how you actually need to be fit and supple enough to do it. So there’s a lesson in the mere sitting on the floor from our Prophet PBUH. Keep your body strong and flexible, sit on the floor and walk barefooted. It’s also known to be a great soul soother when you walk barefoot on the earth. There’s even a new age term for it, Earthing.
You would actually be surprised how many references there are to obesity and ill health. It would be quite a lengthy blog if I added all of them… 😉
“Ramadan is about disciplining the ego, so training during this month becomes more potent, since it takes much more discipline to train while fasting.”
Obesity, an unhealthy diet, laziness and weakness are all afflictions which we will be called accountable for unless we are inflicted with issues beyond our control i.e sickness. So how can one not exercise, one of the very things that keeps the human body alive and functioning? Would it not be great to make an effort to exercise not just for the sake of looking good but in knowing that this very act is in itself, an act of obedience? Not doing it for any egotistical benefit but for the mere sake of the health of your body that which is the biggest gift He, The Almighty, has bestowed upon us.
We are also taught to not change our lives dramatically from what it already is during Ramadan, to not make it easier on ourselves. So to cut out exercise completely would not be fair to this ideal, no? Of course one should cut out haram activity that takes place outside of Ramadan, but exercise is not Haram but incumbent upon human beings to survive and to be at optimal performance mentally, emotionally and physically. Islam does not allow extreme or fanatical behaviour. Therefore one shouldn’t put exercise above other needs i.e the need to look after ones family affairs. And so neither should you cut it out completely i.e quit training for the month.
FASTING IS A DETOXIFICATION PROCESS, THE ONLY WAY TO TAKE TOXINS OUT OF THE BODY IS WITH OXYGEN, NOTHING LEAVES THE BODY UNLESS IT IS FIRST COMBINED WITH OXYGEN. NOTHING LEAVES THE BODY UNLESS ITS FIRST COMBINED WITH OXYGEN. GETTING ENOUGH OXYGEN IS THE POINT OF DETOXIFICATION AND STAYING ALIVE.
What exactly happens during exercise? Through each breath you take, the oxygen gets filtered through your lungs, transporting oxygen rich blood into the body. The blood then goes into the working muscles and absorbs the oxygen and the cells also absorb the oxygen molecules. The muscle cells excrete carbon dioxide filled blood into the blood stream which moves to the heart while ATP gets absorbed by the working muscles. Your heart then expels the blood back to the lungs which exhale the carbon dioxide out into the air. So…
Exercise and any physical activity actually sends oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more proficiently. When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more ENERGY to do everything that you need to do. That’s a fact!
Fasting, as a matter of fact, preserves energy. While we’re fasting we’re resting our systems from the continuous onslaught of edibles. Digesting, assimilating and metabolizing- all requires large amounts of energy. We tend to think of food as an energy source, so this may be a new way of understanding how the food we eat actually drains us of a lot of energy. There’s an estimate that 65% of the body’s energy’s directed to the digestive organs after a heavy meal. When you’ve progressed past the stage of dealing with detox symptoms, a fast will have you feeling lighter, more energetic, enthusiastic, and requiring less sleep.
Fasting is not what makes you tired, it’s more likely your stressful lifestyle and bad habits that are leaving you exhausted. What are you going to sacrifice? Well that’s up to you. I’ve never been one to give up exercise in Ramadan. You shouldn’t over exert yourself but you should still be active outside of the Taraweeg. If you are healthy enough it’s more than possible. I’ve never had a desk job, my jobs always required me to be moving and maybe this is what saved me. Sitting at a desk can be terribly draining and that’s why it’s even more important for those with desk jobs to exercise in Ramadan.
I’m not putting exercise before salah as we all know salah is a form of exercise, but adding some physical exertion is the best thing for you. Maybe try some yoga or pilates if you feel like cardio or weight lifting may put too much strain on you. You know you’re going to sit in front of the TV or listen to lectures… whilst you are improving yourself mentally and spiritually do you forget you’re out of balance if you are not improving your physical health?
There is a great deal of people in the world who eat one meal every day. They’re strong and fit and they work a full day almost every day. So what is it about us that’s so weak? Have we allowed ourselves to be brainwashed… To think that by fasting we won’t be able to do half the things we do when we don’t fast? Maybe we are so used to feeling hunger pains and then automatically feeling tired? Maybe it is all in mind? Either way it’s time WE rise above it…
Health and fitness is synonymous with Islam. It is not a separate entity it is indeed part of your Deen and it should be a part of our Deen that we try to revive.
My School of Hot class times will be 7:30pm Monday-Friday, every Saturday morning, every Tuesday&Thursday at 6am for the month of Ramadan. Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org to book. Limited availability.