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FASTING

PREPARED BY GROUP (6) :
KHAIRUNNISA BINTI SHAHDAN
AUGUSTINE NGALI AK GELING
SYAFIQAH AZWANI BT HASSIM


FASTING

INTRODUCTION

Fasting is an act that has various concepts in human life. The definition of fasting is divided into several types such as in the context of religion, health and belief.

Fasting is the willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast or dry fasting is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually 24 hours, or a number of days. Water fasting refers to abstinence from all food and drink except water, but black coffee and tea may be consumed. Other fasts may be partially restrictive, limiting only particular foods or substances, or be intermittent.

A diagnostic fast refers to prolonged fasting (from 8–72 hours, depending on age) conducted under observation to facilitate the investigation of a health complication, usually hypoglycemia. Many people may also fast as part of a medical procedure or a check-up, such as preceding a colonoscopy or surgery. Fasting may also be part of a religious ritual.


MAIN CONTENTS


Fasting In Islam !

Fasting is a unique moral and spiritual characteristic of Islam. Literally Fasting is defined in Islam to abstain "completely" from foods, drinks, intimate intercourse and smoking, before the break of the dawn till sunset, during the entire month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic year.

But if we restrict the meaning of the Islamic Fasting to this literal sense, we would be sadly mistaken. It is not just physical hunger and thirst that constitute the Muslim fast, but the nights prior to the beginning of the fast acquire a far more important character and play a central role in the institution of fasting. The Muslims wake up many hours before dawn for individual prayer and the remembrance of God. Also the Holy Quran is recited in every Muslim house much more than in ordinary days. A greater part of the night is thus spent in spiritual exercises which make up so the very essence of fasting.

During the day, apart from restraining from food and water, all is Muslims are particularly exhorted from vain talk, quarrels and fights, or from any such occupation as is below the dignity of a true believer. No indulgence in carnal pleasure is allowed; even husband and wife during the day lead separate lives, except for the\ formal human relationship common to all people.


Christian Fasting!

Jesus’ statements concerning fasting are simple and straightforward. His disciples will fast (Luke 5:33-35), but He did not specify how long or how often. As Paul amplified in Romans, fasting is an individual concern between us and Jesus Christ, who is our judge.

Fasting of any length should be approached as an all important tool to draw closer to God.

The Bible has only one command regarding fasting: God’s people are commanded to fast on the Day of Atonement from sundown to sundown (Leviticus23:27-32). This meant they were fast— to go without food and water—for a period of 24 hours. Interestingly, this fast day is listed among God’s spiritual Feast days.

In a sense, everyone fasts. When we are in bed asleep, we go without any food or drink. That is fasting. That is why the first meal of the day is called breakfast. However, when people speak of fasting, they usually mean a longer period of time of deliberately choosing not to eat and drink. It can be for a whole day, part of a day or more than a day.

If you’ve never fasted before, a commitment of a day may be easier to accomplish and will familiarize you with the process. Use that first experience to learn what your body’s particular reactions are.

Another option is a partial fast such as that mentioned in Daniel 10:3. Here one takes in only as much food and/or water as necessary to be safe and spends extra time in prayer, Bible study and meditation. This, too, can be very profitable spiritually.

A healthy person who is not perspiring much can go without food and water for about three days before the body begins to be stressed. And a healthy person can go without food for several days if he is drinking water.

Thus, the amazingly long 40-day fasts by Moses, Elijah and Jesus Christ (Deuteronomy 9:9; 1 Kings 19:8; Luke 4:2) were possible only by God’s supernatural intervention.

The length of time that someone fasts should always be the length that is right for them at the time. Remain flexible. Of course you’ll have a goal in mind when you begin, but don’t be too inflexible to end the fast should your body signal. Severe pain and discomfort may mean you have attempted too much, too soon.

Those interested in longer-term fasts are advised to break their fast if and when “true hunger” appears. Be careful not to fast too frequently; allow your body sufficient time to rebuild nutritional reserves. We encourage those with health problems to consult a qualified medical practitioner before fasting.


Buddhism Fasting!

In Buddhism, fasting is subdivided into the fasts undertaken by the monks, and those carried out by the lay people. Fasting in the monastic community is a difficult practice, and is undertaken with supervision, under the guidance of a skilled mentor.

Monastic fasting has a list of thirteen practices, four of which pertain to food. They are eating once a day, eating at one sitting, reducing the amount you eat, and going around seeking alms, consuming only what the monk has received from the first seven houses. Some of these practices are adopted by individuals voluntarily, they are not required in the normal course of a Buddhist’s life practice.

Fasting is an additional method that one can take up, with supervision, for a time. Fasting in the lay community in Asia is sometimes connotes being vegetarian. Basically, eliminating meat from one's diet, twice a month on the new or full moon days, or six times a month, or more often, is often considered a kind of fasting. The principle holds that removing indulgences from the diet, in this case, nutrients that are luxuries eaten to satisfy the desire for flavour, is a form of fasting, and brings merit to the one who fasts.

Buddhist monastics who adopt the fasting practice described above do so by and large to purify their bodies and to clarify their thoughts. Fasting allows coarse thoughts to diminish, but strength also diminishes, so there is a trade-off between mental clarity and reduced ability to meditate as long. The Buddha, as is well known, emphasised moderation, and is believed to have asserted that extreme fasting runs contrary to the Buddhist path.


BENEFIT FASTING IN TERM OF RELIGIONS


1. Buddhism

In Buddhism, fasting is recognized as one of the methods for practising self-control. The Buddha advised monks not to take solid food after noon. Lay people who observe the eight Precepts on full moon days also abstain from taking any solid food after noon.

Critics sometimes regard these practices as religious fads. They are not religious fads but practices based on a moral and psychological insight.

In Buddhism, fasting is an initial stage of self-discipline to acquire self-control. In every religion, there is a system of fasting. By fasting and sacrificing a meal once a day or for any period, we can contribute our food to those who are starving or who do not have even a proper meal each day.

'A man who eats too much', writes Leo Tolstoy, 'cannot strive against laziness, while a gluttonous and idle man will never be able to contend with sexual lust. Therefore, according to all moral teachings, the effort towards self-control commences with a struggle against the lust of gluttony?commences with fasting just as the first condition of a good life is selfcontrol, so the first condition of a life of self-control is fasting.'

Sages in various countries who practised self-control began with a system of regulated fasting and succeeded in attaining unbelievable heights of spirituality. An ascetic was kicked and tortured, and then his hands and feet were severed on the orders of a rakish king. But the ascetic, according to the Buddhist story, endured the torture with equanimity and without the slightest anger or hatred. Such religious people have developed their mental power through restraining from sensual indulgence.


2. Islam

The blessed month of Ramadan is a time for inner reflection, self-discipline and selfimprovement. If put into proper practice, these self-checks lead to purification of the innerself. The fasting performed in Ramadan is one of the most successful ways to formulate good habits. When conducted for the worship of God, fasting gives one control over personal desires and drives. Based on research conducted by philosophers and psychologists, and as described in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens”, it takes two to four weeks to develop a habit or to change one. This is exactly what happens in Ramadan, even though one may not realize it. One’s inner-self gives birth to good habits and there is an overall selfimprovement. This includes a heightened sense of patience, generosity, helping others, utilizing time more effectively and developing healthy eating habits. The most significant change of all is that, through practicing self-restraint in Ramadan, Muslims become spiritually closer to The Creator, Almighty God.

“However, fasting has not been prescribed by God simply for dietary reasons. Rather, fasting is an act of worship to God in order to teach mankind self-restraint. In addition to restraining from food and drink, the individual must work on being more patient and forgiving. Muslims are required to refrain from useless talk, be kinder and more generous to others, and utilize and construct time wisely. Since each minute, in essence, is a form of worship to God, the fasting person becomes more aware of their words and actions. Fasting really places the world in perspective and allows one to understand and value his or her existence.”

Many good habits are clearly formed in the month of Ramadan. During this time, a person should easily be able to evaluate and contemplate on the positive changes in his or her lifestyle. The fast provides a perfect combination of a heightened sense of energy to worship God and more time away from eating to ponder on how to better worship God. If trained well, the self-improvements that occur during Ramadan should continue throughout the year. The self-checks will continue and sudden change will take place. The individual will transform and develop into a happier, more active worshipper of his Lord.


3. Christian

Worship is another aspect during fasting that will become more intimate. Giving glory to God in worship will re-energize your spirit man. A spiritual fast can help you overcome negative habits.Fasting gives emotional strength during trials and times of anxiety. Try fasting about a relationship that has been turbulent. The Holy Spirit can minister where there are wounds and bring healing.

All of us get too busy with life and miss important time with Jesus. Fasting will help you refocus on Him. Fasting is good for physical health and helps remove toxins, especially if you replace meals by drinking fresh water or juice. Sacrificing meals or behaviors will create a fresh devotion to God. Getting quiet during this time of fasting helps you pause. This might take some practice as we are so connected to our electronic devices, but unplugging will help you unwind and be still.

A period fasting for others creates unity. It gets you mind off your own worries and allows you to intercede on the behalf of others. Fasting can add years to your life researchers at the University of Chicago found in a 2010 study. It can lower blood pressure and also keep bad cholesterol at bay.

Intermittent fasting could lower risks of diabetes said Scientists at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute. Fasting reintroduces God’s word. Find a scripture that really speaks to you. Reflecting on scripture during a fast is powerful and can help your prayer life.

Fasting leads to better self-control. Over a period time, a fast, will teach self-control and better will-power. With fasting, you can lose weight by cutting calories and losing body fat. If you skipped just one meal a month, you could reduce risks of clogged arteries, one report suggests. Also fasting could help lower risks of heart disease and Alzheimer's.


BENEFITS FASTING IN TERM OF HEALTH

1. Changes The Function of Cells, Genes and Hormones

When you don't eat for a while, several things happen in your body. For example, your body initiates important cellular repair processes and changes hormone levels to make stored body fat more accessible. Here are some of the changes that occur in your body during fasting:

   a) Insulin levels: Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning (1).

   b) Human growth hormone: The blood levels of growth hormone may increase as much as 5-fold (2, 3). Higher levels of this hormone facilitate fat burning and muscle gain, and have numerous other benefits (4, 5).

   c) Cellular repair: The body induces important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from cells (6).

   d) Gene expression: There are beneficial changes in several genes and molecules related to longevity and protection against disease (7, 8).

Many of the benefits of intermittent fasting are related to these changes in hormones, gene expression and function of cells. When you fast, insulin levels drop and human growth hormone increases. Your cells also initiate important cellular repair processes and change which genes they express.

2. Can Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat

Many of those who try intermittent fasting are doing it in order to lose weight. Generally speaking, intermittent fasting will make you eat fewer meals. Unless if you compensate by eating much more during the other meals, you will end up taking in fewer calories. Additionally, intermittent fasting enhances hormone function to facilitate weight loss.

Lower insulin levels, higher growth hormone levels and increased amounts of norepinephrine (noradrenaline) all increase the breakdown of body fat and facilitate its use for energy. For this reason, short-term fasting actually increases your metabolic rate by 3.6- 14%, helping you burn even more calories. In other words, intermittent fasting works on both sides of the calorie equation. It boosts your metabolic rate (increases calories out) and reduces the amount of food you eat (reduces calories in).

According to a 2014 review of the scientific literature, intermittent fasting can cause weight loss of 3-8% over 3-24 weeks (12). This is a huge amount. The people also lost 4-7% of their waist circumference, which indicates that they lost lots of belly fat, the harmful fat in the abdominal cavity that causes disease.

One review study also showed that intermittent fasting caused less muscle loss than continuous calorie restriction. Fasting helps you eat fewer calories, while boosting metabolism slightly. It is a very effective tool to lose weight and belly fat.

3. Can Reduce Insulin Resistance, Lowering Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes has become incredibly common in recent decades. Its main feature is high blood sugar levels in the context of insulin resistance. Anything that reduces insulin resistance should help lower blood sugar levels and protect against type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, intermittent fasting has been shown to have major benefits for insulin resistance and lead to an impressive reduction in blood sugar levels.

In human studies on intermittent fasting, fasting blood sugar has been reduced by 3-6%, while fasting insulin has been reduced by 20-31% . One study in diabetic rats also showed that intermittent fasting protected against kidney damage, one of the most severel complications of diabetes.

What this implies, is that intermittent fasting may be highly protective for people who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

However, there may be some differences between genders. One study in women showed that blood sugar control actually worsened after a 22-day long intermittent fasting protocol. Fasting can reduce insulin resistance and lower blood sugar levels, at least in men.

4. Can Reduce Oxidative Stress and Inflammation in The Body

Oxidative stress is one of the steps towards aging and many chronic diseases. It involves unstable molecules called free radicals, which react with other important molecules (like protein and DNA) and damage them. Several studies show that intermittent fasting may enhance the body's resistance to oxidative stress.

Additionally, studies show that intermittent fasting can help fight inflammation, another key driver of all sorts of common diseases. Studies show that intermittent fasting can reduce oxidative damage and inflammation in the body. This should have benefits against aging and development of numerous diseases.

5. May be Beneficial For Heart Health

Heart disease is currently the world's biggest killer. It is known that various health markers (so-called "risk factors") are associated with either an increased or decreased risk of heart disease. Fasting has been shown to improve numerous different risk factors, including blood pressure, total and LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers and blood sugar.

However, a lot of this is based on animal studies. The effects on heart health need to be studied a lot further in humans before recommendations can be made. Studies show that intermittent fasting can improve numerous risk factors for heart disease such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglycerides and inflammatory markers.

6. Induces Various Cellular Repair Processes

When we fast, the cells in the body initiate a cellular "waste removal" process called autophagy. This involves the cells breaking down and metabolizing broken and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells over time. Increased autophagy may provide protection against several diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Fasting triggers a metabolic pathway called autophagy, which removes waste material from cells.

7. May Help Prevent Cancer

Cancer is a terrible disease, characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells. Fasting has been shown to have several beneficial effects on metabolism that may lead to reduced risk of cancer. Although human studies are needed, promising evidence from animal studies indicates that intermittent fasting may help prevent cancer.

There is also some evidence on human cancer patients, showing that fasting reduced various side effects of chemotherapy. Intermittent fasting has been shown to help prevent cancer in animal studies. One paper in humans showed that it can reduce side effects caused by chemotherapy.

8. Good For Your Brain

What is good for the body is often good for the brain as well. Intermittent fasting improves various metabolic features known to be important for brain health.

This includes reduced oxidative stress, reduced inflammation and a reduction in blood sugar levels and insulin resistance.

Several studies in rats have shown that intermittent fasting may increase the growth of new nerve cells, which should have benefits for brain function. It also increases levels of a brain hormone called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a deficiency of which has been implicated in depression and various other brain problems.

Animal studies have also shown that intermittent fasting protects against brain damage due to strokes. Intermittent fasting may have important benefits for brain health. It may increase growth of new neurons and protect the brain from damage.

9. May Help Prevent Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease is the world's most common neurodegenerative disease. There is no cure available for Alzheimer's, so preventing it from showing up in the first place is critical. A study in rats shows that intermittent fasting may delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease or reduce its severity.

In a series of case reports, a lifestyle intervention that included daily short-term fasts was able to significantly improve Alzheimer's symptoms in 9 out of 10 patients. Animal studies also suggest that fasting may protect against other neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's and Huntington's disease.

However, more research in humans is needed. Studies in animals suggest that intermittent fasting may be protective against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease.

10. May Extend Your Lifespan, Helping You Live Longer

One of the most exciting applications of intermittent fasting may be its ability to extend lifespan. Studies in rats have shown that intermittent fasting extends lifespan in a similar way as continuous calorie restriction. In some of these studies, the effects were quite dramatic. In one of them, rats that fasted every other day lived 83% longer than rats who weren't fasted.

Although this is far from being proven in humans, intermittent fasting has become very popular among the anti-aging crowd. Given the known benefits for metabolism and all sorts of health markers, it makes sense that intermittent fasting could help you live a longer and healthier life.


CONCLUSION

Therefore, fasting is the willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast or dry fasting is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually 24 hours, or a number of days. Water fasting refers to abstinence from all food and drink except water, but black coffee and tea may be consumed. Other fasts may be partially restrictive, limiting only particular foods or substances, or be intermittent.

In a physiological context, fasting may refer to the metabolic status of a person who has not eaten overnight, or to the metabolic state achieved after complete digestion and absorption of a meal. Several metabolic adjustments occur during fasting. Some diagnostic tests are used to determine a fasting state.

For example, a person is assumed to be fasting once 8–12 hours have elapsed since the last meal. Metabolic changes of the fasting state begin after absorption of a meal (typically 3–5 hours after eating).

A diagnostic fast refers to prolonged fasting (from 8–72 hours, depending on age) conducted under observation to facilitate the investigation of a health complication, usually hypoglycemia. Many people may also fast as part of a medical procedure or a check-up, such as preceding a colonoscopy or surgery. Fasting may also be part of a religious ritual.


REFERENCES

All About God , (2018). Biblical Fasting . Retrieved from https://www.allaboutgod.com/biblical-fasting.htm

Bible Study, (2018). Fast Fasting in Christian. Retrieved from https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/fast-fasting/

Jessica Mathews, special to CNBC.com Published 9:51 AM ET Fri, 20 Oct 2017 Updated 12:48 PM ET Fri, 20 Oct 2017 (25 may 2018, 2.53pm)

Islamic Net, (2018). Fasting In Islam. Reterievd 25 May 2018 from http://www.islamicnet.com/fasting-in-islam.htm

Life Hope And Truth, (2018). God Prayer Fasting and Meditation https://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/prayer-fasting-and-meditation/what-is-fasting/

Rojak Daily, (2018). Feasting Fasting How Other Religion In Malaysia and Around the world.

Retrieved 8 June 2018 from http://www.rojakdaily.com/lifestyle/article/2700/feastingfasting-how-other-religions-in-malaysia-and-around-the-world

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