This title came to me as I studied Study Guide 19, “Who is God?” The more we learn about God and His greatness, we should want to be like Him. God is the ultimate soldier. A soldier “meets and overcomes all obstacles,” right? As the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has said in an article entitled “Fasting Strengthens Discipline,” the best discipline is “self-imposed discipline” (The Final Call, Aug. 25, 2009). For example, during the month of Ramadan, no one is forcing us not to eat during the day. We are imposing that restriction on ourselves, and as a result, our will power becomes stronger.
We must pray and then “feed our mind” the word of God so that we can “Think like a God and train like a soldier.” The more disciplined we are, the more prepared we will be for the war on the horizon, famine, and doing without things we may not need. I recently read about a new military fitness test in an online msn.com article. The original test primarily consisted of doing push-ups for two minutes, sit-ups for two minutes and a two-mile run and was virtually the same for 40 years.
The new test will include more tasks that are needed in combat which include the ability to drag and carry with and do sprints. The reasoning behind the change is to help soldiers build “functional” strength that will help improve conditioning and prevent injury. Completing sit-ups is not a true measure of core strength, but the ability to carry a heavy weight, such as a body is and may be something you have to do in combat. This made me think about the value of training and fasting. What am I able to carry? In an emergency, could I carry a child five blocks to safety? Could I go without food for four days?
Remember, as the Minister mentioned earlier this year on the Ramadan prayer line, “Fasting is prescribed for us” because it guards us from evil. (Holy Quran 2:183) Although fasting is not for “losing weight,” fasting will help us cultivate the discipline which results in benefits such as losing weight and getting rid of toxins in our body.
If we want to lose weight, we must make sure we are exercising and eating the best of foods including fruits, vegetables, and navy beans. Pure milk and whole wheat bread are also good, but everything must be eaten in moderation. (I used to fill up on bread before eating a meal, bad habit).
I remember one of the best times in my life was when I lived in San Bernardino, California, and went through vanguard training as a member of Mosque No. 27 in Los Angeles. Through a food co-op, we were able to get a box of fruits and vegetables for an amazing price. My diet was excellent; I ate fruit as an appetizer and had a plate of steamed or sauteed vegetables after eating my bean soup. I felt light and weight came “off” me because I was exercising and eating healthy low calorie, high fiber food that did not encourage me to eat in excess, gain weight and clog up my digestive system. I felt full and “fulfilled” (smile).
When we eat a lot of junk or processed food such as pasta, French fries, and white bread, we have a tendency to eat more because our body is not being “fulfilled” nutritionally. It is easy to overwhelm our stomach by eating red meat and processed food because it causes a “backlog” in our digestive system. These foods are usually low in fiber. When I eat junk food, I do not feel my best. I also must work out more to try to eliminate fat. However, if we are eating healthy food and exercising, your body is more in harmony and will reap the benefits of both, which will result in a healthier body. Every soldier should want ultimate health.
May Allah bless us all with peace, love, health, wealth, and happiness.
(Audrey Muhammad is an aerobics instructor and the author of the book, “How to Get Fit to Live.” To order the book or for more information, email [email protected] . Please consult a physician before beginning any new exercise or dietary program.)