In 2010, Doctor Michael Mosley made a documentary, which aired on BBC, named “Eat, Fast and Live Longer”. He wanted to make a few changes to his life in order to live longer, lose weight and stay young. Therefore, he went through exploring and searching new ways of diets. He started trying different kinds of diets that rely on fasting. He thought he has found a new powerful way of fasting, but he discovered that his idea belonged to the ancient prophetic idea of fasting from over 1400 years ago.
The wanted method!
Through Mosley’s journey, he wanted to reach two goals. Firstly, he wanted to know the secret of good health. Secondly, he wanted to live longer. In the beginning, he started to fast three days a week or what it’s called “intermittent fasting”. The result was amazing, but he didn’t stop there. He kept on searching for better ways to achieve the best results. After that, he discovered what he called 5-2 diet which is: eat for five days and fast for two days, and he continued on that regimen for a few months. Eventually, he concluded that this method gave him the best results he was searching for and served his goals, so he was in no need to keep on searching.
The results of 5-2 diet were impressive. Both, mentally and physically. The results on the brain scanning revealed that hunger creates new cells and so as a result of this cognitive abilities are enhanced. Thus, it works as an exercise to the brain and memory. On the other hand, he did not only lose weight, but this method resulted in the reduction of his body fat. His Glucose and cholesterol levels were within the healthy rates, guaranteeing him protection against future diseases if he continued on this regimen.
Prophet Muhammad (may peace and blessings be upon him) used to fast every Monday and Thursday and he ordered his followers to do so too. It is narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said “The Messenger of Allah said: “The deeds (of mankind) are presented (to Allah) every Monday and Thursday, and I like that my deed be presented (to Allah) while I am fasting.” [At-Tirmidhi and Classifies it as Hasan (Good)].
Aisha reported “The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, sent for Uthman ibn Mazh’un and he came. The Prophet said, “O Uthman, do you not desire my practice?” Uthman said, “O Messenger of Allah, no by Allah. I seek your practice.” The Prophet said, “Verily, I sleep and I pray, I fast and I break my fast, and I marry women. Fear Allah, O Uthman, for your family has rights over you and your guest has rights over you. Verily, your own self has rights over you, so fast and break your fast, pray and sleep.”
Fasting is not only important for better health, but it also teaches you a way to self-control. Therefore, Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) told Muslims over 1400 years ago to do the 5-2 fast. Fasting here is not about living longer, but it is about living better.
What Mosely has done is very interesting. He has confirmed a prophetic habit. The prophet used to fast a lot, more than anyone even before any scientific experiments. He did not make it obligatory, but a Sunnah (prophetic teachings) to be followed.
Following the teachings of the prophet muhammad (pbuh) will ensure you a better physical and emotional life, here and in the hereafter.
Hadith on Duties: Muslims have a duty to Allah, themselves, and their families. (n.d.). Retrieved December 01, 2016
Abu Dawud, 1984. Sunan Abu Dawud. n/a. Dar-us-Salam