ILM broadly translates as Knowledge and is something that is at the heart of everything we do at International Learning Movement. (ILM). It’s not just our name. This is one of the reasons we love Ramadan. It helps us improve our brain function.
Allah (swt) has given all humans the faculty of reason and argument and He (swt) orders humans to spend time thinking carefully and pondering upon His creation as a sign of His power and glory. Knowledge is the foundation on which a Muslim professes true faith. Thus, we are encouraged to regularly use the brain and contemplate on Allah’s signs.
Similarly, we are instructed to use our brains to seek knowledge and to spread knowledge to others.
The messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
“A servant of God will remain standing on the Day of Judgment until he is questioned about his (time on earth) and how he used it; about his knowledge and how he utilised it, …” (Tirmidhi)
The brain is at the core of this process of contemplation, reasoning, teaching, memorisation and so it follows that we should look after our brain just like we look after other muscles in our body. This can be done by regularly exercising the brain however we have the gift of Ramadan and fasting to help us.
Research has shown that fasting improves brain function. In various studies, there was a correlation between fasting and improved cognition and the prevention of neuro disorders. In some cases, there was an indication that fasting reduced the effects of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s.
Modern science is still catching up with this wisdom that Muslims have understood for 1500 years. We know that when we fast, our body has fewer toxic materials flowing through the blood and lymphatic system, making it easier for us to use our energy for our brain functions because after a few days, the body clears itself of toxins. Then the brain has access to a cleaner bloodstream, resulting in clearer thoughts, better memory, and increased sharpness of senses.
Another benefit is increased willpower because fasting requires mental strength and the ability to resist short-term gratification for long term rewards. When we fast for a whole month, spend our nights in prayer and complete the recitation of the Quran, we all feel a renewed sense of accomplishment.
Let’s make the most of this blessed month by exercising our brain in the remembrance of Allah and spare a thought for those who have been gifted with great brains but spend their time focusing on surviving one day to another instead of Allah’s creation. Give generously this Ramadan.