Even if you're not the most devout Muslim in the world, you'd still benefit a great deal from the Monday-Thursday fast. As you might already know, fasting isn't just about asceticism and getting closer to God through denouncing bodily pleasures for a certain time. Fasting is also good for your health, which shows us that the wisdom of God's commands is very deep.
So, if you're following the sunnah of fasting every Monday and Thursday, you're maximizing your health even better than people who just suffice with fasting during the Holy Month.
In this article, we'll learn why it is sunnah to fast on Monday and Thursday, and some of the benefits of doing so.
The simple reason you should fast every Monday and Thursday is that it's a sunnah. Merely because the Prophet (SAW) fasted Mondays and Thursdays is a good-enough reason to do it too. Following the example of the Prophet (SAW) is always recommended.
If you want a more convincing reason, you can turn to the words of the Prophet (SAW) in which he said: the "deeds of people are presented to Allah (SWT) on Mondays and Thursdays, so I like that my actions be presented while I am fasting." -Sahih At-Tirmidhi
Also, when asked about fasting on Monday, the Prophet (SAW) said: "On that day I was born, and on it, the Revelation came to me." -Sahih Muslim
So, if you want a good religious reason why you should fast every Monday and Thursday, following the good example of the Prophet (SAW) should be enough to convince you.
Stating your fasting intention (niyat) the night before is as important as fasting itself. You can't just wake up, decide not to eat, and call it fasting.
Here's how you state the niyat of the sunnah fast for Monday:
نَوَيْتُ صَوْمَ يَوْمِ الِاثْنَيْنِ لِلهِ تَعَالَى
"Nawaitu shauma yaumil itsnaini lillâhi ta'âlâ."
Meaning, "I intend to fast sunnah on Monday because of Allah SWT."
Before you break your fast, you might want to say some dua. Here are a couple of variations that you can use:
اللَّهُمَّ لَكَ صُمتُ وَعَلَى رِزقِكَ أَفطَرتُ
"Allahuma laka sumt wa ala rizqika aftart"
Meaning: "O', Allah I have fasted for Your sake and broken the fast upon Your provisions."
ذَهَبَ الظَّمأُ، وابْتَلَّتِ العُرُوقُ، وَثَبَتَ الأَجْرُ إِنْ شاءَ اللَّهُ تَعالى
"Zahaba addama', wa ibtalat al orouqu, wa asbasa al ajro, in cha'a allâhu ta'âlâ"
Meaning: "The thirst is gone, the veins are moistened, and the reward has been earned if Allah wills."
Here's an interesting fact: Cancer cells tend to die when you deprive them of sugar, which is why Muslims have a lesser risk to develop cancer compared to other religious groups: because we fast the whole month of Ramadan.
When you fast every Monday and Thursday, you maximize your protection against cancer. As long as you keep your iftar not very bombastic, all the cancerous cells in your body will die from lack of glucose.
Other health benefits related to fasting include autophagy, which is the process of recycling damaged cells in your body. When you fast, your body triggers this process, which is quite important for a healthy body.
Additionally, fasting increases the amounts of growth hormone in your body, which allows your muscles to heal faster. So if you're lifting weights or you engage in some form of exercise, fasting will help your body heal and repair the damage faster.
And of course, we all know that fasting is the best way to reduce your weight. Coupled with exercising and a healthy balanced diet that includes proteins, healthy fats, complex carbs, natural fibers, and natural vitamins, fasting is the best way to get in shape.
Sunnah fasting is a spiritual activity that hits two birds with the same stone. On the one hand, you're following the example of the Prophet and getting more taqwa in your life. On the other hand, your body's health thrives with the occasional abstinence from constantly shoving food down your throat.