Hajj, some pillars of Islam in calorie calculator – Wahidul Islam and Zayed Shahnewaz
People weigh or calculate many things, be they literate or illiterate. While buying or selling something a weighing scale or yard stick is a must. Some weigh themselves regularly to check their extra kilos or use measurement tape to keep watch on their ever bulging waistline or other parts of their body. They also weigh all the factors involved whenever they find the best time to start a job or career or venture.
But have you ever weighed your religious rituals? Is your religious practices devoid of fat which your religion does permit? Do you prefer farz or wajib to sunnah or nafal? “Where the weighing scale is?” you may ask.
Eid-ul Azha is going to be celebrated tentatively on 12th August when pilgrims will be performing pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam. Other pillars are Kalema (testifying) Salat (prayer), Saom (fasting), Jakat (mandatory charity). Probably very few Muslims have checked out the calories or energies they burn most or least in their lives while practicing the creed of Islam.
Annually, millions of Muslims embark on a religious pilgrimage called the “hajj” to Mecca. The mass migration during the pilgrimage is unparalleled in scale, involving numerous health hazards what one needs to know. The extreme congestion of people and vehicles during this time amplifies health risks, such as those from infectious diseases that vary each year. Since the hajj is dictated by the lunar calendar, which is shorter than the Gregorian calendar, it presents public-health policy planners with a moving target and constant preparedness. We review the communicable and non-communicable hazards that pilgrims face. So, can a pilgrim skirt watching out his or health?
The answer is straightaway no. Every human action involves burning of calories, so are the prayers including hajj. From time immemorial people of different religions make tour of the locations of religious importance. People belonging to Abrahamic religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam— make pilgrimage to Middle Eastern countries. Once upon a time the Jews, Christians and Muslims made pilgrimage to Jerusalem in Palestine together. Every religion has got its ways to say prayers or perform rituals as per their religious scripture. In this article we will focus on five pillars of Islam and count the calories these rituals need to perform.
According to Cambridge Dictionary calorie is a unit of energy, often used as a measurement of the amount of energy that food provides. The word calorie is ordinarily used instead of the more precise, scientific term kilocalorie. A kilocalorie represents the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of a liter of water 1′ centigrade at sea level. So everyone may have a calorie calculator to estimate the number of calories needed each day, work and prayers. It provides results for the number of necessary calories based on a one or two-pound gain or loss per week.
Academically, nutritionists say a 25-year-old ‘reference man’ or average man weighing 65kg spends 1200kcal in his workplace standing on feet at the rate of 180kcal per hour. He does washing, dressing, etc at a rate of 3kcal per minute. He burns 480kcal by walking 1.5 hrs. Even when he does nothing just idle away time sitting in the corner of a room, he burns energy. It costs him 1.54kcal per minute. If you are tired of hard work and resort to have recreations or do domestic works 5.2kcal per minute. On top of all, if you crash out on bed at the end of toilsome day you will drain 500kcal in an 8-hour rest.
Don’t think energy burning per minute has no gender bias. Of course, it has as males burn high while females burn low. A 25-year-old ‘reference woman’ average woman weighing 55kg spends 880kcal in her workplace standing on feet at the rate of 150kcal per hour. When she does washing, dressing, etc she loses 3kcal per minute. He burns 220kcal by walking 1.5 hrs. Suppose she sits idly, it costs her 1.41kcal per minute. If she is tired of work and resorts to have recreations or do domestic works she must burn 3.5kcal per minute. On top of all, if she crashes out on bed at the end of a toilsome day she will drain 420kcal in an 8-hour rest.
By using the aforesaid scale we can weigh hajj first. There are 6 steps in hajj. In all these steps walking gets top priority. So if we want to calculate the energy expenditure that means how much calorie is burnt during hajj period, then we can do it easily. It is not a rocket science. Here an average man spends 5.3kcal/min & an average woman needs 3.6kcal/min during walking. The pilgrims set out en masse from Mecca to the sprawling tent-city of Mina, whether on foot along pilgrim paths or by buses and cars. It is an 8-10km journey. If a pilgrim walks 6km/hr then he will take almost 1.20hrs which will burn almost 424kcal. For woman 324kcal will burn almost if she walks 5km/h. Then the pilgrim will go to Arafat by walking. The Day of Arafat is considered one of the most important days, not only for hajj but for the Islamic calendar too. Mount of Mercy at Arafat was the scene of the Prophet Muhammad’s final sermon. After making the 14.4 km journey from Mina, pilgrims spend the day here in reverent prayer. So for an average man 795kcal will be needed when 594kcal for a woman. After sunset, it’s time to move again, this time to Muzdalifah — a 9 km trip — where they spend the night under the stars. Many will also begin collecting pebbles here for tomorrow’s rites, departing again just before sunrise. The calorie calculation here is 413kcal for a man & 360kcal for a woman. After throwing stones to the pillars when their time in Mina is finished, the pilgrims return to Mecca to circumambulate the Kaaba finally. This tawaf costs almost 318kcal for man & 216kcal for woman. That means almost 2268kcal will be burned by a male pilgrim during hajj period without any additional work and BMR. For a woman, it needs over 1494kcal.
Every 2 rakah of salah takes 3-4 minutes. So the total calorie needed here is almost 14-15kcal. So the total calorie is burned daily through saying prayers is almost 112-120kcal. For average women it is 96-104 kcal/day. Sometimes Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) recited over 500 ayat in his prayers five times a day.
If we divide salah into 3 stages, these are standing, sitting & other body postures (rukuh, salam, sijdah etc). In total, for 5 waqt of salah, the energy required for standing is almost 70kcal, for sitting it needs 20kcal and for other activities 22-30kcal are needed. It proves that salah has not only the spiritual purposes but also health benefits.
Usually the Quran readers with average speed of recitation require 15 hours. The slowest may require 30 hours or more. While Islam has not put a restriction on the speed of recitation, it recommends generally to recite the entire Quran in 30 days, that is 1 juzz or para a day. If a reader wants to recite more s/he can recite it in 7 days.
With the above parameter we may need to burn many more calories than those of shortest possible salah prayed in our country.
Knowledge of the number of calories we burn while fasting will help us to lose, gain or sustain our weight. How many calories we burn in fasting can also be classified as our Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) or resting energy expenditure. This is the amount of calories your body must burn to perform its normal functions. The calories we burn in fasting are responsible for the normal functions of our vital organs. This includes keeping heartbeat, breathing and all other regulatory functions in place. Although there are a few different equations that can be used to find out how many calories we burn while at rest, the Harris Benedict equation is the most popular.
To calculate the BMR for men, we need to use the following equation:
(13.75 x weight in kilograms) + (5 x height in centimeters) – (6.76 x age in years) + 66.
Remember that weight is in kilograms and height is in centimeters.
To calculate the BMR for women, the equation is, (9.56 x weight in kilograms) + (1.85 x height in centimeters) – (4.68 x age in years) + 655
Weight is in kilograms and height is in centimeters.
We do fast during Ramadan is called “Intermittent fasting”. When we strategically skip one or more meals for a set period of time, it is called intermittent fasting.
Skipping entire meals greatly reduces calorie intake so much so that we don’t really have to worry about calories in the meals.
If anyone skips the breakfast, even indulging in two large 750 calorie meals later that day, plus a 300 calorie dessert (totalling 1800 calories) would keep most on track for weight loss. Missing one meal per day by fasting can save around 30% of calories in one go. Another study found that 25% of weight lost was muscle mass in normal calorie restriction diets, compared to just 10% lost in intermittent calorie restriction diets. Fasting also has some significance on hormonal activity in our body.
So sense of calculations in every work in one’s life may make one judicious. It may open up one’s eyes, having a critical bend of mind. One may not be gullible or can’t be cheated easily by others. Look before you leap and it must be well-measured, calculated.