Mohammad Quadan is the founder & CEO of DeenFit. He is a recognised speaker, presenter, health advocate and coach dedicated to boosting health & fitness awareness in the Ummah. Currently, he’s working on releasing a series of online educational videos and an online Muslim Health course. Click here to learn more about him!
1. What was the inspiration behind the creation of DeenFit?
Definitely my 4 amazing children masha’Allah! After my own weight-loss journey I wanted a legacy to inspire our ummah to become the best they can possibly be through proper health, fitness and nutrition. I didn’t want my children to face the struggles I personally had with my health and equip them with the knowledge and motivation to eat for fuel and performance rather than luxury and indulgence. Seeing the changes within my own household and how simple it was to eradicate our fridge, freezer & pantry cupboards from all the unnecessary ‘junk’ then promote a practical healthy lifestyle, I wanted to share this with families across the globe…as our beloved Prophet said “We must love for our brothers, that which we love for ourselves.” I’m passionate about what I do and want to share the same passion and enthusiasm with people through deenfit.com.au.
2. Describe your journey to a healthy lifestyle.
Growing up I was always an average size, played many sports as any Australian kid would and loved my food. However, my passion for sports dies down as I got into the finals years at school but my other passion ‘Food’ propelled to new heights. Over the next 8yrs I managed to put on 40kg, placing me in the statistical category of ‘Obese’. I struggled emotionally, mentally and physically in every aspect of my life, then ironically trying to eat my way out of misery. In late 2009, something had to change; I re-introduced myself to my own body and actually started to figure out what it needed. After using my body as a guinea pig I managed to come up with a individualized system that helped me lose 30kg and bringing me back to the best shape of my life! It’s 5 years on and I have maintained my healthy weight without any hardship, now with my experience and knowledge, I’m ready to help others achieve their health goals insha’Allah.
3. Do you believe health and nutrition is connected to Islam?
Yes, most definitely. The Qur’an was revealed as a complete way of life, together with the Sunnah of our Beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) we are taught not only that how we must eat, but the art of portion control, eating wholesome foods, trophology (how to combine certain foods and food groups), the preparation of meats, food for energy and aiding good digestion amongst many other things. Failing to comply with these simple teachings, have proven to result in an obesity epidemic we are witnessing today. Adding to this, are diseases such as diabetes, high-cholesterol, cancer & heart disease, not to mention that children as young as 2 are being diagnosed with diabetes as a direct result from their bad undernourished diets. Holistic health comprises of 5 elements, which make up a sound body, the physical, mental, emotional, bio-chemical and spiritual states. If one or more of these are imbalanced, they create a chain reaction directly affecting the other. Think about the last time your over ate to the point you couldn’t breathe, then tell me how motivated you were to pray with concentration? The food choices we make can directly impact the quality of our worship to Allah the Most High.
4. What advice do you have for those struggling with maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
First & foremost we must renew our intentions with Allah (swt), have that zeal to get fit and healthy in order to be able to increase your worship to Him and serve Him in the best form possible. Then you have to be extremely positive with yourself and know that YOU CAN DO IT and that YOU CAN make that change in your life! People doubt themselves way too much and do not believe in what they can achieve…with hardship comes ease and I’m a direct result of this. We need to change our mindsets to know that GIVING UP is NOT an option at all, even if you fall of the path, simply get up and continue, just don’t quit on yourself. But many people can’t do it alone, hence why I started DeenFit, so I can be in their corner motivating them, holding them accountable and pushing them to best version of themselves insha’Allah. There is NO magic pill, its exactly what you hear in the movies…nothing but dedication, a lot of hard work and heaps of Kale (lol)
5. What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about health through your studies and experiences?
Two things have really grabbed my attention over the past 5yrs, first is that everything the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has taught us concerning food, science has proven it today and these theories are being taught in fitness & nutrition schools across the globe. Secondly, that health and weight loss needs to be approached on a bio-individual level, we are all living different lives, with different stress/time factors, which cannot be overlooked. My clients deserve that custom treatment, with their entire plans being carefully placed to fit their lifestyle and not the other way around. Approaching good health starting with the individual, factoring in their root causes, which could be emotional, physical etc is the solution to long term good sustainable health.
6. Where do you see DeenFit in 5 years? 10 years?
I am confident that DeenFit will be the ‘Go To’ place for anything health and fitness within the global Muslim community. We are already delivering seminars face to face and online and have huge plans to expand our reach and touch more people in the coming years. Insha’Allah, within 5yrs you will witness the first Islamic Health & Fitness Institution established. We have been working extremely hard with Industry Professionals to make this happen soon insha’Allah. A place for Muslims to not only learn about health & fitness but be given the opportunity to become accredited Holistic Health & Fitness coaches. What makes this different however, is that students will also have the opportunity to obtain an Ijazah in particular Islamic sciences and subjects directly relating to health and well-being. The idea is to create a huge global network of Muslim Health advocates to plant seeds and make solid changes from within.
7. What’s been the greatest reward about your work? The greatest challenge?
By far the reward lies in the accomplishments of the people I have helped achieve their ultimate weight and health goals. I’ve lived in their shoes, know the mental, emotional struggles they faced and mentored them simply to break out of that shell. The feedback I get for a simple health tip is humbling and makes what I do totally worth it. As, for my greatest challenge, I guess actually believing in myself and breaking through my own comfort zones alone, with no support or mentor by my side to keep me focused. It took me 3 times as long, but with perseverance and a whole lot of hard work, I actually accomplished what I thought was one of my biggest challenges at the hardest times of my life.
8. Tell us something no one knows about you.
Well, almost everyone knows I’m Palestinian, however not many people know my mother is Bosnian. I actually speak Yugoslav fluently and do my best to throw it in when I come across anyone speaking Yugoslav, to simply see their reaction lol.
9. Is chocolate really that bad?
No & Yes. It all depends on what you consider chocolate actually is. To get the most out of chocolate you need to look into which type offers the most nutrients and smallest amounts of fats and sugar. Let us first look at milk chocolate, yes there are some nutrients found in milk chocolate but it is definitely over shadowed in the dilution process with milk solids, sugar and cream. Although not completely void of some nutrients derived from the natural cocoa, it is minute compared to its healthier sister, dark chocolate. With a higher nutritional value, dark chocolate has much more of the original cocoa present, so the higher percentage of cocoa the better it is for you. Cocoa is a great source of anti-oxidants and generally speaking when you choose a dark chocolate over the milk varieties, you will often find the sugar and fat content to be far less. When choosing a dark chocolate, try and select one with at least 65% or more cocoa in order to maximize its benefits. Familiarize yourself with the nutritional information and try to select Organic brands with the least amount of ingredients. But like everything else, this too must be eaten in moderation.
10. What do you ultimately wish to accomplish with DeenFit?
Something which everyone aspires to have……happiness in this life and the next. This sounds great in theory, but when you look at the state of Muslim ummah today with it’s high disease rates, staggering rise in mental issues and the rapid increase with children suffering from diseases, there no other option but to simply get back to basics. We have forgotten the most simplest fundamentals in our deen, trying to find shortcuts without putting in the effort. To answer the question quite frankly…I want to help us to wake up! To stop neglecting the bodies that Allah (swt) has given us on loan, they do not belong to us, they belong to Allah and we must treat them accordingly. Living an indulgent/care-free lifestyle is not helping us attain that ultimate success we say we are working towards, it is affecting our spiritual connection with Allah which can hinder the time it may take to cross that final bridge to eternal bliss.
The original version of this article was first published on Creative Ummah.