GUEST ARTICLE (by Anonymous) graciously provided by Sister II
The Islamic diet is not only to help you lose weight, but also allows you to gain in deeds and improves your spirituality.
The prophet (P.B.U.H) was described to have had no belly even at the age of 63 and said obesity is the root of disease, modern medicine agrees. The message of Islam provides us with the solution with all our problems and this includes losing weight. All you have to do is follow the Sunnah….
The Amount of food:
The prophet (P.B.U.H) said the worse vessel the sons of Adam fill is their stomach, and recommended that we should only eat when hungry and never reach satiety.
Alhamdollillah he (P.B.U.H) did not leave it ambiguous but defined the amount of food we should consume, the minimum being the amount we require to ‘keep our backs straight’ and maximum being ‘the third of our stomach’. Unfortunately for many of us it is very easy to perceive our whole abdomen to be our stomach, which of course is not true. The stomach can at maximum contain a liter of liquid; meaning that at maximum we should eat an amount of food which if liquidized should be around 333ml!!!
One of the main principles of good health is a balanced diet. Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) emphasized the habit of eating less as a method of preventing sickness and disease.
Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said:
“Nothing is worse than a person who fills his stomach. It should be enough for the son of Adam to have a few bites to satisfy his hunger. If he wishes more, it should be: One-third for his food, one-third for his liquids, and one-third for his breath.” – Tirmidhi & Ibn Majah
Times for food:
In the Sunnah it is mentioned that there is no time when you are not allowed to eat, except during prayer or while fasting. The prophet (P.B.U.H) had soaked dates first thing in the morning, which could be considered breakfast.
There are also hadiths that mentions that he ate salads after Asr prayer. There is also the command if food is prepared and it’s time to pray Isha, to eat first. Other than that there is no strict adherence to certain times, and thus in other times it is about eating when hungry.
Method of eating:
The prophet (P.B.U.H) commented on his position when eating by saying ‘I only sit like the slave sits and eat like the slave eats’. He (P.B.U.H) sat on the floor when he ate, and warned from eating while reclined or supported. This is of great wisdom, as when one is reclined or supported the muscles of the chest and back relaxes, and affects the posture of the body and thus the food as it is swallowed. The position is also one of humility and remembrance of our relationship to the Creator of the food.
The prophet (P.B.U.H) ate with three of his fingers, the index, thumb and middle finger. This makes sure that only a small amount is eaten at a time, which helps make sure the food is chewed properly aiding digestion as well as restricting calorie intake. Using your fingers help you identify bones or other objects that might choke you, it also helps you make sure that the temperature of the food is right and is not too hot to cause you damage. There is clear prohibition in the Sunnah to taking food that is too hot. In fact too hot a drink or food is the punishment of the people of hell. Food that is too hot can burn your lips, tongue and inner organs.
Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) demonstrated to his followers the pleasures of sharing as opposed to over-indulgence in the good things of life. The sharing of food with neighbors, relatives, friends, the needy, and the destitute is emphasized.
Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that he heard the Messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H) saying:
“He is not a believer who eats to his fill but his neighbor goes without food.” – Sahih Bukhari
Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) elaborated on the duty of the Muslim to suppress greed, especially in eating. This appears in a very specific situation reported by Ibn Umar, in which the Prophet (P.B.U.H) prohibited anyone taking two dates together before asking permission from his companions (sharing the meal with him) – Sahih Bukhari.
Mindset towards Food and eating:
As Muslims we see food as a means and not an aim. Our aim is the worship of Allah. It is a spiritual illness to keep your mind occupied with food. It is also a disease to always fulfill your food desires.
When Omar (R.A) asked a man why he was in the market and replied to buy a certain food that he desired Omar (R.A) told him “do you do everything your Nafs commands?”
While we have to be wary of allowing our passion for food to lead us to excess, nevertheless we do not have to just eat for survival. We are allowed to enjoy food and have personal preference and dislikes. The prophet’s (P.B.U.H) favorite food was honey, and he disliked eating the meat of lizards even though are halal.
The Quran mentions the food of paradise, and even how its’ residents will be given the meat of birds which they desire. So to like the meat of birds (chicken etc) is one of the descriptions of the people of paradise while we have to be wary of allowing our passion for food to lead us to excess, nevertheless we do not have to just eat for survival.
Sometimes some of us want to restrict the amount we eat, but when it comes to it, we fall and end up eating a lot. Now this according to spirituality is considered a mental defect, and the cure for it is this ayah. The repetition of this ayah (7 times before every meal)<<I would love to know the reference for this if anyone knows>>, and/or having this ayah somewhere where you can see it cures. In no time you will find that you do enjoy food and also are able to stop before going to excess.
“O Children of Adam! Wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: But waste not by excess, for Allah loveth not the wasters.” Quran (7:31)
Never Criticize Any Food
Food should not be criticized for any reason, despite personal disliking. Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) never criticized any food that was offered to him.
“The Prophet (P.B.U.H) never criticized any food (he was invited to) but he used to eat it if he liked the food, and leave it if he disliked It.” – Sahih Bukhari
Eating with others bring about harmony and understanding among people. People are usually more relaxed when eating in company. Their minds are less absorbed in their daily activities and are free of worries.
Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) brought the attention of Muslims to the importance of eating together
“Eat together and not separately, for the blessing is associated with the company.” – Ibn Majah
(Note: ‘Eating together’ here does not imply mixed eating by males and females at parties or banquets):
May Allah Subhanawataala bless our beloved and noble Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him Insha Allah, and give us the strength to control our Nafs and follow in his (PBUH) path in our daily diet. Ameen!