Eating Less – avoiding Obesity
By Asma bint Shameem
I feel really tired! I can’t get up for Fajr! I just don’t have the energy to go to the Halaqas!
I just don’t have Khushoo’ in my Salah! I don’t know why I yawn so much during my prayers! I can’t seem to lose weight! I’ve tried all the diets but nothing works!
Do these remarks sound familiar? Do they remind you of someone?
Do you realize, O Brother/Sister in Islaam, that these conditions are caused by nothing but…..EATING TOO MUCH!
Eating too much is the root of much of the problems we have today. We don’t need to eat more than a few bites to stay alive and fit.
The Prophet (pbuh) said:
“The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few morsels to keep him alive. If he must fill it, then one-third for his food, one-third for his drink, and one-third for air.” (al-Tirmidhi –saheeh by al-Albaani)
Not only is it bad for the bodily health of an individual, overeating is equally bad, rather worse, for his spiritual health and wellbeing, as well as for his Aakhira.
Abu Juhayfah said:
“A man burped in the presence of the Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) and he said: “Keep your burps away from us, for the one who eats his fill the most in this world will be hungry for the longest time on the Day of Resurrection.” (al-Tabaraani–Saheeh)
After hearing that Abu Juhayfah did not eat his fill until he departed from this world; if he ate breakfast he would not eat dinner and if he ate dinner he would not eat breakfast, and he said: “I have not filled my stomach for thirty years.”
Yet, we force our kids to eat, to finish their plate or just simply stuff themselves until they are full. And we do the same ourselves. What we don’t realize is that, not only is this bad for health, and against the wise teachings of our beloved Prophet (pbuh), but it is this excessive eating that is keeping us away from the sincere and focused worship of Allaah that we are searching for…..that Khushoo’….that Sakeena, the peace that should be there in all our Ibadaat.
This is because eating one’s fill makes the body heavy, which leads to yawning and laziness in worship and work. All of us can speak from our experiences in Ramadaan, when the worship of Allaah becomes heavy and laborious, if we eat too much.
The Prophet (pbuh) said,
“A believer eats in one intestine (is satisfied with a little food), and a kafir (unbeliever) or a hypocrite eats in seven intestines (eats too much).” (Bukhaari)
If a person eats too much, he becomes sluggish and sleeps a great deal, and wastes a lot of his time. Sufyaan al-Thawri said: If you want your body to be healthy and to sleep less, then eat less.
Eating too much also makes the heart hard and heedless of Allaah.
It was said to Imam Ahmad: Does a man find any softness and humility in his heart when he is full? He said, “I do not think so.”
And that is why the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions used to go hungry quite frequently, even in the presence of abundant food.
Umm-ul-Momineen Aisha said:
“From the time of their arrival in Madina up until his death, the family of Muhammad never ate their fill of bread made from wheat three nights in a row.” (Bukhaari)
Some people argue that as long as what they are eating is Halaal, they can eat whatever they want, whenever they want and in whatever quantity they want.
But Allaah condemns everyone who is extravagant, even in things that are permissible:
“and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allaah) likes not those who waste by extravagance” [al-A’raaf 7:31]
Umar (RA) said: By Allaah, if I wanted I could wear the finest clothes among you, and eat the best food, and have the most luxurious life. But I heard that Allaah will condemn people for some of their actions and said:
“You received your good things in the life of the world, and you took your pleasure therein. Now this Day you shall be recompensed with a torment of humiliation, because you were arrogant in the land without a right, and because you used to rebel against Allaah’s Command (disobey Allaah)” [al-Ahqaaf 46:20]
Ibrahim ibn Adham said: “Any one who controls his stomach is in control of his deen, and anyone who controls his hunger is in control of good behavior.. Disobedience towards Allah is nearest to a person who is satiated with a full stomach, and furthest away from a person who is hungry.”
The Ulama enumerate multiple benefits of eating in moderation. Eating less keeps the body healthy and light, keeps the heart soft, increases memory, weakens desires, and disciplines the soul while excessive eating brings about the opposite of these praiseworthy qualities..
Haatim al-Taa’iy said: “If you give your stomach and your private part what they ask for, you will end up regretting it.” (Fath al-Baari)
In fact, the Ulama say that if a person eats so much food that it harms him, then this is haraam.. (Islam-qa)
That is because anything that harms is not allowed in Islaam. Allaah says:
“Do not kill yourself….” (Surat al-Nisaa’ 4:29)
Also, the Prophet (pbuh) said: “There should be no harming or reciprocating harm.”
A Muslim considers his food and drink means to something else. They are not a goal and pleasure in themselves. He eats and drinks in order to keep his body healthy so that he may worship Allah the Almighty. This is the worship that will make him qualified for the honor of the life and happiness of the Hereafter. He does not eat and drink for the sake of eating and drinking itself or its desires. Therefore, if he is not hungry, he does not eat. If he is not thirsty, he does not drink.
Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said:
“We are a people who do not eat until we are hungry. And if we eat, we do not eat to our fill.”
And the wisdom behind whatever the Prophet (pbuh) said or did 1400 years ago is being proven now with science, and it shows the truthfulness of his Prophethood and the beauty and excellence of our Deen, al-Islaam, the perfect way of life.
The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar business. Obesity is a major American tragedy, affecting millions of people of all ages. Overeating is leading people to a variety of illnesses; from heart disease to diabetes, arthritis to asthma, from nightmares and insomnia to depression and anxiety, just to name a few.
The way to stop eating too much is to stop gradually. If a person is used to eating a lot and he stops all of a sudden and starts eating very little, he will become weak and his appetite will increase. So he should reduce it gradually, by eating less and less of his usual food, until he reaches a moderate intake of food.
When it comes to eating better, less is definitely more. And besides… eating less is the perfect way to lose those extra pounds we have been trying (futily) to shed for years.
While we were trying so hard and looking every place under the sun to lose that weight, we forgot to look right under our noses…..
We forgot that the best and most perfect diet is to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). For, indeed, it is only his way that is the best and his guidance that is perfect.