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Food, Fitness and Faith – The Prophetic Formula

Food, Fitness and Faith – The Prophetic Formula
It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle as our body impacts our abilities to fulfill our duties as Muslims.

Every day we are striving to achieve good grades, memorize a verse from the Quran, learn a new language, and bring up a family. The focus is often to continuously work on improving the situation of our life.

Comprehending the Islamic principle of doing every act with excellence and working on developing yourself, we push ourselves both physically and mentally. We utilize every ounce of energy on the various aspects of our lives. However, too often we fail to grasp that we desperately need to generate that energy with the correct means.

Amidst driving towards goals, we neglect our physical entity, feeding ourselves with an unbalanced diet and ignoring the need for physical exercise.

Both our body and mind have been entrusted to us by Allah as an amanah, a trust. If a friend were to gift us an expensive car for a set of time for us to travel to where we need to go, we would be cautious of every single road we drove down, every gas station we filled the tank up at and who we allowed to sit in the car.

A car is the vehicle to drive a human from place to place; the human body is the vessel that transports the soul through the dunya. It is fundamentally important we value it and equally to be conscious of how we are living in it.

Prophet Muhammad said:

“Whosoever begins the day feeling family security and good health; and possessing provision for his day is as though he possessed the whole world.”(Tirmidhi)

It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle as our body impacts our abilities to fulfill our duties as Muslims. A common picture, seen in both men and women, is overweight individuals praying on chairs because their knees are unable to withstand the weight on them for too long.

This is a sad situation where a person finds it too painful to prostrate and go into sujood. Whilst Allah has permitted us to adjust our prayer when in difficulty, we should do our upmost best to maintain our physical ability to perform salah as demonstrated by the Prophet (peace be upon him) for as long as possible.

“A believer who is strong (and healthy) is better and dearer to Allah than the weak believer, but there is goodness in both of them…”(Bulugh al Maram)

Allah, through the Quran and Sunnah, has given us guidance on how to maintain fitness and active lifestyle. We are not left alone as to how to protect ourselves from illness and disease. Here you will find some points collected from verses of the Quran and hadith that play a role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Make dua’

Whenever embarking on anything, we should always remember to make dua to Allah. Without His assistance, we can never implement what we learn.

The Prophet said:

“The supplication is the essence of worship.” (Tirmidhi)

  1. Eating
  • Eat moderately

{O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.} (7:31)

As mentioned above, overeating is something that plays a part in obesity. Allah tells us in the Quran to not be excessive in our eating. The key thing to remember is to eat what you need to fulfill your stomach, rather than indulge for the sake of eating something that tastes good.

  • Eat without Haste

“The Messenger of Allah forbade blowing into the vessel.” (Ibn Majah)

eat healthyWhen food is hot, we often blow to cool it down so we can eat. This haste often comes as a result of our stomachs rumbling. In this haste, we often eat fast which leads to eating more than what is required as there is a lag between your stomach feeling full and this message reaching the brain. This overeating leaves you feeling lethargic, even though eating should re-energize you. By taking time to allow food to cool naturally helps to reduce the sudden desire we get when we first smell or see the food.

  • Eat together

Some of the Companions of Prophet Muhammad said:

“We eat but are not satisfied.”

He (peace be upon him) said:

“Perhaps you eat separately.”

The Companions replied in affirmative. He then said:

“Eat together and mention the Name of Allah over your food. It will be blessed for you.” (Abu Dawud)

From this hadith, we can understand that there is a blessing in eating with others which will allow you to feel content. When a person is unsatisfied, they are more likely to overeat, putting them at risk of becoming overweight. By eating together with family and friends, the bonds of kinship are increased which is another aspect that pleases Allah.

  1. Stay Active

The sunnah has a number of different narrations demonstrating a degree of activeness from the Prophet saw and his companions. Just contemplating on the idea that the Prophet was above 40 years old when he led armies into battles demonstrates his physical fitness.

  • Horse Riding

“Everything with which a man amuses himself is vain except three (things): a man’s training of his horse, his playing with his wife and his shooting with his bow and arrow.” (Abu Dawud)

Horse riding has a number of benefits: it works on your balance and coordination, generally requires you to be outdoors in the open and uses a large number of muscles. Also it aids liver function and digestion, helping to keep your bowels healthy.

  • Walking

“I did not see anyone walk faster than him, as is the earth folded for him. A few moments ago he would be here, and then there. We found it difficult to keep pace when we walked with him and he walked at his normal pace.” (Shama’il Muhammidyah)

Today, we prefer taking transport even if we are traveling down the road because it is convenient and requires less energy on our part. The prophet (peace be upon him) however, would walk and at a fast pace. This is a practice that should be adhered to; the same principle is advised by doctors across the world today.

  • Racing

It was narrated that ‘Aisha said:

“The Prophet raced with me and I beat him.” (Ibn Majah)

This highlights that not only did the Prophet (peace be upon him) run and race, he also did this with his wife. Exercise is something the whole family should be getting involved with as it is a matter of tarbiyah for children to understand the importance of their health and body. It can be utilized as a way to develop and sustain the relationships within a family.

(This article is from Reading Islam’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.)


About Aishah

Aishah is a medical doctor, weight loss coach and personal trainer. She has a keen interest in promoting a healthier lifestyle for Muslim women and blogs regularly on health, fitness and personal development. Aishah provides as unique service, both online and face-to-face , offering fitness coaching to Muslim women all over the world. Visit her blog here (www.grainsandgains.com) and follow on social media: instagram and twitter (@grainsandgains)

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