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What Does Islam Say about Nutrition?

03 March, 2020
Q As-Salaam `Alaykum. Could you please furnish me with a comprehensive Fatwa citing the Islam’s stance on nutrition? It will be very much appreciated if you back your answer with evidences from the Quran and the Sunnah?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

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A highly important factor of health promotion is proper nutrition. Choosing wholesome food and avoiding what is unwholesome are essential to health.


Elaborating more on this issue, we would like to quote the following:

Allah Almighty says in the Quran: “Eat of the good things which We have provided for you.” (Al-Baqarah 2:173)

He Almighty also says, “Eat of what is lawful and wholesome on the earth. (Al-Baqarah 2:168)

Describing Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), Allah says: “…He prohibits them from all that is foul…” (Al-Araaf 7:157)

To abstain from eating without a valid reason is contrary to health protection. Hence, Islam does not approve it. Allah says in the Quran: “Do not forbid yourselves the wholesome things God has made lawful for you.” (Al-Madah 6: 87)

Healthy nutrition means having a balanced diet, in order to maintain the balance that Allah has established in all matters, and to which reference is made in the Qur’an:

“And He enforced the balance. That you exceed not the bounds; but observe the balance strictly, and fall not short thereof”. (Ar-Rahman 55:7-9)

Healthy nutrition means a diet balanced in quantity. Eating too much is contrary to Islamic teachings.
In the Quran, we read: “Eat and drink, but avoid excess…” (Taha 20:81)

Prophet Muhammad said: “When filled with food, the belly becomes the worst container for the son of Adam. It is sufficient for a human being to have a few bites to keep himself fit (which means that it is sufficient to have only what one needs to maintain strength and well-being). If one must eat, then let him use one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for breathing.” (At-Tirmidhi)

In another authentic Hadith, Prophet Muhammad said: “The food of one person will be sufficient for two, and the food of two people will be sufficient for four, and the food of four will be sufficient for eight.” (Muslim)

Healthy nutrition also means a diet balanced in its contents. This means that it must have a mixture of the different types of food, which Allah has graciously provided for His Creation, in the sense that it satisfies all the body needs in terms of proteins, fat, carbohydrates, salts and vitamins.

Most of these are mentioned in the Qur’an. For example, Allah Almighty says, “He created cattle which give you warmth, benefits and food to eat…” (An-Nahl 16:5)

He Almighty also says, “It is He who subdued the seas, from which you eat fresh fish…” (An-Nahl 16:l4)

Referring to vegetarian food Allah says: “It is He who sends down water from the sky with which He brings up corn, olives, dates and grapes and other fruit.” (An-Nah 16:l16)

Milk and honey are also mentioned: “In cattle too you have a worthy lesson. We give you to drink of that which is in their bellies, between the chyle and the blood: pure milk, a pleasant beverage for those who drink it.” (An-Nahl 16:66)

He Almighty also says: “From within their (i.e. the bees) bellies comes forth a fluid of many hues, that provides people with a cure (of illnesses)” (An-Nahl 16: 69)

Islam prefers wholesome food. An example is the Prophet’s preference for whole meal bread, dates, honey and milk. He (peace and blessings be upon him) used to drink milk and eat dates.

Washing one’s Hands before Eating is a Basic Principle.

It ensures the cleanliness of the food we handle, to avoid contamination. This protects the stomach from infections. In a Hadith, the Prophet’s wife mentions that “the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) used to wash his hands before eating.”

Cleanliness of Food and Drink

Another health rule stresses the need to ensure the cleanliness of food and drink. Islam urges that food should be covered so that nothing falls in it. A Hadith includes the instruction: “Cover your water container.” In another version, “Cover your food and drink.”

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.