By: Jamiatul Ulama
Source: Jamiatul Ulama
Abu Juhayfah said:
“A man burped in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) 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-Tabarani)
After hearing that Abu Juhayfah RA 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 (Allah bless him and grant him peace), but it is this excessive eating that is keeping us away from the sincere and focused worship of Allah that we are searching for that khushu’ (awe and humility), that sakina (tranquility), the peace that should be there in all our ibadah (ritual worship).
This is because eating one’s fill makes the body heavy, which leads to yawning and laziness in worship and work.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said,
“A believer eats in one intestine, and a kafir (unbeliever) or a hypocrite eats in seven intestines.” (Bukhaari)
That means; a believer is satisfied with a little food, while an unbeliever or a hypocrite eats too much to satisfy himself.
The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) also 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)
Eating too much also makes the heart hard and heedless of Allah. And that is why the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and his companions used to go hungry quite frequently, even in the presence of abundant food.
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 Allah condemns everyone who is extravagant, even in things that are permissible.
Umar (Allah be pleased with him) said: By Allah, 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 Allah 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 Allah’s Command (disobey Allah)” [al-Ahqaaf 46:20]
Ibrahim ibn Adham said: “Anyone 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.
The best and most perfect diet is to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace). For, indeed, it is only his way that is the best and his guidance that is perfect.
Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said:
“We are a people who do not eat until we are hungry. And if we eat, we do not eat to our fill.”
May Allah protect us from over eating and grant us wisdom and piety. Amin.