Eating and drinking are an essential need for the survival of man.
Allah ﷻ, out of His Immense Generosity provides a multitude of choice of foods and drinks to satisfy the hunger and thirst of man. Thus, we have the duty to appreciate these blessings from our Lord and avoid taking them for granted or to squander them.
Indeed, like other parts of our body, our stomach gets corrupted when we blindly follow the hidden call of our ego.
Those who follow their ego, eat with greed and excess midwives a negative effect on their physical and spiritual wellbeing.
That’s why Allah ﷻ and His Messenger ﷺ exhort us to cultivate moderation with regards to eating and drinking. Allah ﷻ says in the Noble Qur’an:
“… and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.” (7: 31)
Our Mother A’ishah (RA) reported that The Glory of humanity ﷺ said,
“The first deviation of my people from what their Prophet taught will be that they will want to fill their stomachs. And a full stomach will cause their bodies to bloat with fat. Their lust will know no bounds and their hearts will be sick. (Ibn Abi Dunya)”
Also, Miqdad ibn Ma’dikerb related from the Prophet ﷺ:
“In all time the children of Adam have not filled a pot dirtier than their stomach. It is sufficient to eat enough to enable you to stand on your feet. If you feel obliged to eat more, reserve one third of your stomach for food, one third for water, and one third for air. (Tirmidhi)
The prophetic sayings above show us that to fill one’s stomach to the full is not only considered blameworthy but it is also a deviation from the blessed teachings of the Holy Prophet ﷺ.
Indeed, one of the major causes of the corruption of the heart is a full a stomach, as mentioned in the Prophetic tradition above. It increases the lust and desire of the whole body. It feeds the ego to crave more for forbidden things without consideration of their harms and the commands of God Exalted is He.
A full stomach makes a person become full of pride and lazy to carry out religious acts and to even work for a living. The brain of such a person cannot memorize the Quran or properly study because a full belly slows the thinking process.
In contrast, hunger has many benefits and has been praised by the Glory of humanity ﷺ and pious scholars of this Ummah.
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is reported to have said,
“Verily Shaytan runs in the Son of Adam like blood. Therefore, constrain the passageways of Shaytan with hunger. “ (Bukhari and Muslim)
And Abu Jafar said,
“The stomach is such a limb of the body that when it is kept hungry, the other limbs of the body remain satisfied, calm and quiet. They do not demand anything that is evil and vicious. When the stomach is kept fully satisfied, the other limbs becomes hungry and call for sinful acts” (Minhajul’ abideen by Imam ghazali)
In reality, when the stomach is kept fully satisfied then the tongue becomes loose and lies and backbites, the eyes indulge in sinful glances, the private parts succumb to its lustful urge, the ear is ready to lend ear to obscene talk, the feet are ready to carry the body to forbidden places.
Forbidden things to eat in Islam
Allah ﷻ revealed in the Noble Qur’an,
“He has forbidden you only the Maytatah (dead animals), and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah (or has been slaughtered for idols, etc., on which Allah’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering). But if one is forced by necessity without wilful disobedience nor transgressing due limits, then there is no sin on him. Truly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (2:173)
Other than the foods mentioned in the Quranic verses above, Imam Birghivi (RA) also wrote in his book that:
“It is forbidden to eat muddied, dirty, or charred food; boiled hot food, any food that has been stolen, taken by force, or bought with money illegally obtained; anything harmful to the body or inclined to change the normal state of one’s mind.”
It is also forbidden for Muslims to use any sort of alcoholic drink or intoxicant substance, Allah ﷻ mentioned in many verses of the Quran about their harm and prohibition:
“O you who believe! do not go near prayer when you are Intoxicated until you know (well) what you say, nor when you are under an obligation to perform a bath—unless (you are) travelling on the road—until you have washed yourselves. (4 :43)
“Shaytaan wants only to excite enmity and hatred between you with intoxicants (alcoholic drink) and gambling, and hinder you from the remembrance of Allaah and from al-salaat (the prayer). So, will you not then abstain?” (5:90-91)
“They ask you about intoxicants and games of chance. Say: In both of them there is a great sin and means of profit for men, and their sin is greater than their profit. And they ask you as to what they should spend. Say: What you can spare. Thus does Allah make clear to you the communications, that you may ponder.” ( 2:219)
However, in case of necessity, foods and drinks that have been prohibited to consume may become recommended or permissible. Thus, if there are only prohibited foods available to eat, then a person could eat in order to save his life and health but this should be done with a goodwill, according to the verse of the Qur’an:
“But if one is forced by necessity without willful disobedience nor transgressing due limits, then there is no sin on him. Truly, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (2:173)
Also, in case of illness or some other disease, intoxicants may be recommended if there is no other way to cure the sick person, but this has to be within the limit of the dosage recommended.
Prophetic Etiquette of Drinking and Eating
It is also important to mention few prophetic etiquettes of eating and drinking in order to avoid the intervention and mischief of Satan the arch-foe of humanity.
Concerning eating, our mother A’ishah reported that the Cream of existence ﷺ asked his blessed household:
“To say ‘Bismillah,’ before they start to eat. If they forgot to do so, but remembered in the middle of the meal, he advised them to say ‘bismillah li awwalihi wa akhirihi’ (In name of God for its beginning and its end.” The Messenger of God did not use a separate plate, even a piece of flat bread, nor did he eat fancy food” (Bukhari)
In relation to drinking, Abu Sai’d related that the Prophet of God ﷺ said,
“Do not breath out into the glass of water which you are drinking, nor drink it all in one breath, and do not give the glass on your right side to the person on your left without asking permission from the person on your right. (Abu Dawud)
He ﷺ is reported to have also said in another Prophetic tradition,
“Do not drink water in one breath like a camel. Recite the Name of God, breath in and out to take three sips, and thank God.”
The benefit of the purification the stomach
The purification of the stomach enables a person to eat less and with moderation and this surely will improve his spiritual and physical wellbeing. It gives the ability to appreciate the blessings of Allah ﷻ and give Him thanks for it. With regards to the benefit of the purification of the stomach we read from “The Path of Muhammad” by Imam Birgivi (RA),
“Less food will give you a healthy body and a sound soul. Your mind will be sharper, your heart kinder, your worldly ambitions will decrease. You will save all the time you spend to satisfy the incessant desire of your stomach. You will be conscious, thankful for your Lord’s gifts and ready to accept His trials. You will be heedful. You will be more aware of the unfortunate who are really hungry, and choose to consider their needs above your own. You will leave selfishness and become generous and beneficent. You will remember the inhabitant of Hell, who eat poisoned fire, as well as the blessed who relish the fruits and rivers of milk and honey in Paradise. Your worship will be easy and rewarding. Your heart will be light and at peace.”
Using Prophetic Path to purify your stomach
One of the reasons that lead people to excess in eating and drinking is a lack of spiritual practice that will enable a person to realize the spiritual fruit or benefit of controlling one’s stomach.
Prophetic Path gives you the opportunity to embark on a spiritual journey through its self-purification course that will help the cultivate the mindfulness to abstain from excess not only concerning foods and drinks but in all area of your life.
Such practical spiritual journey will ultimately help you to achieve the self-mastery and the self-refinement you need in order to develop a proper and deep seated relationship with Allah Azawajal. Indeed, it is the lack of such relationship that engender the forgetfulness and heedlessness leading to corruption in people behaviors.
If you’d like to work onwards towards overall purification of the Body, Mind and Heart, then our dedicated purification course on www.Prophetic-Path.com will in sha Allah help you to achieve this.
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“He will indeed be successful who purifies it. And he will indeed fail who corrupts it.” (91:9, 10)