Health is one of the most magnificent graces of Allah (s.w) to his slave and one of his most venerable and abundant donations.
Al-Bukhari (an authentic book of prophetic traditions) has narrated that the Holy Prophet has said:
"There are two favours that many people are prejudiced by it: The health and the leisure."
At-Tirmizi (an authentic book of prophetic traditions) and others have reported from a hadith (a prophetic tradition) by Abdullah bin Mash Alan sari (r.a) that the Holy Prophet has said:
"The one who is physically healthy, safe in his community and is sufficiently nurtured will possess the whole world."
It is reported from At-Tirmizi from Abu-Hurairah (r.a) that the Holy Prophet has said:
"The first question asked to a believer at the Day of Resurrection concerning the delights of this world is: Have not we preserved your body and quenched your thirst with cold water?!"
Thus, some predecessors said that these Divine words:
(Then, shall ye be questioned that Day about the joy (ye indulged in) designate: The health.)
Anas (r.a) relates from the Holy Prophet that he (the prophet) did not criticize any food ever: When he desired a food, he used to eat it, or else he used to leave it and abstain from eating it, but he did not prohibit those who desire it or who are habituated to eat if from consuming it.
Dangers of Excessive Eating
Eating less also holds some great benefits. Describing these benefits the most eminent scholar of the 20th Century Hazrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi Sahib (rah) who at the age of 25 became an Alim (scholar). For the aid of the muslim ummah (generation) he began writing Kitabs (islamic books) regarding the muslim law in which he wrote a great number of kitabs which come to a calculation of over 950. Until now these kitabs are flourishing around the whole globe very rapidly. His kitabs can be found in every topic: Fiqh (jurisprudence), Qur'an, T.V, Music, etc. An article had been published in a magazine called 'Al-Mu'min' in which it states that he has scientifically warned:
"Many sins are the consequences of providing excessive nourishment to the stomach, i.e.. Abstain from haram food. Do not become addicted to delicious food. Do not eat excessively. Leave some space in the stomach, i.e.. Do not eat to satiation.
The benefits of eating less are:
1. The heart remains pure. This leads to recognition of the Ni'mat (bounties) of Allah (sw).
2. Love for Allah (sw) develops in the purified heart.
3. Mercy and Tenderness become the attributes of the heart.
4. Pleasure is experienced in Du'aa (supplication) and Zikr (rememberence of Allah)
5. Pride and Rebellion of the Nafs are restraint and eliminated.
6. The difficulty of even a little hunger leads to abstention from sins. The inclination for sins
7. One stays healthy.
8. One feels less sleepy, and laziness in regard to Tahajjud (a virtuous prayer read between
the night and morning) and other acts of Ibaadah (worship) is uprooted.
If the Holy Prophet detested food he would not eat so much to overburden his nature. This is a great basis of health preservation, for when a human being eats what nature abhors, then the human being would be damaged.
Abu-Na'eem has written in Kitabatu-Tib that the Holy Prophet has said that the Al-Mighty Allah has not created any utensil bigger than stomach and that when a person takes meal, he should try to divide the whole thing into three parts. One for food, another for water and the third for breathing.
Eating less keeps one healthy, sharpens memory, reduces hours of sleep, helps smooth breathing and saves one from being sluggish.
Abu-Na'eem (the blessed one) has written in Kitabut-Tib that Qabiyah bin Zaweer (r.a) reports from the Holy Prophet that he (the prophet) has instructed for picking teeth as failing to do this makes teeth weak and angels disgusted.
The one who observes the prophet's guidance will find out that it is the best way of preserving the health. In fact the health preservation depends on the good managing of food, drink, clothing, residence air, sleeping, awakening, movement, serenity, marriage, emptying and restraining. If these elements take place moderately and in a proper way that fits the body, the country, the age and the habitude; health would be preserved until death.
The Sunnats Of Eating
1. To wash both hands up to the wrists
2. To spread out the dastarkhan (table cloth)
3. To recite Bismillah
4. To eat with the right hand (unless you are incapable of)
5. To eat from that which is in front of you.
If there is a variety of food in the dastarkhan then one could eat whatever one likes. One should
stretch out his hand (in order to get the food) after the other person has drawn his hand back.
6. To eat with 3 three fingers. This helps to digest the food (scientifically proven) as a result by
eating bit by bit. It is the most efficient method of eating. Eating with five fingers and the palm of
the hand is very un-hygienic and this implies the filling of the stomach by food and the digestive
organs could be blocked, which leads to the human being's death.
7. To clean the plate, bowl, etc. and to lick the fingers.
8. To pick up and eat a fallen morsel, and not to leave the same for satan. In this way a person will
find his sustenance in abundance. According to one hadith, the fallen morsel, if taken, become
maihir (dower) for hoouries of the heaven and Allah, the Almighty would keep him and his
off springs safe from leprosy, leucoderma and lunacy.
9. Not to find fault in food.
10. Not to blow in food as a result of carbon dioxide been released.
11. Not to lean while eating.
12. To read the du'aa after the meals.
13. To get up after lifting the dastarkhan and to read the du'aa whilst lifting the dastarkhan.
14. To gargle the mouth.
15. To wash the hands after eating.
16. To recite a special du'aa after having iftar (breaking fast) or after having eaten at another
For a blessed food
It has been written in a kitab called 'Umdatul-Ihkam' that the Holy Prophet has instructed to eat together for achieving blessings.
Jabir (r.a) reports from the Holy Prophet that the most desirable food is which is taken by many hands. He the Holy Prophet has also said that eating with brethren is remedial. He has also said that the worst man is the one who takes food alone, beats his slave girl, abandons his offerings and marries with his hand, i.e.. performs masturbation. He has also instructed us to take food after making it cold for extremely hot food is devoid of blessings. According to some other books, extremely hot food makes the stomach weak.
Pre-caution against the effects of old age
Remedy: Abu-Na'eem (the blessed one) quotes Anas bin Malik (r.a) saying that the Holy Prophet instructed the people to have food in the night for the old age approaches very fast if the night meal is given as usually.
Importance: A little should be eaten in the night. It is harmful to eat so much.
Manners of sitting whilst eating
Regarding the manners of sitting when eating it was the habit of the Holy Prophet that he did not eat whilst reclining.
It was true that the Holy Prophet said:
"I do not eat while reclining. I do sit like the slave of Allah and I do eat like him."
It is narrated in a hadith that the Holy Prophet prohibited the man to eat while lying with his face downward.
The concept of reclining has been explained in various ways:
1. To sit cross-legged.
2. To lean on an object.
3. To lean upon a flank (side).
Regarding number 3, (to lean upon a flank) it is the most harmful way of sitting because when you lean upon a flank it alters the natural way of food . The other two (to sit cross-legged and to lean on an object ) are the ways the powerful people sit who go contrary to slavery. Thus, the Holy Prophet said:
"I do eat like the slave of Allah does" and the Holy Prophet ate sitting on his heels. He has said that he ate leaning on his knees, the method is by placing the inside of his left foot the back of his right foot; as a sign of modesty towards Allah (s.w) of politeness between his hands and of respect for the food and the guest. This way of eating is proven to be the best and safest, because all the organs are left in their natural condition which Allah the powerful created, including the civilized position .
One should not also lean on pillows and mattresses because this position was the powerful people and the ones who eat excessively.
Abu Nu'aim has related that "The Holy Prophet prohibited sleeping immediately after dinner as he said that this fact hardens the heart." Thus, the doctors have advised us to walk after dinner about one hundred steps and prohibit sleeping immediately after as this is very harmful. The muslim Doctors say that one should pray after supper so that the aliments settle at the bottom of the stomach in order to make the digestion easier and better.
There are five sunnats of drinking:
1. Never drink from a bottle (carbon dioxide is released in the bottle).
2. Do not drink from the mug's cleft and do not breathe in the beverage.
3. Drink in three drafts. (sips). The Holy Prophet has said:
"The water quenches the thirst and is sanitary."
4. Invoke Allah (s.w) when you drink and praise him when you finish. It is reported in a hadith that the
Holy Prophet said:
"Do not drink the water in one draft just like camels but drink it in one or three gushes,
and invoke Allah (s.w) when you drink and praise him when you finish."
5. Do not drink while standing up.
The Holy Prophet used to drink while sitting. This way was his usual guidance. It was true that
he prohibited a person to drink while standing and infact he ordered the standing drinker to vomit
this water as he drank it while standing up. One group of people have stated that this order was just
to guide people and to adopt the best option. Drinking Zam Zam water is permissible while
standing up as the Holy Prophet did because this is a case of necessity.
The Holy Prophet has prohibited us to drink water lying our faces downwards, as he
prohibited us from drawing water with the hands, saying:
"Do not lick the water like a dog and do not taste the water at night before examining it
out of fear that the recipient is covered during the night."
If a person drinks by the mouth while standing up from an elevated basin, there would be no
difference between drinking with the hand or by the mouth, because drinking with the mouth is
very dangerous if the drinker is lying faced down on his venture.
Modern science have showed us again and again that eating less results to living a long life and have
also given us a group of advantages regarding it. According to a professor from Dewsbury,
excessive eating causes a number of illnesses within our bodies. The following is a list the professor
1. Brain Diseases.
2. Eye Diseases.
3. E.N.T Diseases. (Ear, Nose, Throat)
4. Chest and Lung Diseases.
5. Heart and Volves Diseases.
6. Liver and Gall Bladder Diseases.
8. High Blood Pressure.
9. Destruction Of Brain Veins.
10. Pschycological Diseases.
If you ponder over the list again you will more or less judge it as a death list rather than a list giving details about the problems caused from excessive eating. By presenting this list the professor has done a lot of research and investigation in which I direct you to take full observation and consideration from it and also by imitating the Holy Prophet as it is the most perfect and preferable way of eating and drinking.