By Tabassum Mosleh
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Eating moderately is not only good for health, but also greatly stressed in Islam, and a sign of a true believer. Allah ﷻ says in the Quran (translation):
O children of Adam . . . eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess. [Quran, 7:31]
But despite knowing about the harms of overeating, in this age one is probably more likely to die of too much food rather than too little. When we look all around us, we see too much food– food over-ordered and food wasted. How do we find motivation to control our diets? Here are a few hadiths which are must-reads for the overeater.
Overeating is oppression of your own body.
Salman said to Abu Ad-Darda’ whom he saw overtiring himself by worship: “Your Lord has a right on you; and your soul has a right on you; and your family has a right on you; so you should give the rights of all those who have a right on you). Later on Abu Ad-Darda’ visited the Prophet (ﷺ) and mentioned that to him. The Prophet, said, “Salman has spoken the truth.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 6139)
The Prophet ﷺ would pass his days in hunger.
‘Umar bin Al-Khattab (May Allah be pleased with him) spoke at length regarding the worldly prosperity that people had achieved and said: “I saw that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) would pass his days in hunger and could not get even degraded dates to fill his stomach.” (Muslim; in Riyad al-Salihin 473).
Why did the prophet remain hungry? Not because he didn’t have a choice. Like any other ruler, he could become the richest person in his kingdom, if only he wanted. But he didn’t want it, he wanted to live amongst the poor and die amongst them.
And where are we compared to that? Do we care about those empty stomachs while we overfill our own?
The food that one person usually eats is enough for two.
The food of one is sufficient for two, and the food of two is sufficient for four, and the food of four is sufficient for eight. (at-Tirmidhi 1820)
At times the Prophet’s family would eat only dates and water.
A’ishah radiyallahu (anh) said, “The Prophet (ﷺ) died when we had satisfied our hunger with the two black things, i.e. dates and water.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 5383)
She also reported, “Never had the family of Muhammad (ﷺ) eaten to the fill since their, arrival in Medina with the bread of wheat for three successive nights until his (Holy Prophet’s) death.” (Sahih Muslim 2970)
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Eating too much is a characteristic of disbelievers.
A Muslim eats in one intestine (i.e. he is satisfied with a little food) while a Kafir (unbeliever) eats in seven intestines (eats much). (Bukhari and Muslim)
The maximum amount you should eat is one-third of your fill.
The human does not fill any container that is worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat what will support his back. If this is not possible, then a third for food, a third for drink, and third for his breath. (at-Tirmidhi 2380)
Tabassum is a final year student of BA in Islamic Studies at Islamic Online University, and a Foundation student on Classical Arabic and Islamic Studies at al-Salam Institute. She also has a degree in Mechanical Engineering, and studies psychology by herself. She writes about a wide range of subjects. Contact: email@example.com.