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The Islamic Diet

March 3, 2009

Bismillah

We are constantly bombarded in this society with diet after diet, new ways to loose weight or supposedly be ‘healthy’. As Muslims, we know that Allah ta’ala sent the Qur’an to us as a huda, a guide. Not only is the Qur’an a guidance for us in our beliefs, our worship and character, but we learn basic lessons on how to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to Allah. So rather than turning to outside sources for guidance in these basic matters, turn to the Qur’an, for by Allah you will find your answer. Did you know that Allah ta’ala teaches us the “islamic” diet in the Qur’an?

He says,

يَا بَنِي آدَمَ خُذُوا زِينَتَكُمْ عِنْدَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا وَلَا تُسْرِفُوا ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِينَ

“O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.” [Suratul A’raaf, verse 32]

Allah outlines in this simple verse how we as Muslims should eat. He mentions first to “take your adornment at every masjid”, which means to wear nice, clean clothes when attending the masjid. Then He says: “and eat and drink, but be no excessive”. The word for excessive here is ‘israaf’ (إسراف) and israaf not only means to be excessive, but it means to waste and be extravagant.

Imam ibnul Qayyim mentions two extremes that can be defined as ‘israaf’ in eating:

1) Firstly, the person will not follow the verse which says to “eat and drink”; they will under eat and constantly be in a state of malnutrition and starvation. This diet brings about sickness and prevents health.

2) Secondly, the person will overeat and go beyond what the limit of what is normal. The Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam taught us, “there is no worse vessel for the son of Aadam to fill than his stomach, but if he must fill it, the let him allow one-third for food, one-third for drink, and one-third for air.” (Saheeh, Ahmad) This extreme also brings about sickness and prevents health.

The Muslim must avoid these two ways of doing israaf, and remain balanced in their diet–without overeating or under eating.

InshaAllah this serves as two reminders for us. Firstly, that the Qur’an is a guide for us in all aspects of our lives and also a reminder for us to leave both of these extremes in diet. wa Allahu ta’ala alam.

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