Embrace Prophetic Health this Ramadan

The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) was the best of mankind and his lifestyle is what all Muslims aspire to. Following in the Prophet’s (ﷺ) footsteps, in every aspect of our lives, ensures spiritual fulfilment, and closeness to Allah and His beautiful messenger. But there’s a secondary motivation here for every Muslim. Can you guess what that is?

Well done if you said, ‘our bodies are a trust from Allah (SWT) which we are responsible for and must take better care of.’ After all, cancer is on the rise and so are health issues like obesity, heart disease and diabetes -all of which heavily affect the Muslim community. It’s time to make some changes. If you agree, then what better time to start than now?

No really, Ramadan is the best time of year to make changes and start building positive new habits. We have a month full of blessings ahead of us, in which Allah (SWT) makes it easier for the believers to do good and rewards them tenfold. And if we apply ourselves, our new habits will stick with us even after Ramadan is over, inshallah.

Fast more

All Muslims who fast for Allah (SWT) know first-hand its spiritual benefits. But fasting also has amazing health benefits, which are being lauded by health gurus everywhere, as they recommend intermittent fasting. Many of us already know that fasting for 30 days in Ramadan allows our bodies to go through a miraculous process of cleansing and healing. So should we restrict this powerful practice only to Ramadan? Even the science now proves that fasting shouldn’t be something we only do one month out of the year. And here’s an even better incentive…

Fasting was a regular part of our Prophet’s (ﷺ) life. He would fast every Monday and Thursday, and he would fast on the 13th, 14th and 15th of the lunar month. Even on days when he wasn’t fasting, he and his family rarely had more than one meal a day, which presents a strong case that the Prophet (ﷺ) and his companions fasted intermittently:

It was narrated by‘Aishah (RA): “The family of Muhammad (ﷺ) did not eat two meals in one day but one of them was dates.” (Bukhari)

Feast less

Feasting calls to mind those Ramadan banquets we are doubtless all looking forward to come Iftar time. And yet the only banquets the companions of the Prophet (ﷺ) enjoyed were those held at weddings. So what was a banquet fit for a prophet really like?

Well, we know from the hadith about the wedding banquet that Rasulullah (ﷺ) hosted for his marriage to Safiyyah (RA), and that it comprised of dates, dried yoghurt, butter and a sweet dish called hais. For most of us today, that’s a more simple meal than your average starter! So here’s some food (pun intended) for thought for us 21st Century Muslims.

Eat Quality

Eating clean, quality food is a fundamental part of religious practice for Muslims who observe Halal. But what kind of food did the Prophet (ﷺ) eat on a daily basis? We know from the hadith that the food which made up the Prophet’s (ﷺ) regular diet consisted of the following:

  • Dates
  • Barley Bread
  • Yoghurt
  • Olive oil
  • Cucumber
  • Honey
  • Milk
  • Gourd
  • Meat (on occasion and in moderation)

The list above makes a strong argument for avoiding heavily processed foods and too much meat. Yet for most of us today, it’s almost unthinkable to enjoy a main meal without a meat dish. Meanwhile, refined sugars and refined flour aren’t just a health hazard: if you consider that a single slice of white bread is 52 calories, eating two sandwiches and a Mars bar can push us over our recommended daily calorie intake by lunchtime.

Abu Hazim (RA) narrated that he asked Sahl, “Did you use white flour during the lifetime of the Prophet?” Sahl replied, “No.” Hazim asked, “Did you use to sift barley flour?” He said, “No, but we used to blow off the husk (of the barley).” (Bukhari)

Limit Quantity

Moderation is also key to a healthy diet and the prophetic tradition highlights this through the hadiths. For those of us who have trouble limiting ourselves, there is no better time to get used to eating less than in Ramadan, when the days of fasting cause our stomachs to shrink by sunset. In fact, many of us are familiar with the feeling of not having enough room to eat all the treats on our Iftar table. Doubtless, we are all also familiar with the remorse and physical discomfort that follows when we’ve tried.

So here’s a tip: remember that remorse the next time your eyes and your stomach are at odds with each other over the second helping that’s tempting you. And then hit pause. Give yourself 30 minutes to appreciate what you’ve already got in your tummy before you make that decision. We promise, after those 30 minutes you’ll realise you neither need nor want more.

The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: ‘A human being fills no worse vessel than his stomach. It is sufficient for a human being to eat a few mouthfuls to keep his spine straight. But if he must (fill it), then one-third of food, one third for drink and one third for air.’ (Sahih)

So now you have the guidelines, set yourself some goals. And when the holy month is over, let’s persevere in turning our new habits into a healthier lifestyle we adopt for good.

To find out more about the different health benefits of fasting, watch our video about why fasting is good for you.

Why not inspire your friends and family? Share this blog with them as an Imaan boosting reminder.

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