[Quotes and Ahadith from “The Sublime Conduct of Nabi Sallalahu Alayhi Wasalam (Ash-Shama’il al- Kubra)” – compiled by Mufti Muhammad Irshad Ahmed Qasimi mudda zilluhu]

 

The general trend during Ramadhaan is to “Fast to Feast”. We starve all day so that we can overeat at night. This is very much against the Sunnah of Rasulullah Sallalahu Alayhi Wasalam.

 Imam Ghazali Rahmatullah Alayhi writes the following: “Overeating is the root of countless sins. It leads to an urge to satisfy the sexual appetite and, when one is a slave of one’s sexual desires, his desire to attain wealth increases, as most sexual desires cannot be fulfilled without wealth. This person will then be in search of fame and worldly status, as wealth is more easily obtainable when one acquires a degree of popularity and fame. Now that the desire for wealth and fame have combined, a person will be on the highway of demoralisation, gathering pride, boastfulness, jealousy, malice, enmity and a host of other evil accomplices as he goes along. Eventually he will have all the perfect tools to destroy his Iman and he will be vanquished. This is why the Hadith declares that hunger is more rewarding.

 

Seven Benefits of eating less:

Nabi Sallalahu Alayhi Wasalam said that the worst utensil that a man can fill is the stomach. It is sufficient for a man to eat a few morsels only, whereby he manages to keep his back upright. If anybody really needs to eat more, he should divide his stomach into three parts – one third for food, on third for water and one third for air or for breathing. [Riyad as-Salihin]

 The benefits of eating less are innumerable, but we will suffice on the more pertinent ones.

  1. The heart remains clean and the foresight is strengthened. Excessive eating results in stupidity and makes the eyes of the heart blind. When a man is deprived of intelligence, he will never attain the recognition of Allah Ta’ala.

  2. [When eating less] The heart will soften and the person will experience more enjoyment in his devotions. When a person’s stomach is empty, he sincerely humbles himself when communicating with Allah Ta’ala and he experiences sensations of joy during those moments. Thus, fear and humility will increase and these are the keys to the true recognition of Allah Ta’ala.

  3. The rebellious nafs [carnal self] is subdued and, naturally, when the enemy is powerless, a person will be able to worship Allah Ta’ala unflinchingly, whereby the doors of eternal bliss will open for him.

It is for this reason that, when Nabi Sallalahu Alayhi Wasalam was offered material benefits, he remarked: “I desire to eat one day and remain hungry the next so that I may exercise gratitude when satiated and patience when hungry.

  1. By remaining hungry, a person will taste some of the difficulties of the Hereafter which will remind him to be diligent in fulfilling his duties to Allah Ta’ala. Similarly, hunger is one of the easiest punishments that are self-inflicted. Thus, one who is constantly being reminded of the punishment of Allah Ta’ala, will not incline towards evil of any kind.

  2. All the desires of man are subsequently subdued and a man feels no temptations. Hence, a love for the world will leave his heart. Zun-Nun Misri Rahmatullah Alayhi said that, whenever he filled his belly, he inevitably committed some sin, or the intention to sin played havoc with his mind. Ummul Mu’minin, Sayyidah Ayesha Radiyallahu Anha, stated that filling the belly was the first innovation that plagued the Ummah after the demise of Nabi Sallalahu Alayhi Wasalam and this subsequently lead the Ummah to material indulgence.

  3. A hungry person cannot oversleep, nor will he experience difficulties in worshipping Allah Ta’ala. On the contrary, overeating causes one to sleep more and this shortens one’s lifespan as far as worshipping Allah Ta’ala is concerned.

Abu Sulayman Darani Rahmatullah Alayhi writes that, whoever fills his belly, experiences its harms in six ways:

  • He is deprived of the sweetness of Ibaadah [devotion].

  • It becomes difficult for him to attain wisdom, foresight, intelligence and the light (Nur) of the recognition of Allah Ta’ala.

  • He is deprived of expressing true sympathy with the creatures of Allah Ta’ala, as he sees the world through his eyes.

  • The stomach becomes heavy.

  • His carnal desires will increase tremendously.

  • When other Muslims will be coming to the Musjid for Salaah, he will be occupied in answering the call of nature.

  1. His worldly aspirations will decrease – hence he will not be burdened to earn money all the time, When a man gets used to hunger, he will be content with a little and, instead of taking loans from people to be able to fill his belly, he will ignore the pangs of hunger till he receives something to eat.

 Whenever anybody told Ibrahim Ibn Adam Rahmatullah Alayhi that a certain commodity had become expensive, he would say to the person: “Stop desiring it and you will decrease its worth [i.e. you have honoured the item by hankering after it, so drop its status by forsaking it].” What could be cheaper than not buying it at all?

 How to rid oneself from the habit of ‘filling the belly’:

Naturally, it is impossible to quit this habit overnight – hence a person should decrease one morsel from his daily amount of food. In this way, over a period of a month, he will eat one or two slices less and he will not experience difficulty in doing so. When a person eventually reaches the desired level, he should now concentrate on decreasing the number of times he eats and the type of foods he eats.

 May Allah Ta’ala make it easy for all of us to utilise this Ramadhaan to its full potential and to practice upon this golden advice.

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