اللَّهُمَّ اغفِرْ لي وللمُؤْمنينَ والمُؤمِناتِ والمُسْلمينَ والمُسْلمَاتِ، وألِّفْ بَيْنَ قُلُوبِهِمْ، وأصْلِحْ ذَاتَ بَيْنِهمْ وانصُرْهُم عَلى عَدُوِّكَ وعَدُوِّهِمْ، اللَّهُمَّ الْعَنِ الكَفَرَةَ الذينَ يَصُدُّونَ عَن سِبيلكَ،ويُكذِّبونَ رُسُلَكَ، ويُقاتِلُونَ أوْلِياءَك، اللَّهُمَّ خَالِفْ بَيْنَ كَلِمَتِهمْ، وزَلْزِلْ أقْدامَهُمْ، وأنزِلْ بِهِمْ بِأْسَكَ الذي لا تَرُدُّهُ عُنِ القَوْمِ المُجْرِمينَ
Prophet’s Guidance on staying healthy
Preserving one’s good health requires the help of wetness that resists heat. The wetness resists heat while the heat helps mature various substances and rid the body of its wastes. Without wetness, the excessive heat would harm the body and would not allow its organs to function normally, while excessive dryness allows the heat to burn the body and make it dry. Each one of the two conditions, wetness and heat, thus needs the other to sustain and allow the body to function. Furthermore, since the heat feeds on wetness, it preserves the moisture from rotting & decomposing. When one of these two conditions is more dominant than the other, the constitution of body will be altered & changed.
As we have stated, heat decomposes wetness, compelling the body to replace the lost moisture with food and drink, which provides the body with sustenance. When moisture is present in excessive amounts, heat is not able to decompose the excessive wetness and thus the moisture decomposes and rots, causing harm to the body. In this case, various ailments attack the body, as much as the body and the various organs are susceptible to accept these diseases. All these facts are taken from what Allah Said:
وَكُلُواْ وَاشْرَبُواْ وَلاَ تُسْرِفُواْ
“And eat and drink but waste not by extravagance…”
Allah Directs His slaves to consume what helps the body from food and drink and to replace lost energy. The amount [of food and drink] that should be consumed should not exceed what the body has lost plus what the body needs to function properly. Otherwise, the excess food will be an extravagance that brings about ailments and will not preserve the health, and such is the case when one eats excessively or does not consume sufficient amounts.
Therefore, the few words that Allah Stated hold the key to staying healthy. There is no doubt that the body is always going through the process of decomposing and producing waste. The more the decomposition occurs, the less the heat will be effective, since decomposition feeds on moistures (which in turn feed the inner heat). When the heat is weak, digestion’s efficiency decreases until the moisture dissipates. Thus the heat will be extinguished and consequently, the term (life span) that the slave was allowed in this life will come to an end.
The goal behind the person seeking a cure for himself and for others is to preserve the body until everyone reaches their final destination (death), not because preserving the necessary moistures and heat will keep the youth and health forever, for this goal is not attainable in this life. The goal that the doctor seeks to achieve entails preserving the existent wetness from what might spoil it and to preserve body’s heat from what might weaken its power. The doctor thus preserves the balance between the two powers or conditions in the body, just as Allah Has Created the heaven and earth with justice and perfect balance. In fact, the entire creation thrives on justice and balance.
Those who will study the health guidelines of Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam will find it the best guidance; with which the health of body can and will be preserved. Preserving good health depends on eating and drinking sensibly and on utilizing one’s clothes, place of residence, the air, sleep, being awake, mobility, idleness, sex, extracting the excessive material of the body and keeping whatever is necessary and important in the best form and shape. When these aspects are satisfied in the manner that is suitable for the body, the area, age and custom, the person is more likely to have good health and well being until it is his time to die & move out of this world to the Next (Aakhirah).
Good health is one of the best bounties that Allah Bestows on mankind and one of His best rewards. In fact, good heath is the best earthly bounty of all, and those who have been bestowed with sound comprehension should strive to preserve their health and protect it against what might oppose or alter it.
روى البخارىُّ فى “صحيحه” من حديث ابن عباس، قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: “نِعْمَتَانِ مَغْبُونٌ فيهما كثيرٌ مِنَ الناس: الصِّحَّةُ والفَرَاغُ”
Bukhari narrated in his Sahih that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) said:
“Two bounties regarding which many people cheat themselves are health and free time”.
وفى “الترمذى” وغيره من حديث عُبَيْد الله بن مِحصَن الأنصارى، قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: “مَن أصْبَحَ مُعَافىً فى جَسَدِهِ، آمناً فى سِرْبِهِ، عِنْدَهُ قُوتُ يَوْمِهِ، فكأنما حِيزَتْ لَهُ الدُّنيا”.
Furthermore, Tirmizi narrated that Abdullah Bin Mihsan Al-Ansari Radi Allaho Anh reported that The Messenger of Allah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) said:
“He who reaches the morning while health in his body, safe in his residence and having day’s sustenance, will be as if the entire life of this world was granted to him
وفى “الترمذى” أيضاً من حديث أبى هريرة، عن النبىِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم أنه قال: “أوَّلُ ما يُسْألُ عنه العَبْدُ يومَ القيامَةِ مِنَ النَّعِيم، أن يُقال له: أَلَمْ نُصِحَّ لَكَ جِسْمَكَ، ونُرَوِّكَ مِنَ الماءِ البارد”.
Tirmizi also related from Abu Hurayrah Radi Allaho that Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam said;
“The first blessing that the slave will be asked about on the Day of Resurrection will be the saying to him, “Have We not made your body healthy and drove away your thirst with cold water”?
This is why some of the (righteous predecessors) stated that the Verse:
ثُمَّ لَتُسْئَلُنَّ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَنِ النَّعِيمِ
“Then on that Day, you shall be asked about the delights (you indulged in this world).” (102:8)
It is referring to health.
وفيه عن أبى بكر الصِّدِّيق، قال: سمعتُ رسولَ الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول: “سَلُوا اللهَ اليَقينَ والمُعافاةَ، فما أُوتِىَ أحدٌ بَعْدَ اليقينِ خَيراً من العافية”
In addition, Imam Ahmad narrated that Abu Bakr As-Siddiq Radi Allaho Anh said, I heard the Messenger of Allah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) saying: “Ask ALLAH for Yaqeen (certainty in Belief) and good health, for indeed, no one will have a better possession after certainty of Faith than good health”.
Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam joined the well being of this life and the Next Life. Furthermore, the slave’s success cannot be complete in both lives except by joining certainty of faith and well being. Certainty of faith fends off the torments of the Next Life while well being fends off the ailments of this life that might attack the body or the heart.
وفى “سنن النسائى” من حديث أبى هريرة يرفعه: “سَلُوا اللهَ العَفْوَ والعافيةَ والمُعافاة، فما أُوتِىَ أحدٌ بَعْدَ يقينٍ خيراً من مُعافاةٍ”
Nasaa’i narrated that Abu Hurayrah Radi Allaho Anh related from Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam that he said: “Ask Allah for forgiveness, Aafiah (well being) and health. Indeed, no one acquires a better possession after certainty of faith than good health”.
The three matters mentioned in this Hadith entail removing the sins & ills of the past with forgiveness, of the present with well being and of the future with immunity (from errors and thus from the Torment). Indeed, these words entail the continuity of well being always.
وقال عبد الرحمن بن أبى ليلى: عن أبى الدرداء، قلت: يا رسول الله ؛ لأن أُعافَى فأشكُر أحبُّ إلىَّ من أن أُبتَلى فأصبر، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: “ورسولُ اللهِ يُحِبُّ مَعَكَ العافِيَةَ” (حديث ضعيف)
Abdur Rabman bin Abu Laila said that Abu Ad-Dardaa Radi Allaho Anh said, “O Messenger of Allah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam), it is more beloved to me to acquire good health so that I am thankful for it; rather than being tested and then observe patience. Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam said:
“The Messenger of Allah likes Aafiah (good health & well being) just like you”. (Weak Hadith)
ويُذكر عن ابن عباس أنَّ أعرابياً جاء إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، فقال له: ما أسألُ الله بعد الصلواتِ الخمس ؟ فقال: “سَلِ اللهَ العافيةَ”، فأعاد عليه، فقال له فى الثالثة: “سَلِ اللهَ العَافِيةَ فى الدُّنيا والآخرَة”.
Further, Ibn Abass Radi Allaho Anh is reported to have narrated;
“A Bedouin man came to Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam and said to him, “What should I ask for after I finish the five prayers? Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam said, “Ask Allah for Aafiah ~ good health & well being”. The man repeated the question, and our beloved Prophet said to him after the third time. “Ask Allah for Aafiah ~ well being in this and the Next Life”.
If this is how significant the health is, we should then mention and study our beloved Prophet’s guidance on preserving health and well being, for we will come to realize that his guidance is the most perfect in this regard. With Prophetic guidance, one attains health of his body and heart and their very existence, both in this world arid in the Next Life. Allah Is Sought for all types of help, and our dependence is on Him, and there is neither power nor strength except from Him.
Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam did not restrict himself to eating one type of food
This would be harmful to one’s nature. In addition, the body could face weakness and even death if only one type of food is consumed. Furthermore, when someone is used to only one type of food, his body does not accept any other type. Restricting the diet to only one type of food, even if it is the best type, is harmful and dangerous.
Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam used to eat what his people used to eat in their regular diet, such as meat, fruits, bread, dates, etc.
When one type of food needed to be made milder, Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam would use its opposite, such as neutralizing the hotness of ripe dates with watermelon. If he did not find what neutralized the effect of a type of food, he would eat of it the necessary amount without excessiveness.
When Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam would not like a food, he would simply refrain from eating it and would not enforce himself to have it. This is a great aspect of preserving the health. When one eats what he does not have an appetite for, the food’s harm will overweigh its benefit.
قال أنس: ما عابَ رسولُ الله صلى الله عليه وسلم طعاماً قَطُّ، إن اشتهاه أكلَه، وإلا تركه، ولم يأكلْ منه. ولمَّا قُدِّمَ إليه الضَّبُّ المشوىُّ لم يأكلْ منه، فقيل له: أهو حرامٌ ؟ قال: “لا، ولكنْ لم يكن بأرضِ قَوْمى، فأجِدُنى أعافُه”
Anas Radi Allaho Anh said, “Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam never criticized a food. If he had an appetite for it, he ate it. Otherwise, he did not eat from it”.
When Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam was presented with desert lizard meat (Dhabb), he did not eat from it. Ha was asked, “Is it disallowed”? Ha said: “No, but, this food is not among the foods that my people used to eat, and I do not have an appetite for it”.
وكان يحبُّ اللَّحم، وأحبُّه إليه الذراعُ، ومقدم الشاة، ولذلك سُمَّ فيه.وفى “الصحيحين”: “أُتِىَ رسولُ الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بلحم، فرُفِع إليه الذراع، وكانت تُعجبُه”.
Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam used to like eating meat, especially the arm and the upper parts of the sheep. The Jewish woman (Ghazwah Khyber) knew this fact & she added poison in the arms & upper part of the sheep; which she prepared for our beloved Prophet.
In the Sahihain, it is narrated that Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam was once brought some meat and that he was given the arm, which he liked.
وذكر أبو عُبيدة وغيره عن ضباعَة بنت الزُّبير، أنها ذَبحتْ فى بيتها شاةً، فأرسل إليها رسولُ الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أنْ أطعِمِينا من شاتكم، فقالت للرسول: ما بقىَ عندَنا إلاَّ الرَّقبةُ، وإنى لأستحى أنْ أُرسلَ بها إلى رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، فرجع الرسولُ فأخبره، فقال: “ارْجِعْ إليها فقلْ لها: أَرْسِلى بِهَا، فإنَّها هاديةُ الشَّاةِ وأقْرَبُ إلى الخَيْر، وأبعدُها مِنَ الأذَى” (ضعيف)
Furthermore, Abu Ubaidah narrated that Dhiba’ah bint Az-Zubair Radi Allaho Anha said that she slaughtered a sheep in her house. The Messenger of Allah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) said to her.
“Feed us from your sheep”. She said “Only the neck is left, and I feel shy to send it to the Messenger of Allah”.Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam said “Send it, because the neck is the part that guides the sheep and is closer to the good things and far away from the septic things” (Weak Hadith).
There is no doubt that the lightest part of the sheep’s meat is NECK, arm and thigh. These parts are the easiest to digest and the softest for the stomach. The method Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam observed in this regard satisfies the three basic rules regarding food, which are, the food being beneficial and helpful to the nature, being light on the stomach and not heavy, and being quickly digested. This is the best type of food to consume and consequently, eating a small part of this food is better than consuming a large amount from other types of food.
Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam used to like eating sweets and honey. Meat, honey and sweets are the best foods and the most beneficial for the body, liver and various organs. In addition, eating these types of food has a profound effect on preserving the health and strength, and that is why only those who are already suffering from an ailment would be harmed by consuming them.
Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam used to eat bread with whatever condiment happened to be available. Sometimes, he would eat bread with meat, sometimes with watermelon and sometimes with dates. Once, Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam placed a dried date on a piece of bread and said that this (the date) is the condiment of that, the bread. Barley bread is cold and dry while dates are hot and wet, so eating both foods together is one of the wisest decisions, especially for those used to this type of food, such as the people of Madinah Al-Munawwarah. Sometimes, Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam would eat bread with vinegar, saying, “What a good condiment vinegar is”. The Hadith states that Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam once came to one of his wives and asked if she had any condiment (when they offered him some bread). When she said that they only had vinegar, he said,
نِعْمَ الإدامُ الخَلُّ
“What a good condiment vinegar is”.
Eating bread with a condiment preserves the health unlike eating only one type of food. Condiments are called as such because when they are added to the bread, the bread tastes better and the food helps preserve the health.
In addition, Prophet Muhammad Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam used to eat from the fruits that were in season (in his land), as this is one of the best methods of preserving health. Allah’s Wisdom Decided that every land has its own fruits that are suitable and beneficial to that land (when in season). When people consume these fruits, they will help preserve their health and well being and it serves as several medicines. On the other hand, those who refrain from eating the fruits of their area will be among the most ailing persons and the farthest from good health and well being.
Wetness that the various fruits contain represents the favorable heat of the season and land. The stomach would then be able to bring the fruits to maturity and would fend off their harm, if one does not eat them excessively; causing his nature to bear what it can’t tolerate. In addition, one should not spoil the food that his stomach is digesting by eating fruits, nor drink water with it. Fruits should be eaten only after the food in the stomach is digested; & this method prevents constipation. Those who consume fruits in the proper manner, the proper time and in the proper conditions, the fruits act as a cure and a remedy for them.