A Balanced Diet: Prescriptions from the Qur’an and Hadith
As Muslims, we must follow a balanced diet to maintain the balance that Allah has established in all things. We read in the Qur’an that Allah says, “And He (Allah) enforced the balance. That you exceed not the bounds; but observe the balance strictly; and fall not short thereof.” (55:7-9)
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) has taught us in a hadith about the problems of overindulgence and the wastage of food: “No human being has ever filled a container worse than his own stomach. The son of Adam needs no more than a few morsels of food to keep up his strength, doing so he should consider that a third of his stomach is for food, a third for drink and a third for breathing.” (Ibn Maja)
There are many verses in the Qur’an that mention foods Allah has provided for us that are vital for a healthy diet, for example:
“And the cattle, He has created them for you, in them there is warmth (clothing) and numerous benefits, and of them you eat.” (16:5)
“And from them both (fresh and salt water) you eat fresh tender meat (fish).” (35:12)
“And verily in the cattle there is a lesson for you. We give you to drink of that which is in their bellies, from between excretion and blood, pure milk, palatable to the drinkers.” (16:66)
“And from the fruits of date palms and grapes, you desire strong drink and a goodly provision.” (16:67)
“It is He who sends down rain from the sky, and with it We bring forth vegetation of all kinds, and out of it We bring forth thick clustered grain. And out of the date palm and its spate come clusters of dates hanging low and near, and gardens of grapes, olives and pomegranates each similar (in kind) yet different (in variety and taste). Look at their fruits when then begin to bear, and the ripeness thereof.” (6:99)
We are also taught to maintain moderation in all parts of our lives. Allah says in the Qur’an, “And eat and drink, but waste not in extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not those who waste in extravagance.” (7:31)
Allah says, “We have appointed you a middle nation, that you may be witnesses against mankind, and that the messenger may be a witness against you.” (Qur’an 2:143)
In the above verse, Allah orders Muslims to follow the ‘middle path’. We learn from this that we must do everything we can in order to remain steadfast and follow the ‘middle path’ by being neither idle nor excessive.
Health is one of the greatest blessings that Allah has gifted us with. We may often take this blessing for granted, but we should be grateful to Allah for our health and do everything we can to take care of it. For example, if we know that eating a particular food item will be bad for our health, even where the damage takes years to take its toll, we should refrain from doing so. Otherwise we would only encourage heedlessness within us, potentially harming other aspects of our lives.
We should remember that as humans, practising something positive in one part of our lives can only be good for us, as it will become habitual and encourage us to improve all facets of ourselves.