Health and the Islamic Lifestyle
by Sis. Trinka Klima
“No blessing other than faith is better than health.”(Hadith)
We often say that Islam is more than a religion; it is a lifestyle. But what do we really mean by this? And how does this Islamic lifestyle relate to our health?
Worship: the purpose of existence
Allah, swt, told us, “I have only created jinns and men, that they may worship me” (51: 56) We worship Allah in every halal act that we perform intentionally in His name. So, for example, we say ‘bismillah’ before we begin to eat. We have the intention of feeding our bodies and strengthening ourselves for Allah’s sake. In this way, the eating itself becomes an act of worship.
In order to worship Allah, we have to create the proper environment within and around ourselves. We need physical, mental, and spiritual strength to keep the proper intention and perform our duties. Islam has been called a ‘religion of moderation’. The prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said, “I fear Allah more than all of you, and I am the most dutiful of all of you to Him. But I sometimes fast and sometimes I don’t; I perform prayer for a part of the night and sleep; and I marry women. So whoever turns away from my way of life is not of me.” If we take anything to an extreme, we will fall out of balance. Our worship, which is the very purpose of being, will suffer.
Minding our health - an act of worship
Health has also been described as a state of balance. If we eat too much or too little, we risk disease. We do our best work when we get the right amount of exercise and the right amount of rest. We learn most when we study hard, but also give ourselves mental breaks.
The World Health Organization defined health as ‘a complete state of physical, mental, and emotional well-being and not merely the absence of disease’. It is clear that the Islamic lifestyle was designed by the Most Merciful to benefit us – in a word, to make us ‘healthy’. At the same time, when we work to improve our health, we are turning ourselves into stronger Muslims – better able to gain the blessings of worshiping Allah.
The state of our ummah: part of a national epidemic!
Sadly, many of us are far from good health. In the United States, almost 20 percent of our children are obese. That is one out of five! By the time we are adults, that number is more than one in three. Obesity is the result of eating more than we use. Quite simply, we eat too much and exercise too little. Think about the fact that almost all of the top ten causes of death in our country are either caused or made worse by obesity. Now imagine how much suffering we cause and how many resources we waste just by over-eating!
If we look around our masajid, we can easily see that Muslims are not immune from these problems. Are we really living an Islamic lifestyle?
God said, “Eat and drink, but waste not, for Allah loves not the wasters”(31:7). He also warned us, “Do not with your own hands cast yourselves into destruction” (2:195). The Prophet said, “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’ .
It’s never too late to start!!
When we eat too much we replace the blessing of an act of worship with the sin of wastefulness and doing harm to ourselves. This is why the MANA health committee invites you to participate in the “FIT MUSLIM CHALLENGE”. We want to create a supportive environment that helps each of us to balance our diets, increase our exercise, and become stronger and better Muslims. Join the FIT MUSLIM CHALLENGE today and help us to build a healthy ummah!
Click on the following link to join:
“Oh ye who believe! Eat of the good things that We have provided for you, and be grateful to Allah, if it is Him ye worship” (2:172).