Healthy Living through the Wisdom of Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H
Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him)’s life serves as a beacon for all of humanity. His life lessons are not intended for any particular group but for all of humanity. The path he advocated is indeed the path to success. Those who followed the path he prescribed prospered. In today’s age, many people, especially Muslims, are suffering due to their forgetfulness of his teachings.
He enlightened us on every aspect of life, teaching us how to navigate difficulties and confront problems. It’s not just Muslims who have benefited from his teachings; the entirety of humanity has gained from his knowledge. Success can be achieved by adhering to the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him). In today’s world, where the distinction between pure and impure is blurred, people have forgotten to prioritize their health. The human body requires nourishment, just as machinery requires fuel to function.
However, one must exercise caution in their dietary choices; otherwise, the human body may suffer from diseases. Regrettably, many individuals desire good health but lack knowledge about the secrets of maintaining it. In this regard, the Prophet’s Sunnah provides us with invaluable guidance. By following his Sunnah, we can lead healthier lives. Even modern science acknowledges that the diet advocated by the Prophet (peace be upon him), the one he preferred for himself, is optimal for human health. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) never indulged in full meals and recommended the same to others.
He disliked filling his stomach completely and even referred to the stomach as the worst vessel to fill. He consistently ate less than he was hungry and advised filling the stomach one-third with food, one-third with liquids, and leaving one-third empty. It is scientifically proven that excessive food intake leads to various disorders, with obesity being a primary concern. While there are multiple causes of obesity, overeating remains the main culprit. Excessive fat accumulation in adipose tissues leads to overweight conditions.
The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a method used to gauge body weight relative to height. An individual’s weight should align with their height, and exceeding this measurement indicates obesity or being overweight. Obesity is directly or indirectly linked to several other diseases, including coronary heart disease, diabetes, gallbladder issues, hypertension, respiratory ailments, and various forms of cancer. Obesity can also result in conditions like arthritis and lower back pain. Every country has its own culture and lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle promotes better health, while an unhealthy one endangers human lives. In developed or wealthy countries, the obesity rate tends to be higher than in developing nations, mainly due to the abundance of rich food resources. In the United States, for instance, approximately 36% of the adult population out of 339 million is obese.
Contrasting statistics exist; the World Health Organization (WHO) reports indicate that 58.1% of the almost 240 million populations in Pakistan is obese. The rate of obesity in Pakistan is higher among individuals above the age of 40 compared to young adults. Studies reveal that after the age of 25, individuals tend to gain weight more rapidly when physical activity is restricted. Urbanized lifestyles significantly contribute to the rising obesity rate, with major cities like Lahore and Karachi reporting higher obesity rates than rural areas. Pakistani cuisine, rich in fats, carbs, and sugars, plays a significant role in the obesity epidemic. Diabetes, a major consequence of obesity, is highly prevalent in Pakistan, ranking third globally in terms of diabetic patients.
Additionally, an unhealthy or poor lifestyle is a significant contributing factor. People have adopted a lifestyle with minimal physical exertion, and their daily routines lack proper scheduling. Many individuals are unaware of when and how much to eat. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) beautifully taught healthy eating habits, which, if adopted, could lead to healthier lives.
Fasting holds prime importance in Islam, and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) encouraged fasting as a holy practice. He taught Muslims the concept of taqwa (fear of Allah) through fasting. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) fasted every Monday and Thursday, the 13th, 14th, and 15th days of the lunar calendar, the entire month of Ramadan, and the days of Ashura. Fasting is not only a religious practice but also crucial for maintaining human health.
During fasting, the body obtains energy from non-carbohydrate sources through gluconeogenesis, converting fats, proteins, and lactates into glucose for proper bodily function. Fasting aids in toxin removal and body cleansing, reduces blood pressure through an efficient basal metabolic rate (BMR), and plays a significant role in managing blood sugar levels and weight loss. It’s important to note that fasting places stress on body cells, so the duration of fasting should be reasonable and safe. Short-term fasting is recommended for safety. Moderation in eating is crucial, but many people lack knowledge of what and when to eat. Everyone should have basic knowledge about food and nutrition.
This is why Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) described overeating or consuming the wrong types of food as a major cause of disease. He lived a simple and noble life. Lady Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) reported, “The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) never had two meals in one day unless one of them was dates.” He never combined two different curries at the same time.
The Prophet’s example is a powerful reminder for those who overindulge and waste food, actions contrary to the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It is crucial to be familiar with his teachings and avoid such behaviors. Although the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had a fondness for meat, he rarely had the opportunity to indulge in it. Even when he enjoyed his preferred foods, he consumed them in moderation. Despite having the favor of Allah upon him and access to the world’s blessings, he maintained a simple and healthy lifestyle.
There were times when he subsisted on only dates and water for two months due to a lack of other food. This simplicity and patience demonstrated by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) should serve as a source of reflection for his followers. Pakistan faces serious challenges of hunger and poverty, with approximately 17 to 20 percent of its population undernourished. Many children under the age of five endure significant health issues due to insufficient food. While addressing these issues is primarily the responsibility of the state, as common citizens and, above all, as Muslims, it is our duty to assist those in need. Pakistan, with a 97% Muslim population, should not tolerate food wastage when many Muslim brothers and sisters go to bed hungry in their own country.
It is the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be generous toward the less fortunate. By following his Sunnah, we can lead healthy, vibrant lives and extend our help to those who are deserving. There is no greater example of humility and generosity than the fact that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) never ate alone. This beautiful example teaches us the importance of connecting with people and caring for their well-being.
Student BS Health and Nutrition
University of Okara
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