Monday, 8 January 2007

The Four Poisons Of The Heart - 3 of 4

From the works of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Ibn Al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya, and Imam Ghazali

Too Much Food

The consumption of small amounts of food guarantees tenderness of the heart, strenght of the intellect, humility of the self, weakness of desires, and gentleness of temperament. Immoderate eating brings about the opposite of these praiseworthy qualities.

Al-Miqdam ibn Ma'd Yakrib RA said:

"I heard the Messenger of Allah SAW say:

"The son of Adam fills no vessel more displeasing to Allah than his stomach. A few morsels should be enough for him to preserve his strength. If he must fill it, then he should allow a third for his food, a third for his drink and leave a third empty for easy breathing."

Excessive eating induces many kinds of harm. It makes the body incline towards disobedience to Allah and makes worship and obedience seem laboriou. Such evils are bad enough in themselves. A full stomach and excessive eating causes many wrong actions and inhibit much worship.

Whoever safeguards against the evils of overfilling his stomach has prevented great evil. It is easier for shaytaan to control a person who has filled his stomach with food and drink, which is why it has often been said: "Restrict the pathways of shaytaan by fasting."

It has been reported that when a group of young men from Bani Israel were worshipping, and it was time for them to break their fast, a man stood up and said:

"Do not eat too much, otherwise you will drink too much, and then you will end up sleeping too much, and then you will lose too much."

The Prophet Muhammad SAW and his companions RA, used to go hungry quite frequently. Although this was often due to a shortage of food, Allah decreed the best and most favourable conditions for His Messenger SAW. This is why Abdullah ibn Umar RA and his father before him - in spite of the abundance of food available to them - modelled their eating habits on those of the Prophet SAW.

It has been reported that Aishah RA said:

"From the time of their arrival in Madinah up until his death (SAW), the family of Muhammad (SAW) never ate their fill of bread made from wheat three nights in a row."

Ibrahim ibn Adham RA said:

"Any one who controls his stomach is in control of his Deen, and anyone who controls his hunger is in control of good behaviour. Disobedience towards Allah is nearest to a person who is satiated with a full stomach, and furthest away from a person who is hungry."

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