Beware of Overeating!

  Shaykh Ṣāliḥ ibn Fawzān al-Fawzān

An explanation of a ḥadīth on the adab of eating. A look into the harms that can arise from overeating and how it can effect a person’s religion and health.

bismallah

  Thus, it is incumbent upon an individual to take heed of this prophetic moral and to not be excessive when it comes to eating or his desires. In addition to this, if a person reaches a point where he is extremely greedy regarding food then it is likely that the ḥalāl will not suffice him, hence he will set out seeking the ḥarām so he can fulfill his (evil) cravings.
Shaykh Ṣāliḥ ibn Fawzān al-Fawzān

In the name of Allāh, the Most Beneficent, Bestower of Mercy,

Ḥadīth #1476: On the authority of al-Miqdām ibn Maʿdīkarib, raḍī Allāhu ʿʿʿanhu, who said: The Messenger of Allāh (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said: "No child of Ādam ever filled a vessel more destructive than his stomach."1

Explanation:

In this ḥadīth is a prohibition from eating to one's fill and indulging excessively in the luxuries of the worldy-life. The Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said: "No child of Ādam ever filled a vessel more destructive than his stomach." That is because if he fills his stomach it will harm him tremendously with regards to his religion and his health.

With regards to his religion: It will hinder him from the obedience of Allāh and cause him to be sluggish concerning the performance of acts of worship. It will also make him burdensome (upon himself) and inclined towards sleep. It will have a negative effect upon his heart and afflict it with laziness, obscurity, lack of attention and incompetence. 

With regards to his health: The doctors have mentioned that overeating inherits many diseases. Likewise when a person always fills himself with food it urges him to behave and act barbaric and arrogantly. However if he is hungry then this will more likely prompt him to behave humbly and passively.

If he reduces his intake of food and drink, this will motivate him to be lenient and meek. On the other hand if he stuffs himself, this will incite him to act viciously, recklessly, haughty and cause him to chase after (his) evil desires. Every time he desires something he goes, gets and eats it. Nothing concerns him except his stomach and evil desires. This is something reprehensible and it (overeating) brings about many chronic diseases. It could well bring about a disease that could kill him; all due to overeating.

Therefore, eating to one's fill is detrimental to a person’s religion, worldly-life and health. The Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said: “Sufficient for the son of Ādam are some morsels to keep his back straight. But if it is a must, then one-third for his food, one-third for his drink and one-third for air.” [This is the rest of the ḥadīth of al-Miqdām, raḍī Allāhu ʿʿʿanhu]

The Shaykh continues: So if he were to fill his whole stomach and not leave any space for drink nor air then this is very harmful as the Messenger (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said: "No child of Ādam ever filled a vessel more destructive than his stomach."

Thus, it is incumbent upon an individual to take heed of this prophetic moral and to not be excessive when it comes to eating or his desires. In addition to this, if a person reaches a point where he is extremely greedy regarding food then it is likely that the ḥalāl will not suffice him, hence he will set out seeking the ḥarām so he can fulfill his (evil) cravings.

So in filling one's stomach (i.e. eating to one's fill) there are many harms and evils that stem from it. So it's a must that one decreases his consumption of food even if he desires it, as the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) said, place a third for (each) his food, drink and air. This is what the Prophet (ṣallallāhu ʿalayhi wa-sallam) advised us with (i.e. eating in this manner).

Endnotes:

1 [al-Tirmidhī (2317) Declared ṣaḥīḥ by al- Albānī] - The ḥadīth in Bulūgh al-Marām is not in its totality. The complete ḥadīth can be found in ibn Mājah (#3349).

Taken from: Tasheel al-Imām bifiqhi lil-Ahaadith min Buloogh il- Marām  (Shaykh Ṣāliḥ Fawzān's explanation of Bulūgh al-Marām)

Translator: Abū Fouzān Qāsim

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Tags: Al-Fawzān, Manners, Food

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