The information below has been taken from a khutbah delivered by our elder brother and Ustaadh (Teacher) Abu Khadeejah during December 2012. He quotes the works of Ibn al-Qayyim, Imaam adh-Dhahabee and Imaam as-Sa’dee and makes references to hadeeths from the Prophet Muhammad salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam and quotes some of Allaah’s beautiful verses and having Tawakkul in Allaah’s cures in their various forms. Abu Khadeejah explains the importance of one of the two bounties which Allaah has blessed us with, that is, good health.
Ibn al-Qayyim mentions that since health is one of the most precious favours that Allaah has bestowed upon his creation once a person has entered Islaam, then it is fitting that whomoever is granted a portion of this fortune of good health, that he cherishes it and he preserves it against harm.
Imaam Al-Bukhaareee narrated from Abdullaah ibn Abbaas radhiAllaahu anhumma that the Prophet Muhammad salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam said that there are two bounties regarding which many of the people have become neglectful or that they are unaware and neglectful – that is, having good health and free time.
Ibn al-Qayyim also mentions that the foundations of medicine (medicine of the body) is of three types or of three basic fundamentals:
1. The preservation of health
2. A diet that avoids that which causes harm to the body
3. Removing harmful matter from the body.
Furthermore, Ibn al-Qayyim said if one looks at the medicine of Allaah and that which Allaah has sent to his Messenger salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam compared to the medicine that is practised by the people and that which they have found and invented. Then there is no doubt for anyone with any intellect and any knowledge of the Creator that there is no comparison between the two. That is, that which Allaah has sent down as a cure then there is no comparison between that and that which the people have invented.
Imaam adh-Dhahabee said it is compulsory upon every Muslim to seek nearness to Allaah by way of every means that he is able to muster and gather together.
So a person must exert himself in fulfilling the commands and acts of obedience and after this he must keep away from that which Allaah has forbidden. The most beneficial means and the most successful path of nearness to Allaah for a person is to mainitain good health. And to treat sicknesses because the affiair of good health is something that is sought in the legislated supplications and acts of worship.
It is narrated in the Saheehayn that the Messenger of Allaah salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam said:
“Allaah has not sent down a disease except that He has also sent down its cure.”
Imaam as-Sa’dee says about this hadeeth that in general it encompases all illnesses whether hidden or aparent. There is a medicine that combats those diseases and illnesses either by prevention (preventative measures that bring about immunity), by curing the sickness completely or reducing effect of that sickness. In this there is an encouragment, from Allaah upon the tongue of the Messenger of Allaah salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam to learn the cures of the body just as you learn the cures of the heart.
The foundations of medicine or good health and well being are as follows:
1. Controlling and managing ones nourishment that one puts in their body (so that a person does not eat unless he has an appetite to eat)
2. That you completely digest the food that you have previously eaten
3. That you research, investigate and seek out the most nutricious foods available (in accordance with the state of particular lands, people and prevailing conditions)
4. That a person should never overeat so he becomes full as that will harm him and place a burden upon his digestion.
Ibn al-Qayyim said, over 700 years ago, that a person may eat and eat and that eating will bring about illness upon his body because he eats beyond his capacity. To the point that he damages his heart. Something that we see happening now, one our Scholars in Islaam spoke about it centuries ago!
Imaam as-Sa’dee says a person should take to limiting the range of food that he eats and the amount he eats. He said watch your diet and avoid harmful amounts of food so you do not eat more than what you need. Avoid food that causes harm or eating food at certain times when it will cause harm. Then if possible he should expel that which is harmful from his body. In this way he attains the desired result and this is all without immediate recourse to drugs.
There is a hadeeth where we have been told if a person is sick or upon a journey then it is written for him, that is his deeds are written as if he was healthy or a resident. This means when a person becomes sick, that blessing of good health that Allaah has given him, it has been withdrawn from him. For example, he may have taken the means that have led to that benefit and that bounty from Allaah being taken away from him.
So, if he was righteous and worshipped Allaah plentifully when he was in good health, then it will be written for him when he is sick as if his deeds were when he was healthy.
The Prophet of Allaah, salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam said Your health before your illness. Which means take account of your health before your illness. How? When Allaah gives you good health, try to maintain it, don’t abuse it and in that time when you have good health, worship Allaah and performs acts of worship that would be difficult for you if you were sick.
Ibn al-Qayyim also mentions that illnesses are caused by consuming more food before the previous meal has been digested. And this is one of the diseases of our era, an example being obesity. In a hadeeth, the Prophet salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam said (paraphrased) That the best of mankind is my generation, the those who come after them, then those who come after them. Then he mentioned that there will become people who will become fat upon the land. Eat and indulge beyond what they need and harm themselves and unable to worship Allaah because they have brought illness upon themselves.
This is something that we see today. Scientists are discovering that people can be obese and malnourished at the same time. How can someone be big, overwight, eat so much food yet be malnourished in this day and age when we have so much food available?? It’s simple, they’re not eating good quality food or food with good nutritional value
Ibn al-Qayyim even talks about excessive foods which are slow to digest and complex in their composition. That is, that they contain many ingredients and I’m sure you’ll agree! Even the most basic of foods contain added preservatives that cause us problems yet have nothing good to add to our bodies.
In this day and age, filling ones belly with these foods has become a habit. Some of the illnesses that result from this come to an end slowly and others, more swiftly. We need to be moderate and only take what we need. We need to maintain a balance of quantity and quality and then the body will benefit instead of consuming large amounts of foods. Attention should be given to quality, not quantity.
We’re told in a hadeeth that a person eats to maintain the uprightness of his spine. We shouldn’t be the sort of person who eats and finds it difficult to worship Allaah as a result of overeating as it brings harm to the body, heart, limbs and internal organs.
We know from authentic hadeeths that our body has a right over us. We need to preserve our body so you can preserve our ibaadah, read the Qur’aan and not fall asleep. So we can make Hajj and Umrah without illnesses and harm which we have brought upon ourselves. Our body is a means for us to worship Allaah.
No matter how difficult it may seem now, a person of eemaan does not give up hope. Trust in Allaah, do not despair. Do not become inattentive or unaware of two affiairs: good health and free time.
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