Ramadaan Series {Day 19} – Overeating During Iftar

“…One should not overeat while breaking the fast to the point that he fills his stomach, as there isn’t any container that Allah hates more than a full stomach. How can one benefit from fasting and subdue this enemy and break this desire if he breaks his fast by making up for it through eating everything that he missed out on during the day?

In fact, some even eat more than they usually would during the day! This habit has continued to the point that so many types of food are prepared for Ramadan that more food is eaten in this month than in any other month.

It is known that the whole point of fasting is discipline and to break one’s desire in order to strengthen the soul with taqwa. So, if you prevent your digestive system from food all day long until night such that its desire and longing for food goes wild, and you then feed it what it wants until it is fully satisfied, this will only increase its desire and multiply its energy, and it will manifest a longing that wouldn’t have been there had it been left to its usual intake.

So, the essence and secret of fasting is to weaken this energy that provides means for Satan to pull you towards what is bad, and this can’t happen unless you reduce your food intake. When you break your fast, eat only what you would normally eat at that specific time when not fasting.

But to break your fast by combining the amount you would’ve eaten during the day with the amount you usually eat at night will leave you having gained nothing at all from your fast.

In fact, from the etiquette of fasting is to not sleep much during the day in order to feel the hunger and thirst, and in order to weaken this energy. This will clean out the heart and keep this energy weakened every night so that it will be easier to pray at night and do your sets of Qur’an recitation and dhikr of Allah.

Maybe this will prevent Satan from approaching your heart and allow you to look to what is in the kingdom of the heavens, and the Night of Qadr is basically the night in which some of what is contained in this kingdom is shown, and this is what is meant by Allah’s Saying:

{“Indeed, We have descended it on the Night of Qadr.”}

And whoever puts a barrier of food between his heart and his chest will have a barrier put between himself and what is shown from this kingdom, and to keep your stomach free isn’t enough to lift this barrier if your mind isn’t free from anything other than Allah – and this is the entire point.

The starting point of all this is to reduce your intake of food…”

[‘Ihya’ ‘Ulum ad-Din’; 1/303]

Leaving Something for The Sake of Allah

Abu Qatadah (rh) reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, you will never leave anything for the sake of Allah the Exalted except that Allah will replace it with something better.”

Source: Musnad Ahmad 22565
Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani

عَنْ أَبِي قَتَادَةَ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ إِنَّكَ لَنْ تَدَعَ شَيْئًا لِلَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ إِلَّا بَدَّلَكَ اللَّهُ بِهِ مَا هُوَ خَيْرٌ لَكَ مِنْهُ

Overcoming Our Desires

Some of the people of the past would say those that fast will be a given a table to eat from whilst the people are being held to account!

They will say, we are being held to account whilst they are eating  and it will be said to them, they would be fasting in the world whilst you would be eating and they would be praying at night and you would be sleeping!

Ibn Rajab (rh) mentioned this in his book, Lataaif al Maarif.

Benefits of Eating Less

Khateeb al Baghdadi mentions that times of hunger are better for memorisation than times of being full. Some, when they are hungry, don’t memorise but for the one who wishes to memorise the most, and he’s hungry, takes a very light snack and continues. He mentioned taking a bit of pomegranate. One doesn’t eat too much food!

Ibn Jamaah (rh) mentions that eating and drinking means drinking too much leads to sleeping too much, being lazy in one’s thoughts and body and having dulled senses.

Some mentioned it leads to more desires too.

The one who controls his stomach will be able to:

  • Cry more easily for the sake of Allah
  • Memorise better
  • Think more clearly
  • Control his desire.

We need to work on this a lot SubhanAllah. It’s even narrated on the Sahaaba in the saheeh that some of them would fast most of the year!! Yet we fill our stomachs and over eat almost daily! Even when a person fasts they have a huge iftaar to make up for their fast!

This is in addition to being careful what a person eats. A person may eat a little but it’s all junk food or oil. The people of the past would watch this too. Everything in moderation.

Eating In Moderation

The Prophet’s (saw) house was seen without a fire for long periods! When they asked Aisha (ra) she said, we survived on dates and water.

This is not saying that we should leave eating and not eat nice food but it must be done in moderation and far less.

Who said we have to eat 3 times a day and at specified times? These are all new things which have been invented in recent times.