Not Overeating and Its Benefits

Ibn ‘Umar (ra) narrated that the Prophet (saw) said: “The believer eats in one stomach whilst the kaafir eats in seven.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5081) and Muslim (2060).

Muhammad ibn Wasi (may Allaah have mercy upon him), said,

“Whoever eats little will understand and make others understand and will be clear and humble. Overeating weighs a person down and keeps him from much of what he wants [to accomplish].

Ash-Shaafi’ee (rh), said, “I have not eaten to my fill in sixteen years because filling oneself makes the body heavy, removes clear understanding, induces sleep and makes one weak for worship.”

In addition, Abu Juhayfah (ra), said, “A man burped in the presence of the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and he said: ‘Keep your burps away from us, for the one who eats his fill the most in this world will be hungry for the longest time on the Day of Resurrection.’” [at-Tabaraani].

After hearing that, Abu Juhayfah (ra) did not eat his fill until he departed from this world; if he ate breakfast he would not eat dinner and if he ate dinner he would not eat breakfast, and he said, “I have not filled my stomach for thirty years.”

Sufyaan ath-Thawri (rh), said, “If you want your body to be healthy and to sleep less, then eat less.” Eating too much also makes the heart hard and heedless of Allaah. It was said to Imaam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy upon him), “Does a man find any softness and humility in his heart when he is full?” He said, “I do not think so.”

In the Sahih narrated by ‘Aa’ishah (ra), “The family of Muhammad had never eaten their fill of wheat bread for three successive days since they had migrated to Madeenah till the death of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam”.

She (ra), also said, “The family of Muhammad (saw) did not eat two meals on one day, but one of the two was of dates.” And she (ra), said, “A complete month would pass by during which we would not make a fire (for cooking), and our food used to be only dates and water unless we were given a present of some meat.”

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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]