Purification of the Soul

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Beneficent

Too Much Food

The consumption of small amounts of food guarantees tenderness of the heart, strength 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 said that he heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, 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."
Sahih, Ahmad, Al-Musnad, 4/132; As-Sa'ati, Al-Fath ar-Rabbani, 17/88; At-Tirmidhi, Kitab Az-Zuhud, 7/51

Excessive eating induces many kinds of harm. It makes the body incline towards disobedience to Allah and makes worship and obedience seem laborious-such evils are bad enough in themselves. A full stomach and excessive eating have caused many a wrong action and inhibited much worship. Whoever safeguards against the evils of overfilling his stomach has prevented great evil. It is easier for Shaytan 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 Shaytan by fasting."
Da'if; it does not appear in most of the sources of the sunnah, but is mentioned in Al-Ghazali's Al-Ihya, 8/1488

It has been reported that when a group of young men from the Tribe of 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, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, and his companions, may Allah be pleased with them, 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, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. This is why Ibn 'Umar and his father before him - in spite of the abundance of food available to them - modeled their eating habits on those of the Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam. It has been reported that 'A'isha, may Allah be pleased with her, said:

"From the time of their arrival in Madinah up until his death, the family of Muhammad, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, never ate their fill of bread made from wheat three nights in a row."
Al-Bukhari, Kitab Al-At'ima, 9/549; and Muslim, Kitab az-Zuhud, 8/105

Ibrahim ibn Adham said:

"Any one who controls his stomach is in control of his din, 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."

 From the works of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Ibn Al-Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, and Abu Hamid al-Ghazali

Be Mindful O Mankind!

Stick to the path of guidance, and do not be hurt by the small number of people who take this path, and beware of the path of misguidance, and do not be fooled by the large number of people who destroy themselves on this path.
Al-Fudayl ibn Iyyad (d. 187H), may Allah have mercy upon him