Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,
Q: How should one fill their stomach? What are the Sunnahs of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) in regards to eating and drinking? Are there any Ahadith on this topic?
A: The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) said “The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few mouthfuls, to keep him going. If he must do that (fill his stomach) then let him fill one third with food, one third with drink and one third with air” (Tirmidhi).
The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) has made it known that he found sufficient such morsels as would keep his spine upright, with which his strength would not be lowered or weakened; but if one goes beyond that, then let him eat to fill a third of his belly, and leave another third for water and a third for breath. This is most useful for the body and the heart. If the belly is filled with food, it doesnt not have enough space for drink, and when drink is added to it, this leaves little space for breath. Thus it is afflicted by stress and fatigue and it bears this like one carrying a heavy burden – and this state will lead to corruption of the heart; and the limbs become too lazy to perform the obligations, and instead they move swiftly in submission to desires brought about by fullness of the belly.
Ibn Qayyim (رحمة الله) said in Medicine of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) “Material illnesses arise from an increase of matter which comes to a point of excess in the body whereby it harms its natural functions – and these are the most common illnesses. They are caused by consuming more food before the previous meal has been properly digested. By eating in excess of the amount needed by the body, by consuming food which is of little nutritional value and is slow to digest and by eating different foods which are complex in their composition. So when a person fills his belly with these foods, it becomes a habit, and they cause him various diseases.
When a person is moderate in his eating and takes only so much of it as he needs, keeping a balance of quality and quantity, the body benefits more from this than it does from a large amount of food. There are three degrees of eating:
(1) Out of need
(2) In moderation
(3) In excess
Ibn Rajab (رحمة الله) said “The diet is the foundation of medicine and the stomach is the foundation of illness”.
In the Tafsir of Ibn Kathir it says:
“Allah commands His believing servants to eat from the pure things that He has created for them and to thank Him for it, if they are truly His servants. Eating from pure sources is a cause for the acceptance of supplications and acts of worship, just as eating from impure sources prevents the acceptance of supplications and acts of worship.”
May Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) make us thankful for His blessings.
Checked & Approved by Molana Mohamed Aadil Saleh (Bradford, UK)