By Huma Baig
Before a health-related trial knocks on our door, we can draw closer to God by following His commands and embodying the way of His Messenger ﷺ whilst helping our body remain in optimal health. Here are five Islamic rulings and sunnah, mentioned in canonical collections of hadith, that may encourage us to make better lifestyle choices…
The Messenger ﷺ said;
“Whoever performs cupping on the 17th, 19th or 21st day (of the lunar month) then it is a cure for every disease.”
Cupping is widely recognised as a form of preventative medicine and this narration found in Sunan Abu Dawud emphasises this practice. Amongst its countless benefits are the improvement of blood flow, reduction in muscle tension, and promotion of cell repair. This sunnah paves way for healthy blood which in turn supports a healthy body.
We’ve all had to undo the button of our jeans to breathe properly after a heavy meal, albeit it was undoubtedly delicious. The way of the Messenger ﷺ promotes moderation and ultimately the best for the longevity of our health. As recorded in At-Tirmidhi, He ﷺ said:
“…he may fill it (the stomach) with a third of his food, a third of his drink, and a third of his breath.”
Modern science has proven that most diseases start in the gut and this sunnah helps us nip it in the bud.
Get in your five a day
In Surah Al-Baqarah (the second chapter of the Quran), God says to us:
“O men, eat the lawful (halal) and good (tayyib) things from what is in the earth.”
As with most Arabic words, it is difficult to derive an equivalent word in English. So, tayyib food can have different meanings. For some, organic and pesticide-free produce fulfills the criteria of tayyib whilst for others if it’s halal and clean, it is automatically tayyib. But, all would agree that this verse encourages us to eat from harvests of the earth, and steer away from factory-made goods. So, fewer crisps and chocolate and more fruit and vegetables are the equation for health.
It has been recorded in Sunan An-Nisai that the Prophet ﷺ said:
“I have indeed urged you about the siwak.”
The siwak is a twig from a Salvadora persica tree and has been used to clean teeth for thousands of years. Scientific studies show that the siwak stick is full of anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. Oral hygiene has been linked directly with a person’s general health status, well-being, and quality of life according to modern medicine so it is no surprise that the Messenger ﷺ used siwak frequently throughout the day and encouraged us to adopt this practice too.
Fast twice a week
Fasting according to the Islamic tradition includes abstaining from food, drink, and marital relations from dawn till dusk. The Prophet ﷺ periodically fasted throughout the year, aside from Ramadan. It is cited in Sunan ibn Majah that the wife of the Prophet ﷺ narrated:
“The Prophet used to try to fast on Mondays and Thursdays.”
Many other narrations state that the Prophet ﷺ also fasted in the middle of the month (the white days) and on days of religious significance. The mental and spiritual benefits of fasting are immense but the physical benefits include reduced blood pressure, protection against degenerative disease, and improved body inflammation. So, adopting this sunnah will indeed let us take a large stride to improve our overall health.
Main image – Rauf Alvi, Unsplash