Prophetic Diet: The
In the modern sense, the word diet is claimed as a cruel method of losing weight, without deliberation of health (Straten & Griggs, 1992). This perception should be altered from peoples’ mind. What does it actually mean by diet? From the dictionary, Straten & Griggs (1992) asserted that diet means “a way of eating” (p. 24). They also viewed diet as “a way of eating that is healthy, pleasant, enjoyable, and satisfying” (p. 24).
Nowadays, people all around the world are suffering from a lot of illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, anorexia and heart disease due to imperfect diet or error in way of eating. Although there is the pyramid of food which is said to be the best guidance towards a healthy diet, but according to Cowley (2003), “the population has grown fatter and sicker since the USDA food pyramid came out a decade ago” (p. 35). Hence, which diet should we follow?
Due to this circumstance, Al-Jawziyya (1993) quoted the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace and blessing of Allah be upon him) words, “‘the stomach is the house of every disease, and abstinence is the head of every remedy, so make this your custom’” (p. 7). Because of that, the Prophet really took care of his diet to avert illnesses and he was never said to be suffering any chronic diseases.
The basic concept of Prophetic Diet was introduced and practised by the Prophet Muhammad 1400 years ago. During that time, it was followed by his family members and companions (Radhiallahu'anhum). Generally, the Holy Messenger avoided mixing two types of food at the same time and also ate in moderation (Al-Jawziyya, 1993; As-Suyuti, 2000).
Even though the Prophetic Diet is not widely used, especially in
Hence, the Prophetic Diet should be practiced in daily life, since it is natural, simple as well as being encouraged by religion. First, the Prophetic Diet is fit for everybody as it is free from any hazardous additive chemical and it comes from natural sources. Moreover, it is easy and applicable. Lastly, Islam really encourages people to practice the Prophet’s way of life including Prophetic Diet and those who follow this kind of diet will be rewarded.
According to Dr. Mckenna (1998), eating healthy food is the best remedy and he defined a good food as “natural foods that nature intended you to eat– will provide your body with the nutrients essential for good health, particularly an effective immune system” (p.133). Al-Jawziyya (1993) wrote in his book, Medicine of The Prophet, natural remedies used by the Prophet were not compound and non-artificial. Pertaining to this definition, the Prophetic Diet can be classified as natural since the food is rich with beneficial nutrients.
In addition, the Prophetic Diet is not only safe to be practised, but can also be used to preserve health and cure various illnesses. In other words, the medicinal food in this sort of diet is divided into two categories; diet for the healthy and diet for the sick (Al-Jawziyya, 1998).
Generally, the Prophet used to eat and consume meat, fruit, bread, dates, honey, cucumber and olive oil. All those things have their own unique nutritional value. For example, he ate dates with cucumber (Al-Jawziyya, 1999). According to Dr. Danial (2003), dates are the symbol of balanced food, and because of that, he really loved it. Research shows that every 100 grams of dates contain more than 60 per cent of carbohydrates, 15.3 per cent of water, 2.5 per cent of proteins, 0.4 per cent fats, 2.1 per cent of minerals and 3.9 per cent of fibres (Dr. Danial, 2003). In short, eating the right nutritional meal is the best diet to a healthy body.
Besides that, in order to prevent some diseases, the Prophet also recommended natural principles. Consuming olive oil, for instance, might decrease the risk of getting heart problem and hypertension, as well as improve the immune system (Curtis, 2002). Undoubtedly, nature is the best healer.
The researcher observed, students of Matriculation Centre, International Islamic University Malaysia (MCIIUM) are used to eat processed food like burger and other junk food (refer to Appendix A). Since that, they have to be exposed to this natural method. In a nut shell, the Prophetic Diet is compatible for every individual as the essence of this diet is to consume of natural sources and avoid of the processed ones.
In addition to that, the Prophetic Diet is something easy and applicable. There are three simple rules in practising this healthy diet; avoid from taking two types of food at the same time, consume the food moderately, and eat with the right manner.
Al-Jawziyya (1993) claimed that the Holy Prophet never mix “foods that fight” (Straten &Griggs, 1992); neither two hot foods, two cold foods nor two viscous foods in the same meal. According to Straten &Griggs (1992), foods that fight mean concentrated starches and proteins. Indeed, combination of two types of food might be hazardous and bring abscesses, hematolysis, or hepatitis among other diseases and also damages the digestive system (Al-Jawziyya, 1993).
On the other hand, eating moderately is the best way to obtain a healthy body that can “juggle nutrient sources” (Wardlaw, 2000, p.37). Al-Jawziyya (1998) asserted, “The body only becomes strong in accordance with the quality of the food it accepts, not its quantity” (p.13) Looking at these advantages, As-Suyuti (2000) observed:
Wisdom will not enter a stomach stuffed with food. The less a man eats, the less he drinks; and the less he drinks, the less he sleeps; and the less he sleeps, the more blessed will be his old age. The more a man eats, the more he drinks; and the more a man drinks, the heavier will he sleep; and whoever sleeps heavily, loses the blessing of old age. If a man is satisfied before he is full, then the better will his body be nourished, and the better will be the state of his self and his heart – but as for the man who is full up with food, his body will be badly nourished, his self will be in a bad state, and his heart will grow hard. So avoid too much food, for it poisons the heart, slows down the limb of the body in the obedience that is due to Allah, and closes the ears to His commands. (p.13)
From this statement, it can be concluded that, eating a lot of food makes people lazy and perhaps their heart is far from the blessing of God.
Meanwhile, in the Prophetic Diet, people are ordered to eat at least three times per day; breakfast, lunch and dinner. For example, eating breakfast is very crucial because it provide enough energy until . However, from the researcher’s observation, many students of MCIIUM, prefer to eat once per day and they usually ignore breakfast (refer to Appendix A).
As stated earlier, diet means a way of eating, which also guides people in their eating manners. Unlike modern diets, which only concern on the sources of food, the Prophetic Diet highlights the method of eating as well.
Concerning to this topic, the Prophet did not eat in reclining position, as well as drinking water after and before having meal (Al-Jawziyya, 1998). These circumcisions vary with what people are practising nowadays. As evidence, from the researcher’s observation, students of MCIIUM drink while having their meals (refer to Appendix A). This act will cause harm to the body thoroughly because a lot of water in the stomach reduces the rate of food digestion. Students of MCIIUM should be exposed to the Prophetic Diet, so that, they know the benefits behind it.
In addition, Roberta Larson Duyff (MS, RD, CFCF) in The American Dietetic Association’s Complete Food and Nutrition Guide encouraged parents to nurture their children to sit while eating. She added that the right position of eating assists the digestion process (Dr. Danial, 2003).
Therefore, the Prophetic Diet are ought to be applied in daily life as it is easy and practical.
Being encouraged by religion
In the Holy Quran, many verses recommended people especially Muslims, to eat food that has two criteria; halal and good. For instance, in Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 168, Allah said “O ye people! Eat of what is on earth, Lawful and good; and do not follow the footsteps of the Evil One, for he is to you an avowed enemy” (translation by ‘Abdullah, 1994, p. 22). Thus, it is clearly shown that having a proper diet is compulsory.
Furthermore, Imam Ibn Kathir, a Muslim Scholar, interpreted a good food is the one that suits our desires without causing any harm (Dr. Danial, 2003). Looking back at the statement above, people should follow the Prophetic Diet since it promotes them towards a healthy life.
Regarding to eat moderately, not only the Holy Prophet encouraged people to eat without excess. God Himself has asked human beings to eat in moderation. As stated in the Holy Qur’an, Surah Al-A’raf, verse 31, “O Children of Adam! wear your beautiful apparel at every time and place of prayer: eat and drink: But waste not by excess, for God loveth not the wasters” (translation by ‘Abdullah, 1994, p. 139). Therefore, all Muslims have to obey this command.
In addition to that, Muslims were ordered to follow what had been practised by the Prophet Muhammad including his diet because he was sent to all human beings to deliver the messages from God. Allah said in Surah Al-Maidah, verse 67:
O Apostle! proclaim the (message) which hath been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou didst not, thou wouldst not have fulfilled and proclaimed His mission. And God will defend thee from men (who mean mischief). For God guideth not those who reject Faith. (translation by ‘Abdullah, 1994, p. 105)
Concerning to this topic, God ordered people to eat appropriate foods. Thus, God sent the Prophet to guide people how to get that proper foods.
Hence, in order to be a good Muslim, practicing the Prophetic Diet actually can improve one’s faith. Besides that, those who follow the Prophetic Diet will be rewarded in the hereafter.
Concession and refutation
Even though the Prophetic Diet helps people to obtain optimum weight, the effect can only be seen after a certain period of time. Moreover, in the modern time, people prone to use immediate method of losing weight. Thus, they prefer to consume slimming products or undergo liposuction than performing proper diet.
However, people should know that using slimming products and liposuction are expensive and risky. As evidence, Amstrong (2004) highlighted, “In April 2004, the US Food & Drug Administration placed a nationwide ban on products containing ephedra – an amphetamine-like stimulant, also known as Ma Huang – which is used in many dietary supplements” (p. 300). According to Wills (1997), Head of Drug Information Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, ephedra has been prohibited its sale as it was believed to cause 15 deaths in 1996. He added, ephedra also contains 90 per cent of ephedrine which can cause psychiatric disturbance like psychosis and mania.
Regarding liposuction, the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery issued a statement that 1 in 5,000 patients were approximated to death, while others reported that more than 60 deaths occurred from various illnesses caused by liposuction (Brown, 2002).
In contrast, practising the Prophetic Diet is cheaper as well as risk-free. People should know, by performing this sort of diet, they actually save a lot of money since they only consume the common food in moderate pace. Besides that, as mentioned in the first argument, the Prophetic Diet uses natural foods and safe for entire body.
To conclude, from all the facts and evidences presented in this research paper, it is now clearly shown that Prophetic Diet is good and beneficial to human health. Indeed, this amazing diet should be practiced since it is natural, simple, and being encouraged by religion as well.
Firstly, the natural sources used in the Prophetic Diet have a lot of nutritional value for human health; physical and spiritual. Furthermore, it is uncomplicated and relevant to be practiced. Fortunately, Islam really encourages people especially Muslims to practice the Prophetic Diet. In addition, God has guaranteed rewards to all the believers and followers.
The research has proved that the Prophetic Diet is the best method for everyone who wants to be healthy, eat in the right manner, improve the faith, as well as lose weight if they need to. One must understand, although the Prophetic Diet can make a person’s life to be healthier, but it works best when the person stick to do it.
The research can be widely discussed in many other perspectives, but it is limited in terms of sources, time and depth. Therefore, in order to have a better grasp of Prophetic Diet, it is good for the research to be broadened further.
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