Healthy Appetites?


Some say that the quickest way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Unfortunately, I think there is some truth to it, but I like to think that besides the stomach and eyes, it could be through the mind. It is then not much of a wonder that to battle one's nafs we need to control both our gaze and food consumption (among other things).

Years ago, while grocery shopping with my Mom, I took a moment to survey my surroundings. I was amazed at what I saw. Amongst rows of neatly piled fruits and vegetables were a variety of different people all intensely examining each item before throwing it into a bag. "Feeding time at the zoo," I told my Mom. She didn't think that was very nice of me to say, so I elaborated a little by saying that while we grocery shop we are all so focused on trying to get the best of something that is far superior anyway that it seems as though we are experiencing hunger pangs - a rare experiential phenomenon in this community.

My selection of fruits or vegetables now is always coupled with the story of one shaykh who would choose the worst of the fruits available so that he could eat them before they were discarded as waste. SubhanAllah.

Food is like a lot of other things in this world. Outwardly, it has immense appeal, but if not used appropriately it can hinder us beyond belief. Our beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessing be upon him, set the balance for us through Islam. Through him, peace be upon him, we know that there is a tremendous amount of benefit in abstinence, such as through fasting, yet continuous fasting is not the Islamic way because it is a blessing of God to have and appreciate food.

Food is from God, it is by His blessing that we can sow seeds and reap the benefits of them through numerous types of fruits, vegetables, and herbs that potentially provide millions of unique, palate-tantalizing combinations. So again, it is not surprising that it is a farmer's duty (Islamically speaking) to ensure that part of his harvest goes to those in need since the farmer's harvest is not due to his work, but in reality is it a blessing of God to be shared by all.

Western society runs on the concept of continued consumption, but the price that we may ultimately pay for it is much too high. In the words of a wise person, "Be a people of abstinence, not a people of indulgence." That's something worth chewing on for a while.

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"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]



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"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]