What are the Harms of Eating Excessively?
The Holy Quran declares that fasting was obligatory in the former religions as it is in Islam. The Noble Prophet (PBUH) advises clearly to eat little and says The most harmful container that man fills in is his abdomen. The food that will keep a person alive and standing is enough for him. However, if his appetite takes control of him and he wants to eat much, then he should eat to fill in one third of his stomach and leave one third for water and one third for breathing.
It is related that the Noble Messenger (PBUH) ate twice in a day, one in the morning and the other in the evening and that he left the table before he was full up. Abdullah Ibn-i Umar, one of the companions of the prophet (PBUH), says that the companions of the prophet did not eat even dates so much as to be full up. Hazrat Aisha said the first disaster after the death of the Noble Messenger (PBUH) was having full stomachs.
The scholars of Islam, by taking inspiration from the advice originating from Sunnah,, unanimously draw attention to the disadvantages of eating excessively. For instance Ibn-i Sina says: All the illnesses are because of what is eaten or drunk. Ghazali, an Islamic scholar, comments: The most grievous calamity is the lust of the stomach. Hazrat Adam and Eve left Paradise because of eating. Abdomen is the place where all the calamities and disasters grow. Scholars of Islam say: Almighty God summarized the science of medicine in half a verse. by indicating this verse in the Quran: "Eat and drink, but waste not by excess.
Islamic scholars such as Ghazali and Ibn-i Sina insist on two principles concerning nutrition:
1- Not to eat before feeling really hungry, in other words, before getting very hungry.
2- To leave the meal while one still has the appetite, that is, before being completely full up.
We should state that it is also necessary not to eat anything between two meals.
The conviction of the requirement of eating much in order to protect oneself from illnesses is wrong. This conviction is launched consciously by industrialists after the food industry emerged, in order to increase the commercial market of their products. Then, this thought is firmly established in minds by means of propaganda and advertisements. It is is an extremely harmful prejudice. It is indicated that the conditions of hearts and brains of the people, who went hungry for days and even months, did not deteriorate, which means the requirement of eating too much for being healthy is wrong, . Ibn-i Khaldun, one of the Islamic scholars, after stating that people ,who were used to eating a lot suffered more than the ones who were used to eating a little, when they underwent starvation, says: The cause what killed them was not the starvation they faced, but to the state of being full up which they were used to.
According to the statements, body, when it gets hungry, eats and cleans the accumulated harmful substances in it and by doing so, it eliminates the agents of illnesses. Therefore, Dr. Bertholet uses the phrase bloodless surgery for fasting. The halitosis of the fasting person that is observed on the first days of fasting is because of the purification and elimination of harmful substances that we mentioned. For that halitosis, which is the evidence of treatment, the Noble Prophet (PBUH) says, I swear to Allah, in whose hand of power is my existence, that the halitosis of a fasting person is more beautiful then musk before Him. Since the first purpose of religious obligations is pleasing Allah, man is induced by mentioning the spiritual aspects or the aspects concerning Allah. We all know worships provide worldly profits as well as individual and social virtues. The same thing is true for fasting too. The fact that the aspect of health is not emphasized in the Quran and Sunnah cannot be regarded as evidence for its nonexistence.. Every aspect has a share in the significance placed on encouraging fasting.
We learn that fasting has an important place compared to the other worships from this Divine Hadith:
Almighty God says: Each good deed gets a reward from tenfold to hundredfold. However, fasting is an exception because its reward is with Me and only I will give its reward.
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