What should our attitude be toward junk food?

Details of the Question

Should we never eat junk food, or should we be selective about it?
What kind of a way should be appropriate to follow about the junk food in compliance with our Prophet’s S.A.W recommendations about healthy nutrition?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The general rules in nutrition according to Islam are as follows:

Due to the importance of eating and drinking blessings in human health and life, the Qur'an and the sunnah of the Prophet S.A.W guide humanity in this matter.

Food and drinks of man, who is created as the most honored of the beings, should be valuable in a way that suits him. For this reason, Allah SWT and the Messenger of Allah have informed man about the healthiest foods and beverages of the earth and forbade the harmful ones.

Studies show that halal foods and beverages are in harmony with the human body, that they are virtually coded and healing, that forbidden foods and beverages are not compatible with the body, that they are harmful and that they disrupt the body system.

General rules on food and beverage can be summarized as follows:

1. Food and beverage should be halal and clean.

2. Waste should be avoided.

3. Eating while full should be avoided.

4. One should not sit down to a meal before getting hungry.

5. Eating enough to fill one-third of the stomach at most.

6. Starting with basmala (bismillah) and eating with the right hand.

7. Avoid eating or drinking too hot or too cold food and beverages and blowing into them.

8. One should not eat while standing or leaning.

The subject of healthy eating and drinking is summarized in the following two hadiths of the Prophet Muhammad SAW:

"We are such a tribe that we do not sit down to a meal without getting hungry, and when we get off before getting satiated." (as- Sirah al- Halabiyya, 3/299)

“A few bites are enough for mankind to straighten his waist. However, if one still must eat, he should divide his stomach into three, one-third for food, one-third for water, and one-third for breathing.” (Tirmidhi, Zuhd (Asceticism), 47 )

The Prophet would not hurry while eating. He would not eat two similar dishes at the same time. He would not have two hot dishes or two cold dishes at the same time.

One of the miraculous behaviors of the Prophet Muhammad SAW about nutrition is that he did not force himself and his ummah to eat a single type of food. He would have various foods that the body needs, which modern medicine strongly recommends today. He did not distinguish between animal origin and herbal foods, which are the two sources of nutrition. It is a medical fact that people who are nourished solely on vegetable or solely on animal origin foods will have health problems. Therefore, our Prophet SAW did not neglect either of them, he sometimes ate both of them together and sometimes separately or diversified.

His eating and drinking style and form were also health-centered. When he ate, he would sit cross-legged or sit on the left knee while erecting the right knee. He did not welcome eating or drinking while standing or leaning.

Islam, the religion of measure and balance, has forbidden to go to extremes in terms of nutrition too, and has ordered adequate and balanced nutrition in this regard. It is known that there is a very close relationship between the foods we eat and our health. Overeating and drinking is shown as the cause of many diseases.

It is also a medical fact that the main cause of many diseases such as respiratory diseases, vascular occlusion and stiffness, gallstones, heart failure, snoring, varicose veins, abdominal hernias, intestinal diseases, menstrual disorders, infertility, etc. is overeating and overfilling the stomach.

It is known that most of the diseases in this age are caused by either malnutrition or overeating and drinking. Islam solved this problem with three miraculous words of the Qur'an and a hadith. Allah says “Eat, drink: but waste not by excess.” (al-A’raf, 31)

Consequently, we can say that it is wajib for man to eat as much as he needs; eating more than necessary is permissible and waste is forbidden (haram). The main criterion in this regard is found in the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad SAW.

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