One of the sunnahs (traditions and practices) of the Prophet ﷺ (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that we often overlook is his guidance and example in regards to food. It is important for us to look again at the Prophetic example, especially in a time when many Americans and other people of opportunity throughout the world are dying from diet-related diseases.
All of the following hadiths (sayings of the Prophet ﷺ) are taken from a summary of al-Shamāʾil al-Muḥammadiyya by Imam al-Tirmidhi and none of them are weak according to al-Albani.1
Mālik ibn Dinār radi Allahu ‘anhu (may Allah bless Him) said: “The Prophet ﷺ never got full from bread or meat unless he was eating with people.”2
Al-Nuʿmān ibn Bashīr (ra) said: “Do you not have all the food and drink that you want? Verily I saw your prophet ﷺ and he could not even find enough low-quality dates to fill his stomach.”
ʿĀʾisha (ra) said: “Verily, we, the family of Muḥammad ﷺ, would go an entire month without lighting a fire. It was only dates and water.”
Anas (ra) said: “The Prophet ﷺ never had bread and meat together for lunch and dinner, unless he was eating with people.”
Anas (ra) said: “One time the Prophet ﷺ was brought dates and I saw him eating them while leaning on something because of the severity of his hunger.”3
ʿĀʾisha (ra) said: “The family of Muḥammad ﷺ was never full off of bread made from barley for two consecutive days until he passed.”
Ibn ʿAbbās (ra) said: “The Prophet ﷺ and his family would go to sleep while hungry for several nights because they could not find anything to eat for dinner. And most of their bread was from barley.”
Masrūq (ra) said: “I visited ʿĀʾisha and she requested some food for me. Then she said, ‘I do not get full from food except that I want to cry and then I cry.’ I said, ‘Why?’ She said, ‘I remember how the Prophet ﷺ was when he left this life. I swear by God that he never had his fill of bread and meat together twice in one day.’”
O Allah! Send your peace and blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
- There are some details regarding this here, but this is not the place to get into them, nor is it the purpose of the article. Suffice it to say that even though the sanad of some of these hadiths may be weak, the matn, or actual text of the hadith, is acceptable. [↩]
- Meaning, unless he was with guests or invited. [↩]
- Meaning, his hunger was so severe that he had to lean on something in order to hold himself up, peace be upon him. [↩]
- This was the best kind of flour that was used to make bread in his time, peace be upon him. [↩]
- Meaning, until he died. [↩]