Do you know, many sins originate from the stomach? Overeating increases one’s sexual desires, laziness and desire to sleep excessively, leading to difficulty in praying, doing good deeds, maintaining good ties and avoiding satanic whispers amongst others. This could also lead to increased desire to earn haram money and indulge in uncontrolled desires. You might experience difficulty at your workplace as well.
Moderation is hardly seen today. In fact, it’s a challenge to motivate people to tread the path of moderation in contrast to our Prophet who practiced 1 and advised moderation 2. People get motivated in two ways: positively (looking at benefits of the task to do) and negatively (looking at the loss in not doing the task). One should know which category he/she may fall into and try to list down the reasons to motivate accordingly.
The Deal: In order to feel the ripple effect of a light belly, please give me one iftaar and I will show you what you deserve of ibaadah. Let’s make a resolution of having less quantity of iftaar for once. The following consequences (motivation) depend solely on this assumption/resolution.
- Less means high quality:
Iftaar with high quality food in less quantity is far better than having high calorie food in huge quantities. When there is less to eat, obviously we tend to focus on its quality (nutritional levels). We humans are of two kinds: those who see quality and those who see quantity. The sunnah has always preferred quality. Prophet set a maximum limit of filling one-third stomach 3 if needed (Yes, the hadith is also applicable in Ramadan). So, what’s a high quality iftaar? Few dates or some water 4: both high in terms of nutrition and less in quantity. Don’t worry, just stick to the resolution; there’s more to come.
- Early to maghrib prayer:
Irrespective of the madhab your locality follows, there is always some time given to eat before the prayer is established (iqamah). I remember the days when I used to rush to the mosque with my mouth filled with iftaar food trying to catch both my desires (eating) and obligation (Salah). We know that best times for dua are just before breaking your fast 5 and between the adhaan and iqamah 6. We lose these precious moments to make dua because we are busy in stuffing the worst vessel a man can fill: his stomach! 7. A light stomach will let you reach the mosque swiftly, helping you pray two units of prayer and allowing you enough time to make some dua before maghrib prayer starts. Believe me, this is 100% possible (tried and tested by me) only if you carry a light belly. Praying in the first row is another huge benefit we wouldn’t want to miss out on.
- No Trace of laziness:
It is obvious that after a tiring hot day and full meal (iftaar), the body asks for rest. We feel sleepy and become lazy as soon as the discomfort of shortness of breath (due to overeating) vanishes. With a light iftaar, we end up making a good start mentioned in point #2. We can perform our obligatory prayer with complete attention and physical activeness, insha Allah. Not only this, the satiating and comfortable energetic feeling compells us to make shukr (thanks) to Allah , helping us realize how He changed and charged our physical condition in a matter of a few minutes. (For me, it feels like one of those non-Ramadan days when I suddenly feel an imaan boost, leading to an overwhelming feeling of thanks and gratitude, making me pray and praise Allah .) A feeling of extra attention and patience to pray 2 more units of sunnah should ideally occur. Going home for early dinner and spending some quality time with family will cheer you even more, insha Allah.
- Less work at home:
Obviously, those who like eating want high quality homemade food. This needs some serious efforts on the cooking front. The time after asr prayer is mostly consumed by your wife/mother/maid standing for long hours in front of a heat radiating stove and breaking their backs to cook a meal, when their hunger dominates just as yours. Ramadan is a physical test to boost imaan levels, not cooking skills. Imagine how peaceful a house would be when a family gets busy doing ibaadah in peak moments of hunger to please Allah . How impressed would Allah be, rather than a family which is busy preparing to end the fast in a grand manner with a lavish meal.
- Light meal habit:
The theory of Maxwell Maltz (in 1950) that it takes a minimum of 21 days to form a habit is a myth. In reality, research shows that it takes about 66 days or more to form a habit. Ramadan teaches us self-control, to keep away from food and also inculcates habits in us. In our case, the habit we need is eating how much ever is necessary, 8, praying on time, reading Quran, avoiding false talk/gaze among others. Having the right intention while fasting will help us adopt good changes in us, which eventually lead to piety. Experts have given some tips to stop ourselves while eating when comfortable, but what really motivates a believer is the love to follow the Sunnah. 9
What tips do you have to maintain and follow a light iftaar? Please share with us in the comments section below. 🙂
- Jabir bin Samurah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I used to perform prayer with the Prophet (ﷺ) and his Salat was of a moderate length and his Khutbah too was moderate in length. Saheeh Muslim, Hadith 148 ↩
- Muhammad bin Sirin narrated from Abu Hurairah – and I think he (narrated it from the Prophet) who said: “Love your beloved moderately, perhaps he becomes hated to you someday. And hate whom you hate moderately, perhaps he becomes your beloved someday.” Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1997, Classed Hasan ↩
- Miqdam bin Madikarib said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: ‘A human being fills no worse vessel than his stomach. It is sufficient for a human being to eat a few mouthfuls to keep his spine straight. But if he must (fill it), then one third of food, one third for drink and one third for air.’” Sunan Ibn Majah, Hadith 3349 ↩
- The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “When you break fast, you should do it with a date-fruit for there is blessing in it, and if you do not find a date- fruit, break it with water for it is pure.” Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) added: “Charity towards a poor person is charity, and towards a relation is both charity and maintaining the ties (of kinship)” Tirmidhi, 332, Hasan ↩
- Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:“When the fasting person breaks his fast, his supplication is not turned back.” Sunan Ibn Majah , 1753, Hasan ↩
- It was narrated that Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Du’a is not rejected between the adhan and iqamah, so engage in du’a (supplication).” al-Tirmidhi, 212; Abu Dawood, 437; Ahmad, 12174, Classed Sahih by al-Albani ↩
- The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah (S.a.w) saying: ‘The human does not fill any container that is worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat what will support his back. If this is not possible, then a third for food, a third for drink, and third for his breath.” Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2380, Sahih ↩
- Narrated Abu Huraira:A man used to eat much, but when he embraced Islam, he started eating less. That was mentioned to the Prophet (ﷺ) who then said, “A believer eats in one intestine (is satisfied with a little food) and a Kafir eats in seven intestines (eats much). ” Sahih al-Bukhari 5397 ↩
- Quran: Al-‘Aĥzāb 33:21 ↩