“What you put in is what you get out” is a well-known saying that most people have heard at some point or another. Generally, this saying is quoted in the context of investing greater effort and resources in order to reap greater gains and benefits.

However, this saying is also relevant in other departments – such as the department of food and drink. Hence, another popular proverb says, “You are what you eat.” These words are a proven reality, and therefore people today have become increasingly health-conscious and aspire to eat more ‘natural’, unprocessed foods, etc. in the hope of enjoying better health and improved quality of life.

Nevertheless, just as consuming pure wholesome food has a direct effect on one’s physical wellbeing, consuming halaal food also has a direct effect on one’s spiritual wellbeing. Thus, Allah Ta‘ala addresses the Ambiyaa (‘alaihimus salaam) in the Quraan Majeed saying, “O Rasuls! Eat from the good foods (halaal and wholesome) and carry out righteous actions.” (Surah Mu-minoon v51)

In this verse, Allah Ta‘ala has coupled the injunction of engaging in righteous works with the injunction of consuming halaal – indicating the link and relationship between the two. In other words, if one is particular in consuming halaal food and abstaining from haraam and doubtful food, he will find the spiritual motivation, drive and enthusiasm to engage in righteousness. Conversely, if one is not particular and consumes haraam and doubtful food, then he will find himself attracted to haraam, sin and evil.

It is for this reason that the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) and the pious of the past were so particular regarding their food intake and made every effort to ensure that they only consumed that which was halaal (see here and here).

In this day and age, countless eating establishments continue to pop up on every other corner. Due to the food industry being commercialised, the sauces, seasonings and other ingredients used are often veiled behind the ‘purdah’ of e-numbers. Furthermore, the source of the meat prepared is not generally advertised or divulged (leaving room for errors). In some cases, the people preparing the food are ignorant of the laws of halaal and haraam and are unaware of the halaal-status of the ingredients, cheeses, yoghurts, etc. which are used. Thus, if any person has the need to purchase food from an establishment, then the onus is upon him to first investigate and verify that the food is completely halaal.

Unfortunately, some people today even acquire food from non-Muslim outlets on the false-premise of it being ‘halaal-friendly’. We must first understand that non-Muslims are not the ‘friends’ of Muslims. Secondly, it is obvious that non-Muslims will not possess the required knowledge of halaal and haraam, and even if they do, they do not possess the taqwa that will prompt them to safeguard the halaal concern of the Muslim clients. On the contrary, most businesses will say anything in order to sell their product and make money.

In essence, what you put in is what you get out. If we nourish our bodies with haraam and doubtful food, we will accordingly be inclined and attracted to evil and vice.

May Allah Ta‘ala bless us all with pure, halaal sustenance, and the best of physical and spiritual health, aameen.