There is a well-known quote which states “You are what you eat”.

This quote is generally understood to mean that if a person eats healthily, then he/she will enjoy good health. Conversely, if one eats unhealthily, then one will suffer from ill health.

While it is true that eating healthily is a major contributing factor to enjoying good health, the reality is that our stomachs and the food that we eat play a major role in maintaining both our physical and spiritual health.

Explaining the pivotal role which a person’s stomach plays in regard to his health, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “The stomach is (like) the pond of the body, and the veins (of the body) all come to it (i.e. all the organs and limbs of the body are sustained through the nutrition received via the stomach). Hence, when the stomach is healthy (through eating halaal and wholesome food), then the veins return with good health (to the rest of the body), and when the stomach is corrupted (through eating haraam or unhealthy, unwholesome food), then the veins return with sickness (to the rest of the body).” (Tabraani – Majma‘uz Zawaaid #8358)

From this hadeeth, we understand that if a person is particular regarding consuming healthy foods, and he does not overindulge in unhealthy foods, then all the organs and limbs of the body will enjoy good health, as they are all sustained through the nourishment derived from the food that he eats.

Mulla ‘Ali Qaari (rahimahullah) explains under this hadeeth that a person’s actions, statements and behaviour will be in accordance to the food and drink that he consumes. Hence, if one is particular regarding eating only halaal food, then the effect and barakah of the halaal food will be seen through the entire body enjoying good spiritual health. One’s limbs and organs will be motivated towards righteousness and piety. One will feel inclined towards good deeds and will find it easy to refrain from sins and evils. Conversely, if one eats haraam or doubtful foods, then one’s actions will unfold accordingly, as one will feel disinclined to carrying out works of piety, and will feel more motivated to indulge in sins and evils. (Adapted from Mirqaat vol. 8, pg. 332)

Another important point is regarding the health of the stomach itself. In order for the body to benefit from the nourishment contained in the food which one consumes, it is necessary for the stomach and digestion to be healthy.

If the stomach and digestion are impaired in any way (e.g. through hyperacidity, excessive moisture in the stomach, phlegm accumulating in the stomach, etc.), then even though one may consume the healthiest of foods, either insufficient nutrition will be extracted, or the nutrition extracted will be tainted and spoiled by the malady in the stomach. Either way, the end result is that the entire body, with all its limbs and organs, will be adversely affected.

It is for this reason that we should ensure that we try to adopt moderation in our eating by consuming healthy foods and not overindulging in unhealthy foods.

Haarith bin Kaldah, the famed physician of the Arabs, said, “Dieting (i.e. abstaining from foods that have an adverse effect on one’s health) is the best form of treatment, and the stomach is the home of illnesses (i.e. most illnesses originate from the stomach due to poor eating habits).” (At-Tibbun Nabawi – Ibnul Qayyim [rahimahullah] pg. 78)

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