Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) - 47: Enjoying
Comforts Of This Life
Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals
& Information - By Shaikh Muhammad Al-Ghazali
The unbelievers in Makkah wondered about the status of
Muhammad (peace be upon him) as God's messenger. They
could not understand that God should assign the
delivery of His message to a human being. The Qur'an
quotes their questioning: "What sort of messenger is
this, who eats food and goes about in the
market-places?" (25: 7) That is a stupid line of
questioning. All God's messengers and prophets were
ordinary human beings, and people need to eat and
drink in order to live. The real point here is to know
what did the Prophet eat and how he approached the
need to eat.
Those who aspire to great achievements tend to attach
little importance to their material and essential
needs, focusing their attentions on what they wish to
achieve. What they aspire for may cause them to be
oblivious of even the most enjoyable of pleasures.
Today we find ourselves part of a materialist
civilization that covets instant pleasures. Yet noble
people in this civilization may be willing to make
some sacrifices in order to achieve something greater,
but they do not set that as the ultimate objective of
life. By contrast, Muhammad and his companions set a
different pattern of noble aims.
Consider the following report: "The Prophet met Umar
once who was wearing something that looked decent. He
asked him whether his garment was new or had just been
washed. Umar said that it was washed. The Prophet
replied with the following prayer: ‘May you wear new
clothes, have a comfortable life and die a martyr.'"
To be killed striving for God's cause and earning
martyrdom was one of the elements of happiness the
Prophet requested God to grant to his close companion,
Umar. It was added to new clothes and life's comforts.
Thus, happiness in the life to come became intertwined
with present happiness in the minds of the Prophet's
companions. Would they then place luxurious banquets
among their priorities?
As Muslims, we recognize that food is required for
every living person. It is everyone's right to enjoy
what satisfies natural needs in a decent and pleasant
way. Yet this does not mean overeating and pursuit of
luxurious comforts. It must not make us unwilling to
put up the necessary efforts to strive for God's
Muhammad (peace be upon him) was able to endure
poverty and tough living, surviving on meager amounts
of simple food. It was not reported of him that he
sought delicious, sumptuous and expensive types of
food. Yet he never told anyone to prefer a life of
poverty, nor did he prohibit eating any type of food
unless it was forbidden by God. Yet he appreciated
God's bounty, recognizing its value and giving thanks
for it. He indeed treasured the fact that God has
granted it. He taught us to be grateful for whatever
food we have to eat. He said: "When any of you starts
to eat, he should mention God's name at the beginning.
Should he forget to do so at the start, then he should
say: ‘In God's name at the beginning and at the end.'"
When the Prophet finished his meal, he would say:
"Thanks are due to God who has given us food to eat
and water to drink, and has guided us to be Muslims."
He also said: "God is pleased with any servant of His
who thanks Him whenever he has something to eat or
something to drink."
There are people who fill their bellies with food and
drink, then go about their business totally oblivious
of the fact that it is incumbent on them to offer
thanks to God for what they had. Their behavior is not
much different from that of an animal having its full
of food. Yet such an approach is unworthy of anyone
who believes in God.