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Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) - 47: Enjoying Comforts Of This Life

Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals

Arab News & 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 cause.

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.


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