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Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) - 48: Gratitude Expressed At Every Turn

Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals

Arab News & Information - By Sheikh Muhammad Al-Ghazali

People's attitudes to food differ a great deal. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has provided guidance on how to work for one's needs, particularly those that are essential for life. Needless to say, none is more so than food and drink. As we mentioned last week, some people 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 behaviour 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. Muhammad, God's final messenger, was always inventive in the way he expressed his thanks and gratitude to God after eating. One report quotes him as often saying: "My Lord, it is You who has given us food and drink, given us sufficiency and wealth, provided us with guidance and life. To You belongs all praise for what You have granted us". After eating he would say: "All praise belongs to God who has given me this food, providing me with it when I have no power or will in the matter"

Furthermore, the Prophet said after having had something to eat and drink: "Praise be to God who has given us food and drink, made their passage easy, and given us an outlet for its waste". Or he would say: "God be praised for having given us of His bounty, guided us, fed us and given us drink and all that is beautiful".

Such rejoice at receiving God's bounty and such expression of gratitude to the Supreme Being who provided it is greatly significant. The Prophet was a very healthy man who enjoyed immense physical strength. When such strength is used to meet needs and fulfil duties, it yields immense benefit. A healthy person looks at life with an expression of warm welcome. It is right that such a person should have his need of food to preserve and promote his health. God has not forbidden us to eat what we need to maintain our strength and replenish our energy. Whoever claims otherwise does not know the faith of Islam. Islam only dislikes wasting resources in what is of no benefit. It dislikes gluttony, obesity and ill health. Its outlook is the same as that of the medical profession.

Shortly before the Battle of Badr, the first major battle in the history of Islam, the Prophet was told that the enemy army slaughtered nine or ten camels for food every day. He said to his companions, who numbered only 314, that the enemy was between 900 and 1000. When 100 people have a whole camel to eat, every one of them gets meat in plenty.

The Prophet, however, was often satisfied with a few dates or a small amount of food. One day he was told by his wife that she had nothing to give him with his bread but a drop of vinegar. He said: ‘Goodly is vinegar to have for food'. Such was his consistently pleasant attitude; he was never upset by a temporary crisis or by the need to go without some of life's essentials.

Everyone needs to get rid of body waste without being seen. Islam lays down specific rules of purification that are worthy of decent and respectable people. When the Prophet finished his toilet, he used to say: "I seek Your forgiveness, my Lord. Praise be to God who has enabled me to get rid of harm and given me health". One of his most pleasant supplications concerning food was: "All praise is due to God who has enabled me to have its pleasant taste, retain its energy and get rid of its harmful waste". This supplication could have been phrased by a joint committee representing medicine, ethics and literature. It sums up God's bounty in giving man delicious food to enjoy, enabling the body to retain what preserves life and discharge the waste that may bring harm.

Such was Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him): always mindful of God's bounty, eager to express his gratitude for it at every turn.

 

 

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