You Are What You Eat
My dearest congregation, Let me invite you, my fellow congregation, to continue to increase our Taqwa to Allah s.w.t. to do all that He commands and avoid all that He forbids.
My dear brothers, I hope that you have had a good lunch or will be eating your lunch after this. We need food to live. It is something that is important in our lives. But we should be careful of what we eat. What we put inside our bodies will affect our health. It will affect the way we live. It will even affect the way we think.
That is why Allah s.w.t. has commanded us to eat things that are not only halal, but also things that are good for us.
Allah says in Surah Al Baqarah, ayat 168:
Which means: “Oh Mankind! Eat whatever there is on this earth that is halal and good for you. And do not follow the steps of Syaitan. For clearly he is your enemy.”
In this ayat, Allah s.w.t has commanded us to eat food that is halal. He commands us to eat food that follows the laws of Islam. Allah has firmly warned us against following Syaitan¹s sly persuasion to eat things that are haram for us.
My blessed Friday congregation,
As Muslims, we must firmly believe that Allah s.w.t.has created all that exist in this world. We are convinced that Allah s.w.t. knows very well all the benefits or harm of the things He has created. As such, we should equally believe that He is the best judge as to what is good and harmful for us. We should firmly believe that He will make something haram for us only because He knows that they will bring us harm.
Allah s.w.t has made haram for us to eat certain animals and food. This is because Allah knows the harmful effects these animals and food can bring to us if we were to eat them. Yet there are some people who claim that such foods do not have any harmful effects.
But think about it. How much do we really know about the world? How much do we know about the things that exist on this earth. How far into the future can we see? Each day we discover something new about the world and the creations. There are many other undiscovered things that exist which we simply do not know about.
Our knowledge is shallow. The knowledge that Man has is but a drop in the ocean of knowledge that is with Allah s.w.t. As such, how can a group of people really know what is good for us or what is not. Clearly, what Allah has explained in the Quran and through the Prophet Muhammad is the best guidance for us to follow because All Knowledge is with Him.
Firstly, Allah has forbidden us from eating pork. Why? Because the pig is an animal that is disgusting and dirty. Pork is the root cause of numerous illnesses. The JE virus that had spread in our neighbouring countries started from two bacteria that had been mixed in the body of a pig. These bacteria had then become a germ that is dangerous to the human body. The bird flu virus in Hongkong also originated from the pig. Allah has warned us about the pig. And Allah has warned us about eating the meat of a pig. Clearly Allah forbids us from eating pork because He loves us. He made it haram for us because He knows it is bad for us.
A second thing that is forbidden for us is alcohol. Alcohol makes us drunk. We lose consciousness of our surroundings. And we lose consciousness of our own actions when we drink too much alcohol. And things that make us lose consciousness or drunk are certainly haram. This also includes consuming drugs such as heroin, cocaine or ecstasy.
Islam is a religion that is pure. It is a religion that is concerned about Man¹s physical and spiritual health. Drugs and alcohol are two things that can destroy Man¹s physical and spiritual health. Alcohol affects the way we think. Alcohol can cause the destruction of the heart. Alcohol can deprive our bodies of water to the extent it endangers our bodies. Alcohol is a poison not a cure.
Allah says in surah Al Baqarah verse 219:
Meaning : And they ask you about wine and gambling. Say that in both there are great harm, and there are a few benefits for Man. But the harm far outweighs the benefits.
However, my dear brothers, we now live in an age where drinking alcohol is something that is glamourised. Alcohol has become a status symbol. It is a drink consumed by those in power. Certainly this is a time of trial for Muslims the world over. It is a time when our iman is severely tested. Stay strong, my dear brothers, for those who are able to control their iman from the persuasion of Syaitan – they are the ones who have succeeded. They are the successful ones who are firm in their conviction and iman. They are the ones who have succeeded from following the footsteps of Syaitan.
My fellow Muslims,
As a Muslim, we must be grateful to Allah s.w.t. for giving us the strength to stay away and avoid all that is haram to us. We do not eat pork. And we do not eat meat that has not been slaughtered according to the laws of Islam. We should be grateful to Allah for helping us stay away from drugs and alcohol. When we closely obey these rules, we have already fulfilled the basic level of Allah¹s commands. But my brothers, let us strive to a higher level of iman. Let us strive not only to avoid eating food that is haram, but also to avoid food that is syubah.
Syubah is a state of uncertainty of whether something is halal or haram. Every food which we cannot guarantee as 100% halal is syubah.
For example, a chicken may have been slaughtered according to Islamic rites but it is cooked using utensils that have been used to cook meat that is haram. Or ingredients that are not halal have been added onto it. Or it is being served on plates that had been used to contain food that is haram. All these would make the chicken as a food that is syubhah in nature.
To avoid eating food that is syubah, eat only food which you know are 100% halal. That is, the actual meat, the utensils that are being used to cook the meat, the ingredients that are being used and even the plates that are used to serve the dish are all free from najis or impurities. All these must be checked to ensure that no haram food has spoiled their purity.
My dearest congregation of devout Muslims,
Islam not only asks that you eat halal food but that you also eat food that will be good for your physical and spiritual health.
Allah says in surah Al Baqarah, verse 172:
“O you who believe (in the Oneness of Allah). Eat of the lawful things that we have provided for you and be grateful to Allah if it is indeed He whom you worship.”
Your body is healthy when it receives healthy and nutritious food. As Muslims, we believe that our bodies are our responsibility. Our bodies are a blessing from Allah which we must take care of. As such food that destroy our body should be avoided.
Food that contain high fats, high cholestrol and high sugar have been proven to lead to numerous diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and others. Knowing this, my brothers, how can we continue to consume such food and destroy the precious body that Allah has granted upon us? The Messenger of Allah has guided us to eat wisely. He has taught us not to eat unless we are hungry. He has taught us never to let ourselves eat till we are too full. He has taught us to be moderate in everything that we do including the way we eat.
My dear brothers, the blessed month of Ramadhan will soon come upon us. Ramadhan is a month when we strengthen our spiritual health through our ibadat. It is also a time when we can strengthen our physical health through fasting. Allah s.w.t. has made it compulsory for us to fast for one month in the month of Ramadhan, This is the month that allows your body to take a rest from processing food for the past 11 months that it has eaten. This is the one month when you will fast and allow your bodies to be cleansed from all the impurities and poisons that you have consumed in the year. As such, use this opportunity to strengthen your body and refrain from eating too much when you break your fast.
This is the adab and guidance of Islam. The Muslim community will be a healthy community if we were to follow the ways of our dear Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. We will not belong to the group of persons who suffer from heart diseases if we truly understand the teachings of Islam.
Allah says in Surah Al Anam verse 145:
Say O Muhammad: I find not in that which has been inspired to me anything forbidden to be eaten by one who wishes to eat it, unless it is a dead animal or blood that has poured out, or the flesh of swine, for that surely is impure, or impious meat which is slaughtered as sacrifice for other than Allah. But whosoever is forced by necessity without wilful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits, certainly your Lord in Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.