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Food in Islam

Sacredness and the place of food within Islam with quotes from the Qur’an and Hadith.


There is a good deal of classical Islamic sources on the subjects of over-eating and obesity. The Quranic verse;

Eat and drink but not to excess (Al-Qur’an – Chapter 7, Verse 32) and

Do not cast yourselves into destruction by your own hands (Al-Qur’an – Chapter 2, Verse 195)

Maybe mentioned (besides their other meanings) as Divine warnings against transgressing the limits in eating and drinking and doing harm to ourselves because of carelessness.

All ibn al-Husayn ibn al-Wafid said. “God put all medicine into half of one verse” [of the Qur’an] when He said: “Eat and drink but not to excess.

The Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessing upon Him), also drew attention to obesity and over-eating.


For example, He (May Allah honor him and grant him peace) said: “Overeating does not go with good health.

The criterion established by Islam, and as reiterated by the Prophet is: “The middle way [avoiding extremes] is the best in every affair.”

For instance, the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honor him and grant him peace) only drank water half-hour before and after his meals, and never during meals. It is also reported in authentic traditions that he never combined certain foods and kept his intake to a minimum. He did not eat fish and yogurt together, or drink milk with fish, and he did not eat anything sour with it or immediately after it. He never mixed in the same meal two hot foods or two cold foods.


Among other sayings of the Prophet which warn against the dangers of overeating and obesity are:

Avoid filling the stomach with food and drink. Overeating exhausts the body and causes illnesses.

Follow a middle way in eating and drinking as this improves the body.

The son of Adam [i.e. man] fills no container worse than his stomach.

One-third of the stomach is for food, one third for drink, and one third for air.”

The following saying uttered in relation to the spiritual harm caused by over-eating can also be read in relation to heart diseases arising from overeating. “Do not kill your hearts by eating and drinking too much.

For the heart is like a sown field: over-irrigation causes the seed to rot.”


Umar (RA), the second Caliph, said: “Avoid getting a Pot-belly, for it spoils the body, causes diseases and makes doing the prayer tiring. And avoid all excess, for God hates a learned man who is fat.”

Harith ibn Khalada, The physician of the Arabs, was once asked: “What is the best medicine?” He replied:  “Necessity- that is, hunger” When asked what the disease was, he said: “The entry of food upon food.”

Eating with Washed, Wet Hands


Washing hands before meals is yet another concept in Islam and many other religions. A further admonition is not to dry our hands and proceed to eat with wet hands. This concept is now clear because if we were to wash our hands and then dry them with a tissue/towel, we are likely to introduce low charge energy into the energy fields of our hand. This towel is normally used for many other purposes and by different people, or even tissue/towel that is clean but filled with faults from the surrounding air, or the universal energy. The unadulterated and pure info-energy of water would also be contaminated or at least altered with the info-energy in the towel. Therefore, to eat with those hands may be unhealthy.

The Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honor him and grant him peace) was also observed to draw his wet hands over his face whenever he washed his hands after eating (al-Majlisi, 1627). To maintain the higher kind of energy purity, one needs to avoid contact with towels or tissues after washing hands before eating. Physical contact with the bacteria and viruses in towels and tissues is also something to consider and the reason why many organizations including many religions advise the washing of hands before eating, but Muslims have been further recommended to refrain from drying their hands until contact with food is made.

A case in point, Muslims have also been recommended not to dry themselves after performing ablution for prayer. The higher rate of vibrations in the energy fields of the person having performed ablution should remain until the start of prayer. Water has the ability to do just that.

In modern bathrooms, there are blow-driers located (instead of tissue) and this is a much better way to dry one’s hands.


Advice on eating and drinking

There are many sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, (Peace Be upon him), on medicine. They encompass a great variety of subjects including eating and drinking and the mention of certain kinds of foods particularly useful for health. In later centuries Muslim scholars collected these sayings, usually under the title of Tibb al-Nabawi. The collections of lbn Qayyim al-Jawziyya, Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, and Abu Nu’aym are among the most famous.

Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (d.1505), one of the greatest scholars of the Muslim Middle Ages, recommended eating cold foods in summer and hot ones in winter. Hot food should be preferred with cold, sweet with sour, fat with salt and acid with fat. Having the same food several times one after the other and eating hurriedly causes loss of appetite and laziness. Eating a second meal without fully digesting the first is harmful. Al-Suyuti also wrote that one should avoid food and drink that has been left uncovered.

The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon him), recommended this: “Cover your containers and stop up the mouths of your water bottles.”


The Prophet disapproved eating food while it is too hot.

He never used to blow on his food or drink or breathe into a container. He also discouraged eating lying down.

Taking a walk after eating a meal or doing the prayer is beneficial, especially for the digestive process. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon him) said: “Digest your food with the Name of God and with doing a prayer.

And do not go to sleep immediately after eating, as this will make you constipated.”



The hands should be washed after as well as before eating. One whose stomach is over-stuffed with food cannot think clearly or wisely. The less a man eats, the less he drinks; and the less he drinks, the less he sleeps; and the less he sleeps, the better he will be in old age. The body of a man over-filled food will be badly nourished, his self will be in a bad state, and his heart will grow hard. Therefore one should avoid too much food as it poisons the heart and slows down the limbs of the body in fulfilling one’s responsibilities toward God. One should also avoid drinking very cold water, for it is harmful to the respiratory system, especially after a hot meal, or after sweet food, or after a hot bath.



The Prophet Muhammad (upon Peace Be upon him), discouraged drinking water at a single gulp.

Anas ibn Malik related the tradition that the Prophet used to drink with three pauses and, at each pause, remove his mouth from the container.

Eating at the Same Table where Alcohol is served is forbidden

Al-Kulayni has narrated through his chain from Abu Ja’far (AS) that he said:

Allah never raised any prophet but it was in Allah’s knowledge that when He would perfect his religion it would include the prohibition of intoxicants. Intoxicants were always unlawful, even though they have carried away from (one) trait too (another) trait. And if it were imposed on them all together, it would have cut them off short of religion.

As Allah (SWT), Most Sublime, Most High commands us in Qur’an: They ask you concerning alcohol and gambling? Say! Among them are the great sin and some profit for men, but the sin is greater than their profit. (Al-Qur’an – Chapter 2, Verse 219)

O you who believe! Intoxicants and games of chance, idols, and divination by arrows are only an abomination of Satan’s handiwork. So stay away from them so that you may be successful.

The Shaytan only desires to cause enmity and hatred in your midst through intoxicants and gambling and keep you away from remembering Allah and from prayer. Will you then abstain from them? (Al-Qur’an – Chapter 5, Verses 90-91)

Some Muslims then left it and some continued to drink, until a man drank it, began his prayers, and talking nonsense. Then was revealed:

O you who believe! Do not go near prayer when you are intoxicated until you know (well) what you say. (Al-Qur’an – Chapter 4, Verse 43)


What is HALAL?

He has forbidden you dead meat, and blood, and the flesh of swine, and that which any other name has been invoked besides that of Allah. But if one is forced by necessity, without willful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits, then he is guiltless. For Allah is oft – forgiving Most Merciful: (Al-Qur’an – Chapter 2, Verse 172)

”For The Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessing upon him) command them what is just and forbids them what is evil; he allows them as lawful what is good and pure and prohibits them what is bad and impure..” (Al-Qur’an – Chapter 7, Verse 157)

Muslims around the world practice the religion of Islam. The practice of Islam includes observing dietary laws which come from Islamic teachings. Islamic dietary laws define foods that are Halal, meaning lawful or permitted. Muslims avoid food and beverages that are Haram, meaning not permitted.

Many foods are clearly Halal or clearly Haram. However, certain foods are difficult to classify because of the ingredients they contain. Check for Halal certification or read food labels. Check carefully each time you buy food products, as manufacturers may change ingredients without notice.

For meat and poultry to be Halal, it must be slaughtered according to Islamic dietary laws (Zabihah).


What is Zabihah

Zabihah is the method of ritual slaughter of all animals excluding fish and most sea-life per Islamic law. This method of slaughtering animals consists of a swift, deep incision with a sharp knife on the neck, cutting the jugular veins and carotid arteries of both sides but leaving the spinal cord intact. The objective of this technique is to minimize the pain and agony of the animal; more effectively drain the animal’s blood, resulting in a more hygienic meat.

The precise details of the slaughtering method arise largely from Islamic tradition, rather than a direct Quranic mandate. It is used to comply with the conditions stated in the Qur’an:

“Forbidden to you are dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which hath been invoked the name of other than Allah. That which hath been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death; that which hath been eaten by a wild animal; unless ye are able to slaughter it; that which is sacrificed on stone; [forbidden] also is the division by raffling with arrows:  that is impiety…” (Al-Qur’an – Chapter 5, Verse 3)

Halal Food permitted in Islam

  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Any grain product, such as bread, breakfast cereal or baked goods prepared with Haram ingredients
  • All vegetables and fruit: raw, dried, frozen or canned.
  • All vegetables and fruit cooked or served with water, butter, or vegetable oils
  • Milk
  • Yogourt, cheese and ice cream made with bacterial culture or microbial enzymes, e.g. microbial rennet
  • Meat and poultry slaughtered according to Islamic dietary law (“Zabihah).
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Nuts, seeds
  • Peanut Butter
  • Tofu
  • Halal deli meats
  • Dried beans, peas and lentils
  • Beverages: carbonated drinks, fruit juice, punch, cocktails, tea, and coffee
  • Fats and oils: butter, margarine, mayonnaise, vegetable oils and some salad dressings
  • Miscellaneous: chutneys, coconut milk, jam, pickles, spices
  • Desserts made with agar and/or carrageenan base only
  • Sweeteners: honey, sugar, syrup, chocolate liquor (roasted ground cocoa bean syrup)
  • Main dish entrées: any Zabihah meat or alternative dish, pizza, pasta or rice prepared without Haram foods and ingredients
  • Soups/sauces: any made without Haram foods and ingredients
  • Desserts and sweets: any made without alcohol, or without pure or artificial vanilla extract.


Haram Foods (Not Permitted) In Islam

  • Any grain products prepared with Haram ingredients such as alcohol, animal shortening, lard or pure and artificial vanilla extract
  • Any vegetables and fruit prepared with alcohol, animal shortening, bacon, gelatin, lard or some margarine which contain monoglycerides or diglycerides from an animal source
  • Cheese, yogurt, ice cream, frozen tofu desserts made with animal rennet, gelatin, lipase, pepsin, pure or artificial vanilla extract or whey
  • Pork and pork products, e.g. bacon, deli meats, ham and sausage
  • Blood used as an ingredient or used in preparing the food
  • Meat and poultry not slaughtered according to Islamic dietary law
  • Canned beans, peas and lentils containing pork
  • Any meat and meat alternative dish prepared with alcohol, pork products or animal shortening
  • Beverages: beer, wine, alcohol, liqueur
  • Fats and oils: animal shortening, lard
  • Miscellaneous: chocolates/candies made with alcohol or pure or artificial vanilla extract
  • Desserts made with gelatin
  • Sweeteners: chocolate liqueur (made from alcohol
  • Main dish entrées: any combination foods prepared with Haram foods and ingredients
  • Soups/sauces: any prepared with Haram foods and ingredients
  • Desserts and sweets: any prepared with alcohol, pure or artificial vanilla extract or any other Haram ingredient



Just don’t eat these things:

  • Pork and its by-products e.g. gelatin, lipase, pepsin
  • Meat from animals not slaughtered according to the Islamic dietary law
  • Alcohol and foods prepared with alcohol e.g. candies and cakes that include alcohol such as rum cake
  • Foods made with pure or artificial vanilla extract (vanilla is prepared with alcohol)
  • Foods containing blood and blood by-products e.g. blood pudding

Foods made with any of the following: whey prepared with the non-microbial enzyme, rennet, animal shortening, monoglycerides and diglycerides from an animal source, sodium stearoyl-lactylate, L-cysteine.

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