Allah Almighty says in the Quran: “Eat of the good things which We have provided for you.” (Al-Baqarah: 173 He Almighty also says, “Eat of what is lawful and wholesome on the earth. (Al-Baqarah: 168)
Describing the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, Allah says: “…He prohibits them from all that is foul…” (Al-A`raaf: 157). To abstain from eating without a valid reason is contrary to health protection. Hence, Islam does not approve of it. Allah says in the Qur’an: “Do not forbid yourselves the wholesome things God has made lawful for you.” (Al-Ma’dah: 87)
Healthy nutrition means having a balanced diet, in order to maintain the balance that Allah has established in all matters, and to which reference is made in the Qur’an: “And He enforced the balance. That you exceed not the bounds; but observe the balance strictly, and fall not short thereof”. (Ar-Rahman: 7-9). Healthy nutrition means a diet balanced in quantity. Eating too much is contrary to Islamic teachings. In the Quran we read: “Eat and drink, but avoid excess…” ( Taha: 81)
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is reported to have said:“When filled with food, the belly becomes the worst container for the son of Adam. It is sufficient for a human being to have a few bites to keep himself fit (which means that it is sufficient to have only what one needs to maintain strength and well-being). If one must eat, then let him use one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for breathing.”
In another authentic Hadith, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, is also quoted to have said: “The food of one person will be sufficient for two, and the food of two people will be sufficient for four, and the food of four will be sufficient for eight.”
Healthy nutrition also means a diet balanced in its contents. This means that it must have a mixture of the different types of food, which Allah has graciously provided for His Creation, in the sense that it satisfies all the body needs in terms of proteins, fat, carbohydrates, salts and vitamins. Most of these are mentioned in the Qur’an. For example, Allah Almighty says, “He created cattle which give you warmth, benefits and food to eat…” (An-Nahl: 5)
He Almighty also says, “It is He who subdued the seas, from which you eat fresh fish…” (An-Nahl: l4)
Referring to vegetarian food Allah says: “It is He who sends down water from the sky with which He brings up corn, olives, dates and grapes and other fruit.” (An-Nah: l16)
Milk and honey are also mentioned: “In cattle too you have a worthy lesson. We give you to drink of that which is in their bellies, between the chyle and the blood: pure milk, a pleasant beverage for those who drink it.” (An-Nahl: 66)
He Almighty also says: “From within their (i.e. the bees) bellies comes forth a fluid of many hues, that provides people with a cure (of illnesses)” (An-Nahl: 69)
Islam prefers wholesome food. An example is the Prophet’s preference for wholemeal bread, dates, honey and milk. He, peace and blessings be upon him, used to drink milk and eat dates.
Washing one’s Hands before Eating is a Basic Principle.
It ensures the cleanliness of the food we handle, to avoid contamination. This protects the stomach from infections. In a Hadith, the Prophet’s wife mentions that “the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, used to wash his hands before eating.”
Cleanliness of Food and Drink
Another health rule stresses the need to ensure the cleanliness of food and drink. Islam urges that food should be covered so that nothing falls in it. A Hadith includes the instruction: “Cover your water container.” In another version, “Cover your food and drink.”