Muslim World

Your Body Has a Right Over You

Your Body Has a Right Over You

The internet has done a tremendous amount for the human race. It would be impossible to list all the ways it has improved lives for so many people all over the world in some shape or form. However, it has also led to a lifestyle change that has been really detrimental to our health, and that is our reduction in physical activity. We’re living in times that don’t necessitate much movement for even basic day-to-day things. You can get groceries delivered to your home, pay bills online and even pursue an education without leaving your bedroom. As the world continues to become more and more technologically advanced (and dependent) we need to pay more attention to the physical habits we are forming and the effects of those on our spirit.Alhamdulillah, we have been blessed with guidance on everything. There is plenty of timeless advice in the Quran and sunnah, but I will focus on a few golden rules and reminders that can aid us in dealing with the postmodern shift of life.

Eat in Moderation 

Like the 80/20 rule, a study published by the National Weight Control Registry showed that 97% of the people who reported successful weight loss had changed their eating habits. We are what we eat. 80% of the work is what you eat, 20 % is exercise. “The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few morsels to keep him alive. If he must fill it, then one-third for his food, one-third for his drink, and one-third for air.” (al-Tirmidhi)

This is timeless advice right in our sunnah. We don’t need research to tell us this. The quality and quantity of what we eat is such an important part of our faith if only we reflect on it as such.

Salah as a Pillar of Islam

Built into our day are five wonderful breaks. This is an opportunity for us to disconnect from whatever wordly matter occupies us and to connect with our Creator. It is also a great way for us to improve our blood flow by getting some movement in our day. Oftentimes, we can be sitting in front of a computer screen or TV and not realize how many hours have gone by. Salah (prayer), as a pillar of Islam, is a reminder that our physical and mental well-being is something that needs consistent effort on the daily. Disconnecting from the dunya (this world/life) to engage with Allah is a lesson in humility and focus. Daily prayers force us to be humble, because it takes a certain level of humility to stop whatever we are doing, whatever is important and pressing, or get up from whatever rest or break we are taking. Humbleness is further demonstrated to Allah when we willingly turn our attention away from whatever was occupying us and turn in devotion to Him. Studies have shown that meditation (which prayer is considered a form of) undoubtedly helps to reduce stress and anxiety while boosting calm and peacefulness. These mental exercises are just as important as physical exercise.

Your Body Has a Right Over You

“Observe the fast sometimes and also leave (it) at other times. Stand up for prayer at night and also sleep at night. Your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you, and your wife has a right over you.” (Bukhari)

This hadith is a comprehensive reminder of the importance of taking care of your body. When something has a right over us, we give it time and attention. We care for it. If we are maintaining healthy eating habits that is one major component of tending to your health. The other major facet is exercise in any shape or form. The most beautiful thing about the deen (religion) is that we can seek Allah’s pleasure, even in eating healthy and exercising, if we do it with that intention.

Cleanse Yourselves 

The Prophet said, “Cleanliness is half of faith.” Wudu (ablution) as part of our daily routine definitely achieves that, but it is a means to attain spiritual as well as physical cleanliness. Not maintaining personal and spatial hygiene that is built into the guidance of the Quran and sunnah, is surely going to have an impact on our health over time. So, once again, it is an act that we engage in so regularly that it forces us to maintain our health. Though this is a physical act, it is a spiritual one too if we engage in it more mindfully. A culture where people are transfixed to screens and limit movement is also one that often does not naturally fit in such a cleanse. Alhamdulilah, we are blessed that this is built into our faith. We all know what a refreshing feeling wudu can be after being glued to a chair working on a screen, or perhaps having a busy day and not getting the opportunity to regroup. Though the correlation is not clear in theory, it is surely felt in practice.

These are just a few of the Messenger of Allah’s timeless life tips. Ones that aid us in maintaining a balance in our lives that keeps us focused towards success in all realms, physical, mental and spiritual.