Two weeks ago I was sulking away about all the things I needed to get done…lose weight…make up my missed Ramadan fasts…and hit it me! Bam! A Sunnah diet! Okay, fine…that’s not exactly how it went down. One night at dinner my husband was commenting – with a great deal of surprise may I add – that I did not eat much. I retorted, “I’m on the Sunnah diet; one-third food, one-third water, and one-third air.” He responded, “Honestly, that’s the best diet to be on.” And ladies that is when it hit me.
Our deen gives us the tools to tackle every issue of our life, as Our Lord constantly reminds us in the Qur’an but we forget. Two principles that always resonate with me while learning about the deen is consistency and moderation. Aren’t these two components part of living a healthy lifestyle? Our Prophet (saw) taught us the proper etiquette for matters in our daily life. How often do we apply the not so obvious ones?
Therefore I propose – and I am sure I am not the first to write about this…
The Sunnah Diet
- Intentions. Start with the intention that you are doing this to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw) and the guidelines set by the Qur’an. Your goal should be attaining spiritual growth and closeness through this process. You are taking care of the body and the health that is a blessing provided to you from Allah (swt) which one day you will answer for. You can have as many intentions as you like. One thing I learned from a wonderful teacher was to seek reward from your every day activities by one doing one simple thing – making the right intention.
- One-third. Let us take advantage of this Sunnah and see the difference in our overall health. Eat a little less than you normally would. I honestly believe if we followed this simple rule, we would not need to resort to all the different diets out there.
On the authority of Al-Miqdaamr ibn Maadiy-Karib who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah saying: “No human ever filled a vessel worse than the stomach. Sufficient for any son of Adam are some morsels to keep his back straight. But if it must be, then one third for his food, one third for his drink and one third for his breath.” Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasaa’I, Ibn Majah – Hadith Sahih
- Eat Well. Try to stay away from all the processed junk we take in these days. My husband got me out of this habit once we got married and I do not miss it one bit. Allah (swt) mentions all the vegetables He (swt) sent down to Banu Israeel and yet they still wanted more and did not find it sufficient. Allah (swt) blessed this dunyah with delicious meats, fruits, and vegetables that are obviously beneficial but will fill us right up with nutritious goodness. If there are too many ingredients in the foods you are buying and half of which you do not understand – put it back on the shelf and walk away. Resist the urge to order take out. I do my best to cook and there are many quick and easy healthy recipes out there.
- Fast. Fasting is obligatory during the month of Ramadan and a highly regarded Sunnah outside of it. We seek the spiritual benefit from it and we overlook the health benefit of it. We do not need detox teas and drinks. Fasting is a natural way to detox! Try fasting the Sunnah fasts of Mondays and Thursdays. Spiritually you will feel closer to Allah (swt) and your body will be re-energized along the way.
- Exercise. The Prophet (saw) and the Sahabah were very active and strong people. Just the 14-15 mile walks we took on paved roads with moderate Saudi temperature during Hajj between Mecca, Mina, and Arafah gave me a little insight into how physically robust they must have been. Take the time out to exercise in whatever way you can. As a new mom, I know how it may feel impossible to find the time. Here’s a great at home cardio routine that has me out of breath in less than five minutes. Add weights and let the toning begin!
- Consistency & Moderation. These two always go hand in hand. I am not a fan of extreme diets and exercise regimes. I hate it when people tell me I need to cut something out of my daily diet. Those remedies are short term as much as people try to sell them as long term. Eat with moderation and stay consistent with your exercise, fasting, and the types of food you eat.
I hope these tips help all of us attain stronger faith, reward us in this dunyah with good health, and give us the strength and energy to worship Allah (swt) in the best of ways. I will post updates bimonthly on how this diet is working out for me. Let me know if you do it already or want to start with me!