Question: Assalamu Alaykum Mufti Saheb!
I want to ask a question regarding our bodies, i mean in reality we do not own our bodies, Allah is the one that really owns it. It is just given to us as a trust(Amanah).
So my question is:
1.) Is preserving our health and body also an obligation? like when I’m becoming obese, is it mandatory for me to diet and to exercise to keep it healthy as being obese poses many health hazards on an individual (heart attack, high blood pressure, diabetes etc..) and to avoid anything that harms our bodies?
2.) And if i don’t take care of it, will i commit a sin and could be punish in Jahannam? as i am not taking care of what Allah has given as a trust to me.
Answer: Wa alaikum As Salaam,
Yes, preserving ones’ health and body is an obligation. Hence, it is required that one avoids everything that can cause harm to the body, and use that which is beneficial.
Health is indeed a great favour from Allah for which a believer must be thankful.
While speaking on the great favour of goof health, the Prophet (s.a.w) said, ‘There are two gifts which many men are unmindful about – good health and leisure.’ (Bukhari).
The Prophet (s.a.w) also encouraged his followers to pray for good health. In one tradition he said, ‘Ask Allah for forgiveness and health.’ (An Nasai). In another hadith, he (s.a.w) is reported to have said, ‘No supplication is more pleasing to Allah than a request for good health.’ (Tirmidhi). Another tradition narrates that a Bedouin once asked the Prophet (s.a.w), saying, ‘O Prophet of Allah (s.a.w), what supplication shall I make to Allah after I have finished doing the Salah? The Prophet (s.a.w) said, ‘Ask for good health’.
From these traditions, it is seen that good health is indeed a great gift from Allah. One should appreciate his heath, value it and refrain from doing or consuming anything that can destroy his health or body.
With respect to obesity, this brings about many other serious health problems as you have identified. Therefore, one who is in this state must try his best to come out from it in order to protect the health which Allah has given to him as a great favour. It is in order to protect one self from being in such states, Allah Has instructed the believers in the Holy Quran by saying, ‘Eat and Drink, but not excessively’ (7:31).
The Prophet (s.a.w) also advised the believers with respect to eating and drinking when he said, ‘The children of Adam fill no container worse than the way in which they fill their stomachs. Let the children of Adam have a few mouthfuls to strengthen the loins. If possible, one third of the stomach is for food, one third for drink, and one third for ones’ breath.’ (Tirmidhi; An Nasai).
Umar (R.A) said, ‘Avoid having a pot-belly, for it spoils the body, causes diseases, and makes doing the prayer tiring.’ (Abu Nu’aim).
If you don’t care for your body and health, then it means that you are not showing appreciation and value for the great favour Allah Has given to you, and this will amount to being ungrateful to Allah.
Also, if you are allowing yourself to be in a state which may/would cause different problems to come upon you, and you are not doing anything to preserve your good health, then it means that you are allowing yourself to fall into destruction and you are contributing to the destruction of your own health which is Haraam (unlawful) in Islam. Allah Has himself prohibited us from this and said, ‘And do not throw yourselves into destruction.’ (2: 195).
The verse means that one must not do anything which will bring about harm and destruction to himself. If you do not take care of your health, and do not protect it from further harms, then it means that you will be showing total disregard to this great favour which Allah Has given to you, and on the Day of Judgement Allah will question about this. In this regard, the Quran says, ‘Then on that day (the Day of Judgement) you shall be asked about the favours (of Allah).’ (Surah At Takathur (102) Verse 8).
It is in order to ensure that we look after our bodies and health the Prophet (s.a.w) instructed us to seek medication when we are ill. In this regard, the Prophet (s.a.w) said, ‘O servants of Allah, treat yourselves with medication when you are ill, because Allah, the Exalted, Has created a cure for every illness except ‘old age’ (Ahmad; An Nasai).
This Hadith indicates to the fact that as much as possible, we need to keep our bodies healthy and good. It is for this reason, the Prophet (s.a.w) instructed his followers to seek medication. Hence, in the same manner, one will be required to protect his body and health as much as possible and safeguard it from being harmed and destroyed.
With respect to being sinful, and punished in the fire of hell, this will be based on if you had intentionally abused and destroyed your body/health.
And Allah Knows Best.
Mufti Waseem Khan.