The Prophet and Food


One of the sunnahs (traditions and practices) of the Prophet ﷺ (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that we often overlook is his guidance and example in regards to food. It is important for us to look again at the Prophetic example, especially in a time when many Americans and other people of opportunity throughout the world are dying from diet-related diseases.

All of the following hadiths (sayings of the Prophet ﷺ) are taken from a summary of al-Shamāʾil al-Muḥammadiyya by Imam al-Tirmidhi and none of them are weak according to al-Albani.1

Mālik ibn Dinār radi Allahu ‘anhu (may Allah bless Him) said: “The Prophet ﷺ never got full from bread or meat unless he was eating with people.”2

Al-Nuʿmān ibn Bashīr (ra) said: “Do you not have all the food and drink that you want? Verily I saw your prophet ﷺ and he could not even find enough low-quality dates to fill his stomach.”

ʿĀʾisha (ra)  said: “Verily, we, the family of Muḥammad ﷺ, would go an entire month without lighting a fire. It was only dates and water.”

Anas (ra) said: “The Prophet ﷺ never had bread and meat together for lunch and dinner, unless he was eating with people.”

Anas (ra) said: “One time the Prophet ﷺ was brought dates and I saw him eating them while leaning on something because of the severity of his hunger.”3

ʿĀʾisha (ra) said: “The family of Muḥammad ﷺ was never full off of bread made from barley for two consecutive days until he passed.”

Ibn ʿAbbās (ra) said: “The Prophet ﷺ and his family would go to sleep while hungry for several nights because they could not find anything to eat for dinner. And most of their bread was from barley.”

Sahl ibn Sʿad (ra) was asked: “Did the Prophet ﷺ eat white flour?”4 Sahl said, “The Prophet ﷺ did not see white flour until he met God.”5

Masrūq (ra) said: “I visited ʿĀʾisha and she requested some food for me. Then she said, ‘I do not get full from food except that I want to cry and then I cry.’ I said, ‘Why?’ She said, ‘I remember how the Prophet ﷺ was when he left this life. I swear by God that he never had his fill of bread and meat together twice in one day.’”

O Allah! Send your peace and blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.


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  1. There are some details regarding this here, but this is not the place to get into them, nor is it the purpose of the article. Suffice it to say that even though the sanad of some of these hadiths may be weak, the matn, or actual text of the hadith, is acceptable. []
  2. Meaning, unless he was with guests or invited. []
  3. Meaning, his hunger was so severe that he had to lean on something in order to hold himself up, peace be upon him. []
  4. This was the best kind of flour that was used to make bread in his time, peace be upon him. []
  5. Meaning, until he died. []

20 Comments

  1. Mariam says:

    This article really makes your reflect on the greatness of our Prophet (Peace and Blessing be Upon Him) He is perfect in every aspect MashAllah.

    We need to practice this in our lives. It is profound to see the conditions that our Prophet endured.

    Nowdays we have plenty to eat and we eat without even Thanking Allah (Swt) who provided this for us.

    May Allah guide us all to the Straight Path. Ameen.

    Jazakullah Kair for this wonderful article.

  2. Muslima. says:

    a beautiful article! :)

  3. Um Maryam says:

    SubhanAllah. Jazakullah Khair for the reminder and for passing on this knowledge, some of these hadiths are new to me! Could you kindly write something regarding manners, especially table manners? JAK!

  4. Ahmed Mourad says:

    May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon our beloved messenger.”Verily in the messenger of Allah you have a good example for him who hopes (in the meeting) with Allah and the last day and remembers Allah much.”May Allah help us follow in the footsteps of our beloved messenger.amen!

  5. SkinnyMuslim says:

    Jazak Allah Khair. Great article! I will link to this on my website http://www.skinnymuslim.com! Please visit the site for Islamic weight loss motivation. JazakAllah Khair

    • umm yusuf says:

      I checked your site- it’s really good masha’Allah- the reminders have some brilliant quotes :-), you should do an FB page-it’s much easier.I loved the whiny child pics too(reminded me of my kids ). Alhamdulillah =)

      • SkinnyMuslim says:

        Jazak Allah Khair for your kind words. I needed the encouragement to continue with the site and I really appreciate the time you took to review it. Please share with friends :) If you (or anyone else) has any ideas for the site, please send me an email at skinnymuslim@gmail.com. I am currently working on the facebook page, insha’Allah.

  6. umm yusuf says:

    Barak’Allahu feek for the article. I think what scares me the most is that even through such difficult times and small diets, the Prophet(s) was so concerned about being questioned on that day regarding such “delights”-yet we hoard our vessels and keep our jaws busy eating ,chewing, swallowing (and talking) without much concern. Scary indeed.

    I agree with the comments above -it would be good to have a series of articles on food , etiquettes and relate it to one’s imaan.Healthy body- healthy mind-healthy ‘ibaadah-insha’Allah. :-) (you could tie it in with ramadaan and how we tend to over indulge at iftaar /suhoor).

  7. naseera says:

    Wow, thank you for enlightening us with this article, i feel ashamed at the way we eat today…. how we overeat. I read another article (can’t remember where), but it stated that we are eating into our future reserves already….Subhanallah the Prophet, (pbuh) was exemplary

  8. fatima says:

    maashaa`alaah, this was amazing.

  9. Mashel Hamsah says:

    SubhanAllah, thank you for this pertinent reminder.

  10. BEEA says:

    O Allah! Send your peace and blessings upon the Prophet Muhammad

  11. BEEA says:

    اللهّــم صَــلِ وًسَلّم وَبارِك عَلــى سيدنا مُحَمَّــدٍ وعلى آله وصحبه وسلم تسليما كثير

  12. green says:

    Salaam,

    Shukran for the article, JazakAllah. Most of these ahadith were new to me. The main one we usually remember about food is (excuse the paraphrasing) – Sufficient for the son of Adam is a few morsels…at the most, fill a third with food, a third with water and leave a third for air. Also – the son of Adam fills no vessel worse than his stomach. Most of the narrations mentioned are a bit stronger though in terms of how the Prophet (saw) essentially experienced starvation and hunger. They make us reflect on how we much we eat and surely we need to reduce our intake, but should we also be going to the level we see the Prophet (saw) experienced? Some advice would be appreciated.

    JazakAllah again.

  13. Aziza says:

    Subhan Allah… Now you will thank Allah SWT twice before and after finishing your meal. It puts everything in perspective.
    Al hamdullilah for our Prophet PBUH and for the wisdom and blessings he has brought to us.

  14. SkinnyMuslim says:

    PS – SkinnyMuslim is also on Facebook. Please join! Let’s bring this very important Sunnah back to life, insha’Allah!!!

  15. Yasmin says:

    Subhanallah! We have so much to learn from our beloved Prophet (saws)!

  16. Sharif Gazi says:

    May Allah(SWAT)give us the ability to follow the sunnah of our beloved prophet(PBUH) in every step of our life…Ameen.

  17. IslamTheLoveOfMyLife says:

    It brings tears knowing our beloved nabi SalAllahu alayhi sallam sometimes went hungry. His biggest worry was for us, his Ummah. And again on the Day of Judgement, he will intercede for us. Remember him in EVERY DUA YOU MAKE! It’s the least we can do. “Allahumma salli ala Muhammad wa ala ali Muhammad, kama sallayta ala Ibraheema wa ala ali Ibraheem innaka hameedun majeed. Allahumma barik ala Muhammad wa ala ali Muhammad, kama barakta ala Ibraheem wa ala ali Ibraheem innaka hameedun majeed”

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