The past year has been very testing for most of us here in the UK and across the world. Our mental, physical, and spiritual health have been affected severely during the third lockdown, and maintaining our food intake had proven to be difficult.
But, The Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (SAW) provides us with a substantial amount of information on foods with innumerable health benefits that help to cleanse our immune systems and prevent and cure certain illnesses.
Prophetic foods are foods that the Prophet (SAW) used to eat daily. They are foods that are packed filled with nutritious goodness that help you feel great about yourself, prevent diseases, and help you stay physically and mentally fit.
Here’s some more information on Prophetic inspired foods to try this Ramadan:
Abu Hurayrah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (SAW) said: “Allah is Tayyib (pure) and accepts only that which is tayyib (pure and wholesome). Allah (SWT) has commanded the faithful to do that which He commanded the Messengers, and the Almighty has said: “O Messengers! Eat of the tayyib (pure and wholesome) things and do right.” (Sahih Muslim)
Tayyib foods are pure, wholesome, nutritious, healing food that nourishes the body and soul.
We as Muslims pay a lot of attention to whether or not our food is halal (as we should) but we often miss the tayyib aspect. Is our food tayyib? Is it wholesome? Are the animals treated fairly? Are the farmers compensated fairly? Does the production of the food harm the environment? Does the food benefit us and heal us or does it contribute to more disease in the body? We should be concerned with these questions, and we should strive to eat food that is both halal and tayyib, making our intention to please Allah (SWT) and follow the example of the Prophet (SAW).
Miqdam ibn Ma’d reported:
After a long day of fasting, the only thing we can think about is food. As soon as the Magrib Adhan is called, all we can think about is eating! We start to stuff ourselves with everything in
sight. This is not the practice of a believer. It is also very harmful to our digestive system as it cannot take the load of everything we consume. This can lead to indigestion, acidity, stomachache, flatulence, and more. It also leads to laziness in worship.
If we eat just enough, we gain energy. If we eat too much, we lose the ability to move around and be actives, which leads to a lack of concentration in our prayers and other worship. For this reason, we should follow the counsel of the Prophet (SAW) and have a light meal and something nourishing to drink, leaving some breathing room for our stomach to digest the food we just ate.
We live in an age of huge portion sizes. At restaurants, we are given huge portions for just one person. At home, we have massive plates that we eat from. If the plate allows it, we add on more food, not thinking about whether or not we even need to eat that much. In the hadith above, the Prophet (SAW) is giving us a tip to prevent wastage. If you share your food with someone, you will eat less and prevent waste! It also brings barakah if you share the same plate with someone in your family as eating together brings barakah.
In the Islamic Tibb tradition (which includes Tibb an-Nabawi, or Prophetic Medicine as well), foods have temperaments. These can be understood to mean the states that they induce in the body. Some foods produce heat in the body and some foods provide a cooling effect.
That’s what makes certain foods more or less suitable according to the seasons. The best way to ensure healthy digestion and proper balance of the body systems. This is based upon the guidance of the Prophet (SAW) as he would eat dates with cucumber. Dates are hot food, and cucumbers are cooling.
Here is a brief list of foods that are heat-stimulating in the body and foods that cool the body down:
Heat stimulating foods (hot foods): Lamb, liver, eggs, cheese, onion, garlic, peppers, dates, figs, olives, almonds, peanuts, wheat, sunflower oil, olive oil, coffee, black tea, cinnamon and other spices, honey.
Cooling foods (cold foods): Beef, goat, milk, butter, cow’s milk, celery, lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, broccoli, apple, watermelon, pomegranate, rice, barley, coconut water, coriander, vinegar, water.
Now that you are equipped with some knowledge of the temperament of foods, you can make better meal decisions for you and your family Insha’Allah!
Try to avoid indulging in overly sweet or salty foods as well as fried appetizers and such. These foods do not fare well in the body after a long day of fasting and they can prove detrimental to our health.
Try to eat fresh fruit and vegetables; boiled, grilled; or sauteed. Nuts, lentils, legumes are also very healthy. Staying hydrated is also very important. Try to get your water through the food you eat like lettuce, pineapple, watermelon, and cucumber.
We have listed some tips and ideas below for you to try at home Insha’Allah:
Berry Salad: Strawberries, Raspberries, blueberries, cherries with walnuts, and a honey-yogurt dipping sauce.
Tropical salad: Peach-mango-banana-pomegranate fruit salad with slivered almonds and honey.
Mediterranean salad: Tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, red capsicum, feta cheese, and black olives.
Asian fusion salad: Cabbage slaw, tangerine, sesame seeds, red onion, and pickled cucumber.
Avocado-cinnamon-vanilla yogurt smoothie.
Pineapple-peach-coconut smoothie with coconut water or coconut milk.
Strawberry-banana-peach smoothie with almond milk.
Mashed kidney beans (or any beans) with goat cheese topped with extra virgin olive oil and black olives with a side of fresh pita bread.
Fresh figs with mascarpone cheese topped with walnuts and honey.
Dates stuffed with cream cheese and pomegranate.
Scrambled eggs with a tomato-basil side salad topped with extra virgin olive oil.
May Allah make it easy for us to practice the etiquette of Sunnah eating and may we be of those who eat halal and tayyib foods. May Allah give us the understanding of what foods are beneficial for us and may He facilitate for us to include them in our diet. Ameen.