1) The Diet of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
Islam does not ban the consumption of meat, but the Prophet pbuh said it was “food of the Kings”, which implies meat consumption should be treated as a luxury and not the main part of a dish. Also Islam does not require you to eat meat. One of the Sahaba chose not to eat meat for personal reasons which the Prophet pbuh accepted. But you should not give up meat as part of ibadah nor is it a requirement to eat meat to become a Muslim.(2)
Meat was only consumed on special occasions and treated as a luxury during prophetic times. Even on a Friday or when he had guests if meat was not available the Prophet pbuh would have squash/ pumpkin or dates.
The Quran states we should eat and drink well but not be excessive. The Prophet ate with the stomach In 3rd’s, he did not gauge until feeling ill, it is sunnah to eat within portion.
“Eat and drink but do not be excessive for God does not love those who are excessive (in what they do)” (Quran 7:31)
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “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 mouthfuls, to keep him going. If he must do that (fill his stomach), then let him fill one third with food, one third with drink and one third with air.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (2380); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (2265).
The Prophet pbuh was not demanding when it came to food, he ate whatever was available at the time. In modern times we sometimes have three course meals or cook various dishes of meat, fish and vegetables. It was said that the Prophet pbuh didn’t like to “mix” food he preferred to keep his meals simple. (3)
Now with modern times of importing food from around the world we have become more and more demanding and spoilt with the food choices we have.
There were warnings relating to excessive consumption of meat in the Hadith and Muwatta of Malik:
The muwatta of Malik, Yahya ibn Said that Umar ibn al-Khattab said, “Beware of meat. It has addictiveness like the addictiveness of wine.” (4)
The human race is becoming addicted to poor quality meat, it has been engrained in our daily lives to eat meat. People are becoming more and more unhealthy, dragged down by disease such as diabetes or cancers because of the increased consumption of meat and processed foods. This is down to farming practices changing to produce more and more to keep up with the greed and addiction of the consumer. It is part of Islam to eat fresh, home- grown, clean food. Food which is Tayyib (Wholesome, pure, clean, and nutritious).
“Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.” Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma
So what did the Prophet eat aside from meat:
The rest of the Prophets diet consisted of Dates, Figs, Grapes, Milk, Honey, Olive Oil, Vinegar, Watermelon, Barley, Pumpkin, squash and any other vegetables that were available as narrated in the hadith below.
Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said, “He who eats seven ‘Ajwa dates every morning, will not be affected by poison or magic on the day he eats them.” (Bukhari 5445)
“We give you drink from what is in their bellies – between excretion and blood – pure milk, palatable to drinkers.” (Quran 16:66)
The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Healing is in three things: cupping, a gulp of honey or cauterization.” (Bukhari 5681)
“A tailor invited the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) to a meal which he had prepared. Anas said: I went along with the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) barley bread and soup containing pumpkin and dried sliced meat. Anas said: I saw the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) going after the pumpkin round the dish, so I have always liked pumpkins since that day.” (Abu Dawud 3782)
As Muslims it is sunnah for us to incorporate the eating habits of the Prophet into our daily lives, for some this is a complete lifestyle change but our reward may be increased by simply trying to have a more balanced diet.
1) Shaykh Hamza Yusuf lecture, Over consumption of meat. 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FfJar4_vvr4
2) Tabarsi, Makarim Al-Akhlaq, p. 26; Majlesi, Bihar Al-Anwar, vol. 16, p. 24
3) Hadith No: 36 Narrated/Authority of Yahya bin Said from the Muwatta of Malik. http://ahadith.co.uk/chapter.php?cid=99&page=4&rows=10
4) Quran Surah Al- Baqarah 2:168
2) The Complete Diet of The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
Meat consumption is not encouraged nor discouraged in Islam, as it is seen as a luxury and a “meal of the Kings.”
However, it is not necessary for one to consume meat in order to practice the religion.
Personal dietary choices, such as choosing not to eat meat, are respected and approved by the Prophet pbuh.
During the time of the Prophet, meat was enjoyed on special occasions and was considered a delicacy.
Even when meat was not available, the Prophet pbuh would opt for alternative options such as squash or dates.
The Quran encourages us to eat and drink well, but not excessively.
The Prophet pbuh also emphasized the importance of not overeating and filling only a third of our stomachs with food.
Eating a variety of meats, fish, and vegetables is encouraged in Islam, and the Prophet pbuh enjoyed a diverse range of meals.
However, it is also important to appreciate the simplicity and natural flavors of basic meals.
In current times, the availability of imported foods allows us to enjoy a wide variety of meats and culinary options.
It is important to continue to appreciate the luxury and delicacy of meat while also being mindful of moderation and simplicity in our eating habits.
In Malik’s Hadith and Muwatta, there were warnings about excessive meat consumption:
Yahya ibn Said, Malik’s muwatta, reported that Umar ibn al-Khattab said, “Meat should be avoided. It is addicting in the same way that wine is addictive.” (4)
The human species is becoming addicted to low-quality meat, and eating meat has become ingrained in our daily lives. Because of the increased use of meat and processed meals, people are becoming increasingly unwell, afflicted with diseases such as diabetes and cancer. This is due to agricultural practices shifting to produce more and more to keep up with the consumer’s greed and addiction. Eating fresh, home-grown, hygienic food is an important element of Islam. Tayyib is a type of food. (Delicious, pure, healthy, and nourishing)
“Oh, you people, eat what is halal and tayyib from the ground, and do not follow in the footsteps of the Shaytan…” 2:168 (Surat al-Baqarah) (5)
So, other from meat, what did the Prophet eat:
Dates, figs, grapes, milk, honey, olive oil, vinegar, watermelon, barley, pumpkin, squash, and any other vegetables that were available, as reported in the hadith below, made up the rest of the Prophet’s diet.
“Whoever eats seven ‘Ajwa dates every morning will not be afflicted by poison or magic on the day he eats them,” Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said. (5445 Bukhari)
“What is in their bellies – between excrement and blood – pure milk, acceptable to drinkers,” says the narrator. (16:66) in the Quran
According to the Prophet (PBUH), “Cupping, a gulp of honey, or cauterization are the three methods of healing.” (5681 Bukhari)
“A tailor welcomed Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) to a supper he had prepared for him. Anas stated, “I ate barley bread and soup with pumpkin and dry sliced beef with the Messenger of Allah (PBUH).” “I witnessed the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) going after the pumpkin around the dish, and I’ve always liked pumpkins since that day,” Anas explained. (3782 Abu Dawud)
As Muslims, it is sunnah for us to incorporate the Prophet’s eating practices into our daily lives; while this may require a full lifestyle shift for some, our reward may be enhanced merely by attempting to eat a more balanced diet.
Food Suggestions from the Prophets
When he put his hand in the food, he would exclaim, “Bismillaah (in the Name of Allah),” and he encouraged others to do the same. “When any of you eats, let him recite the name of Allaah,” he said. If he forgets to pronounce Allaah’s name at the start, he should say Bismillaahi fi awwalihi wa aakhirihi (in the name of Allaah at the start and conclusion).” Al-Tirmidhi (1859) and Abu Dawood recited a saheeh hadeeth (3767).
When eating, the proper view is that it is required to mention Allaah’s name (say Bismillaah). The ahaadeeth that state this are saheeh and straightforward, and they contain no conflicts.
“Al-hamdu Lillaahi hamdan katheeran tayyiban mubaarakan fihi ghayri makfiyyin wa laa muwadda’ wa laa mustaghni ‘anhu Rabbanaa ‘azza wa jallu Rabbanaa ‘azza wa jallu Rabbanaa ‘azza wa jallu Rabbanaa ‘azza wa ja (Allaah be thanked with a lavish, lovely, and blessed praise.) He is the Sufficient One, the One Who feeds and never feeds, the One Who is desired, as well as that which is with Him, and the One Who is required. He is Our Lord, and may He be exalted.) Al-Bukhaari tells the story (5142).
He never said anything negative about food. He would eat it if he liked it, and if he didn’t, he would leave it alone and not say anything. Al-Bukhaari (3370) and Muslim both narrate this story (2064).
“I don’t feel like eating this,” he would say. Al-Bukhaari (5076) and Muslim both narrate this story (1946).
When he asked his family for food and they answered, “We have nothing but vinegar,” he would laud the cuisine. “What a fantastic food is vinegar,” he said as he requested for some and began to eat it. Muslim tells his story (2052)
As evidenced by the above-mentioned vinegar story, he used to chat while eating.
When he was eating with him, he remarked to his step-son ‘Umar ibn Abi Salamah, “Say Bismillaah and eat from what is in front of you in the dish*.” Al-Bukhaari (5061) and Muslim both narrate this story (2022). [* People used to eat from the same dish at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and children would sometimes forget proper manners. – Translator]
As a generous host, he would repeatedly urge his guests to eat, as seen in Abu Hurayrah’s hadeeth about drinking milk, narrated by al-Bukhaari, where he repeatedly told him, “Drink!” and he kept telling him to drink until he (the guest) said, “By the One Who sent you with the truth, I have no more room for it!” Al-Bukhaari tells the story (6087).
He would not leave until he had made du’aa’ for those with whom he was eating. “O Allaah, bless for them that which You have given for them, pardon them and have compassion on them,” he prayed in the house of ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Bisr. Muslim tells his story (2042).
People were to eat with their right hands only, and they were not to eat with their left hands. “The Shaytaan drinks with his left hand and eats with his left,” he explained. Muslim tells his story (2020). This implies that eating with one’s left hand is haraam, which is right, because whomever eats with his left hand is either a shaytaan (demon) or mimicking the Shaytaan.
“Eat with your right hand!” he ordered a guy who was eating with his left hand in his presence, according to a saheeh hadeeth. “I cannot,” the man stated. “May you never be able to!” he exclaimed. – and the man never again raised his right hand to his mouth. Muslim tells his story (2021). He would not have prayed against him for eating with his left hand if it was acceptable. The man’s arrogant arrogance caused him to refuse to accept the mandate, and it was this extreme disobedience that warranted this prayer.
Those who grumbled about never feeling full were told to eat together rather than separately, and to invoke Allaah’s name (say Bismillah) over the food so that He might bless it for them.” Abu Dawood (3764) and Ibn Maajah (3765) are the narrators (3286).
(See 2/397-406 in Zaad al-Ma’aad.)
He was also quoted as saying, “I do not eat while reclining.” 5083, al-Bukhaari narrates.
He used to eat with his right hand’s first three fingers, which is the greatest method to eat.
220-222 in Zaad al-Ma’aad. And Allaah is the most knowledgeable.
The Prophet’s dietary advice is as follows:
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to be aware of what he ate.
He used to consume only healthy foods.
He used to eat just enough to keep himself going, but not enough to gain weight. “The believer feeds in one stomach, but the kaafir eats in seven,” Ibn ‘Umar recounted from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). Al-Bukhaari (5081) and Muslim both narrate this story (2060).
He taught his ummah how to defend themselves from ailments brought on by food and alcohol. “The son of Adam fills no vessel worse than his stomach,” he stated. It is enough for Adam’s son to consume a few mouthfuls to keep him going. If he has to do it, let him fill one-third of his stomach with food, one-third with drink, and one-third with air.” Al-Tirmidhi (1381) and Ibn Maajah (3349) both narrated it, and al-Albaani classified it as saheeh in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (2265).
The Prophets Diet In Simple Terms
The diet of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is known for being simple, natural, and healthy. He primarily ate dates, barley, bread, and water. He also ate meat and other foods but in moderation. He also emphasized the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables and drinking pure water.
The food of that region at that time was mainly based on grains, such as barley and wheat, and dates which were the main source of sweeteners. The meat was also consumed, but mainly by the wealthy as it was not as readily available.
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, also encouraged the consumption of honey as a natural sweetener and for its medicinal properties. He also recommended the use of olive oil for cooking, as well as for its health benefits.
He also emphasized the importance of maintaining good hygiene, such as washing hands before and after eating and cleaning one’s teeth regularly. He also encouraged regular physical activity and getting enough sleep.
In terms of health and medicine, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, recommended the use of natural remedies, such as honey and herbs, and also encouraged the seeking of medical treatment when necessary.