9 HABITS OF THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD THAT SCIENCE
Islam’s holistic approach to life and thus health offers us the
ability to remain strong and healthy. If God decrees that illness
or injury are to be part of our lives then Islam provides us with
the ways and means of accepting and even being grateful for
the tests and trials that envelope us. Believers in Islam must
take care of their spiritual, emotional and physical health. God
gave us our bodies, the most complex of machines, as a trust.
We should not abuse or neglect them.
Diet and nutrition play a big part in maintaining the best
possible health, so does a lifestyle incorporating exercise.
Islam lays emphasis on a simple diet combined with physical
exercise. Fulfilling the obligations of three of the five pillars of
Islam requires that Muslims be of sound health and fitness.
The daily performance of five prayers is in itself a form of
exercise, its prescribed movements involve all the muscles and
joints of the body, and concentration in prayer relieves mental
Good health is necessary if one intends to fast the month of
Ramadan and the performance of the Hajj (or pilgrimage to
Mecca) is an arduous task that requires many days of hard
I- EARLY RISER
Prophet Muhammad slept early and woke up with the Adhan
of Fajr each day. Being an early riser has scientifically been
correlated with better productivity, as well as better mental
health in general. So, waking up early may be hard but with
baby steps, even if it’s just waking up 15 minutes earlier to
start with, you can begin improving your quality of life.
II- EATING LESS
The practice of eating less to prevent sickness and disease
was emphasized by Prophet Muhammad, and now backed
heavily by science much later. The Islamic concept ‘1/3 for
your food, 1/3 for your liquids, and 1/3 for your breath’
matches very closely to the Japanese ‘hara hachi bu’ concept,
which means eat until you are only 80% full.
III- EATING SLOWLY
We now know that it takes our body 20 minutes to send signals
to our brain that it is full. Slow eating will help you eat less food
and improve your digestion, and it is a practice Muhammad did
himself and strongly advocated.
IV- MINDFUL EATING
Eat together and not separately, for the blessing is associated
with the company (Ibn Majah). The prophet stressed this, and
today sharing and enjoying food has been proven to reduce
stress, and build healthy eating habits within family and
Do not drink water in one breath, but drink it in two or three
breaths. This is the manner by which Prophet Muhammad
(peace be upon him) drank water. Science today proves that
when a person drinks too much water in a short period of time
they can experience headaches, imbalance in blood electrolyte
levels and sometimes dizziness too. Drinking slowly helps you
actually absorb the fluid and get the most benefit out of it.
Pomegranates are thought to have been the Prophet’s favorite
fruit. Modern scientific research has proven pomegranates to
be one of the healthiest foods on the planet. They contain
manganese, which helps in the formation of bone structures
during the metabolic process, and potassium, which aids in
maintaining cellular function and keeps a balance in fluid levels.
Also, they are potent in flavonoids and polyphenols,
antioxidants which protect our bodies against heart disease.
Recent evidence is showing that not just the food we eat, but
our eating timings and patterns also have a profound impact
on our health. Fasting was a regular practice of Muhammad’s
(PBUH) life, not just during Ramadan. He would fast until
Maghrib every Monday and Thursday, and also on the 13th,
14th and 15th of each month. This is similar to the intermittent
fasting practice. It has been proven to balance hormone levels,
prevent oxidative stress, and reduce overall inflammation.
When you think about it, the less food you put into your body
the less it focuses on digestion and the more it can focus on
healing itself from certain ailments!
Dates are the perfect foods to break your fast. They stabilize
your blood sugar levels, rebalance blood electrolyte levels, and
help kick start your digestive system in preparation for food.
Prophet Muhammad also said: A family which has dates will
not be hungry. (Muslim). Dates are now proven to boost
oxytocin production in your body and speed up labor.
IX- STAYING ACTIVE
Fulfilling three of the five pillars of Islam requires that Muslims
be of sound health and fitness. Prayer in itself is a form of
exercise that requires movement of your body’s muscles and
joints. Good health is also necessary if you intend to fast or
participate in Hajj.
Prophet Muhammad said: a strong believer was better than a
weak believer. He was talking in terms of faith and character
but also indicating that physical strength i.e. optimum health
and fitness were desirable, providing God gave us the ways and
means of attaining such strength.
THE FITNESS OF THE PROPHET
Prophet Muhammad advised his followers, to work, to be
energetic, and to start their day early, all of which are
conditions for a healthy body. He said: O God, make the early
morning hours blessed for my nation. (Ahmad)
Obesity or an inadequate diet, laziness and weakness are all
afflictions for which we will be called to account. Even though
preventing illness or injury is often out of our control, there are
many conditions brought on or made worse by our own lack of
attention to diet and fitness. Prophet Muhammad (peace be
upon him) said: Any action without the remembrance of God
is either a diversion or heedlessness excepting four acts:
Walking from target to target [during archery practice],
training a horse, playing with one’s family, and learning to
BENEFITS OF REGULAR EXERCISE
The 21st century contains many distractions and forms of
entertainment that encourage laziness and induce ill health.
Although advanced technology has many benefits, it is
important that time is not wasted in front of the television
screen or game console to the detriment of our health. It has
been conclusively proven that obesity in children increases the
more hours they watch television.
Other studies have indicated that this is equally true for adults.
Exercise on the other hand has many benefits:
1. Exercise increases muscle tone, improves flexibility,
enhances endurance, strengthens the heart and fights
depression. It also helps achieve significant weight loss.
2. Aerobic exercise fights heart disease and high blood
pressure, and reduces the risk of diabetes, while weight
training increases muscle strength and reduces fat, increases
bone density, fights back pain and arthritis, and improves
overall mental health.
Respected Islamic scholar Imam Ibn-ul-Qayyim stated that
movement helped the body get rid of waste food in a very
normal way and strengthened the body’s immune system. He
also stated that each bodily organ has its own sport (or
movement) that suited it and that horse riding, archery,
wrestling and racing, were sports that benefited the whole
Exercise and fitness play an integral part in the life of a Muslim,
however it should not come at the expense of religious
obligations, nor should it infringe upon the time spent with
family members. In accordance with the holistic approach to
life, which is Islam, moderation must be in everything in life.
There is no allowance for extreme or fanatical behavior.
Letting an exercise regime or a sport take over your life is
against the teachings of Islam that call for a middle path and a
balanced approach. Exercise and fitness should also not
involve unnecessary mixing of the sexes or wearing clothing
that exposes the parts of the body that should be kept hidden.
Islam encourages anything that promotes refreshing the mind
or revitalizing the body provided it does not lead to or involve
sin, cause harm, or hamper or delay religious obligations. The
traditions of Prophet Muhammad undoubtedly encourage
involvement in sporting activities as a way to promote a
healthy lifestyle and encourage brotherly love and family
In a narration, Imam Bukhari (a scholar who compiled
Prophetic Traditions) narrated that: “The Prophet passed by
some people from the tribe of Aslam while they were
competing in archery (in the market). He said to them:
‘Shoot children of Ishmael (Prophet) your father was a skilled
marksman. Shoot and I am with so and so.’ One of the two
teams therein stopped shooting. The Prophet asked: ‘Why
do not you shoot?’ They answered, ‘How could we shoot
while you are with them (the other team).’mHe then said:
Shoot and I am with you all.
In another tradition Prophet Muhammad’s beloved wife Aisha
mentions their love of games and sports. She said:
I raced with the Prophet and I beat him. Later when I had put
on some weight, we raced again and he won. Then he said:
‘This cancels that (referring to the previous race).’ (Al-Bukhari)
A true believer recognizes the wonder of the human body and
is grateful to the Creator. Islam’s holistic approach to health
covers all aspects of the mind, body and soul. A truly health
conscious person blends diet, nutrition and exercise with the
remembrance of God and an intention to fulfill all their