Updated: Nov 26, 2019
Let me tell you a secret.
Physical health is a precious gift from God, it must be taken care of.
In the previous post, we talked about diet and the importance of not only eating halal but also eating healthy. I think its important to take a step back, before we address the next step in being your best you, and reflect upon the following.
Allah says, "And if you should count the favors of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful." [al-Nahl 16:18]
Imam al-Ghazali states that "blessings are everything which is considered good, enjoyable, and a source of happiness along with what it is that we desire and are drawn toward. But true blessing is that which is found in the Hereafter. Whatever is referred to as a blessing in this life is done so allegorically. The real blessings are the things that assist and lead us to happiness in the next lift."
So, basically the things we have been blessed with in this life are only as good as they assist us to draw nearer to gaining Allāh’s favor.
Allah says. "And whatever you have of favor - it is from Allah." [Al-Nahl 16:53]
In reference to this verse, Imam al-Qurtubi points out 3 major blessings; physical health, bountiful provision, and offspring. Health is a principle asset of great value. If you think about, you will conclude that health is fundamental in obtaining both provision and offspring. If you do not have good health, your basic ability to function is all but lost and your performance thus suffers greatly. You cannot be your best you!
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, "There are two blessings in which many people squander. (They are) health and free time". [al-Bukhari]
Ibn al-Jawzy explains what this means saying, that a person could be healthy but due to pursuits of this life, they are not available to worship Allah or they could be available to worship Allah but are not healthy enough to do so. The squandering occurs when both health and time are available but the person is too lazy to strive for greatness.
Essentially the law of scarcity, which is typically used to address economics, also applies to good health! Good health is not limitless.
"Allah is the one who created you from weakness, then made after weakness strength, then made after strength weakness and white hair. He creates what He wills, and He is the Knowing, the Competent." [al-Rum 30:54]
As individuals and a community at large we need to understand the value of health and embrace its fleeting nature. Not only are we urged to take advantage of it but we should also be looking into means which will slow its decline.
Our prophet was described as a physically fit and strong man. He had broad shoulders, strong arms, and his stomach was flat, it did not protrude beyond his chest.
He said "The stronger believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, although both are good…” [Muslim & Ibn Majah]
His level of fitness is one of the key elements to why he was so capable and able to participate in the affairs of the state up until his last days. He helped dig ditches, build walls, carry supplies, and even fight in battles. He was healthy enough to meet the physical challenges he faced in life. A part of why he was so healthy is because he was so active.
Exercise is an integral component to healthy living. In Zad al-Ma'ad Ibn al-Qayyim says that "being active is one of the greatest means of disease prevention. It has a positive impact on internal organs and helps rid the body of waste, not allowing it to build over time like sediment. It conditions the body to be agile and active as well as prime it to receive nutrients. It strengthens bones, nerves, and ligaments. It prevents physical ailments as well as emotional disorders if done in moderation."
Not only was our Prophet fit and physically strong due to the nature of living and the arduous tasks he had to complete in his line of work but he also made time for exercise. He wrestled, raced horses, ran, practiced archery, and power-walked. He also encouraged other to do the same as well as swimming.
I’m not suggesting that everyone get out there and go for the gold in the Olympics but one thing is for sure, “your body has a right over you” and keeping it in shape and fit is a part of those rights. You will feel better physically, emotionally, and will have the energy to be your best you.