Shaytan (the accursed devil) tries in every way to deter us from the Straight Path. If we set up time to memorize Quran, he comes to us and says, “Maybe you should do this other (lesser noble) thing” and we get so distracted that the time to memorize runs out. Sometimes in order to stir enmity between people he causes negative thoughts and suspicions to arise regarding others. And the list goes on and on. In Surah A’raf Allah (swt) describes his determination: “[Iblis (the devil) said] Then I will come to them from before them and behind them, from their right and from their left, and You will not find most of them as thankful ones (i.e. they will not be dutiful to You).” (Quran, Surah A’raf, 17)
One of the subtle ways he can “trick” you is through the use of food; especially food that is unhealthy for you such as sugary sweets or fried treats. (Wow that rhymes :)) Now I know what you may be thinking: “But these foods are halal so how can he use that?” Yes, these foods are halal but the overindulgence of them leads you to being overweight which makes it harder for you to do things such as pray the 5 prayers or to get up for tahajjud prayer amongst others. In Surah Nazi’at, Allah describes the rain that come down and produces a variety of food and then after describing them, He says “To be a provision for you and your cattle.” The word Mata’a that is used in the Surah means something you use but do not enjoy (according to the Bayyinnah tafseer podcasts). The Arabs use that word for the sponge you use to wash dishes with, it is definitely something useful but not necessarily enjoyable.
Food is something useful and we do often enjoy it but its when that enjoyment is so excessive, that it leads you to be unhealthy and you prefer to indulge in it more than accomplish other goals that better your akhirah, is when that food is being used to distract you from your true purpose in life. Hence it is being used to trap you into a cycle which leads to low self confidence in achieving positive things in this life and the next.
Shaytan wants that you be in despair and wants that you are trapped in this cycle of despair. Allah (swt), however, wants more for you. He (swt) wants you to become healthy, to achieve higher goals such as praying tahajjud, memorizing Quran, getting married, having confidence in your deen (religion) and in yourself!
Here are some tips that are helpful in loosing the weight and in becoming more active thereby allowing you to attain dunya and akhira goals. Changing yourself whether physically or your inner character first involves changing how you think about things. You have to change how you think about food and other things.
Here is what I mean:
1. Food was created to sustain you and nourish you NOT to help you through your emotional ups and downs, that is what the Quran is for!
2. What Allah (swt) created (i.e fruits and vegetables) is far better for you than what man creates (i.e. cupcakes, cakes, pakoras).
3. Everything in this life requires discipline; we are never free. If you are being tested in disciplining yourself with food, then use patience and Allah will reward you inshaAllah.
Now here are some tips to loose the weight.
1. Make Du’a (supplicaton). Allah loves to be asked and He (swt) is capable of giving us anything we ask for so what are you waiting for?
2. Sincere intention–Make your intention for the akhirah instead of the dunya when starting this change. So instead of saying I’m going to become healthy so I can look good, make it I am going to become healthy so I can stand up longer for prayer so I can concentrate better on memorizing the Quran so I can feel good about my body and become more confident to keep good relationships with family and friends.
3. Eat slowly. How long does it take you to eat a meal? Next time double the time it takes you to eat it. So for example, if you are a mom and you get interrupted in your meal with your baby who needs to breastfeed, don’t rush through the meal and try to eat it all in a couple of bites. Have patience. The break is good for you. Take a break. Feed the baby for 10 minutes then return to the meal. If you are a student, read a page of your book for class before taking the next bite. Anything that will make you concentrate on something besides quickly devouring the meal in front of you. Someone told me that if you really like food, you don’t want it to finish so instead of getting seconds spend time on slowly devouring your first plate. I guarantee that you will not want that second plate!
5. Eat with your family. Don’t eat alone. This ensures you will not eat too much and will eat slowly while talking to them.
6. Get up early, pray fajr, read Quran and go exercise. Just add exercise in to your day wherever you can fit it.
8. Don’t be afraid to get a personal trainer to help you. Sometimes we need a live, non-relative or friend to push us to do that extra step. Don’t be afraid to get one.
9. Renew your intention often!
Feel free to customize this list to fit your preferences, for what works for some doesn’t always work for all. Please share with us any tips that help you not indulge in food and stay healthy.