He also 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 (1381), Ibn Maajah (3349); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah (2265).The first time was Sunday, at the muslimmatters.org blog, and it was mentioned describing that it was a Sunnah of Muhammad (saaws) as well as his intructions to his companions, for the believer to not eat too much food, and that doing so was harmful.
It was strong enough the first time to make me seriously consider starting my own weight-loss blog... which I kind of don't want to do since I already have a blog. Plus, even though I have been trying to improve my health and lose weight (by eating better and exercising more) for a couple weeks now, it's still, for me, a private matter between me and my "coach." So maybe after more time has passed I will start including my updates on my blog as well.
The second time was on Sunday night, in a lecture on diseases of the heart delivered by Sheikh Muhammad Salah, from Huda TV--he was visiting town this weekend and gave a short talk at my masjid, and he mentioned this same hadith as well. He gave it in the context that eating too much was a disease of the heart. He also offered a way of sitting that makes it impossible to fill your stomach (anatomically) and said that the Prophet (saaws) used to sit that way to eat. I'd never heard that before, but it was interesting, and several people there apparently knew that way of sitting already.
The third time was Monday night, when I was listening to a live Bayyinah Tajweed class on the phone, taught by Br. Wisam Sharieff. He mentioned it while talking about students of knowledge, saying that eating a heavy meal and filling the stomach requires more blood to be devoted to digestion, making the mind work slower, so it would be better for students of knowledge especially to eat very little.
So, subhanallah, that was the message that seemed to be driven home to me over the last couple days--the importance of not eating too much food! So I figure the responsibility is now on me to apply it in my life. I know it's bad--but you know, when you're used to eating a lot of food, it almost seems to go unnoticed the immediate bad effects, until it builds up over time, leaving a person with high blood pressure, excess fat, high cholesterol and other ills making it more difficult for the body to function properly. If you've been eating little for a longer time--I had been eating several small "meals" throughout the day for about a week and a half before I splurged a bit while eating out at an Indian restaraunt with a buffet--and I really felt it afterwards, that I had just eaten too much. It made me uncomfortable for the rest of the night--and before you think maybe the food just didn't agree with me, that wasn't the problem. It was just too much.
So anyway, now there are three good and different deen-related reasons to eat less. First, that it's a sunnah, second that eating too much is a disease of the heart, and third that it is not befitting a student of knowledge. So this is a reminder to myself first of all, and for anyone else interested, to not fill the stomach.