Food of Body and Food of Mind; Which is More Important?

Imam Ali (the first Imam of Shia Muslims):

“I am amazed at the people who turn on the light to see what they eat when they want to dine in the dark, but do not care about food for their mind. They do not care to illuminate their intellect with the light of knowledge to be safe from making mistakes out of ignorance and wrong beliefs.”
(Safinah al-Bihar, v.2, p.84)


Watch the Foods You Eat

The human need for food is undeniable but is he/she allowed to eat whatever wants? The answer is no. For instance sometimes you have a food that is not yours. I mean that is owned by another person and you do not have permission from his/her to eat. In Islam, this is known as the Ḥarām (forbidden) food and Islam has placed a special emphasis on avoiding it. You can read very bad consequences of eating forbidden meals in following tradition. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him and His Progeny) has said: “When a morsel of what is forbidden enters the stomach of a person, every angel in the heavens and on the earth curses him. As long as the morsel is in his body, God will not look upon him. Whoever eats a morsel of what is forbidden has earned God’s wrath. If he repents, God will turn to him in forgiveness, and if he dies (without repentance) then he is more deserving of the Fire.” (Makarim al-Akhlaq, p.150)


Eating forbidden meals even can affect a person’s prayer. In another tradition has said: “The prayers of one who eats a morsel of what is forbidden will not be accepted for forty nights and his calls and supplications will not be answered for forty days. Flesh grown from forbidden food deserves to be burnt in the Fire.” (Safinah al-Bihar, v.1, p.24)

Against Ḥarām, there is Ḥalāl (permissible) food that has very good consequences. The Prophet said: “God will illuminate the heart of one who eats what is lawful for forty days, and will make wisdom flow from his heart to his tongue.” (Mahajjah al-Bayda, v.3, p.204)

So, watch the foods you eat.


Why Some Foods are Allowed and Some are forbidden?

In Islam, there are special rules for eating and drinking. You are not allowed to eat and drink everything.  Some foods and drinks are lawful and some are unlawful. The division of the lawful and unlawful is not unreasonable. Maybe we do not know the reason and wisdom behind it but because this command has been issued from God we accept it. We should remember that wisdom is issued from wise God. It is noticeable to say that the sacred religion of Islam concerned about the good and bad physical and psychological effects of what we eat and drink.

Imam Sadiq (the sixth Imam of Muslims) has said: “The Almighty God only allowed some things for us to eat and drink due to their benefit and good effects on us, and only forbade us some things due to their harmfulness and ill effects.” (Mustadrak al-Wasa’il, v.3, p.71)


For instance, drinking blood is forbidden in Islam because it makes one bad-tempered and ruthless.
Imam Sadiq said:
“Drinking blood will make you bad-tempered and ruthless. It will reduce your kindness and mercy so much that you might even kill your own son or father.” (Ibid)

However, food has both good and bad physical and psychological effects on us. Research laboratories are well-equipped to measure the chemical composition of foodstuff and how they affect our body.

The Container of Food in Body

All men need food and without food we cannot survive. There is no exception in this regard and even Prophets need food. The Holy Qur’an rejects some people that thought the Prophets did not need to eat food: “Nor did We give them bodies that ate no food, nor were they exempt from death.” (21:8)
And our stomach is the container of food in our body. We fill it with foods and drinks. So, there is a question. Have you ever thought about eating dos and don’ts?


Here you can read the words of Imam in this regard:

“And the right of your stomach is that you make it not into a container for a little of that which is unlawful to you or a lot of it. You should be determined to eat what is lawful and not exceed the bounds of strengthening to the extent of belittling your stomach to the point that you lose your manliness. And you should restrain it whenever you are extremely hungry or thirsty, since getting really full will cause indigestion, sluggishness, indolence, and it will hinder you from nobility and any good deeds. And drinking too much will make you feel drunk, light-headed, ignorant, and take away your manliness.” (The Treatise on Rights, right n.8)

Wise Man, Wisely View

Have you ever thought of a life without eyes? The vision and eye are so important that God has mentioned in His book. He has said in Holy Quran: “Have We not made for him/her a pair of eyes?” (90:8)

And the second question: what is the proper use of the eye? What are the do’s and don’ts of looking?
It is nice to give an example for recommended looking in Islam.
The Qur’an invites man to look to is to consider what he eats. Holy Quran has said:
“Then let man look at his food, (and how We provide it)” (80:24)

Due to if we do not eat we will die soon, the food can be considered closest thing to man that exists outside our body. Looking at the various foods causes to realize to God’s power especially those derived from plants and trees.


All are fed with the same soil and water but the fruits are different. Some are sweet like cherry and some are sour like barberry. Some are juicy like melon and some are not like almonds. Some are orange like Carrots and some are yellow like banana. Some fruits are with high pH level like tangerine and some are with low pH level like squash and etc.

However, looking wisely has a very important role in enhancing human cognition. Let’s use the eyes properly and thank God.