Being healthy has become one of the hottest topics in society. It seems like if you turn anywhere there is talk about getting into shape. But then again, why should we be fit? Making lifestyle changes require a lot of effort, and we need to make sure we’re doing them all for the right reasons.

However, it’s plainly stated that believers in Islam must take care of their spiritual, emotional and physical health; staying healthy is a core importance in Islam.

Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. said,

“Ask Allah for forgiveness and health, for after being granted certainty, one is given nothing better than health.” [Tirmidhi].

There are a number of ways in which we can stay healthy, and here are three of them!

1. Exercise

Exercise and fitness is important for a Muslim, as it allows us to not waste time and be idle.

There are many benefits of exercise and this includes an increase in muscle tone, improved flexibility, enhancement in endurance, strengthening the heart, and it also helps in weight loss.

Nevertheless, while it is essential, a Muslim must not do any exercise that harms him or herself; moderation is key and exercise should never be done at the expense of religious obligations as well as causing less time in spending with family.

2. Eat right

A balanced diet is important in Islam, as having balance in life allows a Muslim to function optimally.

 And He enforced the balance. That you exceed not the bounds; but observe the balance strictly; and fall not short thereof.(55:7–9)

Not only that, in the Al-Qur’an, there are various verses that warns against overeating and stresses the importance of avoiding wastage.

Eat and drink, but avoid excess. (20:81)

3. Do permissible sports

It is generally permissible for a Muslim to engage in sports, as it allows one to develop discipline, reduces stress and helps in improving relations with other people.

As reported by Tabarani, Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. said,

Any action without the remembrance of Allah is either a distraction or negligence; except for four acts: Walking from target to target [during archery training], training a horse, playing with one’s family, and learning to swim.

These four sports are part of the Sunnah of the prophet, but it is wrong to do other activites?

Of course not! As long as it is of benefit to the body, we can do other activities such as running, rock climbing and other permissible sports.

One of the more famous stories about sports during the time of the prophet centred around the sport of wrestling.

Az-Zubayr bin Bakkaar said in his book An-Nasab,

Rukaanah ibn ‘Abdi-Yazeed was the one who wrestled the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) in Makkah before he embraced Islaam. He was from the strongest and harshest of the people. He said, ‘If you can take me down, I will believe in you.’ So the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) wrestled him and took him down. He then proclaimed, ‘I testify that you are a magician!” Later he accepted Islaam.

In general, exercise and sports are encouraged, but Muslims must be careful that their exercise does not lead them to what is impermissible in Islam.

Staying healthy is important in Islam as it will allow us all to do more good deeds; let’s hope that in pursuing our health goals, it will not cause us to do slide back and turn against our faith. Ameen!