Voices, Wellness

Guest Post: Self-Care the Sunnah Way

Bismillah al-Rahman al-Raheem

Today I am super excited to be having my awesome sister Chelsea on for our very first guest post! I have been getting to know Chelsea over the past couple of months (though I blog-stalked her long before that!) and I think she has a wonderful writing style as well as some very important information to share.

Chelsea is a blogger, certified personal trainer and nutritionist specializing in Healthy Eating for Weight Loss. She is passionate about healthy, natural living and loves intertwining faith and wellness. She wishes to inspire other women to live more natural and productive lives for the sake of Allah (swt). You can find more of her work on her blog at wellnessmuslimah.com.

Cheslsea is writing today about the sunnah of taking care of yourself, and some ways that you can implement that sunnah in your own life; I hope it will be as beneficial to you as it was for me! So, have a read through her post, and then get started!

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Self-care is a crucial aspect of the Islamic faith. It is incumbent upon every Muslim to care for him or herself as a way of showing gratitude for the blessing of health and wellbeing that Allah (swt) has bestowed upon them.

It is narrated in an authentic hadith that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your illness, your riches before your poverty, your free time before your work, and your life before your death.” [Shu’ab al-Iman]

How many times do we fill our bodies with food without thinking of its impact on our bodies? How many nights do we spend engrossed in our phones and social media instead of filling our minds with knowledge and Qur’an?

It’s so important to set yourself up for success, both in this world and in the next. By taking care of yourself and maintaining your health you will be better able to worship Allah (swt).

The best way to engage in self-care is to follow the practices of Rasulullah (pbuh). He was the best of mankind and he didn’t just care for those around him, but he took great care of himself as well.

Here are some tips on how you can engage in self-care the Sunnah way!

Choose Nutrient Dense Foods

Eating a nutritious diet has so many amazing benefits for your health and wellbeing. The Prophet (pbuh) ate a diet filled with incredibly healthy and nutritious foods that are only now starting to catch the attention of doctors and scientists.

Here are some amazing “Sunnah superfoods” to include in your diet:

  • Raw honey
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Cucumbers
  • Watermelon
  • Yogurt
  • Barley

These foods mentioned and eaten by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) all contain essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients and antioxidants important to human health. Try including as many of these Sunnah foods into your diet as possible.

Eat in Moderation

It’s not only important to pay attention to the types of foods you eat, but it’s important to eat the right amount. Living in a food abundant society we have a tendency to overeat, which has led to a widespread problem of obesity and metabolic syndrome.

In very famous and widely cited hadith, the Prophet (pbuh) said, “No human ever filled a vessel worse than the stomach. Sufficient for any son of Adam are a few morsels to keep his back straight. But if he must fill it, then one third for his food, one third for his drink and one third for his breath.” [At-Tirmidhi]

This 1/3 rule is a great rule to live by. Eat until you are just satisfied, but try not to eat until your fill. You definitely shouldn’t feel uncomfortable after you finish a meal.

Here are a few simply tips for eating less:

  • Eat slowly
  • Eat mindfully by paying attention to your food and sitting down
  • Drink water before, during, and after your meals
  • Use smaller plates
  • Don’t over fill your plate
  • Start off with a light appetizer like soup or a salad

Eating in moderation is good for both health and spirituality. It helps to prevent obesity and extravagance.

Give Kindness and Charity

What? Isn’t this article supposed to be about self-care? Yes that’s right! Giving kindness and charity to others is a great way to maintain happiness, iman (faith), and improve your relationship with Allah (swt).

In fact, studies show that giving actually has incredible health benefits, including higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction.

Remember, charity in Islam is not limited to giving money. It also includes making dhikr (remembrance of Allah), prayers, and even something as simple as smiling at others.

One of the best ways to care for yourself is to care for those around you.

Get Active

Staying active and physically fit is an often overlooked aspect of Islam. If we take a moment to think about it, however, we’ll notice that many of the pillars of Islam include being physically able.

Prayer involves movement of the body. Good physical health is also required to perform hajj and even to fast.

Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, “Teach your children swimming, archery and horse riding.” [Sahih Muslim]

Exercise has tremendous benefits on the mind and body. Some of those include:

  • Controlling weight
  • Improving mood
  • Aiding in a healthy heart
  • Preventing diabetes and other diseases
  • Boosting energy levels
  • Promoting better sleep at night

Keeping physically fit is an essential aspect of self-care.

Balance Faith with Fun

While it’s important for a Muslim to be in a constant state of remembering Allah (swt), we are allowed to enjoy the blessings of this duniya (world). You don’t have to spend every ounce of free time in prayer or reading the Qur’an. You should certainly spend most of your time doing such things that will bring you knowledge, but it’s also important to find a good balance of faith and fun.

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “The dearest of prayer to Allah is the prayer of Dawood (ra). He used to sleep for half the night, get up and pray for one third of it, and sleep for one sixth of it, and he used to fast one day and not the next.”

Islam is a religion of moderation throughout. While we should strive to be as pious and righteous as possible, Islam doesn’t allow one to go over a certain limit. It is not allowed to fast more than a certain number of days in a row, or to pray without sleeping.

Engage in extra acts of worship, yes. But, set time aside to do the things you love while being grateful to Allah (swt) for the beautiful things in life that we are able to enjoy.

Islam is a beautiful religion that teaches us about caring for ourselves. Maintaining our health and wellbeing is in fact an act of worship in itself. It shows gratitude for the blessings that we have. Add some of these Sunnah practices into your daily routine and be on your way to caring for yourself physically, mentally and spiritually!


5 thoughts on “Guest Post: Self-Care the Sunnah Way”

  1. A couple morsels of food for thought (har har):

    Mentioning watermelon and dates brings to mind an authentic hadīth related by my Shaykh about an occasion when Prophet ﷺ was eating from one with his right, and from the other with the left.

    Also, about the hadīth in Tirmidhī which gives us the “1/3 rule,” as the sister puts it: my Shaykh pointed something out about this one as well. People tend to focus on the “1/3” bit as the “Sunnah,” without paying attention to the bit right before it (about the detestability of filling one’s stomach).

    Just my 2p 😄


    1. Thank you for the comment, as always! I know what you are saying about the 1/3 rule being if you MUST fill your stomach, but I think it is hard enough for people these days to cut down to thirds, let alone completely avoid filling their stomach. And I think people these days would hardly regard having a stomach 1/3 full of air as having a “full” stomach…especially here in Algeria! haha 🙂 But I get your meaning, and always appreciate the insight!

      Liked by 1 person

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