A Believer Eats and Drinks Little

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“A believer eats with one stomach, whereas an unbeliever eats with seven stomachs.” 1 Similarly, there is another narration that states: “A believer drinks with one stomach, whereas an unbeliever drinks with seven stomachs.”2

A Believer Eats Little

A believer’s understanding of God and humanity transforms their entire life. They have ideals and goals. The Creator of the universe has sent humans to this world as a place of trial, and once their journey here ends, He will call them to the afterlife, their true home (the eternal abode). Therefore, a believer must prioritize correctly. From this perspective, we can say, “A true believer is not someone who is overwhelmed by their own stomach.”

The phrase “seven stomachs” mentioned in the hadith is a metaphor for excess. A person who does not acknowledge God has an inner void, and as a result, they almost worship their own desires and cravings. This is because they indulge in these desires to forget, even for a moment, the distress of purposelessness and nonexistence. A believer, however, is different. They are a person with complete faith, clear goals, and ideals.

There are many hadiths in which excessive eating is condemned. In one of them, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “No man fills a vessel worse than his stomach. A few morsels that keep his back straight are sufficient for him. If he must eat more, then he should fill a third of his stomach with food, a third with drink, and leave a third for breathing.” 3

Indeed, food is merely a means to help the believer on their journey toward their goals. A believer does not live to eat and drink; they eat and drink just enough to live.

A believer values means only to the extent that they serve their purpose and continues on their path accordingly. Additionally, those who control their stomachs can more easily control their tongues and their desires. In other words, eating less can protect a person from committing various sins. Furthermore, by doing so, they live a more productive and healthy life and make better use of their time.

Some may argue that eating less harms the body, but in Islam, many of the paths to spiritual development pass through eating less. It is obligatory to consume enough to meet the body’s basic needs and keep oneself upright. However, it is never right to fill the stomach to the brim.

Seeing the beauty of God’s blessings, consuming the foods that God has bestowed as cures for various illnesses in moderation, seeking lawful sustenance to thank and feel grateful to God—all these are permissible as long as one does not waste. The key is not to take eating and drinking to the point of “living to eat,” to avoid wastefulness and excess. In this matter, it is essential to remember that Islam is a religion of balance. The measure is to eat just enough.

The respected Ibn Bujair narrated: One day, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was very hungry and, finding nothing to eat, took a stone and tied it to his stomach. Then he said: “Take heed! There are many souls who indulge in food and luxury in this world, but on the Day of Judgment, they will be hungry and naked. Listen carefully! Many who think they are doing good to their souls are actually betraying them. Hear this well! Many who humble their own souls are, in fact, doing them good.” 4

It is also important to heed the words of the respected Aisha, who was a close witness to the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). She said, “After the Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) death, the first calamity to befall this ummah was satiety. When the Muslims’ stomachs became full and their bodies became fat, their hearts weakened and their desires became unruly.”

Selçuk Camcı

Selçuk Camcı graduated from the Faculty of Theology in 1992. He completed his master’s degree in the Department of Hadith and is a doctoral student in Islamic Law. Camcı has worked as an editor for religious publications, particularly for Yeni Ümit magazine. He received chaplaincy training in the United States.


1.Bukhari, Foods, 12; Muslim, Drinks, 186; Muwatta, Characteristics of the Prophet, 10; Tirmidhi, Foods, 20.

2.Tirmidhi, Foods, 20

3.Tirmidhi, Asceticism, 47; Ibn Majah, Foods, 50

4.Munziri, Encouragement and Discouragement, 3/422.

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