Word 24: The one who does not understand the effect of food on human behavior will eat the harmful food and those who eat harmful foods will do bad deeds.

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Word 24: The one who does not understand the effect of food on human behavior will eat the harmful food and those who eat harmful foods will do bad deeds.

We need two types of food, one for our bodies and one for our souls. The food for our souls is knowledge and the food for our bodies are material things that we eat. If we eat the best food, it cannot satisfy the hunger of our souls and if we gain so much knowledge it cannot make our body healthy. Sometimes people are full but still feel unwell because their souls are sick. Most people eat because they want to enjoy not because the food is healthy.  A verse of the Holy Quran says:

Let man look at his food” (Abasa:24).

Allameh Hassan Zadeh was eating slowly and looking at his food while eating for 15 min. He said, “Look at your food to see if it is allowed? Is it Halal (Lawful)? Learn from animals how they eat, they smell food before and eat as much as necessary”. Imam Sadiq (A) in regard to the above verse has said that it means, “humans need to see where they are getting the knowledge”. Meaning the food is not just what we eat daily, and Imam interpreted food as knowledge. Avicenna in his book “Ahd Nameh” (covenant) said, “I promise to myself that I do not drink wine, I do not read fiction stories”. He was a well-known physician and wise man (most of his books were used in medicine till recently in Europe Universities. He was very careful about what to eat for his body and spirit. All fiction stories are a lie and people’s illusions. Because he found that knowledge is the food for his soul, and he needs to be careful what his soul’s food is. Are we allowing everyone to enter our houses? Why should we allow others’ illusions and harmful knowledge to enter our souls? Our souls grow with knowledge, some people live like an animal and die like an animal without providing healthy foods for their souls. If we do not provide food for our bodies, it will not grow and be healthy, similarly, our souls need food or knowledge to grow healthy. A verse of the Holy Quran says:

Had the people of the towns believed and turned righteous, We would have opened for them the blessings of the heaven and the earth, but they rejected the truth, so We seized them by what they were doing” (Al-A’raf:96).

Had they observed the Torah and the Gospel, and what was revealed to them from their Lord, they would have consumed amply from above them, and from beneath their feet. Among them is a moderate community, but evil is what many of them are doing” (Al-Ma’ida:66).

One of the meanings of heavenly foods is divine knowledge. As we discussed, this knowledge will be united with us, and our souls grow. If we do good deeds and be righteous, God knows what divine knowledge we will receive. Similarly, our daily foods need to be proportional to our body’s nature. Some food changes the balance of our bodies. Genetics proved that with eating predators’ meat their attributes affect us. Allameh Hassanzadeh said, “O God, you allow people to eat calm animals like sheep and cow, but they are killing each other what will happen if you give permission to eat predators’ meat”. Still, we do not know why exactly some food is Halal or Haram. After 1400 years we found that there is a worm in the pig’s meat. Internal pig parasites, or pig worms, are one of the most common and costly parasites in pigs. They are found in the pig’s digestive tract, kidneys, liver, lungs, or bloodstream. Maybe many years later we find other bad things from pigs’ genes/attributes are affecting humans’ bodies.

We have many Shia narrations from the 14 Ma’sumin that say what and when to eat (what is Halal and Haram). For example, it is narrated from Imam (A) that your infant should not be fed by insane or crazy women and just recently scientists proved this is correct.

Food that we eat might change the balance of our body’s nature and we come angry and upset without any serious reason or it might affect our memorization. Here are some verses of the Holy Quran which says eat from pure and Halal food:

And We shaded you with clouds and sent down on you Al-Manna and the quail, (saying): “Eat of the good lawful things We have provided for you,” (but they rebelled). And they did not wrong Us but they wronged themselves” (Al-Baqara:57).

O mankind! Eat of that which is lawful and good on the earth and follow not the footsteps of Shaytan (Satan). Verily, he is to you an open enemy” (Al-Baqara:168).

Here are some recommendations from Allameh Hassanzadeh:

– He insisted that we do not eat sausages.

– We should eat foods that are produced naturally (organic).

– It is best to eat lamb meat, not calf or cow as much as you can.

– Rice is very strong (without draining)

– Chive (“Persian Tareh”) is good for the nerve system.

– Honey is the best and the Holy Quran mentioned, “And your Lord inspired the bee, saying: “Take you habitations in the mountains and in the trees and in what they (humans) erect” (68) “Then, eat of all fruits, and follow the routes that your Lord made easy (for you). There comes forth from their bellies, a drink of varying colors, in which there is a cure for men. There is indeed a sign in that for people who are thinking” (An-Nahl:68-69)

– Date is the best for the nature of human bodies. There is a narration that says, respect your aunt which is the date palm which is created from the leftover mud of Adam (A). We know date trees have male and female. Male and female date trees love each other and bend towards each other. If his head is to be cut, it will die. If date trees go underwater, they will die like humans.

So far, we discussed the effect of foods on our bodies. There are other things that we need to consider for our food selection, some of them are below:

O you who believe! Do not feed on usury, compounded over and over, and fear God, so that you may prosper” (Al-i-Imran:130).

And give orphans their properties, and do not substitute the bad for the good. And do not feed (consume) their properties by combining them with yours, for that would be a serious sin” (An-Nisa:2).

And do not eat from that over which the Name of God was not pronounced, for it is an abomination. The devils inspire their followers to argue with you; but if you obey them, you would be polytheists” (Al-An’am:121).

Eat of the good things We have provided for you, but do not be excessive therein, lest My wrath descends upon you. He upon whom My wrath descends has fallen” (Ta-ha:81).

How are the Haram foods (forbidden food in Islam like the foods that were bought by usury) affecting us? Here are some examples of Haram food in the Quran.

“Those who swallow usury will not rise, except as someone driven mad by Satan’s touch. That is because they say, “Commerce is like usury.” But God has permitted commerce and has forbidden usury. Whoever, on receiving advice from his Lord, refrains, may keep his past earnings, and his case rests with God. But whoever resumes—these are the dwellers of the Fire, wherein they will abide forever”(Al-Baqara:275).

“Those who eat the wealth of orphans illicitly consume only fire into their bellies, and they will roast in a Blaze” (An-Nisa:10).

Our spirit is maturing by our bodies, for example, we go to school and learn new things, or worship God and perform good deeds. These are causing the perfection of our souls. These powers to perform actions are from foods, so with the power generated by Haram foods, we would not be able to do good deeds. In principle, powers from forbidden foods (Haram) should be used for bad actions.  

In past, there were just a few people who were doing usury in our city (the practice of lending money at some interest rate at a specific time), but these days so many people are doing that. There was a teacher who was a good man, but he obtained money based on usury only once. Later that night he became drunk and beat his dad very badly. This is the effect of forbidden money. That is the reason Allameh Hassanzadeh said whoever eats Haram foods, the power will be used for bad deeds. There was a master that wanted to teach the above subject to one of his new students that gained sinful money. He asked, “Do you have money?” The student replied, “Yes”. The master said to the student, “Tomorrow, early in the morning, go to the main square of the city and give your money to the first person that you see”. He went to the main square of the city and saw a blind poor old man is coming. He went and gave money to the blind poor old man. He thanked God that his money was given to a deserving person. On the way back, the student was thinking that his master was wrong because his money was spent in a good way. Later that night, the student saw some people on a street. He noticed the blind poor old man was drunk among them. The old drunk man was saying to his friends with laughter that in the morning, a guy gave me money, so I went to a pub and use all of it for drinking. The sad student went to his master’s house and described what happened. The mater gave him some money and order him to do the same thing tomorrow as he did today. In the morning, the student went to the main square of the city. The first person he saw was a very handsome man with a nice suit and a back bag. He was not sure what to do, because he saw what the blind poor man did with his money yesterday. Finally, he gave his master’s money to the handsome man and followed him with curiosity. He saw that the handsome man brought something out of his bag and threw it in the garbage disposal. He went forward and asked the man, “What was that?” The man replied, “I am a respectful worker who lost my job and did not have any money to buy food for my family. I saw a dead chicken on the street, and I put it in my bag for eating that with my family. After you gave me the money, I decided to throw away the dead chicken”. So, as Allameh said, the one who does not understand the effect of food on human behavior will eat the bad thing and those who eat bad things will do bad deeds.

A great mystic heard from his students that there is a person who worships God unbelievably. He went to the person’s house and said, “Would you mind I become your guest for three days?” The person replied, “Yes, sure”. The mystic noticed that the person was praying and worshipping God very hard and deeply. The mystic also noticed that the person’s job was a forbidden job in religion. After three days, the mystic invited the worshipper to be the mystic’s guest for 40 days. The person went to the mystic’s house, but he was not able to pray and worship God as before. He complained to the mystic what have you done with me such that I cannot do worship as before. The mystic replied, your money was obtained by a forbidden job and the state of your worship was satanic and that is the reason you cannot do the same worship with my foods. Allameh Hassanzadeh is teaching us instructions on how to become a perfect human in his 100 words (we’re in the 24th word).

When I was very young and just started my journey and became Allameh Hassan Zadeh’s student, I was thinking that the best way to defeat our bad attributes is not to eat enough food. Once I was eating in a place with Allameh Hassanzadeh. He said why do you eat very little? You should eat enough food as your healthy body is necessary for your journey towards God and perfection. Of course, you need to eat food to get healthy, not for joy. The verse of the Holy Quran says, “Eat and drink, but do not be excessive. God does not love the excessive” (Al-A’raf:31). It is also important that we should not eat everyone else’s food. If we find that he gains his money from a forbidden job, we should not eat their food.

Similarly, we should be careful where we obtain our knowledge because it will be our soul’s food. A verse of the Quran says, “They will have no food except (Zari’) thorns. (6) That neither nourishes nor satisfies hunger” (Al-Ghashiya:6-7). “Zari’” in Arabic is thorns that look like a plant that camels eat. This word is rooted in “ZaRaA” meaning similar. The holy verse says that “they will have no food except similar”. It literally means the people of hell gained pieces of knowledge (similar to true knowledge) that were not useful for their souls. There are some pieces of knowledge that are not useful for souls. Prophet Muhammad (S) enter a mosque and saw people are gathering around a person. They said this person is a very well-known scholar who knows the descent of people. The Prophet (S) said, knowing or not knowing, this knowledge is not useful for you. The Prophet continued, the Knowledge for the soul is 1- Divine truths and beliefs (Monotheism, Prophecy, Resurrection, Guardianship, Justice, Self-Knowledge), 2- Religion knowledge (How to worship and be a righteous servant of God) 3- Conduct of Prophets and guardians of God (How prophets live, talk, act, and so on – Read the stories of prophets mentioned in the Quran to learn from them).

Knowledge is like the seed that we plant underground (worldly life) and will harvest in the Hereafter. Some knowledge is like a fruit seed that grows very fast with delicious fruits, some knowledge is like fruit seed that will take a long time to grow but will be very strong and tall.

And do not incline towards those who do wrong, or the Fire may touch you, and you will have no protectors besides God, and you will not be saved” (Hud:113)

Muhammad Mahdi Me’marian

All praise is to God to the extent that He deserves it.

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