Relationship between Food and its Consumer | Ibn al-Qayyim

The Relationship between the Nature of food and the Nature of one who consumes it

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allāh have mercy on him) said:

“The one who eats a particular food resembles it in its temperament and actions. 

And this is just as Allāh’s Ḥikmah (wisdom) -to Him Belongs all praise- is found in His creation, His Ḥikmah is also in His legislation and command .

Wherein He has forbidden His slaves (from consuming) unclean foods because if they consume them, it will become a part of them and those portions will (proportionately) begin to resemble what they eat. 

Because the one who consumes (a thing), resembles whatever he consumes, rather it essentially becomes a part of him.

Due to this, the humankind is more balanced in his disposition[1] compared to other animals because he is more balanced in what he eats.

So eating blood and the flesh of carnivorous wild animals makes the one one who eats it, inherit a wild, devilish nature and makes him aggressive towards other people, so the sharī’ah wisely forbids eating such foods except when there is an overwhelming reason to do so, such as one in a state of dharūrah (absolute necessity as per the legislation). 

For this reason, when the Christians ate pork[2], they inherited by it a kind of harshness and cruelty.

Similarly, those who ate the flesh of carnivores and dogs, the nature of these animals appeared in them.[3] 

Since, the devilish attitude is an essential attribute of fanged carnivores, the sharī’ah forbade it. 

And since camels may display such a devilish nature, it commands those who eat camel meat to counteract it with wudū’ (ablution).[4]

Since a donkey-like nature is an essential attribute of donkeys, the Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) forbade us from consuming the flesh of domesticated donkeys.[5] 

Since blood is the vehicle of the Shayṭān through which he travels, Allāh has absolutely forbidden us to consume blood.[6]

Whoever ponders over the wisdom of Allāh in His creation and His commandments, and pays attention to both, will have opened an important door to the knowledge of Allāh and His Names and Attributes.[7]”

[At-Tibyān fī Aqsām al-Qur’ān by Ibn al-Qayyim, 1/236]

Translated by Abu Aasiya Muzaffar bin Hussain -one in need of Allah’s pardon-


Translator’s Footnotes:

  1. As Allāh -subḥānahu wa taʿāla- says,

﴿ وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ وَحَمَلْنَاهُمْ فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ وَرَزَقْنَاهُم مِّنَ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَفَضَّلْنَاهُمْ عَلَىٰ كَثِيرٍ مِّمَّنْ خَلَقْنَا تَفْضِيلًا – 17:70 ﴾

And indeed We have honoured the Children of Adam, and We have carried them on land and sea, and have provided them with At-Taiyibat (lawful good things), and have preferred them above many of those whom We have created with a marked preference.

Surah al-Isra 17:70

2. Allāh -subḥānahu wa taʿāla- mentions in the Qur’ān,

﴿ إِنَّمَا حَرَّمَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةَ وَالدَّمَ وَلَحْمَ الْخِنزِيرِ وَمَا أُهِلَّ لِغَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِهِ ۖ فَمَنِ اضْطُرَّ غَيْرَ بَاغٍ وَلَا عَادٍ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ ﴾

He has forbidden you only Al-Maytatah (meat of a dead animal), blood, the flesh of swine, and any animal which is slaughtered as a sacrifice for others than Allah (or has been slaughtered for idols etc. or on which Allāh’s Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering).

Surah an-Nahl 16:115

3. According to a Ḥadīth narrated by Abu Tha’labah al-Khashani (may Allāh be pleased with him),

“The Messenger of Allāh (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) forbade the eating of every carnivorous animal that has fangs.

Agreed upon

4. Ḥadīth of Jābir (may Allāh be pleased with him),

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was asked, Should I do wudū’ after eating camel meat? He said, “Yes”. The person said: Should I do wudū’ after eating mutton? He said, “If you wish”.

Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 360

5. Jābir ibn ‘Abd-Allāh (may Allāh be pleased with him) said:

“On the day of Khaybar, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) forbade the meat of domesticated donkeys, but he granted us a concession allowing us to eat the meat of horses.” 

Ṣaḥīḥ Al-Bukhāri 5520

6. Anas ibn Mālik reported: The Messenger of Allāh, peace and blessings be upon him, said,

“Verily, Satan flows through the human being like the flowing of blood.”

Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2174

7. As it comes in the Qur’an,

﴿ وَاللَّهُ خَلَقَ كُلَّ دَابَّةٍ مِّن مَّاءٍ ۖ فَمِنْهُم مَّن يَمْشِي عَلَىٰ بَطْنِهِ وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَمْشِي عَلَىٰ رِجْلَيْنِ وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَمْشِي عَلَىٰ أَرْبَعٍ ۚ يَخْلُقُ اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاءُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ ﴾

Allah has created every moving (living) creature from water. Of them there are some that creep on their bellies, some that walk on two legs, and some that walk on four. Allah creates what He wills. Verily! Allah is Able to do all things.

Surah an-Nur 24:45

قال ابن القيم رحمه الله :

الغاذي شبيه بالمغتذى في طبعه وفعله وهذا كما أن حكمة الله سبحانه في خلقه فيه جرت حكمته في شرعه وأمره حيث حرم الأغذية الخبيثة على عباده لأنهم إذا اغتذوا بها صارت جزءا منهم فصارت أجزاؤهم مشابهة لأغذيتهم إذ الغاذي شبيه بالمغتذي بل يستحيل إلى جوهره فلهذا كان نوع الإنسان أعدل أنواع الحيوان مزاجا لاعتدال غذائه وكان الاغتذاء بالدم ولحوم السباع يورث المغتذى بها قوة شيطانية سبعية عادية على الناس فمن محاسن الشريعة تحريم هذه الأغذية وأشباهها إلا إذا عارضها مصلحة أرجح منا كحال الضرورة ولهذا لما أكلت النصارى لحوم الخنازير أورثها نوعا من الغلظة والقسوة وكذلك من أكل لحوم السباع والكلاب صار فيه قوتها ولما كانت القوة الشيطانية عارضة ثابتة لازمة لذوات الأنياب من السباع حرمها الشارع ولما كانت القوة الشيطانية عارضة في الإبل أمر بكسرها بالوضوء لمن أكل منها ولما كانت الطبيعة الحمارية لازمة للحمار حرم رسول الله  صلى الله عليه وسلم  لحوم الحمر الأهلية ولما كان الدم مركب الشيطان ومجراه حرمه الله تعالى تحريما لازما    

فمن تأمل حكمة الله سبحانه في خلقه وأمره وطبق بين هذا وهذا فتحا له بابا عظيما من معرفة الله تعالى واسمائه وصفاته

المصدر: التبيان في أقسام القرآن لابن القيم 1/236