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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 56

Obesity control: Islamic perspective

Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Khobar, Saudi Arabia

Date of Web Publication29-Dec-2017

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Abdullah S Aljoudi
Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Khobar
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjo.sjo_22_17

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How to cite this article:
Aljoudi AS. Obesity control: Islamic perspective. Saudi J Obesity 2017;5:56

How to cite this URL:
Aljoudi AS. Obesity control: Islamic perspective. Saudi J Obesity [serial online] 2017 [cited 2023 Mar 27];5:56. Available from:

Obesity is a global public health problem and Saudi Arabia is no exception.[1] It is reported that 28.7% of the Saudis are obese.[2] In 2014, the Saudi Journal of Obesity published an article titled “Towards an integrated national obesity control program in Saudi Arabia,” suggesting a comprehensive approach to control obesity.[3] Among that was collaboration with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs to allow health professionals to give short lectures in masjids (mosques) about obesity. Using masjids and Imams to reach the public and promote health is a known approach in the western world.[4] But that is not the only contribution the Ministry of Islamic Affairs can provide. In fact, Imams can use the Islamic advises related to balanced eating, sleeping, and physical activity habits to promote a healthy life and contribute to the efforts directed toward controlling obesity.

In the Quran, Allah says: ([E]at and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess). This verse clearly instructs the Muslims not to overeat. The prophet peace be upon him (PBUH) said: “No man fills a container worse than his stomach. A few morsels that keep his back upright are sufficient for him. If he has to, then he should keep one-third for food, one-third for drink and one-third for his breathing.” This saying instructs Muslims to eat the minimal amount of food they need and warn them, if they want to eat more, not to overeat. Furthermore, Muslims are obligated to fast every year in the month of Ramadan and are encouraged to fast on different occasions during the year. Late sleeping time, which has been associated with obesity, is discouraged in Islam. The prophet PBUH reported that “he disliked sleeping before Isha prayer and speaking after it.” The Isha prayer is approximately 2 h after the sunset and Muslims are encouraged to follow the prophet PBUH as the perfect human example, and accordingly they would go to bed early and have good sleep. Finally, many narrations reported that the prophet PBUH encouraged Muslims to walk in several occasions. The Prophet PBUH said: “The further one is from the mosque, the greater will be one’s reward.” And he encouraged Muslims to walk when going to masjid by saying that: “[E]very step that you take towards the prayer is a charity.” All these advices can be utilized by Imams to contribute to the health education and promotion efforts to control obesity.

For Imams to be effective in providing Islamic messages related to health education and promotion, it is highly recommended to conduct interdisciplinary courses where Imams and health practitioners can be trained together on how to use Islamic messages from Quran and prophet PBUH teachings to promote health life style and combat obesity.

  References Top

GBD 2015 Obesity Collaborators. Health effects of overweight and obesity in 195 countries over 25 years. N Engl J Med 2017;377:13-27.  Back to cited text no. 1
Memish ZA, El Bcheraoui C, Tuffaha M, Robinson M, Daoud F, Jaber S et al. Obesity and associated factors − Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 2013. Prev Chronic Dis 2014;11:140236.  Back to cited text no. 2
Al-Khaldi YM, Al-Shehri FS, Aljoudi AS, Khalil Rahman SA, Abu-Melha WS, Mashour MA et al. Towards an integrated national obesity control program in Saudi Arabia. Saudi J Obes 2014;2:49-53.  Back to cited text no. 3
Mustafa Y, Baker D, Puligari P, Melody T, Yeung J, Gao-Smith F. The role of imams and mosques in health promotion in Western societies − A systematic review protocol. Syst Rev 2017;6:25.  Back to cited text no. 4


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