• Umar, • the • anti • couch-potato •

Here is ‘Umar giving advice on staying fit and healthy and also on avoiding harming people with your sickness.

His concern for the people’s health

‘Umar was concerned about the people’s health. He would warn them against the consquences and dangers of being fat, and would advise them to lose weight, because that would give them strenth to strive and enable them to fulfill their duties. He used to say: “O people, beware of eating too much, for it makes you lazy in prayer, is bad for your body and causes sickness. Allah hates the fat man. Rather you should be moderate in your eating, for that is closer to righteousness and farther removed from extravagance, and makes one stronger to worship Allah. No person will be doomed unless he gives precedence to his desires over his religious commitment.”[1]

Ibn al-Jawzi stated that ‘Umar saw a man with a huge belly and said: “What is this?” He said, “A blessing from Allah.” He said, “Rather it is a punishment from Allah.”[2]

With regard to his concern for the good health of the citizens, he used to forbid anyone who had a stomach disease to mix with the people, so as to prevent the spread of disease. He would advise the sick to stay at home until they got better. And it is narrated that he passed by a woman who had leprosy when she was on her way to the Ka’bah. He said to her: “O Female slave of Allah, why don’t you stay in your home and not harm the people?” So she stayed at home. Later on a man passed by her and said, “The one who told you (not to go out) has died, so go out.” She said, “By Allah, I will not obey him whilst he is alive and disobey him when he is dead.”[3]

He also used to emphasize the importance of exercise, horsemanship and horseback riding. He used to say: “Teach your children swimming and archery, and train them to be proficient on horseback, and teach them some beautiful poetry.”[4]

“Do not make the religion dead”

‘Umar saw a man who looked as if he was dying because of his ascetism. He hit him with his stick and said: “Do not make our religion dead, may Allah kill you.”[5]

It was narrated from ash-Shifaa’ bint Abdullah that she saw some people who walked slowly and spoke slowly. She said: “Who are these?” They said, “Ascetics.” She said, “By Allah, when ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab spoke, he could be heard, when he walked he walked fast, when he hit he caused pain, and by Allah, he was a true ascetic.”[6]

“Stop walking like that”

A man came swinging his arms and strutting, and ‘Umar said to him: “Stop walking like that.” He said, “I cannot.” ‘Umar whipped him, then he strutted, and he whipped him again and he stopped strutting. ‘Umar said, “If i do not whip one like this then who should I whip?” The man came to him after that and said, “May Allah reward you with good; it was nothing but a Shaytan whom Allah sent away through you.”[7]

[1] Al-Khaleefah al-Farooq, by Dr.’Abdur Rahman al-‘Ani

[2] Manaaqib Ameer al-Mu’mineen, p.200

[3] Al-Khaleefah al-Farooq, p.124 quoting from ar-Riyad an-Nadrah

[4] ibid p.125

[5] ibid

[6] Ash-Shaykhan min Riwayat al-Baladhuri

[7] Akhbar ‘Umar, p.175


7 Responses to “• Umar, • the • anti • couch-potato •”

  1. shadows15 Says:


    Many brothers equate being ascetic with weakness and feebleness.. These brothers are so pathetic that when they start practicing the Din, they begin to behave in an awkward manner and think that piety and humility means to humiliate yourself and walk around on the verge of tears. This is extremely shameful and is disgracing the Din since the Sahaba did not act like this but rather acted like real men. To be a practising Muslim does not mean you let others walk over you!

    Jazakumallah for this reminder!

  2. al-Furqaan Says:

    Subhan’Allaah Certainly It Is Great Advices From the Best People To Walk This Earth

    Sorry What Do You Mean Letting Others Walk all Over You, How So ?

    Jazaakh’Allaah Khayr

  3. shadows15 Says:

    What I mean is that being a practising Muslim does not mean we should be weak and let people take advantage of us.

  4. youssef Says:

    aslamu alykoum,
    Masha’allah very good post.

    regarding the first source: [1] Al-Khaleefah al-Farooq, by Dr.’Abdur Rahman al-’Ani
    does the actually hadith say Allah does not like the fat man?? can you please show me where the hadith is from. if you can provide me the info to my email i would really appreciate it or i will check back here. im not questioing your daleels or anything brother but i would like to know as some other people trying to tell me to change the wording so i don’t offend others. Please get back to me ASAP.
    jazka allah khair.

  5. istiqaamah Says:

    wa alaykum as-salaam

    This is not a hadith – it is a statement from ‘Umar, not the Prophet, meaning it is not Wahi from above. So this is what ‘Umar’s opinion was, and what he means is not people created that way, but people who make themselves that way through inactivity and laziness.

  6. youssef Says:

    im sorry i misunderstood that. so it was a statment from him. jazka allah khair.

  7. sayyidoon Says:

    Assalaamu Alaikum

    Brother youssef,

    Istiqaamah is our respected Sister in Islaam and not a brother.

    May Allaah bless you all

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