I have been inundated with many queries as to the long silence in this Blog. There is no excuse to it - I have been truly occupied with other obligations and have been busy with new commitments. Yes, there are still many things to say and to be said, and I pray it will not end, but I will begin the new hijriah year with this new resolution (?) yet again - but this time, it is being put into practice, and it has been absolutely great. Cryptic? Yes ... so intended.
It dawned on me that I do not find many Muslims being conscious about being healthy or sporty. For example, one hardly sees Muslims training at the gym or being involved in a disciplined sports - (once a month of soccer or running to the taxi stand does not count - oopss, that sounds like me :) - well, at least in Singapore.
On the contrary, Islam attaches much importance to sports and health in order to create a physically powerful generation or ummah. Islam advises Muslims to teach their children shooting, swimming, and horsemanship. "Teaching thy children writing swimming and shooting is a duty." The Prophet (saw) also adds "Teach thy children shooting and train them on horsemanship till they excel" and since these were the only sports known at the Prophet's time, then, Islam encourages all the sports known to us in the time being.
Apart from sports, it is all over the Qur'an and sunnah on health matters such as nutrition ("O you people! Eat of what is on earth, lawful and good..."(2:168), family planning ("And Allah has made for you spouses of your own kind and has made for you, from your wives, sons and grandsons, and has bestowed upon you good provisions" (al-Nahl 72), personal hygiene (The Messenger of Allah said: Cleanliness is half of faith and Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) fills the scale, and SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah) and Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) fill up what is between the heavens and the earth, and prayer is a light, and charity is proof (of one's faith) and endurance is a brightness and the Qur'an is a proof on your behalf or against you. All men go out early in the morning and sell themselves, thereby setting themselves free or destroying themselves (Sahih Muslim), medical ethics ("...We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people. And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people..." (Qur'an 5:32) etc etc.
What we find from the above is that at times, such matters are put on par in priority to matters of worship - and that signifies the importance of being healthy and keeping fit in Islam. In any case, from a philosophical point of view - this physical body which we have is indeed on loan from Allah, The Almighty. Therefore, since it is merely a "borrowed item on borrowed time", we have to maintain and upkeep it.
In that spirit, we keep our chest and shoulder open during the performance of tawaf - as historically, the beloved Prophet wants the people to see how strong and physically matured Muslims are.
A physically-abled and fit Muslim is a mentally-abled and fit Muslim. Hmmm ... now, that explains ...
Time to take out that running shoes or hit the gym, don't you think?