Given that some American Protestants are finding dietary inspiration from Jesus, it seems only fitting that American Muslims might look to the Prophet Muhammed for inspiration to lose weight, eat healthy and fight the obesity epidemic. After all, evidence of Jesus’ diet in the Gospels is thin, and the Last Supper’s bread and wine is pretty carb-heavy, but that hasn’t stopped people like Gwen Shamblin from creating a complete — and megasuccessful — faith-based weight-loss program.

Muslims can find very specific dietary advice in the prophetic traditions, or hadiths. The voluminous collections of hadiths are the equivalent of the Muslim Gospels, since both record the sayings and doings of Muhammed and Jesus, respectively.

This morning, ReligionWriter sat down with vol. 7 of the English translation of the hadiths collected by Al-Bukhari to read the “Book of Meals.”

The first answer to the question “What would Prophet Muhammed Eat?” is: Not much. He shared his food with others, and many of the stories about him and his companions refer to periods of extreme hunger. The prophet lived the dietary life of a poor man; as one companion put it, he did not see “well-baked bread” or a full roasted sheep “until he met Allah” (i.e. died.)

Muhammed was a great proponent of portion control. According to Abu Huraira, the Prophet said: “The food for two persons is sufficient for three, and the food of three persons is sufficient for four persons.”

The Prophet’s comment that “a believer eats with one intestine, while an unbeliever eats with seven intestines” advocates a kind of will-power-induced stomach staple.

And here’s one for Muslim mothers with picky-eater children: Abu Huraira narrated that Muhammed “never criticized any food (he was invited to.)” Rather, he would eat the foods he liked and simply leave the foods he did not.

White flour? Not for Muhammed. One of his companions related that the prophet only ate bread made from unsifted barley flour with the husks blown off.

But before he sounds too perfect, the prophet’s favorite wife, Aisha, testified that he also had a sweet-tooth, enjoying honey and other edible treats.

The field is open for an American Muslim to write the first Prophet Muhammed-based diet. Good luck to you!

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