Throughout my lifetime, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes. One of these mistakes includes chugging a full liter of water right before an overnight flight across the country. Before I elaborate on some of the lessons learned from this, let me provide some context.
After spending five wholesome and reflective days in the scorching deserts of Arizona, I quickly rushed to the airport at the last hour before my flight just like any professional procrastinator would. As I rushed to the security gate, I was immediately apprehended by a TSA agent because of an obnoxiously large, baby blue water bottle I was carrying that was full to the brim. As expected, I was told by the agent that I would have to dispose of the water before boarding my flight. However, the good Muslim in my conscious asked myself: “wouldn’t it be wrong if I were to simply waste the water?” Thus without a moment to hesitate, I popped the bottle open and chugged the entire one liter of water under one breath. As the TSA agent and my speechless parents watched in astonishment and horror, I successfully finished the water and proudly strode towards the security checkpoint with my now empty bottle as my trophy. Fast-forward to the moment I buckled myself into my window seat, the consequences of my
actions slowly dawned upon me as I realized that I would be a little “over-hydrated” throughout the duration of my cross-country flight, to say the very least.
Between my intermittent trips to the plane’s lavatory and watching a picturesque sunrise from my seat, I was slowly being reminded of some of the beautiful Sunnahs that our Messenger (saw) has exemplified for his Ummah in regards to drinking water:
1. First and foremost, take a clean glass and fill it according to what you need.
It was narrated that our Messenger (saw) said: “Do not drink directly from a water pitcher (or any water container).” (Hadith Bukhari). In other words, enjoy the blessings of your Creator according to your needs, not your desires. Sustain yourself by practicing moderation and avoid indulging in excess.
2. Praise Allah (swt) by reciting Bismillah hir-Rahman nir-Rahim (In the name of
Allah, the Most Gracious, Most Merciful).
It was narrated that our Messenger (saw) said: “When commencing to drink first recite Bismillah.” (Hadith Tirmidhi). By doing so, we give thanks to Allah (swt) who has blessed us with this sustenance in order to survive. Even the simplest of actions such as drinking water must be enacted by invoking upon the blessed name of our Lord if we truly wish to earn His infinite blessings.
3. If one is capable, drink water with the right hand.
It was narrated that our Messenger (saw) said: “Never eat and drink with the left hand because Shaytaan eats with the left hand.” (Hadith Muslim). In an ideal world, we want everything to go the right way. But in reality, life will get hectic, we will be tested, and we will make mistakes. There are times we might accidently choose our left hand over our right hand. Our left and right hands are in a perpetual battle of tug-of-war, causing us to lose balance and fall down at times. While it may hurt to fall down, what truly matters is whether or not we decide to pick ourselves up, and how we choose to do so. Reach out with your right hand, and get up.
4. Sit down and drink water.
It was narrated that our Messenger (saw) said: “Sit down and drink.” (Hadith Muslim).
Once again, life gets busy and we are constantly on the run, but do yourself a favor and
take some time out of your busy day to sit down and enjoy the blessings of Allah (swt).
Life is too short and precious not to do so.
5. Drink water while taking three breathing pauses.
It was narrated that our Messenger (saw) said, “Do not drink water only in one breath,
but drink it in two or three breaths.” (Hadith Bukhari). Thus, it is against the Sunnah of our Messenger (saw) to drink water in a single breath, now matter how deprived of water we may be. Similarly, we must not hasten ourselves to search for a solution in times that we are being tested, no matter how dire the situation may be. Throughout our lifetime, we may be afflicted with burdens and hardship, but the only way can we ever overcome them is through the help of Allah (swt) combined with prayers and patience. One breath at a time.
6. Do not blow or exhale your breath into the glass while drinking water.
It was narrated by Abdullah Bin Abbas (ra) that our Messenger (saw) said: “Do not blow
from your mouth into food and water.” (Hadith Tabarani). The wisdom behind this is proven by scientific studies showing that exhaling carbon dioxide into a glass of water causes it to react to form carbonic acid which can potentially decrease one’s pH levels, in effect producing an excess amount of acid in the blood known as Acidosis, a condition that is potentially fatal for the human body. In other words, don’t blow into your water.
Fun fact: did you know there is another reason why we recite Bismillah before drinking
water? It is because there are three jinns that we must ward off: two hydro-jinns and
one oxy-jinn! All credit goes to Mufti Menk, may Allah (swt) bless him.
7. Finally, recite Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) after finishing your water.
It was narrated that our Messenger (saw) said to “Recite Bismillah before drinking and
say Alhamdulilah after drinking.”
By doing so, not only do we invoke upon Allah’s (swt) everlasting mercy before
replenishing our body, but we praise Him afterwards for sustaining our soul.
As simple and small these Sunnahs of our Messenger (saw) may seem, we must remember that it is the small deeds that can potentially tip the balance in our favor on the final day that we stand before our Creator. In retrospect, we must remind ourselves that the very opposite can be applied against us. At times, we may fall victim into committing sins that may disguise themselves as “small,” but it is those very “small sins” that desensitizes our souls into committing major sins and eventually misguides us onto the path of those who are lost and astray.
Just like everything that Allah (swt) has made halal and good for us in this dunya, everything must be enjoyed in moderation and even the divine act of drinking water, a substance that is so pure and clean, is no exception. Ustadha Yasmin Moghad beautifully analogized the vastness of the ocean to the dunya in her book Reclaim Your Heart. Similarly, the very water that we drink for our own survival parallels to our relationship with this dunya: enjoy in moderation but avoid excess. Yes, there are blessings in this materialistic world that Allah (swt) has gifted us so that we may enjoy. There are many blessings in this finite world that Allah (swt) has bestowed upon us in order for us to thrive and flourish for both this world and the hereafter.
However, the second that we grow reliant and solely dependent on those gifts is the second that we lose sight of the One that has bestowed those gifts, our Lord. We lose sight of our true destination, the akhirah. We lose ourselves and dive deeper and deeper into this dunya; we submerge ourselves and dive deeper and deeper into the water until we can no longer see the surface; we dive so deep until we reach the darkest depths of the water to the point of suffocation. And then, we drown. But Allah reminds us:
“Say, ‘O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not
despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the
Forgiving, the Merciful.” –
Surah Az-Zumar, Ayah 53
It is through Allah’s (swt) absolute mercy we are able to enjoy the blessings of water in order to sustain ourselves and stay afloat. It is through Allah’s (swt) infinite mercy we are able to enjoy the halal and avoid the haram of this dunya, understanding that our time in this world is only temporary. It is through Allah’s (swt) limitless mercy that we are able to journey through this limited life as a traveler with the hopes of one day reaching our true eternal destination, Jannah. It is through Allah’s (swt) mercy of water that we may see its reflections from His eternal light and learn from His ultimate wisdom.
And Allah (swt) knows best.
As a side note, since water is the main formula for human sustenance, please click the link below for MuslimHands UK to make a donation to a cause that provides the gift of H20 to some of the most underserved people in the world, who happen to be Muslim. May Allah (swt) alleviate their suffering and make it easy for them! Ameen.