1

Overeating can be detrimental to one's health in a variety of ways: there's more extreme cases, such as binge eating disorder and bulimia, but also simply eating too much and becoming obese results in health problems. As such, it stands to reason that, at some point, overeating would be considered haram.

Question: Is there a clear point where overeating becomes haram?

A question Why is smoking tobacco haraam? is answered quoting the Qur'an do not kill yourselves 4:29, and this logic seems to be applicable here.

2

There is a difference of opinion about the permissibility of overeating, but there is an agreement on the limit being one-third of one's stomach (contextual).

As per Qur'an verse 7:31:

يَا بَنِي آدَمَ خُذُوا زِينَتَكُمْ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا وَلَا تُسْرِفُوا ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِين

O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.

— Surat Al-A'raf [7:31]

Al-Qurtubi in his tafsīr of this verse said that:

  • Scholars have different opinions about overeating, being harām (forbidden) or makruh (discouraged).
  • The view of Abu Bakr ibn al-'Arabi is that overeating is makruh, which Al-Qurtubi adopted.
  • Scholars agree that satiation varies by person based on size, weight, time, age, condition, etc. The maximum is defined by Miqdam's narration attributed to the Prophet ﷺ.
  • Overeating can cause harm to the body temporarily or permanently, which is a form of inflicting self-harm.
  • Eating moderately or with reservation has numerous benefits to the extent of being considered one of the best cures for many ailments (Arabic: أكبر الدواء تقدير الغذا).

Miqdam's narration in Jami' at-Tirmidhi 36/77/2380 and Sunan Ibn Majah 4/29/3349 about one-third of one's stomach being the absolute maximum is:

عَنْ مِقْدَامِ بْنِ مَعْدِيكَرِبَ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ: مَا مَلأَ آدَمِيٌّ وِعَاءً شَرًّا مِنْ بَطْنٍ بِحَسْبِ ابْنِ آدَمَ أُكُلاَتٌ يُقِمْنَ صُلْبَهُ فَإِنْ كَانَ لاَ مَحَالَةَ فَثُلُثٌ لِطَعَامِهِ وَثُلُثٌ لِشَرَابِهِ وَثُلُثٌ لِنَفَسِه

Miqdam bin Ma'dikarib (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I heard Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: "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."

1

Let's say you eat 2 more extra spoons. That's definitely not haram, but obviously not recommended. Islam wants balance for everything (The only thing that should have no end is having more good deeds)

If you eat like 10X more meals, it's harmful to your own body. Harming your self is haram. (I do understand that eating 2 more extra spoons is also harmful, it's minute, only that Islam isn't that strict). Additionally eating 10X is waste and again that's not recommended.

In summary, I believe common sense (don't waste, don't harm yourself) is what you should follow. The only addition Islam has is:

"Eat when you have a desire to eat and finish eating when you still have hunger" (From Prophet Muhammad)

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