As Salaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah,
What is the explanation of this: عن الحسن أن عمر بن الخطاب رضي الله عنه رأى رجلا عظيم البطن فقال: ما هذا؟ قال: بركة من الله قال: بل عذاب Hasan (rahimahullah) reported: ‘Umar ibn Al Khattab (radiyallahu ‘anhu) saw a man with a large belly and asked, ‘What is this?’ The man said, ‘It is a blessing from Allah.’ ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) said, ‘No, rather it is a punishment.’ Answer This narration is recorded in a Hadith Juz’; Hadithu Muhammad ibn ‘Abdillah Al Ansari, (Demise: 215 A.H). (Hadithu Muhammad ibn ‘Abdillah Al Ansari: 42) The narration is suitable to quote. And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Wa Alaikum As Salaam Wa Rahmatullah,
In the narration quoted, Umar (R.A) does not mean that having a large belly is in reality a punishment from Allah, so as to indicate that someone with a large belly is actually being punished by Allah. He simply informed the person that having a large belly cannot be termed as a barkat (blessing) from Allah. Instead, it is a pain, discomfort and suffering to the person. In fact, it is one which brings harms and illness to the person.
The reason that Umar (R.A) spoke in this manner, was that he wanted to warn people of the dangers of being fat and obese. He was always concerned of the health of the people and will advise them to refrain from extravagance and over eating.
On one occasion, he advised the people and said, ‘O people beware of eating too much, for it makes you lazy in prayer, is bad for your body and causes sickness. Allah dislikes 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’. (Al Khalifah Al Farooq – Dr. Abdur Rahman Al Ani).
Therefore, the statement of Umar (R.A) was simply meant to indicate to him the harms of having a large belly which cannot be called the ‘barkat’ (blessing) from Allah.
And Allah Knows best
Mufti Waseem Khan
This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.