Health, or siha, is the state of being free from illness or injury. It encompasses all aspects of well-being including physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual. In Islam, we are encouraged to actively and proactively pursue a lifestyle that promotes good health.
Early childhood is the best time to establish good health practices so that these can become habits. There are many stories and lessons in the noble Qur’an and our Prophet’s (SAW) life that teach us the importance of taking care of ourselves. After all, our bodies are an amanah, or trust, granted to us by Allah (SWT). In this book, we focus on two important habits, getting enough quality sleep and exercising.
Sleep is important for our health and well-being because it gives us the ability to rest and reset, providing the body with time to grow, strengthen the bodily systems, and heal from illnesses (78:9). It is also a means to disconnect from our daily stressors. As our Prophet (SAW) said, “Your body has a right over you,” so it is our responsibility to take rest properly (source below). In our first story, “Body in Balance,” Asad eagerly explores the ecosystem of the Amazon Rainforest on a trip to Brazil with his dad. But when Asad gets carried away by his excitement, Dad teaches him about the little ecosystem within himself that he must take care of first.
The second lesson is about the importance of physical movement. Exercise not only strengthens and supports our physical bodies, but also our cognitive development. The better our bodies are, the easier it is to do everything else in life -- from thinking to worshiping to running. In the second story, “Five Before Five,” Grandma is visiting Shireen, and she brings her granddaughter a mesmerizing gift. When Shireen forgets about all her other activities, Grandma reminds Shireen to keep herself in tip-top shape by telling her a secret called “five before five.”