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Table manners in Islam
Om-nom-nom time, anyone?
Most Muslims are unaware of this issue, but as Muslims, we must always be cautious when it comes to the food that consume ourselves and the food that we serve to others. Make a point to check the Halal sign or ingredients on food packaging before purchasing it, and to ensure we are served with halal food at restaurants or cafes.
Related verses from the Quran:
♦”O (you) Messengers! Eat of the Tayibaat (all kinds of Halal) [legal] foods which Allah has made legal (meat of slaughtered edible animals, milk products, fats, vegetables, fruits, etc), and do righteous deeds. Verily! I am Well-Acquainted with what you do ” [ Al-Muminuun 23:51 ]
♦”On this day, all pure things are made lawful for you (as food)” [ Al-Mai’da 5:5 ]
Saying “Bismillah” (in the name of Allah) before eating or drinking is noble and loved by Allah. In this manner, it is important because according to the Prophet (pbuh), the shaitaan shares food and drink with those people who DO NOT mention the name of Allah (swt).
•Narrated by Aishah (r.a.): The Prophet (pbuh) said “When any of you wants to eat, he should mention the name of Allah in the beginning (Bismillah). If he forgets to do it in the beginning, he should say “Bismillah awallahu wa akhirahu” (In the name of Allah in its beginning and end)” [ At-Tirmidhi & Abu Dawud ]
- The Prophet (pbuh) informs us that shaitaan shares food and drink with those people who DO NOT mention the name of Allah.
- The pronouncement of Allah’s name beings blessing to the meal, and the omission of His Name robs the blessing away.
If we are blessed with two hands; use them wisely! Use your right hand to eat and drink, because it is a sunnah act from the Prophet (pbuh).
•Narrated by Abu Salamh (r.a): The Prophet (pbuh) said to me, “Mention Allah’s name (Bismillah) before starting to eat, eat with your right hand, and eat from what is near to you” [Bukhari & Muslim : Riyadhus Saliheen, chapter 100 #728 ]
•Narrated by Jaabir Ibn’ Abdullah (r.a): I heard the Prophet (pbuh) saying, “Do not eat with your left hand because shaitaan eats and drinks with his left hand” [ Muslim : Riyadhus Saliheen, chapter 100 #1634 ]
The Prophet (pbuh) intensely dislikes his ummah (us!) to eat or drink while standing! So whenever you reward yourself with an ice cream or some milkshake; grab a chair and enjoy your share!
•Narrated by Anas (r.a): The Prophet (pbuh) forbade us from drinking while standing. Qatadah reported: We asked him, “What about eating?” he said, “That is even worse (or maybe he said) more detestable” [Muslim : Riyadhus Saliheen, chapter 114 #771 ]
A human’s body is like a container; it can only fit in certain things and it’s limited! So fill your stomach with correct portions as taught by the Prophet (pbuh) so we can be healthy: 1/3 food, 1/3 water and 1/3 air for breathing. Moderation is the word!
•Narrated by Miqdaam Ibn’ Ma’dee Karib (r.a): He heard the Prophet (pbuh) said “A human being has never filled a container that is worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to have just that amount of morsels that cause his back to remain upright. But if there is no escape (he wants more), then 1/3 for his food, 1/3 for his drink, and 1/3 for his breathing” [ At-Tirmidhee #2380 ]
- The lesson from this hadith is that eating too much leads to many diseases, can cause laziness and makes a person feel its heaviness and burdensome to do deeds of obedience to Allah, AND hardens a person’s heart. And we seek refuge in Allah from all of that! Keep to moderation in your food, for it will keep you away from ungratefulness, healthier for the body and stronger to perform worshipping to Allah swt.
Wastage of food and drinks is not only the act of the shaitaan, but it makes us ungrateful, so let’s try our best to avoid that! So the next time when you consume your food, be sure to have an empty plate or mug after eating!
Related verses from the Quran:
♦“… and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al- Musrifuun (those who waste by extravagance)” [ Al-A’raf 7 :51 ]
♦“Do not be a wasteful spender. Verily the spendthrifts are brothers of the shaitaan (devils) and the shaitaan is ever ungrateful to his Lord” [ Al-Isra 17 : 27 ]