Thursday, 7 June 2007

A Brief Tazkirah On The Sunnah Way of Eating

The Holy Prophet SAW expressed dislike for over-eating and said that over-eating is ill luck and misfortune. In other words, a person who over-eats will be followed by such faults and defects that he will have difficulty and hardship in every place and people will look at him in a bad way.

The Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW used to eat with three fingers, and before wiping and cleaning his hand he used to lick clean his blessed fingers.

Whenever food is very hot, it would be left covered for a while, so that the emission of steam finishes. In doing so, the Holy Prophet Muhammad SAW has said that this is a method in which barakah may be gained.

Anas bin Malik RA says:

"I once saw the Holy Prophet SAW sitting in a squatting posture and eating dates."

The posture mentioned here actually refers to that when one keeps his calves straight and sits on his feet.

Once in a gathering, the number of people eating increased, and so the Holy Prophet SAW sat with his blessed legs folded (as in the first Tahiyyat position in Solat). The reason being that there is humility in sitting like this and there is consideration for other people who are also present because sitting in this manner creates more room for them.

It is etiquette that the people eating should not get up and leave before the safrah (floor-cloth for food / table-cloth) has been lifted.

When one is eating with another person, it is etiquette to not stop eating as long as the other person is still eating, this is so that the other person does not feel ashamed. If one has to stop eating, then he should provide an excuse. This does not mean that a person continues overfilling his stomach, but the action of eating small morsels will suffice. The companionship in eating here is what is emphasised.

One should also not drink from a water container by putting the mouth onto its brim. The same prohibition has been applied against placing the mouth onto a jug and drinking from it. Similarly, we should avoid drinking directly from a flask or a bottle, etc.

Whilst drinking, one should not breathe into the utensil (e.g. mug, cup, etc.) or blow into it.

One should also refrain from placing the mouth on a utensil that is cracked or broken.

Many people have the habit of standing up and drinking. We should also refrain from this act as it contravenes the Sunnah.

Whilst eating, the Holy Prophet Muhammad never found fault with food. If he liked it, then he (SAW) would eat it; and if he did not prefer it, then he (SAW) would just leave it without complaining. Such was the Prophet Muhammad SAW's beautiful character.

A hadith has also come to us from the Noble Companion, Huzaifah RA - that the Holy Prophet SAW prevented us from eating and drinking in gold and silver utensils. This order is for both men and women. It is Haraam for Muslims to eat using gold and silver utensils.

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