Eating is a fundamental human activity, and in Islam, it holds great significance. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) emphasized the importance of good manners and etiquettes while eating. These etiquettes, known as Sunnah, provide guidance on how to conduct oneself during meals, reflecting respect, gratitude, and moderation.
In Islam, eating is not just a means to satisfy one’s hunger; it is an act that can be rewarded if performed with the right manners. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said,
“No human ever filled a vessel worse than the stomach. Sufficient for any son of Adam are some morsels to keep his back straight. But if it must be, then one third for his food, one third for his drink, and one third for his breath.”
This hadith highlights the significance of moderation in eating and the importance of maintaining good manners during meals.
Washing Hands Before and After Meals
Before partaking in a meal, it is essential to wash our hands thoroughly. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) emphasized the cleanliness of hands, as they come in contact with the food we consume. Washing hands before and after meals helps to maintain hygiene and prevents the spread of germs.
Sitting and Positioning
The way we sit and position ourselves while eating also holds importance in Islamic etiquette. It is recommended to sit on the floor or at a low table, cross-legged or in a relaxed posture. This posture reflects humility and simplicity, which are virtues encouraged in Islam.
Eating with the Right Hand
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) advised eating with the right hand, as the right hand is considered cleaner and more virtuous than the left hand. This practice demonstrates respect and cleanliness.
Eating with three Fingers
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) recommended to use three fingers of your right hand while the eating the food,
Ka`b bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
“I saw Messenger of Allah (PBUH) eating with three fingers (i.e., the thumb, the index finger and the middle finger) and licking them after having finished the food”.
Commencing with Bismillah (In the Name of Allah)
Before starting a meal, it is customary to say “Bismillah” (In the Name of Allah). By invoking Allah’s name, we acknowledge His blessings and seek His blessings in our food. It is a simple yet powerful act that reminds us of our gratitude towards our Creator.
Eating together as a family or with friends is encouraged in Islam. It promotes unity, strengthens relationships, and fosters a sense of community. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said,
“Eat together and do not separate, for the blessing is in the company.”
Moderation in Eating
Islam emphasizes moderation in all aspects of life, including eating. Overindulgence and extravagance in food are discouraged. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) advised his followers to eat in moderation and not to burden themselves with excessive amounts.
Eating Slowly and Chew Thoroughly
Eating slowly and chewing food thoroughly has multiple benefits. It aids digestion, allows us to enjoy the flavors of our food, and prevents overeating. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) advised his companions to eat slowly and chew their food properly.
Avoiding Wastage of Food
Wasting food is strongly discouraged in Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said,
“The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Adam to eat a few mouthfuls to keep him going, but if he must (fill his stomach), then one-third for his food, one-third for his drink, and one-third for air.”
Thanking Allah for the Blessings
Expressing gratitude for the blessings of food is an essential aspect of Islamic eating manners. After finishing a meal, it is recommended to praise and thank Allah for providing us with sustenance.
Reciting Supplications Before and After Meals
Reciting supplications (duas) before and after meals is a beautiful Sunnah. These prayers express gratitude to Allah, seek His blessings, and acknowledge His provision. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) taught specific supplications for different occasions, including meal times.
Not Blowing on Food
Islam discourages blowing on food to cool it down. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said,
“When any one of you eats, let him not blow on his food, and if he cannot help but blow, then let him blow in his plate.”
Lick your fingers clean after you finish eating something with your hand.
It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas that the Prophet (ﷺ) said:
“When one of you eats food, let him not wipe his hand until he has licked it or has someone else to lick it.”
Again for the Science Savvies, Scientists declared that licking your Fingers clean after a meal, helps secrete such juices in our stomach that are vital to the digestion of food.
Using Utensils Respectfully
When using utensils, such as spoons, forks, or knives, it is essential to use them respectfully. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) taught his followers to handle utensils with care and not to misuse them.
Adopting good eating manners in the light of Sunnah not only enhances our physical well-being but also nourishes our spiritual selves. These etiquettes instill gratitude, moderation, and mindfulness in our daily lives. By following the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), we can elevate our dining experiences and foster a sense of gratitude and unity within our communities.