Eating Eating

Eating Alone

The rules of eating alone are broken down into three parts; before eating, at the time of eating and after eating.

Rules Before Eating

1) The food must be lawful – God enjoined (instructed) eating good and lawful food and prohibited bad and unlawful food
2) The hands should be washed – The Prophet ﷺ said : Wash before eating prevents poverty and wash after eating prevents frivolous thoughts.”
3) Food should be placed on the ground – Prophet ﷺ kept food on the ground as it is a sign of humility
4) Sit up straight and do not lean – The Prophet ﷺ said: “I don’t lean as I am a mere slave and I eat as a slave eats and I sit as a slave sits”; to eat leaning is bad for the stomach
5) The intention (niyyah) should be made that the food is eaten to gain strength in worship and that the belly will not be filled – The Prophet ﷺ said “Actions are but by intentions..”
6) Be satisfied with what is put in front of you and do not be greedy for a variety of dishes – There is a hadith that states “The son of Adam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach” so try to eat in moderation (not too much or too little)
7) Eat Together – The more are the people to partake food, the better as the Prophet ﷺ said: “Eat all together, as there is blessings in it

Rules at the Time of Eating

1) Begin with Bismillah (In the name of Allah) and end with Alhamdulillah (All Praise be to Allah)
2) Eat with the right hand
3) Begin and end the meal with salt
4) Take little morsels (a small piece or amount of food) and chew each morsel well
5) Don’t reach for another morsel till you swallow the previous one
6) Don’t pick out the faults of the cooking – if you like the food, eat it, and if not then don’t eat it as is the Sunnah.
7) Eat from the nearest side of the dish except for fruits; do not eat from every side, nor the middle
8) Don’t cut bread or meat with a knife; cut meat with your teeth and break off bread with your hands
9) If any morsel of food falls down, pick it up, remove the dust and don’t leave it for the devil – pray Bismillah and blow on it
10) Don’t wipe your hands with handkerchiefs till you lick your fingers, because you don’t know which bit of food has blessing
11) Blowing in hot food is prohibited (forbidden), be patient and wait for it to cool down
12) Eat odd number of dates, grapes and other fruits which can be counted

Rules After Eating

1) Stop eating before you are full
2) Lick your fingers, then wipe them and wash them
3) Do not leave pieces of food – The Prophet said “He who eats what lies on the dinning cloth will remain safe, will pass his life in solvency and his children will remain safe’
4) Pick the teeth clean and do not swallow what comes out of the teeth
5) Gargle, lick the dish and drink it’s water – It has been said that he who licks his dish and drinks its water will get the reward of freeing a slave
6) Be grateful to God for what He gave you to eat
7) Recite Surah Ikhlas and Surah Quraysh after the meal
8) Do not get up till the dining cloth has been picked up


Eating with Others

1) If there is an elderly or honourable person with you, don’t start eating till they do
2) Don’t stay silent when eating and make conversation
3) If the food is distributed evenly, it is unlawful for you to eat more unless someone gives to you out of their own accord. Do not try to take more food than them
4) Eat according to your habit and enough so that your company doesn’t need to encourage you to eat more
5) If the hands are washed in the same pot: the most honoured guest should wash their hands first, then from the right hand side onwards, no one should spit in the pot and throwing water from the mouth should be slow
6) Don’t look at the eating of your companions and stop eating before they do
7) Don’t do things which appear bad to your companions or speak in a way that offends them