Jumah Nugget: How To Eat, Enjoy, and Earn Reward from Your Meal

Dhun Nurayn El Shabazz

“And do not eat of that upon which the name of Allah has not been mentioned, for indeed, it is grave disobedience.” — Quran 6[Al-’Anam]:121

The headline sounds too serious to be true, right? Well, it’s only intended to catch your attention. The focus of this piece is to enlighten you on how to eat in line with the sunnah of Allah’s apostle peace be upon him. Following his lifestyle leads to complete felicity in both worlds. And this is one of the uniqueness of Islam compared to other faiths: for everything you do with pure intention, in line with the sunnah, you earn a reward for it. You sleep the sunnah way, you earn a credit. Even when you‘re intimate with your spouse, you’re rewarded — Alhamdulillah! This is of the favors which Allah has bestowed upon the believers. Yet how many Muslims know this? And of those who know, only a few consciously practice it. So, we’re hoping in sha Allah through this you’d get enlightened and strive to implement. If you follow these principles, you will not just end up feeding your body alone; your soul will get nourished as well. Hence, our headline will be justified!

So here are some basic practices from the life of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him in line with dining.

  • Wash both hands before you eat:

Hygiene in Islam cannot be overemphasized. In fact, it is said to be half of faith. Specific hygiene when it comes to food encompasses cleanliness in handling, preserving, and processing. A lot of people get sick from what they eat. Hence, washing the hands before and after eating is an integral part of germs prevention as recommended by the prophet peace be upon him.
“The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: ‘Whoever would like Allah to increase the goodness of his house, should perform ablution (wash hands) when his breakfast is brought to him and when it is taken away.’” — Ibn Majah

  • Begin with the name of Allah:

Trust me, everything you start with the name of Allah is blessed. This is because the devil can’t indulge in it with you. And when you fail to mention Allah’s name before eating, that meal is savored with you by the devil.
“When one of you eats, he should mention Allah’s name (i.e. say Bismillaah). If he forgets to mention Allah’s name at the beginning, he should say (when he remembers): I begin in the name of Allah at the beginning and at the end of it.” — Tirmidhi

  • Eat with your right hand:

It’s a well-known practice that Allah’s Messenger peace be upon him often does most of his chores with the right hand. This is well emphasized to the point that he warns us against eating with the left hand.
“No one among you should eat with his left hand, or drink with it, for the Satan eats with his left hand and drinks with it.” — Muslim

  • Eat from what’s closer to you:

It’s a common practice for Muslims to eat together. Not just for the blessing which will be mentioned further, but it also enhances love. So while eating with others, avoid wandering around the plate.
“O young boy, say Bismillaah, eat with your right hand, and eat from what is directly in front of you.” — Al-Bukhari

  • Eat with three fingers:

Growing up, I used to remember my Mom saying an African adage: ‘You don’t eat with five fingers’. Although, that has to do with saving for the rainy day. However, this sunnah practice distinguishes the believer from the rest of the crowd.
“I saw the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, eating with three fingers (i.e. the thumb, the index finger, and the middle finger).” — Muslim

  • Eating in a sitting position:

There are certain postures disliked for a Muslim to eat: standing, reclining, walking, and laying down except by necessity. The Prophet peace be upon him used to sit on his left leg in an upright manner with his right shin facing forward. This position aids digestion.
“Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “I do not eat reclining (against a pillow).” — Al-Bukhari

  • Moderation in eating:

Anything excessive often comes with a fault. In fact, research has shown that eating too much increases disease risk. A good way to healthy living is to observe a moderate course as exemplified by Allah’s apostle:
“Nothing is worse than a person who fills his stomach. It should be enough for the son of Adam to have a few bites to satisfy his hunger. If he wishes more, it should be: one third for his food, one third for his liquids and one third for his breath.” — Ibn Majah

  • Eating together:

There’s a huge blessing in eating together. You will be surprised that food for one will suffice two when they eat together from the same plate. Imagine this scenario:
“Some of the Companions of Messenger of Allah said: “We eat but are not satisfied.” He said, “Perhaps you eat separately.” The Companions replied in the affirmative. He then said: “Eat together and mention the Name of Allah over your food. It will be blessed for you.” — Abu Dawud

  • Do not criticize the meal:

It’s not a practice of the Messenger of God to criticize a meal. If he doesn’t like it, he will rather not eat it in the first place. Saying things like: ‘it’s too salty’, ‘why does it look like this?’ will sound hurtful to the one who made the meal. Let’s express gratitude to those who feed us and thank Allah for this blessing. A lot of people have food but cannot eat, some can eat but have no food.
“O you who believe! Eat from the good things which We have provided for you and be grateful to Allah if it is [indeed] Him that you worship.” — Quran 2[Al-Baqarah]:172

  • Do not be extravagant:

While it’s good to have a sufficient meal, be careful not to be wasteful for this can earn you the wrath of Allah. There were days when the Prophet peace be upon him and his companions had nothing to eat but dates and water. In fact, sometimes they had to tie a stone on their stomach for stability in order to keep the back straight.
Mujahid reported: Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “O people, beware of gluttony in eating. Verily, it causes laziness in prayer, it harms the body, it contracts disease, and Allah Almighty detests the fatness of a cleric. Rather, you must be moderate in your provisions, for it is closer to righteousness, further from extravagance, and stronger for the worship of Allah. Verily, a servant is not destroyed unless he prefers his desires over his religion.”

  • Finishing the meal and licking the fingers:

It’s a common practice today for people to eat half-way and trash the rest. This is wrong because you do not know where the blessing could be found in the meal. The prophet picks the plate and even licks his fingers after the meal is done.
“Whenever the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) ate food, he would lick his three fingers.” — Muslim

  • Express gratitude after eating:

It’s a common practice by Allah’s apostle to give thanks to Allah for providing the meal and supplicate for the one who hosted them to dine.
“One who has eaten some food and then says: ‘All praise is for Allah, who has given me this (food to eat) and provided for me without any effort or power on my part’, he will have his sins forgiven.” — Tirmidhi

In sum, the benefits of following the sunnah as an etiquette while eating can not be overemphasized. It’s the silver-linning that holds both spiritual and scientific benefits, leading to an act of worship and a healthy lifestyle. So let’s ditch cultural practices or civilization and proudly uphold the sunnah that leads you to that which gives you life.

PS: And Success comes only by the will of Allah! If you find this piece beneficial, it’s by Allah’s Grace. It’s no scholarly work and we accept our mistakes. Suggestions are welcomed in making this effort better as well. You are free to share by any means for enlightenment purposes. Kindly give a “click-clap” to enable other readers on Medium to see this post. We ask Allah to keep us guided and steadfast upon the right path. Please subscribe to Jum’ah Nugget so as to get our next publication in sha Allah!

Yaumul Jumu’ah 28th Safar 1442 AH / Friday 16th October 2020.


Islamnode is a platform for the dissemination of sound Knowledge of Islam and an orientation of Muslims of the Sciences of the Din in accordance with the Pristine Knowledge taught by the Rasul – Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam – to the Companions – Ridwanullah ‘Alayhim – and understood by them, their Students and those who followed them of the earliest generations. We follow the Sunnah of the Rasul – Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam – and promote the Works of the Ulama of Sunnah from the first generation to date. Our goal is to propagate the Sciences of Islam, to disseminate the sound understanding of the Salaf and to enable the sound education of Muslims in this era.

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