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The Sunnah of Eating

Mahadi Sunnah Store

February 15, 2024

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The Sunnah of Eating

Out of all the blessings Allah has bestowed on us, food is the biggest one that we often take for granted. The ability to have three meals a day is mundane for us while it’s a luxury for others, which is why it’s so important to adapt deen-conscious and gratitude-inducing habits when eating. 

The Prophet ﷺ has taught us throughout his blessed life about how to make the most of our blessings and be aware of our privileges. Even though he ate very little food, his sunnah before, during, and after eating is so vast that it deserves its post. 

So, let’s break down the sunnah of eating to maximize our blessings while practicing gratefulness towards Allah. 

Wash Your Hands

The sunnah stresses cleanliness at all times, especially when handling food. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to get rid of all the germs so they won’t contaminate the food or make you sick. 

Ask About Your Food If You Don’t Know What It Is

If you see a dish in front of you that you don’t recognize, it’s sunnah to inquire about it. The Prophet did not eat anything without knowing what it was first. So don’t be shy, go ahead and politely ask about the meal you’ve been served. 

Hasten to Eat When Offered by a Host

During occasions when you’re being served as a guest, it’s a part of Prophetic politeness to not refuse the food you’ve been offered, and hastening to eat it. 

Unlike the norms of culture, leaving some uneaten food or refusing to eat it all together is not “classy” or “sophisticated” but highly ungrateful, impolite, and arrogant according to the Sunnah. 

Use Your Right Hand

This is more of an obligation than a sunnah. The Prophet commands us to use our right hand when eating and not our left hand. This is because Shaytan eats alongside us when we use our left hand, so it counts as a sin. 

Use Three Fingers

The Prophet used to use three fingers, including his thumb, pointer, and middle finger to gather morsels and bring them to his mouth. Using more than three fingers symbolizes greed, so to show good manners, we should use three fingers only. 

Eat Your Food from the Side

Whether you’re serving food to a guest or yourself, you should make sure to take the food from the serving dish from its side and not the center. When eating, you should also eat from the side of the plate. 

The Prophet said to always eat from the side of our plate because when food is served, barakah falls on the middle of it. So, to make the most of our blessings, we should avoid eating our food directly from the middle. 

Pick Up Any Fallen Food and Eat It

Mistakes happen, but some can help you gain ‘ajr. For instance, when you accidentally drop some food, quickly pick it up, clean it with your fingers, then eat it. According to the sunnah, dropped food that’s left without being picked up is dangerous because it is eaten by Shayateen and the person misses out on whatever blessings were in that morsel. 

Eat in Moderation

The Prophet ﷺ said that the stomach must be filled with 3 things in 3 portions: 1 part is for food, 1 part for water, and 1 part for air. 

This goes to show that we shouldn’t “eat our fill” even when we are able to do so. It’s best to only eat what you need, making sure no food goes to waste. 

Do Not Recline While Eating

It is seen as rude and poor etiquette to eat while reclining on something, such as the back of your chair or your elbows.

The Prophet always made sure never to be “too comfortable” when eating to avoid diseases of the heart such as greed, ungratefulness, gluttony, etc. 

Wash Your Hands and Rinse Your Mouth

After you have finished eating, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Then, take some water into your hands and rinse out your mouth. 

The Prophet did this to expel the smell of food from his mouth, but it also has many other benefits. Rinsing out the mouth right after eating significantly reduces food buildup around the inside of the mouth and in between your teeth, which improves long-term oral health.

Saying Du’a After Finishing Eating

Whenever the Prophet finished his meals, he praised Allah. This was such a regular habit of the Prophet that there are multiple du’a recorded in the books of sunnah that we can implement in our own lives. 

Here are some easy du’a you can say after eating:

  • اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ الَّذِيْ أَطْعَمَنِيْ هٰذَا ، وَرَزَقَنِيْهِ مِنْ غَيْرِ حَوْلٍ مِنِّيْ وَلَا قُوَّةٍ.

Alḥamdu-lillāhi-l-ladhī aṭʿamanī hādhā wa razaqanīhi min ghayri ḥawlim-minnī wa lā quwwah.

“Praise be to Allah who has fed me this and provided me with it without any power and might from me.”

The Prophet ﷺ said: “Whosoever eats food and says [the above] at the end, all his past sins will be forgiven.” (Abū Dāwūd 4023 Tirmidhī 3458, Ibn Mājah 3285)

 

  • اَللّٰهُمَّ أَطْعَمْتَ وَأَسْقَيْتَ ، وَهَدَيْتَ وَأَحْيَيْتَ ، فَلَكَ الْحَمْدُ عَلَىٰ مَا أَعْطَيْتَ.

Allāhumma aṭʿamta wa asqayta, wa hadayta wa aḥyayta, fa-laka-l-ḥamdu ʿalā ma aʿatayta.

“Oh Allah, You have fed and given to drink, You have guided us and revived us. So, to You be all praise for what You have granted.”🤲

ʿAbd al-Raḥmān b. Jubayr (raḥimahullāh) stated that a man who served the Prophet ﷺ for eight years told him that he heard the Prophet ﷺ say [the above] when food was brought to him. (Aḥmad 16159)

 

  • اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ الَّذِيْ كَفَانَا وَأَرْوَانَا ، غَيْرَ مَكْفِىٍّ وَلَا مَكْفُوْرٍ.

Al-ḥamdu lillāhi-lladhī kafānā wa arwānā, ghayra makfiyyiw-wa lā makfūr.

Praise be to Allah Who has sufficed us and quenched our thirst unsufficed and unrejected.

Abū Umāmah (raḍiy Allāhu ‘anhu) narrated that finished eating and the table spread would be lifted from in front of him, the Prophet ﷺ would say [the above]. (Bukhārī 5459)

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