Chapter 8: Eating And Drinking, Looking (At The Other Sex), Marriage, Eating And Drinking

Eating And Drinking,

Allah the Almighty, has made beautiful nature, all animals, fruits and vegetables at the service of man so that he makes use of them as food, drink, cloth, abode, and many other requirements. However, in order to save man’s life, his spiritual and physical safety, the survival of the race, and the regarding of others’ rights, laws and rulings have been legislated.

In this chapter, we will discuss some of the rulings that concern eating and drinking.

Kinds Of Food


• fruits

• vegetables


• quadrupeds (domestic and wild)

• birds

• seafood

Rulings Of Food

Vegetable Foods

All fruits and vegetables are permissible, except if they cause damage to man’s health.

Animal Foods


• domestic

Halal (all kinds of sheep, cow, camel)

Makruh (horse, mule, donkey)

Forbidden (dog, cat, and the rest of animals)

• wild

Halal (gazelle, cow, goat, wild ass)

Forbidden (all kinds of predators, like wolf, leopard, etc.)

The meat of all kinds of predators is impermissible to eat, even if the ability of predation of an animal is weak, like the fox.

Eating the meat of a rabbit is forbidden. All kinds of insects are forbidden.1


The meat of the following birds is halal:

• All kinds of pigeons (turtledove is also from pigeons)

• All kinds of sparrows (nightingale is also from sparrows)

• Hens and roosters

The meat of the following birds is forbidden:

• Bat

• Peacock

• Crow (raven is also a kind of crows)

• All birds that have claws, like hawk2

Eating the meat of swallow is Makruh.3

Eating the eggs of hens and all birds of halal meat, is lawful, and eating the eggs of birds of haram (unlawful) meat, is unlawful.4

Locusts are considered as birds whose flesh is halal to eat.5


The only sea creatures whose flesh is halal to eat are the fish that have scales and some ‘sea birds’.

The flesh of shrimp is halal.6

Some Rulings

Eating mud is forbidden.7

There is no problem in eating a little bit of earth from the place where Imam Husayn (‘a) has been buried for the purpose of recovering from a sickness.8

Eating or drinking something najis is haram.9

It is forbidden to eat anything that harms one’s health. For example, it is haram to eat oily foods for one, who is sick and oily foods harm him.10

Eating the eggs (kidneys) of quadruped, whose meat is halal, is forbidden.11

Drinking wine or any other intoxicating liquid is forbidden.12

It is obligatory on every Muslim to give food and drink to a Muslim who is about to die of hunger or thirst.13

Eating food that belongs to someone else without his consent is forbidden, even if the owner is an unbeliever whose property is regarded, like ahlul dhimma.14

Non-meat foods like vegetables, greens, fruits, dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, butter, cream that are from an animal whose meat is lawful to eat.

Eggs, flesh of lawful birds, bread, biscuits, chocolate, gum, sweets, and any other kind of food that is not from the meat of animals are pure and halal to eat, even if they are prepared in a non-Muslim country or bought from a non-Muslim, unless one is certain that they have become najis.

Based on this, here are some statements:

If one knows that they (those foods) have not touched the body of an unbeliever or that no wetness (from the unbeliever) have been transferred to them or have not become najis in any other way, they are tahir (pure) and halal.

If one doubts whether they have become najis or not, they are considered as tahir and halal.

If one thinks that they have become najis but he is not certain, they are considered as tahir and halal.

If one knows that they have touched the body of an unbeliever or become najis in a way or another, they are najis and forbidden.

Eating And Drinking Something Najis For Treatment

In the following cases there is no problem in eating or drinking something forbidden:

• When the saving of one’s life depends on eating or drinking this forbidden thing, like for example, when someone is in a situation where there is no food except forbidden food and if he does not eat from it, he will die of hunger.

• When the treatment of a disease, which cannot be treated by ordinary drugs, depends on drinking or eating something forbidden and there is no treatment save in that very drug.

• When one is obliged to eat or drink something forbidden, and if he does not eat or drink that forbidden thing, his life, honor or valuable property will be in danger. The same is said when the lives or honors of other respectable persons will be in danger.

• In the case of taqiyya when one fears for his life, properties or honor in the same way as mentioned in the previous point.15

Ruling 1: in all cases where eating or drinking something forbidden becomes permissible, one has to drink or eat as far as necessary. Eating or drinking more than required is not permissible.16

Ruling 2: the treatment of a patient with forbidden drugs must be prescribed by a skilled, trustworthy physician, and when the treatment is limited to those drugs with no any other way.17

Manners Of Eating Food

Recommended Acts

• Washing one’s hands before and after eating

• Saying “bismillah; in the name of Allah” when starting to eat and “alhamdulillah; praise be to Allah” when finishing eating

• Eating with the right hand

• Eating small bites

• Chewing the food well

• Washing fruits with water before eating them

• When there are several persons at the table, each one should eat from the food that is put in front of him.

• The host should begin eating before all and be the last one to stop eating.18

Makruh Acts

• Eating when one is satiate

• Eating too much

• Looking at other one’s faces while eating

• Eating food that is very hot

• Blowing the food before eating it

• Cutting bread with a knife

• Putting bread under the plate of food

• Throwing a fruit away before eating it all19

Manners Of Drinking

Recommended Acts

• Standing while drinking water in the day

• Saying “bismillah” before drinking water and “Alhamdulillah” after finishing

• Drinking water in three sips

• Remembering Imam Husayn (‘a), his family and companions after drinking water, and cursing his murderers20

Makruh Acts

• Drinking too much water

• Drinking water after eating greasy food

• Drinking water with the left hand

• Drinking water in the night while standing21

Looking At The Other Sex

One of the blessings of Allah is the ability of seeing. Man must use this great ability in the way of perfection and development.

Looking at nature and its beauties, if there is no violation of the rights of others, is something very pleasing, but keeping one’s sight not to look at others unlawfully and keeping oneself not to be looked at unlawfully have special rulings.

In this section, we shall discuss some of these rulings.

Mahram And Non-Mahram

Mahram is one whom it is impermissible to get married to and there are no restrictions in looking at.

Persons Who Are Mahram To Boys And Men

• Mother and grandmother

• Daughter and granddaughter

• Sister

• Niece (daughter of one’s sister)

• Niece (daughter of one’s brother)

• Aunt (sister of one’s mother) (one’s aunt and the aunts of one’s father and mother)

• Aunt (sister of one’s father) (one’s aunt and the aunts of one’s father and mother)22

These persons are all mahram because of family relations. There is another group of persons who are mahram to boys and men because of marriage relations. This group is as follows:

• The mother and grandmother of one’s wife

• The daughter of one’s wife, although she is not his own daughter but because he has had intercourse with her mother (his wife)

• Stepmother

• Daughter-in-law23

Except the women mentioned above, all other women are non-mahram, even the wife of one’s brother and the sister of one’s wife, though it is impermissible to get married to the sister of his wife as long as she is his wife. It is not permissible to marry two sisters, except when the first sister dies or is divorced.24

Persons Who Are Mahram To Girls And Women

• Father and grandfather

• Son and grandson

• Brother

• Nephew (son of one’s sister)

• Nephew (son of one’s brother)

• Uncle (mother’s brother) (one’s uncle and the uncles of one’s father and mother)

• Uncle (father’s brother) (one’s uncle and the uncles of one’s father and mother)

These persons are all mahram because of family relations. There is another group of boys and men who are mahram to girls and women because of marriage relations. This group is as follows:

• Husband

• The father and grandfather of one’s husband

• The son of one’s husband, though he is not her own son

• The husband of one’s mother (on condition that they have had intercourse)

• The husband of one’s daughter25

If a woman, according to the rulings mentioned in the books of jurisprudence, suckles a baby, that baby will be mahram to that woman and to other persons. To be more familiar with these rulings, please refer to Tawdih al-Masa’il, ruling 2464.

Except the men mentioned above, all other men are non-mahram to women, even the husband of one’s sister and the brother of one’s husband.26

Looking At Others

A husband and a wife can look at each other’s whole body, even lustfully.27

Except a husband and a wife, it is impermissible for anyone to look at any other one lustfully, even from the same sex, as when a man looks at another man lustfully, or from the other sex, as when a man looks at a woman lustfully. This is true whether the other one, being looked at, is mahram or non-mahram or whatever part of the body they are looking at.28

There are special rulings on the looking of a man at the body of a woman when it is without lust.

Looking At The Body Of A Mahram Woman (Other Than One’s Wife)

• Looking at the private parts is forbidden.

• Looking at other than the private parts is permissible.

Looking At A Non-Mahram

• Looking at the face and hands to the wrists is permissible.

• Looking at other parts of the body is forbidden.29


If, because of being unmarried, someone commits a sin, such as looking at a non-mahram person lustfully, it is obligatory on him/her to get married.30

A Good Wife

It would be better for one to pay much attention to the characteristics of the one whom he or she wants to marry. He or she should not be satisfied with beauty and wealth alone. Here are some of the good qualities of a good wife according to the traditions of the Prophet (S):

• loving

• chaste

• respectable in her family

• humble to her husband

• to adorn herself for her husband only

• to obey her husband31

A Bad Wife

Here are some of the bad qualities of a wife according to the traditions of the Prophet (S):

• abased in her family

• envious and spiteful

• unreligious

• adorns herself before others

• does not obey her husband32

The Marriage Contract

There is a special contract that must be (concluded and) recited in marriage. It is not enough for a young woman and a young man to accept and love each other. Engagement does not make a young woman and a young man mahram to each other except when the contract of marriage is (concluded and) recited.33

If one word in the contract of marriage is recited incorrectly that it may change the meaning of the contract, the contract of marriage will be invalid.34


(1) Which domestic quadrupeds’ meat is it forbidden to eat?

(2) What rulings are there in eating the meat of a rabbit?

(3) Is the flesh of the following animals permissible or impermissible to eat?

• crow

• donkey

• snake

• cow

• cat

• mouse

• ant

• ewe

(4) What ruling is there about the eggs (and kidneys) of the following animals?

• pigeon

• crow

• sparrow

• sheep

(5) What ruling is there about smoking cigarettes?

(6) What ruling is there about eating bread and cheese that is prepared in a non-Muslim country?

(7) What ruling is there about eating non-meaty foods, like for example, eggs and vegetables in a restaurant in a non-Muslim country?

(8) When does the eating of forbidden foods become permissible?

(9) Would you mention five recommended and Makruh acts of eating?

(10) What people become mahram to each other after marriage?

(11) What women are mahram to men?

(12) What ruling is there in the looking at the hair of one’s aunt?

(13) What ruling is there in the looking at the body of the wife of one’s uncle?

(14) Is getting married obligatory?

  • 1. Tahrir al-Wasa’il, vol. 1 p.156, rule 5.
  • 2. Tahrir al-Wasa’il, rule 6.
  • 3. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 2624.
  • 4. Tahrir al-Wasa’il vol. 2 p. 157, rule 12.
  • 5. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 2622.
  • 6. Tahrir al-Wasa’il, vol. 2 p. 155, rule 6, 7.
  • 7. Tahrir al-Wasa’il p. 164, rule 7.
  • 8. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 2628.
  • 9. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 141.
  • 10. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 2630.
  • 11. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 2626.
  • 12. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 111, 2632.
  • 13. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 2635.
  • 14. Tahrir al-Wasa’il, vol. 2 p. 169, rule 28.
  • 15. Tahrir al-Wasa’il, vol. 2 p. 170, rule 31 -32.
  • 16. Tahrir al-Wasa’il, vol. 2 p. 170, rule 31 -32.
  • 17. Tahrir al-Wasa’il, rule 34.
  • 18. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 2636.
  • 19. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 2637.
  • 20. Tawdih al-Masa’il rule 2638.
  • 21. Tawdih al-Masa’il rule 2639.
  • 22. Tahrir al-Wasa’il, vol. 2 p. 263-264.
  • 23. Tawdih al-Masa’il, p. 277, rule 1.
  • 24. Tawdih al-Masa’il, p. 280, rule 15.
  • 25. Tahrir al-Wasa’il, vol. 2 p. 277, rule 1.
  • 26. Tahrir al-Wasa’il, p. 280, rule 15.
  • 27. Tahrir al-Wasa’il, p. 243 rule 15-19.
  • 28. Tahrir al-Wasa’il, p. 243 rule 15-19.
  • 29. Tahrir al-Wasa’il, Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 2433.
  • 30. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 2443
  • 31. Tahrir al-Wasa’il, vol. 2 p. 237.
  • 32. Tahrir al-Wasa’il
  • 33. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 2663.
  • 34. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 2371.