Rules of Things Allowed to Eat and Drink

Issue 2633: * All birds, like eagle, vultures and wild falcons having a claw and talon, are haraam to eat. And all such birds whose gliding is more than flapping the wings, and have talons, are also haraam to eat. Those whose flapping of the wings while flying, is more than gliding, are halal to eat. Thus, one can identify halal birds from haraam ones by observing how they fly. And if the style of any bird's flight cannot be determined, that bird will be considered halal for eating, if it has a crop or a gizzard or a spur on the back of its feet. In the absence of all these, the bird will be haraam. As an obligatory precaution, one should refrain from eating the meat of all types of crows. Other birds like the hens, the pigeons, the sparrows including the ostrich and the peacock are halal to eat, but it is Makrooh to kill birds like swallows and hoopoes. And the animals which fly, but are not classified as winged birds, like the bats, are haraam; similarly, the bees, the mosquitoes, and other flying insects are, as an obligatory precaution, haraam.

Issue 2634: If a part which possesses life is removed from the body of a living animal, for example, if the fatty tail or some flesh is removed from the body of a living sheep, it is najis and haraam to eat.

Issue 2635: * Certain parts of the halal animals are haraam to eat. They are fourteen:

(i) Blood

(ii) Excrement

(iii) & (iv) Male and female genitals

(v) Womb

(vi) Glands

(vii) Testicles

(viii) Pituitary gland, a ductless gland in the brain

(ix) The marrow which is in the spinal cord

(x) The two wide (yellow) nerves which are on both sides of the spinal cord, (as an obligatory precaution).

(xi) Gall bladder

(xii) Spleen

(xiii) Urinary bladder

(xiv) Eye balls

These parts are haraam in all halal animals other than the birds. As for the birds, their blood and excrement is definitely haraam, and apart from these two, the parts enumerated in the above list are haraam, as a measure of precaution.

Issue 2636: * It is haraam to drink the urine of all haraam animals, and also of those whose meat is halal to eat, including, as an obligatory precaution, that of a camel. However, the urine of a camel, a cow or a sheep can be consumed, if recommended for any medical treatment.

Issue 2637: * It is haraam to eat earth and also sand, as an obligatory precaution. However, there is no harm in taking Daghistsan or Armenian clay as a medicine if there be no alternative. It is also permissible to take a small quantity of the clay of the Shrine of Imam Husayn (usually called Turbatul Husayn) for the purpose of cure for illness. But it is better to dissolve a small quantity of Turbatul Husayn in water and then drink it.

Issue 2638: It is not haraam to swallow the mucus (liquid running from the nose) and phlegm which may have come in one's mouth. Also, there is no objection in swallowing the food which comes out from between the teeth at the time of tooth picking.

Issue 2639: It is haraam to eat an absolutely harmful thing, or anything which may cause death.

Issue 2640: * It is Makrooh to eat the meat of a horse, a mule or a donkey. If a person has sexual intercourse with them those animals become haraam, and as a precaution, their offspring become haraam also, and their urine and dung become Najis. Such animals should be taken out of the city and should be sold at some other place. And as for the person who committed the sexual intercourse with the animal, it will be necessary to give its price to the owner. Similarly, if a person commits sexual intercourse with an animal like cow and sheep, the meat of which it is lawful to eat, its urine and excrement become Najis, and it is also haraam to eat their meat, and to drink their milk. As a precaution, same will be the case with their offsprings. Such an animal should be instantly killed and burnt, and one, who has had sexual intercourse with the animal should pay its price to its owner.

Issue 2641: * If the kid of a goat or a lamb sucks the milk of a female pig to such an extent that its flesh and bones grow from it and gain strength, itself and its offspring become haraam, and if the quantity of milk sucked by it is less, it will be necessary that it is confined (Istibra) as prescribed in Shariah and thereafter, it becomes halal. And its Istibra is that it should suck Clean (tahir/pak) milk for seven days, or if it does not need milk, it should graze grass for seven days. As an obligatory precaution, this law applies to the calves, and all the young ones of halal animals. Also, it is haraam to eat the meat of an animal which eats najasat and it becomes halal when its Istibra is fulfilled. The manner of observing Istibra has been explained in rule 226.

Issue 2642: * Drinking alcoholic beverage is haraam, and in some traditions (Ahadith), it has been declared as among the greatest sins.

Imam Ja'far Sadiq (A.S.) says: “Alcohol is the root of all evils and sins. A person who drinks alcohol loses his sanity. At that time, he does not know Allah, does not fear committing any sin, respects the rights of no one, and does not desist from committing evil openly. The spirit of faith and piety departs from him and only the impure and vicious spirit, which is far off from the Mercy of Allah, remains in his body. Allah, His angels, His prophets and the true believers curse such a man, and his daily prayers are not accepted for forty days. On the Day of Judgement his face will be dark, and his tongue will come out of his mouth, the saliva will fall on his chest and he will desperately complain of thirst”.

Issue 2643: * To eat at a table at which people are drinking alcohol is haraam and similarly, to sit at that table where people are drinking alcohol is haraam, as a precaution, if one would be reckoned among them.

Issue 2644: It is obligatory upon every Muslim to save the life of a Muslim, who may be dying of hunger or thirst, by providing him enough to eat or drink.

Eating Manners

Issue 2645: * There are certain Mustahab rules to be observed while taking a meal; they are as follows:

(i) Washing both the hands before taking a meal.

(ii) After taking a meal, one should wash one's hands, and dry them with a dry cloth.

(iii) The host should begin eating first, and should also be the last to withdraw his hand. Before starting to take a meal, the host should wash his own hands first, and thereafter, the person sitting on his right should do so. Then the other guests should follow him, till it is the turn of the person sitting on the left side of the host. After finishing the meal, the person sitting on the left side of the host should wash his hands first, and thereafter other persons should follow him till it is the turn of the host.

(iv) One should say Bismillah before starting to eat, and if there are several dishes, it is Mustahab to say Bismillah before partaking of each of the dishes.

(v) One should eat with one's right hand.

(vi) One should eat using three or more fingers and should not eat with two fingers only.

(vii) If several persons are sitting together for their meals, everyone of them should partake of the food placed in front of him.

(viii) One should take small bits of food.

(ix) One should prolong the duration of taking a meal.

(x) One should chew the food thoroughly.

(xi) After taking one's meal one should praise and thank Allah.

(xii) One should lick one's fingers clean after taking food.

(xiii) One should use a toothpick after taking a meal. However, the toothpick should not be made of sweet basil (a fragrant grass) or the leaves of date-palm.

(xiv) One should collect and eat the food which is scattered on the dining cloth. However, if one takes meal in an open place, like a desert etc, it is better to leave the food which has fallen aside, so that it may be eaten by the animals and the birds.

(xv) One should take one's meal in the earlier part of the day, and in the earlier part of the night and should not eat during the day or during the night.

(xvi) After taking one's meal one should lie on one's back, and should place one's right foot on one's left foot.

(xvii) One should take salt before and after the meal.

(xviii) When eating a fruit, one should first wash it before eating.

Acts which are unworthy to do while taking a meal

Issue 2646: *

(i) To eat without being hungry.

(ii) To eat to one's fill. It has been reported in the Hadeeth that over-eating is the worst thing in the eyes of Allah.

(iii) To gaze towards others while eating.

(iv) To eat food while it is still hot.

(v) To blow on food or drink which one is eating or drinking.

(vi) To wait expectantly for something more after the bread or loaf has been served on the dining cloth.

(vii) To cut the loaf with a knife.

(viii) To place the loaf under the food pots or plates etc.

(ix) To scrape off meat stuck to a bone in such a manner that nothing remains on it.

(x) To peel those fruits which are normally eaten with their skin.

(xi) To throw away a fruit before one has eaten it fully.

Manners of Drinking Water

Issue 2647: There are certain acts which are Mustahab while drinking water; they are as follows:

(i) Water should be drunk slowly as if it were sucked.

(ii) During daytime, one should drink water while standing.

(iii) One should say Bismillah, before drinking water and Al-hamdulillah after drinking.

(iv) One should drink water in three sips.

(v) One should drink water when one feels thirsty.

(vi) After drinking water, one should remember Imam Husayn (A.S.) and his Ahlul Bayt (A.S.), and curse the enemies who slew him.

Issue 2648: It is unworthy to drink too much water; to drink water after eating fatty food; and to drink water while standing during the night. It is also unworthy to drink water with one's left hand; to drink water from the side of a container which is cracked or chipped off, or from the side of its handle.