Eating Habits & Table Manners of the Prophet - Our Prophet 6 - Foundations Of Islamic State
Now, speaking of some of these accounts about the Prophet and how you know he would eat at the house of Abu Ayyub, let's talk about table manners from the life of the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi. Now, by the way, in Islam, we don't call them table manners. Why do we not call them table manners? Any ideas? [There were no tables]. Because in Islam, no there were tables, because in Islam, it is unrecommended to sit on a table. Yes, it is mustahab to sit on the floor and we'll see this from the life of the Prophet. So let's call it food manners, not table manners, to be very technical and specific.
So, the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi, whatever he would eat, what would he do? How would he approach eating? What was his table manners, as they say, or food manners? What was the etiquette and the instructions that he gives us? Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, he says 'Whenever the Prophet salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi, would eat or drink, he would say 'Al-hamdu li-Llahi alladhee at'amana.' All praise is due to Allah who fed us. 'Wa saqana', and the One who gave us water to drink. 'Wa sawwa'aghu wa ja'ala lahoo makhraja.' And Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, is the one who made this food available to us. He would always thank Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala.
In another Hadith, it is mentioned that the Prophet, when he would drink, some of us, especially when we're thirsty, especially some men, have you seen how they drink water? They take the bottle with one sip, they gulp all of it, right? It is makruh in Islamic law. Take small sips. Take small sips, after each sip, thank Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. The Prophet was keen on observing them.
So, 'Shariba jur'atan, thumma qata'a, thumma samma.' He'd take a sip, he'd thank Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, he would say Bismillah and then he would continue to the other sip. So, if you have a cup of water, at least three sips, that's how you follow the Sunnah of the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi.
Yes, at night, it is Makruh to be standing up while you drink water but during the day you can stand up. This are, these are also some of the manners of the drinking and eating. So, let's examine some of these interesting Ahadith.
One of the hadith of the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi, he says, 'Whenever there is food that's presented to you, say Bismillah, in the name of Allah. 'Allahumma ja'alha na'matan mashkoorah'. O Allah, make this food a blessed na'ma.' Something that is blessed that I thank you for, something that I can be thankful for. 'Tasil biha na'ma al-Jannah, O Allah, connect this blessing with the blessing of Jannah.' Just like you've given us blessings here, make this continue until the Day of Judgment, until Paradise. The Prophet would always say this.
Another Hadith from the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi. The Prophet says 'Whenever there is a meal that's presented before you, four angels come. The angels say 'O human who's about to eat, if you say Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim, we will protect you from the demons.' The demons are here congregating to eat with you, so they leave a negative impact on you.
So they look at the human being, if he says, Bismillah, they will guard that meal, and they will not allow the demons and the devils and Shaytan and his children to join. But if the person does not say Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim, the angels will say 'Sorry, it is you and the demons, you protect your own self.' The demons will come and actually break bread with you at the table. And that has all sorts of spiritual negative consequences. So, the Prophet says 'Say Bismillah, it protects you from the influences of the demon.'
If the food is haram, according to Islamic law from the Ahl ul-Bayt, peace be upon them, if saying Bismillah will not make it Halal. The meat must have been slaughtered the Islamic way. Yeah, if you say Bismillah on Haram food, it is not going to make it Halal.
No, they won't protect you, because that food is a violation of Allah's law. That's like violating your parents and then saying something that they like, this doesn't work that way. It must be in the obedience of Allah. So, saying Bismillah on Haram food is not going to protect you from any negative impact. Some Sunni Madhaha'ib, they believe that, saying the Bismillah will make the food Halal, not all of them. Many of them believe in Zabiha as what they call it.
The second manner when it comes to eating food is washing your hands. You have to wash your hands before you eat. You know, in our modern age, we're told this since we were children, germs and bacteria and what have you. So, this is something that the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi, used to emphasize, specifically doing Wudhu. Doing Wudhu before you eat, will have Baraka on the food. Make sure that you do Wudhu before you eat, if you can.
The third one, leave the food while you're still hungry. The Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi, says, "Kul wa anta tashhadi", eat when you have an appetite to eat. "Wa amsik anta tashhadi", and stop when you still have the appetite to eat. In other words, don't make yourself full. Eat not too much. When there's still more room and you still want some more, say, okay, that's it, I'm going to get up. This is healthy for you, healthy for the body, and more important, healthy for the soul.
Eating to the point where you are full, makes your soul heavy, and you lose the appetite to worship Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala. You recite Du'a Kumayl, you don't interact with it. One reason is because your soul is loaded. Yes, we burden the soul with sins, with other things. But one thing is eating a lot of food. Yes.
[Some people, they eat until you drop]. The Prophet, you know specifically mentions this. "Iyyakum wa fudhulan al-mat'am, fa innahu yasummu al-qalb". The Prophet says if you eat a lot excessively, this poisons your heart. It poisons the heart. "Wa yubtu' bi al-jawarihi wa an at-ta'a'". You feel as if your body parts are not interested in worshiping Allah. Subhana Allah! So, this is one of the etiquette.
Another etiquette. If there's multiple foods on the table, let's say meat and bread the Prophet says, start with the bread. It has the Baraka. And when you are really hungry, if you allow the bread to satiate that hunger first, then you eat the meat, this is healthier and also you seek the Baraka of the bread.
Another instruction we see from the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi, is chewing the food. The Prophet says, chew the food so much before you swallow it, because this will allow your digestive system to digest it without too much of a burden on it. This is one of the etiquette. In fact, one Hadith says, I think, 30 times, chew the food 30 times before you actually swallow it. This is from the Sunna. Yes, you can hold the Misbaha and count.
Sharing with others. The Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi, despised eating alone. He had to have company and guests. Three companions, five companions. Ahlan wa Sahlan. The house of the Prophet was always open to them. He would always break bread with them.
The next one is avoiding hot foods. "Qala salla Allahu alayhi wa alih, barridi at-ta'am fa inna al-harra la barakata fihi". Don't sip a drink that's excessively hot, don't eat something that's excessively hot. Modern science has confirmed that eating very hot foods can lead to cancer in the esophagus, wa al-ayyaduu Bi-Llah. Because when food is that hot and it is going down through your esophagus, it could actually impact the cells. It does damage to the cells such that sometimes there is a mutation in the cells, that leads to cancer.
And Subhana Allah, the Prophet, 14th centuries ago, he says, wait for the food to kind of cool down and then eat it. The Prophet also explains, wait for the food to cool down, don't blow into it. Do not do Nafkh, blow into the drink to make it cold or blowing into the food. Let it cool down on its own. This is from the Sunna of the Prophet, and this is from the Sunna of his table manners.
Another very interesting Hadith, "Qala salla Allahu alayhi wa alih, al-mu'min ya'kulu bi ash-shahwati ahlih wa al-munafiq ya'kulu ahluhu bi shahwatih". What does this mean? The Hadith of the Prophet says, the true believer will eat what his wife and family and children desire. And the Munafiq, the hypocrite, he imposes what he wants on them, and he wants to eat something, and they must eat the food that he likes. The believer is the one who leaves it up to the family. Whatever you like to eat, let's eat. I'm not going to impose what I like.
Some men, Allahu Akbar, no, if they go to their house that day and there is a food that they don't desire, they have an issue. Big problem that day. It is a catastrophe. The Prophet says this is a sign of Nifaq. This is a sign of what? Hypocrisy. If you want to be a true believer, keep that in mind.
Cleaning the teeth and brushing after each meal. The Prophet would always not only brush. Now, I don't know what type of floss they had, they would use the stick, but basically flossing your teeth. The Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi, said, after having a meal, make sure that no remnants of the food are stuck in between the teeth. This is from the Sunna of the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi.
Miswak is brushing, but the Khilal also. There would be bits of food in between the teeth. The Prophet says remove them. So, in our modern times, we achieve that through flossing.
Another instruction the Prophet teaches us through example, never ever did he eat while leaning on a wall or on a pillow or something. Never! He was always sitting like the slaves would do, and he would eat. And this is why it is recommended to eat on the floor. Brothers and sisters, it really has an impact on your Akhlaq. Try! Sit on the floor and just remind yourself, I am nothing but a servant of Allah, and eat. See how spiritually you feel uplifted after that meal. The Prophet would always observe this.
Sometimes some of his companions would object him, Ya Rasul Allah, you're the greatest prophet, you're sitting on the floor? He says, yes, I am a A'bd. I'm a slave of Allah and I'll sit with the slaves, with the poor, with the Masakin. I'll sit like them.
When do you sit on the table, you have seen aristocrats? People who think they have a lot of class. They sit on the table. They have these perfect table manners. I don't know if you put your elbow, kaffarat. If you do this, this is wrong. And the way they even eat and they're so delicate. The fork has to be exactly a certain degree of the fork. But see, their intention in doing that is to have class. That is a type of arrogance. That's why in Islam, Allah says, sit on the floor and eat with your hand. You know, it is unrecommended to eat with a fork or eat with a spoon. It is unrecommended. Yes, it is Makruh. It is Mustahab to follow to the Sunna of the Prophet and eat with three fingers. With three fingers, pick up the food and eat it.
Now you might be saying, okay, is this hygienic or not? Let me say a few words about this. If you have washed your hand, which the Prophet says you have to, the Prophet says if you don't wash your hands and you get sick, don't blame but yourself. Wash your hands. Eating food with your hands has a number of benefits. Health benefits. We are not even talking about the spiritual benefits.
The first health benefits science is confirming, please research this. You can research this on the Internet. Science has confirmed there is a type of bacteria on the tip of your fingertips which is not harmful to the human. In fact, it is necessary and beneficial for digestion. So, when you are eating with the fingers and you have washed them, you're actually helping yourself digest the food. This is healthy.
[Can you lick your fingers too?] Licking the fingers after you finish? Yes. That is also Mustahab. It is part of the Sunna. I know it is not part of Western table manners, but yes, it is highly Mustahab.
Number two. Do you know that when you eat with your hands, you limit the quantity of food? Try it. Try eating a meal with three fingers. You will eat less than if you have a spoon. And just eating and eating and eating. It really has a lot of benefits. I know a lot of you might feel this is awkward, maybe some of you being disgusting, because you are not used to it. But remember, this has benefits. Ask doctors. They will tell you if you've washed your hands, eat with your hands. It is better.
So, the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi, would make it a point not to use any of these silverware that we have. No, be humble. Eat with your food. the Ahadith even indicate when you bring the food to your mouth with your hands, you feel the blessing of Allah more. It is like touching the Na'ma of Allah with your own hand. You interact with it. Subha Allah!
Just try it, you know, for those who find this awkward. Start at home, you don't have to do it in front of others if it feels awkward. And remember, if you go someplace and this might send the wrong image, that is a different circumstance. But at least in your own house, in your own house, try to implement the Sunnah of the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi.
Another aspect of table manners is avoiding water when you eat something that's oily, avoid drinking water immediately with it. Science has also confirmed why this is significant. I won't get into that, because this will take a long time. So, I will mention these very quickly.
Do not eat in the state of Janaba. This is highly, highly discouraged, a Hadith from the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi. He says "Innahu yurath al-Fakr", it leads to poverty. Poverty means that life can sometimes become miserable. And even though you have a lot of money, you won't enjoy that money. So, keep that in mind.
Another Hadith from the Prophet, don't be a strict vegetarian. Makruh in Islam. The Prophet says at least once every 40 days, eat meat. It is highly recommended. And the best type of meat to eat is lamb. Beef not so recommended. Chicken, not so recommended. Lamb is the most Mustahab type of meat. It is highly recommended.
The Prophet says at least once every 40 days, don't avoid the Sunnah of the Prophet. In fact, the Imam says to those poor people, if eating meat once every 40 days means that you go and take a loan, take a loan. That's how important it is. We have many Ahadith that state, eating meat every once in a while, special lamb, has good spiritual effects on the body, and it has positive effects even on the Subha Allah.
The Imam was once asked about a person who has a bad attitude. The Imam, alayhi as-salam, said, is he avoiding meat? He was told yes. He said no. Let him meet every once in a while.
I know today there is this global revolution with the vegans and vegetarians. Yes. Not eating a lot of meat is good. Don't eat meat excessively. This is not recommended in Islam. But, being a strict vegetarian is not recommended in Islamic law. It is not Haram. There's no problem with that. It is just not recommended. Yeah, eating meat every day is also not recommended.
Also very quickly, some highly Mustahab foods, the Prophet encouraged to eat; honey, especially raw, organic honey, right? Yeah. That is mentioned in the Hadith of the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi. He says: "Man arada al-hifdha, fa al ya'kul al-asal". If you want a sharp memory, eat honey. This will help in eating any time, but maybe in the morning, it is better than other times.
Eating Pomegranates. How many of you eat pomegranates? You know what the Hadith says? Insha Allah, that's the sign that you're believers. The Prophet says, "alaykum bi ar-rumman". Make sure that you eat pomegranates. He says every, what do you call them, the seeds? Every seed of the pomegranate when it lands in your stomach, Allah will illuminate a light in your heart [Allahu Akbar!]. It is one of the foods of paradise.
The Hadith of the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi, says, "man akala rummanatan hatta yutammimaha". The Hadith says, when you eat a pomegranate, don't miss a single seed, even if it falls, take it, wash it, don't throw it. Eat to the entire pomegranate. "Nawwara Allahu qalbahoo 'arbayina ya'wmuan" [Allahu Akbar!]. Allah will give special light to your heart for 40 days. Remember, there is a complex relationship between the body and the soul. Sometimes these things really impact the soul in a positive way.
Respecting Crumbs of Bread. Brothers and sisters, whenever you see crumbs of bread fallen on the floor, on the table, don't throw them away. In fact, the Prophet and the Imams would make it a point to eat those crumbs. It is highly recommended. Allah, Subhana wa Ta'ala, will give you many blessings for respecting the bread. Because that is the basis of our foods. So, any crumbs of bread that you see, eat them. Don't throw them away.
Yes, if it becomes dry, yes, you can put them for the birds. But if you can on that day, eat those crumbs. If you can eat them, eat them. Don't throw them away.
Yes, there are certain days, like I think Friday. It is highly recommended to eat on Friday. Any day is Mustahab, it is highly mustahab to have to eat pomegranate on Friday, early morning, before having anything. Ala ar-rih, as they say. Yes, it is very, very Mustahab.
Yes. The Hadith says, "alaykum bi ar-rumman wa kulu shahmahu, fa innahu dibagh al-ma'dah". I don't know, what do you call that thin peel around the seeds of the pomegranate? That white. What do you call that? The skin. That thin skin, it is Mustahab to eat it as well. Yes.
The Prophet says it is excellent for the stomach. It is good for digestion. Yes, exactly. Yeah. Don't throw that away. Try to eat it. It might not taste that good, but it is really good. Yes, it is very healthy.
So, we see that the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi, who was observed and Abu Ayyub Ansari and some others, they have narrated, you know the table manners of the Prophet, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi.
Insha Allah as we try to become closer to the Prophet in his lessons, in his Akhlaq, in his moral lessons, even in these things, the Prophet is a role model for us. In sha Allah, we can implement that.