The Sunnah of Eating in Islam – A Complete Guide to Follow

The Sunnah of Eating in Islam – A Complete Guide to Follow

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A true Muslim must follow the Sunnah of eating in Islam. However, the core problem is that there are endless narrations of how the Prophet (SAWS) ate food. One must learn the etiquette of eating to ensure their religious beliefs are protected. The Muslim religion diet is specific and both adults, as well as children, must learn the Sunnah for eating food and build good Muslim habits.

This article explains the 21 Sunnah of eating in Islam, the Halal food list in Islam as well as Haram food items. We have also explained the Quran’s look on food later in this article.


Sunnah/Etiquettes of Eating and Drinking

Islamic scripture outlines food items that are Halal and Haram in Quran surah and Islam dietary rules. The Prophet (SAWS) Muhammad’s (SAWS) characteristics and actions were coined as-Sunnah and guide a Muslim to lead a successful, peaceful, and productive life.

The Sunnah are the manners of eating and drinking in Islam and are as follows:

1. Wash your hands and clean your mouth.
Eating from dirty hands and mouth is wrong as it may lead to contamination. The Prophet (SAWS) used to wash his hands and gargle before and after eating.

2. Spread Dastarkhwan (Table Cloth)
Spread Dastarkhwan on the floor to place all the dishes. Dastarkhwan is used as a sanitary surface for food.  The Prophet (SAWS) used to spread a Dastarkhwan before eating and the food was laid on it. This prevents wastage of food.

3. Say the name of Allah before eating and drinking
The last messenger of Allah always says the name of the creator before eating and drinking food and taught his disciples to do the same. It is believed that if you fail to take the name of Allah, Satan can affect your food and take the Barkah of Allah from it.

4. Sit on the Floor to Eat

All must eat on the floor to ensure similarity between all classes. From slaves to the riches, all must eat on the floor as the Prophet (SAWS) would do the same.

5. Use right hand while eating and drinking

Using the right hand while eating and drinking is the ideal way taught by the Prophet (SAWS). The left hand is believed to be the hand of Satan and against the table manners in Islam.

6. Eat from the front

The Prophet (SAWS) always ate from the front to ensure optimal eating manners and avoid mess while eating. The ummah must follow in his footsteps and do the same while eating the Sunnah diet.

7. Compliment tasty food

Complimenting tasty food is important said the Prophet (SAWS) and would do so whoever someone offered him tasty food to eat. This would make people around him happy and content.

8. Do not criticize food

Criticizing the food was not one of the Prophet (SAWS)’s traits; he would simply leave any food item he did not like. This way he was able to avoid hurting the feelings of someone who would cook and bring food for him.

9. Start passing the dishes to the person sitting on the right

The table etiquette that the Prophet (SAWS) followed was to pass the dishes to the person sitting on the right side.

10. Always keep the drinking water covered

The last messenger of Allah used to cover the water pot after drinking water from it. This is one of the Islam foods laws that must be followed by Muslims all across the world.

11. Drink while sitting on the floor and finish the drink in three gulps
When drinking water, you must sit on the floor and finish the drink in three gulps. The Prophet (SAWS) said that this habit promotes health in individuals and also prevents choking.

12. Do not drink water in gold or silver vessels
The Prophet (SAWS) did not drink water from gold and silver vessels as it is an identification of luxury and oppression.

13. Share food
As a way to increase harmony among Muslims, the Prophet (SAWS) said to share food with others. He used to do the same with his Ummah and hence

14. Accept meal invitation
Because meal invitations are a way to increase harmony and help make relationships strong, the Prophet (SAWS) would never reject any meal invitation. The disciples of Prophet (SAWS) Mohammad must share meal invitations and must not reject them.

15. Wipe off the dishes
The Prophet (SAWS) always wiped his dishes after eating Muslim Halal food. This was done to ensure that no food goes to waste and that all the nutrients from the food are received by the person eating it.
16. Lick your fingers
Licking fingers is what the Prophet (SAWS) said is a way to receive all the nutrients from the fruit along with Allah’s blessings. If you choose to clean fingers from a cloth, this would leave you devoid of those blessings.

17. Never waste food
Wasting or discarding food is wrongdoing as per the Prophet (SAWS). It is better to distribute that food among the needy persons. This is how you can minimize the wastage of food and make more food available for those in need.

18. Overeating is a wrong habit
Overeating must be avoided said the Prophet (SAWS) and he also asked his followers to do the same. When you indulge in overeating, it leads to health issues and laziness while decreasing the amount of food available to others.

19. Say praise of Allah after eating
Prophet (SAWS) Mohammad always praised Allah after consuming food. Allah is the provider of food and one must thank him after eating food.

20. Don’t wash your hands on the Plate you ate
When you wash your hands on the plate after eating food the Barakah is washed away. The Prophet (SAWS) used to wash his hands in separate bowl.

21. Do Miswak
One must never have a foul-smelling mouth and hence must do Miswak. There is specific timing to do Miswak including before and after eating food and before entering a Majlis.


Good Foods to Eat:

1.Eat Lentils
All the members of the Ummah must consume lentils as they were eaten by the Prophet (SAWS) Mohammad frequently. Lentils are a part of a healthy diet in Islam as they have low cholesterol levels as well as easy digestive properties.

2. Eat Dates
Dates offer a wide range of health benefits and hence the Prophet (SAWS) included them in Islam’s dietary rules. He used to eat a lot of Dates and taught Muslims to do the same.

3. Drinking the water of ZamZam
One of the key manners of eating and drinking in Islam is that one must drink the water of ZamZam as it offers a wide range of health benefits and the Prophet (SAWS) used to do the same. However, the Prophet (SAWS) used to drink water while standing up, and hence e the Muslims must do it in the same manner.

Apart from this, the Prophet (SAWS) also guided his followers to avoid eating in rush or eating food that is piping hot. The 20 Sunnah of eating in Islam ensures that the food is distributed equally among all and also the health of those who consume it is well-maintained.


What does the Quran say about food?

A Muslim must eat to his/her senses. Also, the entire focus must be on food and one must not watch phone and television while eating food.

Quran also says that eating in excess is a wrong habit.

“Eat and drink, but avoid excess.” [20:81].

“And He enforced the balance. That you exceed not the bounds; but observe the balance strictly, and fall not short thereof.” [55:7-9]

The Prophet (SAWS) also said;

“No human being has ever filled a container worse than his stomach. The son of Adam needs no more than a few morsels of food to keep up his strength, doing so he should consider that a third of his stomach is for food, a third for drink, and a third for breathing” [Ibn Maja].

It is also important to eat all varieties of food instead of sticking to red meat, vegetables, or white meat.


What does Islam forbid eating?

There is also Halal food in Quran as well as food that is forbidden. The forbidden food items are Haram and are against the Muslim dietary laws. As per the Quran, any meat procured from a dead animal, blood, Pig meat as well as any food item that is devoted to someone else than Allah is Haram in Islam.


Haram food for Muslim includes:

  • Pork
  • Crustaceans
  • Blood
  • Non-Halal animal additives including the gelatin or suet
  • Alcohol and any ingredient foods containing alcohol

Halal foods in Islam:

Meat, fruit, vegetables, and eggs are Halal in Islam. However, Halal meat meaning in Islam is also different and a Muslim can only consume the meat that comes from a slaughtered Halal animal. Milk and dairy products including cheese are considered Halal.

A detailed Halal food list in Islam is as follows:

  • Cereal products not containing Haram ingredients
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • All fruits
  • Juices
  • Milk
  • Yogurt, cheese, and ice cream
  • Certified meat and poultry
  • Seafood
  • Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Peanut butter
  • Tofu
  • Halal deli meats
  • Legumes 

However, any of these items made with Haram ingredients or containing Haram ingredients is Haram food in Quran.

Islam teaches a complete way of life and following the various eating Sunnah ensures you eat healthily. Moreover, by eating and drinking Halal food and following the Sunnah you get a chance to worship Allah.

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