Fruits for the Week

Login

Many Muslims have adopted Western table manners which dictate that the fork should be held in the left hand,

and the knife in the right, so that the food is cut with the right hand and placed in the mouth with the left. They follow this practice without adjusting it, so that they are eating with their left hands, contradictory to the teaching of their religion. They do not bother to move the fork to the right hand and the knife to the left, so that they may eat with their right hand, because they do not want to change this Western ‘etiquette.’

This is just one example of the moral defeat from which our ummah is suffering at the hand of modernism, which we are following slavishly without adjusting foreign customs to suit our own identity, religion, and values. The true Muslim should be the furthest removed from such blind, ignorant imitation.

The true Muslim who is proud of his religion and its noble guidance in all aspects of life insists on eating with his right hand and calls on others to do likewise. He is not ashamed to announce it in gatherings where people still adhere literally to practices that have come from the West, so that he may explain it to those who are ignorant and careless, and bring them back to their senses. Then they will follow the sunnah and eat and drink with their right hands.

With regard to this issue, eating from what is nearest to one, this is in accordance with the Islamic manners of eating. The Prophet (saw) clearly commended this, along with mentioning the name of Allah and eating with the right hand. It is recorded in numerous hadiths, such as the report of Umar ibn Abi Salamah (ra), who said:” I was a young boy under the care of the Messenger of Allah. My hand used to wander all over the plate, so the Prophet told me:’ O’ young boy, mention the name of Allah, eat with your right hand, and eat from what directly in front of you.”’ (Bukhari and Muslim)

When the Muslim eats with his hand, he does so in a nice, good-mannered fashion as the Prophet (saw) used to do. He used to eat with just three fingers; he did not plunge his whole hand into the food in a way that would put others off. This reported by Ka’ab ibn Malik:” I saw the Messenger of Allah eating with three fingers, and when he had finished he would lick them.” (Muslim)

The Prophet (saw) commanded people to lick their fingers and clean their plates, as Jabir (ra) reported that he said:” You do not know where in the food the blessing is.” (Muslim)

Anas (ra) said:” When the Messenger of Allah ate, he would lick his three fingers. He said:’ If any of you drops a mouthful, let him pick it up, remove the dirt, and eat it, and not leave it for the Satan.’ He commanded us to clean our plates and said:’ You do not know in which part your food is the blessing.’” (Muslim)

Besides seeking the blessing in the food, this Prophetic teaching also encourages Muslims to clean their hands and their plates. Cleaning them of whatever food is left befits the man who is clean and well mannered, and is indicative of his sensitivity and good taste. The West has now adopted this good practice which was commanded by the Prophet (saw) fifteen hundred years ago: nowadays the Europeans clear their plates and do not leave anything.

Of course, the sensitive, well-mannered Muslim does not eat noisily, making disgusting sounds, nor does he take large mouthfuls such as would cause him to make a revolting spectacle of himself.

When he has finished eating, he praises Allah as the Prophet (saw) taught us to do, thanking Allah for His blessing and seeking the reward of those who give praise and thanks.

Abu Umamah (ra) said that when the Prophet (saw) finished his meal, he would say:” Alhamdu lillahi kathiran tayyiban mubarakan fihi, ghaira makfiyyin wa laa muwadda’in wala mustaghnan ‘anhu, Rabbana (Praise be to Allah, much good and blessed praise. O’ our Lord, we cannot compensate Your favour, nor leave it nor dispense with it).” (Bukhari)

The well-mannered Muslim dose not criticise food, no matter what it is, following the teaching and example of the Prophet (saw). Abu Hurayrah (ra) said:” The Messenger of Allah never criticized food. If he liked it, he ate it, and if he did not like it, he left it.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The Muslim’s manners with regard to drinking are also derived from the teachings of Islam, which impart good manners to man in every aspect of life.

After mentioning the name of Allah, he drinks in two or three draughts. He does not breathe into the cup, nor does he drink from the mouth of the jug or bottle if he can help it. He should not breathe into his drink, and should drink sitting down if he can.

(Ends)

         (Prepared by Abdul Muhaemin Karim)