Etiquette for Eating and Drinking

A Muslim has a lot of importance attached to what he or she eats or drinks. He wants to know the source from where it came from, whether it is from a pure source or not. He eats, not for the pleasure of eating, but simply because he must eat to maintain a healthy body so that he can worship Allah, his maker. This, he believes is (i.e. the worship of Allah) what qualifies him for the life after, where he hopes to have eternal happiness. Therefore, if he is not hungry, he does not eat, if he is not thirsty, he does not drink. As written by Allah’s messenger (SAW) “We are a people who do not eat until we are hungry, and if eat, we do not eat to our fill.” This goes to say, that Muslims must adhere to the manners of eating and drinking that the shariah has issued.

These include the following:

1) A Muslim should try to make his food and drink pure by preparing them from the permissible pure sources that are free from any taint of the forbidden or doubtful. Allah said “O you, who believe, eat of the lawful pure things that we have provided you.” (2:172) the lawful things are things that are free from any form of filth or being noxious.

2) The intention for eating should be to strengthen oneself for the purpose of worshipping Allah and to be rewarded for one’s eating and drinking. This permissible act therefore, becomes an act of worship, which in turn, is recorded by Allah, because it is done with good intention.

3) If the hands are not clean, or one is not sure that they are clean, then the hands must be washed before eating.

4) In order to make the food modest, it should be placed on a spread on the floor, rather than on a table.” Allah’s messenger does not eat on a table or from a platter.”

5) Before eating, one should sit in a moderate form. He should rest on his knees, and sit with the top of his feet on the ground, and his body resting on the bottom of his feet. Also, he may put his left leg erect and sit upon his left leg, as the manner that Allah’s messenger said “I did not eat while reclining. Instead, I am a servant, so I eat like a servant sits.”

6) Instead of finding fault with the food presented, he should be satisfied with it. If he likes the food, he should eat it, but if he didn’t like the food, he should leave it.