Bismillahir rahmenir raheem
With Ramadhan coming up, now more than ever we need to be aware of the important sunnahs around eating and drinking. No doubt, if you are fortunate enough to have family and friends around for iftar the food and drink will be flowing inshaAllah. But don’t think just because the fast is over for the day, that you’re goal of attaining good deeds is done until suhoor.
Here are some the sunnahs of eating and drinking!
Wash Your Hands Before You Start Eating
As hungry as we’ll all be, it’s important to wash your hands before you start eating. Not only is this part of the sunnah, it’s general hygiene. And as you will see, you’ll be eating with your hands so you’ll want them to be clean.
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “The blessings in the meal is by washing before and after it.” [Abu Dawud]
Make Du’a on Breaking Your Fast and Say “Bismillah” Before Eating
Even before we have taken the first sip of water, we should say the following du’a:
“The thirst has gone and the veins are quenched, and reward is confirmed, if Allaah wills” – Thahabadh-dhama’u wabtallatil-‘urooqu, wa thabatal-ajru inshaa-Allaahu. In Ramadhan, and for the rest of the year, it’s important to remember that any sustenance that comes to us, has only come to by the permission of Allah swt. He swt is Ar-Rizzaq (The Sustainer).
Eat with the Right Hand and with 3 Fingers
Now, I know how this may seem strange especially if you’re used to eating with a knife and fork. I myself did not take too well to this concept of eating with my hands but over the years I have gotten used to it alhamdulillah. It really does help to build a relationship with your food and curbs over-eating as you can only pick up 3 fingers worth of food at a time.
“When any one of you eats, let him eat with his right hand, and when he drinks, let him drink with his right hand, because the Shaytaan eats with his left hand and drinks with his left hand.” [Muslim]
Eat From What is Directly Infront of You
In the UK especially, the hours of fasting are long and warm. I personally have never exerienced a Ramadhan in the winter so I know nothing but the long summer fasts alhamdulillah. But one thing is certain, when it’s time to break your fast you are HUNGRY. But, we should only take from the food that is infront of us as according to the hadith of the Prophet (saw) in which He (saw) said “O young boy, say Bismillaah, eat with your right hand, and eat from what is directly in front of you.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
Pray for Your Host
There is great reward in providing food to a person and that reward is increased when that person has been fasting. Whether it is your husband, children, family members, friends or even a homeless person on the street sharing food during Ramadhan is a noble task alhamdulillah. Cooking for a group of people can be stressful during Ramadhan so keeping your host in mind is beneficial.
The Prophet (saw) made this du’a for Sa’d ibn Ubaadah who brought him a simple meal of bread and oil. “May fasting people break their fast with you, may the righteous eat your food, and may the angels send blessings upon you.”
The 3 Second Rule in Islam – Eating Food That’s Dropped
I’m sure we’ve all heard of the 3 or 5 second rule from when we were younger but I’m sure you never knew about it in relation to the sunnah. It’s easy to take for granted the food that we have in Ramadhan. Every grain of rice, every vegetable, every morself of meat is a blessing from Allah swt and we should all strive to remember that.
“If any one of you drops a piece of food, let him remove any dirt from it and eat it, and not leave it for the Shaytaan.” [Muslim]
Lick Your Fingers When Your Finished and Clean the Plate
“Whenever the Messenger of Allah (saw) ate food, he would lick his three fingers.” [Muslim]
“You do not know in which portion the blessing lies.” [Muslim]
In some cultures, this may be seen as disrespectful or bad manners but in Islam it’s part of the sunnah. Remember though, this is the sunnah AFTER you’ve finished eating, don’t be a double dipper and lick your fingers and then go in for a second taste. Islam praises good hygiene!
And remember to clean the plate! The same rule applies, you don’t know where the blessing is, that knowledge is only with Allah swt. Cleaning your plate also lets the host know that they’re a really good cook mashaAllah.
After You’ve Finished Eating
So you’ve come to the end of your meal, alhamdulillah. Allah swt has provided you with sustenance to go ahead and pray Tarawih with energy but the sunnah doesn’t stop, it’s a guide to life!
When you’ve taken your last bite say “Alhamdulillah” or follow the hadith in which the Prophet (saw) used to say, “Al-hamdu Lillaahi hamdan katheeran tayyiban mubaarakan fihi ghayra makfiyyin wa laa muwadda’in wa laa mustaghnan ‘anhu rabbana (Praise be to Allaah, much good and blessed praise. O our Lord, You are not in need of anyone, and we cannot do without Your favour nor dispense with it).” [Bukhari]
These are some of the sunnahs of eating. If there’s anymore you’d like to add leave a comment below inshaAllah.