Eating in Islam

A country lost its ruler in an accident. The ruler had no successor and nobody with sufficient qualification was around. The appointment was deferred by several days. Finally an elderly person told the concerned to arrange a feast and invite people. “One who eats properly shall rule the country,” he said. The feast was arranged and the proper person found. He was entrusted with the job of ruling the country and he proved an ideal ruler. This is why some nice people say eating is an art.

The most revered Prophet (SAW) not only taught His companions (RA) what to eat, how and when, He also made a mention of the quantity of food to be eaten by a believer.

The Holy Prophet (SAW) has dealt with this subject in detail and everything from washing the hands to supplication after eating have been reduced into writing.


Accepting invitation: A believer must accept the invitation. The most revered Prophet (SAW) always accepted invitations. It strengthens social bonds. Even invitations of non-believers were not rejected by Allah’s Messenger (SAW).

What to eat: A believer can eat anything which is lawful for him to eat. And what has been forbidden should not be taken. The most revered Prophet (SAW) would eat dates, drink milk, meat, chicken and bread. The Holy Prophet (SAW) liked gourd and at times ate snake-cucumber. He would also take honey and Talbina(a kind of dish prepared from flour or bran and sometimes honey is added) (Al Bukhari)

The most revered Prophet (SAW) never resorted to gluttony. Hazrat Ayesha (RA) narrates, “The family of Muhammad (SAW) ate bread to their satisfaction for three consecutive days since his arrival in Al Madinahuntil he died.” (Al Bukhari).

“A believer eats with one intestine and a non-believer eats in seven intestines.” (Narrated by Nafi Ibn Umer (RA) and reported by Al Bukhari). This hadith does not mean that a believer is short of six intestines. It means that a believer is satisfied with little food.

How to eat: The most revered Prophet (SAW) never ate while leaning with a pillow or wall.  Narrated Abu Juhaifa (RA), while I was with the Holy Prophet (SAW), He said to a man who was with him, “I do not take meals while leaning.” (Al Bukhari).

And the most revered Prophet (SAW) never ate in silver, golden utensils. He did not eat in a big tray or a dining table. (Al Bukhari, Hadith Nos. 7:337-O.b and 7: 297-OB)

The Holy Prophet (SAW) never criticized food. He used to eat if he liked it and leave it if he did not like it. (Al Bukhari, narrated by Abu Huraira).

After finishing the meals, the Holy Prophet (SAW) would lick and suck his fingers before cleaning them with a handkerchief. (Al Bukhari). And later, he would supplicate in the following words, “All the praise and thanks be to Allah! Much god and blessed praise! O our Lord. We cannot compensate your favour, nor can leave it, nor can dispense with it.” (Al Bukhari).