13. Food should be consumed while seated in a state of utter humility. A posture which displays pride and haughtiness should be avoided. The following statement of the Messenger of Allāh (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) is recorded in aḥadīth, “I eat like a servant and slave (i.e. with humility) and I sit like a servant and slave.” (Musnad Abū Ya‘lā)
‘Abdullah bin Busr (r.a.) said: “I gave the Messenger of Allāh (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) sheep to consume, and the Messenger of Allāh (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) sat on his knees to eat. A Bedouin asked: ‘What is this sitting?’ He said: ‘Allah has made me a humble slave (of Allah) and has not made me arrogant and stubborn.’” (Ibn Mājah)
In light of such aḥadīth, the muḥaddithīn (ḥadīth scholars) and fuqahā (jurists) have considered an arrogant posture of sitting as makrūh (disliked), whilst holding a humble and modest posture as sunnah and desirable.
The following postures of sitting have been deemed sunnah and desirable as they display a sense of humility:
1. To sit in a similar position as men do when sitting in salah, placing the posterior on the bottom of the feet.
2. To sit in the exact manner as men do in salah, laying down the left foot on its left side and sit on it while allowing the right to stand upright with the heel in the air so that the toes are facing the direction of the Qiblah.
3. To sit in the exact manner as women do in salah, keeping the posterior on the ground and emerging the left foot from under the right foot.
4. To sit while having the right knee raised and sitting on the left leg.
5. To raise the right knee, and spread the left leg while keeping the posterior on the ground in a manner that the left leg is not under the posterior.
It is transmitted from the Messenger of Allāh (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) that on some occasions he would sit to eat without resting his posterior on the ground, while raising both knees, resting his weight on his feet. On this basis, some scholars have included this posture among the sunnah and desired postures while eating.
On the other hand, other scholars have stated hunger and hurry the reason for sitting in the above posture (as stated in some narrations). As a result, it is undesirable to sit in the above position in normal circumstances. However, if for a valid excuse (like being in a hurry or impurity is on the ground), one eats in the above position, there is no harm as it was recorded from the Messenger of Allāh (may Allah bless him and grant him peace).
To conclude, one should eat with utmost humility and avoid any arrogant and haughty posture.
(Adapted from Khāne Pīne ke Ādāb by Muftī Muhammad Riḍwan. Published by Kutub Khāna Idāra Gufrān, Rawalpindi.)
More to follow …