Eating: Etiquettes & Supplications [19]

19. It is sunnah to say ‘bismillāh’ before eating. It is a means of blessings and goodness, and a strong barrier for Shaytan from partaking of the food.

Huḍayfah (r.a.) narrates that the Messenger of Allāh (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “The devil considers the food upon which Allah’s name (bismillah) is not mentioned over.” (Muslim)

Jabir b. ‘Abdullah reported the Messenger of Allāh (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) as saying:

“When a person enters his house and mentions the name of Allah at the time of entering it and while eating food, Shaytan says (addressing himself and his companions): You have no place to spend the night and no evening meal; but when he enters without mentioning the name of Allah, Shaytan says (addressing himself and his companions): You have found a place to spend the night, and when he does not mention the name of Allah while eating food, he (the Shaytan) says: You have found a place to spend the night and evening meal.” (Muslim)

It is narrated that Aishah (r.a.) said:

“The Messenger of Allāh (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) was eating food with six of his Companions when a Bedouin came and ate it all in two bites. The Messenger of Allāh (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: ‘If he had taken Allāh’s name (bismillah), it would have sufficed you (all). When any one of you eats food, let him say ‘bismillah’, and if he forgets to say ‘bismillāh’ at the beginning, let him say ‘bismillahi awwalahu wa akhirihu’ (In the Name of Allah at the beginning and at the end). (Musnad Aḥmad)

It is narrated from Salmah (r.a.) that she prepared khazīrah (a dish made with meat and flour) for the Messenger of Allāh and presented it to him. So the Messenger of Allāh and a few companions partook of it. After they finished, there remained a little, when suddenly a Bedouin arrived. The Messenger of Allāh (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) summoned the Bedouin, who took all the remaining food in his hand. The Messenger of Allāh (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) instructed him to place it back, take the name of Allāh, and eat a little as this will fill your stomach. The Bedouin followed the instructions given to him, and his stomach was full and there still remained a little food. (Ṭabarānī)

It is narrated from the student of Abdullah Ibn Mas‘ūd, Abu-l Ahwas that Abdullah Ibn Mas‘ūd said: “The devil of a believer meets the devil of a non-believer. Upon seeing the devil of the believer weak and frail, the devil of the non-believer enquires about his situation and says that you have diminished and weakened. To this, the devil of the believer says that, ‘By Allāh, I fail to acquire anything with this believer. When he eats, he takes the name of Allāh, and when he drinks, he takes the name of Allāh, and when he enters his home, he takes the name of Allāh (for this reason I am weak and frail). Hearing this, the devil of the non-believer says that I eat his food, and drink his drink and sleep in his bed. As a result, the latter (devil of the non-believer) is big and strong and the former (devil of the believer) is weak and frail. (Ṭabarānī)

(Adapted from Khāne Pīne ke Ādāb by Muftī Muhammad Riḍwan. Published by Kutub Khāna Idāra Gufrān, Rawalpindi.)

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