Eating: Etiquettes & Supplications [26-27]

26. Only the right hand should be used for eating. However, if the need arises to use the left hand, it may be used to assist the right hand; keeping the right hand as primary and the left as secondary.

To eat with the left hand is highly detestable and the way of Shaytan.

It is narrated from Jābir (r.a.) that the Messenger of Allāh (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “Don’t eat with your left hand, as Shaytan eats with his left hand.” (Muslim)

A similar narration is reported from Abū Hurayrah (r.a.).

Ibn Umar (r.a.) narrates that the Messenger of Allāh (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “When any of you eats, he should eat with his right hand, and when he drinks, he should drink with his right hand, for the devil eats with his left hand and drinks with his left hand.” (Muslim)

Akwa (r.a.) narrates that a man ate with his left hand in the presence of the Messenger of Allāh (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). Upon this he said to him: “Eat with your right hand.” He said: I cannot do that, whereupon he (the Messenger of Allāh) said: May you not be able to do that. It was vanity that prevented him from doing it, and he could not raise it (the right hand) up to his mouth (as a punishment for vanity and lying). (Muslim)

After this incident, he could not lift his right hand towards his mouth. Allāh had paralysed his right hand.

Thus, one should always attempt to eat with the right hand.

27. Some people use both hands to eat and drink, such that they take one item in one hand and another in the other hand. For example, one hand will hold the bottle or glass, while the other hand will have a biscuit or bread. This method of eating should also be avoided as both eating and drinking with the left hand is prohibited. And in the above case, either eating or drinking is taking place with the left hand. However, if there is a necessity, like one is in a hurry while travelling, or not doing so will cause the food to fall on the ground, or some other valid reason, then there is no harm in eating with the left hand.

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

More to follow …

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