Eating: Etiquettes & Supplications [28-32]

28. It is sunnah to eat with the hands. However, if someone eats with a spoon then there is no sin, though one will not acquire the virtue of eating with the hands, except that the food is difficult to eat with the hands, or there is an excuse for not using the hand (like the hands are dirty, or one is in hurry, or cleaning the hands after eating will be difficult, or the hand is wounded), in which case using a spoon will entail no wrongdoing.

This shows that those who consider eating with a spoon as incorrect and sinful, are mistaken in their assumption.

29. It is better to break the food with the hand and then eat it. However, if the need arises to break the food directly with the one’s teeth, then there is no harm. For example, one bites meat with the teeth, or the in not doing so, part of the food will fall out, or soil the hands or clothes, then there will be no harm in biting the food without breaking it with one’s hands.

Abū Hurayrah (r.a.) narrates that the Messenger of Allāh (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) sunk his teeth into some meat when he was invited to a meal. (Bukhārī)

The Messenger of Allāh (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “Bite the meat (with your teeth) for indeed it is more enjoyable and more wholesome.” (Musnad Aḥmad)

If the need arises for using a knife to cut the meat, then there is no harm as it is reported in prophetic traditions.

30. The food should be chewed thoroughly as it will aid in digestion. Children ought to be taught the habit of chewing their food properly from an early age. The more saliva created while chewing the food, the easier it will be for the stomach to digest, and the body will also feel lighter, as opposed to eating quickly without chewing.

31. Until the first mouthful of food is not swallowed, another should not be placed in the mouth.

32. Every mouthful should be of an average size. Taking big quantities of food in the mouth will make chewing it difficult.

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

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