37. It is from the respect and etiquette of food that the area or dastarkhān (a tablecloth which is spread on the ground) in which it is placed, is clean. This will ensure that the food does not spoil and if any food falls, it will be suitable to pick up and eat.
38. The utensils in which food is placed should also be kept clean, so the food is not affected.
39. If a morsel of food falls on the ground, it should be picked up, cleaned and eaten. One should not feel embarrassed or disgraced in doing so. If the fallen food does not remain suitable for eating, an animal should be given the food, or it should be placed somewhere where the food is saved from dishonour.
It is narrated from Anas (r.a.) and Jabir (r.a.) that the Messenger of Allāh (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “If a morsel falls from the hand of anyone of you, let him wipe off whatever dirt that is on it and eat it, and do not leave it for Shaytan.” (Muslim)
It is narrated from Jābir (r.a.) that the Messenger of Allāh (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “When any one of you drops a mouthful he should pick it up and remove any of the filth on it, and then eat it, and should not leave it for the Shaytan, and should not wipe his hand with towel until he has licked his fingers, for he does not know in what portion of the food the blessing lies.” (Muslim)
Therefore, if when eating, a morsel of food falls, one should not discard it like the arrogant, but rather one should eat it like a needy and humble servant. If the fallen morsel becomes soiled, it should be cleaned and eaten; otherwise an animal should be fed. Shaytan accompanies a person while eating, and if a fallen morsel is discarded, Shaytan has a part from it.
(Adapted from Khāne Pīne ke Ādāb by Muftī Muhammad Riḍwan. Published by Kutub Khāna Idāra Gufrān, Rawalpindi.)
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