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Chapter 6.2. Manners Of Eating

There are certain table manners that are indispensable. Say 'Bismillah' when starting, to thank Allah and say 'Alhamdulillah' when finished. Eat what is in front of you. Eat using your right hand. A hypocrite was eating with his left hand when the Prophet saw him and advised him to eat with his right. The man falsely said 'But I cannot' The Prophet said 'May it be so' and the hypocrite was not able to lift his right hand again.

The companions of the Prophet followed his example in stressing the use of the right hand while eating. Umar was Khalifa when he saw a man eating with his left hand and similarly advised him to eat with his right. The man answered 'My right is busy' Umar repeated his request and the man repeated his answer. Umar asked him 'What is it busy with?' The man answered that it had been severed in one of the battles. Umar blamed himself for neglecting such handicap and ordered the treasurer to provide the man with a servant to help him.

If eating with your hand, use three fingers with small bites, lifting it gently with ease to your mouth. Close your mouth while eating to avoid unnecessary noises. To eat on the floor is nearer to what the Prophet used to do. However, there is no problem to eat at a table. Imam Ghazali said, 'To eat at a table is to make eating easier and there is nothing against that.' Do not start eating ahead of the elders or the nobles. If you are the elder, do not commence eating before everyone is at the table.

It is preferred that eating should not be conducted in silence. It is good manners to talk during meals. Topics should be nice stories suitable for eating. At the end of the meal, if hands are to be washed, the elder or the noble should be asked to proceed first.

At the end of a meal, thank Allah as in the Hadith reported by Abu Dawood and Nasa'i in 'the deeds of day and night.' Thank Allah who fed us and provided us with drink. It is very appropriate to make a prayer for your hosts as it is reported by Muslim that Al-Migdad ibn Al-Aswad reported that the Prophet said, 'May Allah feed those who have fed us, and provide drinks to those who provided us with it.'

Do not express your disapproval or dislike of certain foods. Either eat it or pass it over quietly. Abu Hurairah reported that 'the Prophet never expressed his dislike of a food. If he liked it he will eat it. If he disliked it, he will set aside.'
 
Do not put in your plate more than can eat. Leftovers could be thrown out, it shouldn't, and wasted. Put smaller portions twice rather than one large portion that you will not eat. The Prophet did not approve of leaving any food in a plate since as he said 'You don't know which portion is blessed'. Food is a blessing of Allah, to misuse it is contrary to Islam. Do not forget the poor and the needy who do not have the portion you are throwing away.

Chapters

Chapter 1

Importance Of Appearance

Chapter 1.1

Distinct Muslim Personality

Chapter 1.2

Cleanliness And Washing

Chapter 1.3

Arriving From A Journey

Chapter 1.4

Dress Properly With Family And Friends

Chapter 2

Entering Or Leaving A House

Chapter 2.1

How-to-enter

Chapter 2.2

Entering While Others Are Asleep

Chapter 2.3

Greeting

Chapter 2.4

Announcing Your Presence

Chapter 2.5

Seeking Permission To Enter

Chapter 2.6

Knocking And Ringing

Chapter 2.7

Answering 'Who Is It?'

Chapter 3

The Manners Of Visiting

Chapter 3.1

Keeping Appointments, Delays And Cancellation

Chapter 3.2

Declining A Visit

Chapter 3.3

Control Your Eyes

Chapter 3.4

Removing Your Shoes

Chapter 3.5

Choosing A Seat

Chapter 3.6

A Visitor Is Not An Inspector

Chapter 3.7

Timing Your Visit

Chapter 3.8

Greeting

Chapter 3.9

Sitting Between Two Persons

Chapter 3.10

The Host's Duties And The Guests' Rights

Chapter 3.11

Stay In Touch

Chapter 3.12

A Brief Advice To My Sisters

Chapter 4

The Manners Of Conversation

Chapter 4.1

Selecting Suitable Topics

Chapter 4.2

Talk In A Suitable Tone

Chapter 4.3

The Art Of Listening

Chapter 4.4

Discussions And Debates

Chapter 4.5

Swearing By Allah

Chapter 4.6

Answering A Question

Chapter 5

Social Manners

Chapter 5.1

Respect And Favour The Elderly

Chapter 5.2

The Elderly Are To Lead Prayers

Chapter 5.3

Walking With The Elderly

Chapter 5.4

The Elderly Are To Be Served First

Chapter 5.5

Manners With Parents

Chapter 5.6

Tell Your Family Your Whereabouts

Chapter 5.7

Respect The Poor

Chapter 5.8

Dealing With Non-muslims

Chapter 6

Manners Of Eating

Chapter 6.1

The Importance Of Eating Manners

Chapter 6.2

Manners Of Eating

Chapter 6.3

Manners Of Drinking

Chapter 6.4

Avoid Gluttony

Chapter 6.5

Gold And Silver Cutlery

Chapter 7

Weddings

Chapter 7.1

Weddings Are Part Of The Prophet's Tradition

Chapter 7.2

The Manners Of Attending Weddings

Chapter 8

Visiting The Sick

Chapter 8.1

Visiting A Patient

Chapter 8.2

Praying For The Sick

Chapter 8.3

The Length Of The Visit

Chapter 8.4

The Manners Of Visiting A Patient

Chapter 8.5

How The Ill Express Their Complaints

Chapter 9

Condolence

Chapter 9.1

Breaking Unpleasant News

Chapter 9.2

Expressing Condolences Is A Courtesy And A Duty

Chapter 9.3

Expressing Condolences And Sympathy

Chapter 9.4

Sending Flowers And Reading Quran During Funerals

Chapter 9.5

A Final Word