bismillah

Eating Together

During the month of Ramadan Muslims get together to share the bounties of Allah by taking their meals together. But when Ramadan is over we should not forget the many blessings and advantages in this. For one thing, we get more baraqah (blessings) from the meal - when we eat together.

In one hadith of the Prophet (SAW), some of his companions complained that they ate but were not satisfied. The Prophet (S) said, "Perhaps you eat separately." They said, "Yes." He said, "If you gather together and mention Allah's name, you will be blessed in it." (Abu Dawud)

In addition, to share our meals with others is to follow the example of the Prophet (SAW) who regularly took meals with other people. The Sunnah is to share meals with people regardless of their wealth or status. This is because accepting invitations builds good feelings among people and increases love between the Muslims. Islamic etiquette of eating together is more than subjective rituals or traditional 'table manners'. The purpose of the Sunnah in this case is remembrance of Allah, modesty, and consideration of others.

According to one hadith, "I was a boy under the care of Allah's Apostle and my hand used to go around the dish while I was eating. So the Prophet (SAW) said to me, -O boy! Mention the Name of Allah (Bismillah) and eat with your right hand, and eat of the dish what is nearer to you." Since then I have applied those instructions when eating." (Bukhari)

By eating what is near you, you are not picking around the plate to pluck out the choicest morsels for yourself, thereby depriving your fellow eaters (though we know from other hadiths that you may do so if you know they do not mind. (Bukhari)

In another hadith, the Prophet (SAW) said, "Do not take two pieces at a time without your companions consent." The Prophet said, "If the Iqama (call to prayer) for ('Isha) prayer is proclaimed and supper is served, take your supper first." (Bukhari)
You don't want to be distracted thinking about the food while praying.

The one serving the food should pass and drink to the right, and take for himself last. Also, when taking a meal at someone else's home, we should take care not to overstay our welcome, as is says in the Qur'an:

"O ye who Believe! Enter not the Prophet's houses until leave is given you for a meal (and then) not (so early) as to wait for its preparation: but when ye are invited enter; and when ye have taken your meal disperse without seeking familiar talk." (Quran 33:53)

Finally, do not forget to pray for your host. All of these guidelines from the Sunnah are based on the principles of generosity, modesty, and remembrance of Allah.

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The Islamic Bulletin
P.O. Box 410186, San Francisco, CA 94141-0186

December 2001
Ramadan 1422
Note from the Editor
Letters to the Editor
Islamic World News
Many in Hawaii
Turning to Islam
Surviving Our Enemy
Women in Islam
The Miracles of Zamzam
Islam is the Fastest Growing Religion
Dawah - Our Obligation
Wisdom in Islam
Stories of the Sahabah
Events Foretold
in the Quran
Math in the Quran
Letter From Mecca by Malik El-Shabazz
Why I Embraced Islam
Eating Together
Fasting
The Miracle
of the Ant
Sand and Stone
Ramadan Soup
Kid's Corner
Mother
Imagine When
You Die
Eid Stamp & Poster