Eating is one of the most basic and essential human activities, but it can also be a source of spiritual and physical well-being if done according to the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). In this blog, we will explore how to eat according to Sunnah, the actions, sayings, and teachings of the Prophet (PBUH) that complement the Quran and guide Muslims in various aspects of life. We will cover the Sunnah before, during, and after eating food and how it can benefit us regarding health, hygiene, and gratitude.
Eating according to Sunnah can be divided into three categories:
- Sunnah before eating food
- Sunnah while eating food
- Sunnah after eating food
Sunnah Actions Before Eating Food
Wash your Hands Before and After Eating:
Washing hands before and after eating is advised in the Sunnah because it helps keep hands clean and removes dirt.
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: ‘The food’s blessing is in the Wudu’ before it and the Wudu’ after it.’ [Jami at-Tirmidhi 1846]
Washing hands before and after eating has medically proven benefits in preventing the spread of bacteria and reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses. Before eating, handwashing with soap and water eliminates any potential pathogens present on the hands, including disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites that could contaminate food and lead to infections.
Sunnah of Reciting Bismillah Before Eating:
It is Sunnah to recite Bismillah before eating, as it is a way of being thoughtful when you eat. It can actually be good for your health. Taking your time and paying attention to your food helps you notice when you’re full, so you’re less likely to eat too much and feel uncomfortable afterward.
Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying, “If a person mentions the Name of Allah upon entering his house or eating, Satan says, addressing his followers: ‘You will find nowhere to spend the night and no dinner.’ But if he enters without mentioning the Name of Allah, Satan says (to his followers); ‘You have found (a place) to spend the night in, and if he does not mention the Name of Allah at the time of eating, Satan says: ‘You have found (a place) to spend the night in as well as food.” [Riyad as-Salihin 729]
If you forget to say bismillah,
Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported:
Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “When any of you wants to eat, he should mention the Name of Allah in the beginning (i.e., say Bismillah). If he forgets to do it in the beginning, he should say
I begin with the Name of Allah at the beginning and at the end. (At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud)
Sunnah way of Sitting while Eating
Sitting on the floor while eating is a Sunnah practice that’s also a natural and healthy way to eat. It helps digestion and prevents issues like indigestion or heartburn.
It is the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to eat sitting on the floor, just like a humble servant does.
Sunnah while Eating Food
Use your Right Hand:
While eating, always use your right hand. The Sunnah of eating food with the right hand is mentioned in several Hadith. One of them is explained here;
Umar bin Abu Salamah (May Allah be pleased with them) reported:
I was a boy under the care of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), and as my hand used to wander around in the dish, he (SAW) said to me once, “Mention Allah’s Name (i.e., say Bismillah), eat with your right hand, and eat from what is in front of you.” [Riyad as-Salihin 739]
Sunnah way of Eating
It is Sunnah to use three fingers while eating.
Kab bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
I saw the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) eating with three fingers (i.e., the thumb, the index finger, and the middle finger) and licking them after finishing the food. [Riyad as-Salihin 748, Muslim]
Sunnah of Eating Together
In Islam, eating together means more than just sharing a meal. It helps bring families closer, strengthens communities, and shows generosity and care for others. It’s a way of being hospitable and ensuring everyone has food and is treated fairly.
Wahshi bin Harb (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
Some Companions of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “We eat but are not satisfied.” He (SAW) said, “Perhaps you eat separately.” The Companions replied in affirmative. He said, “Eat together and mention the Name of Allah over your food. It will be blessed for you.” [Abu Dawud]
Never Criticize Food:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet (PBUH) never criticized any food (he was invited to), but he used to eat if he liked the food and leave it if he disliked it. [Sahih al-Bukhari 5409]
Eating in Moderation:
It is the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) to eat food in a way that leaves a third of your stomach empty.
Miqdam bin Madikarib said:
“I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) say: ‘A human being fills no worse vessel than his stomach. It is sufficient for a human being to eat a few mouthfuls to keep his spine straight. But if he must (fill it), then one-third of food, one-third for drink, and one-third for air.’ [Sunan Ibn Majah 3349]
Eating just the right amount of food is good for staying healthy. If you eat too much, it can cause problems like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and tummy issues. So, eating in moderation helps you stay fit and well.
Research proves that eating the right amounts of balanced meals helps manage weight and lowers the chances of long-term.
Never Waste Food:
The Sunnah of not wasting food teaches us to be thankful and careful. It reminds us to use resources wisely, appreciate what we have from Allah, and share with those in need.
I heard Allah’s Apostle (PBUH) saying: Satan is present with any one of you in everything he does; he is present even when he eats food; so if any one of you drops a mouthful, he should remove anything filthy on it and eat it and not leave it for the devil; and when he finishes (food) he should lick his fingers, for he does not know in what portion of his food the blessing lies. [Sahih Muslim 2033d]
Sunnah After Eating Food
Compliment Who Cooked the Food:
Complimenting your food and the person who made it is a good practice from the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It’s a way to be thankful and kind to those who prepare the food for us.
Jabir (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Prophet (PBUH) asked for sauce and was told there was nothing except vinegar. He asked for it and began to eat from it, saying, “How excellent is vinegar when eaten as sauce! How excellent is vinegar when eaten as Udm!” [Riyad as-Salihin 736]
Express Gratitude to Allah:
In Islam, praising Allah before and after eating food is customary.
Anas b. Malik reported that Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said:
Allah is pleased with His servant who says: Al-Hamdu lillah while taking a morsel of food and while drinking. [Sahih Muslim 2734a]
It is the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad to say the following dua after eating food.
It was narrated that Abu Sa’eed said:
“Whenever the Prophet (SAW) ate, he would say:
Praise is to Allah Who has fed us, given us to drink, and made us Muslims.” (Sunan Ibn Majah 3283)
We hope that this blog has helped you to understand how to eat according to Sunnah and the benefits of following the Prophet’s (PBUH) example in this aspect of life. Eating is not only a necessity but also a blessing from Allah, and we should appreciate it and use it wisely. By eating according to Sunnah, we can improve our health, hygiene, and gratitude and also strengthen our bond with Allah and His Messenger (PBUH).
The life of the Prophet is indeed an exemplary model for us. We need to follow his every practice and teach children so they can lead their lives according to Islamic teachings. One of the most essential parts of Islamic parenting is teaching your kids to spend their lives by following Sunnah teachings in every possible way. May Allah guide us to follow the Sunnah in everything we do and reward us for our efforts. Ameen.