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Thread: Manners of Eating

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    exclaim Manners of Eating

    Eating with five fingers is a practice of the uncivilized


    Sayyidunā ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas Radi Allahu Anhuma has narrated that the Beloved and Blessed Rasul Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam once indicated his thumb and the index finger and said, ‘Do not eat with these two fingers but eat with three fingers (i.e. the index finger, the middle one and the thumb) as this is Sunnaĥ. Avoid eating with five fingers as this is a practice of the uncivilized.’ (Kanz-ul-'Ummāl, pp. 115, vol. 5, Ḥadīš 40872)


    Satan’s manner of eating


    Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah Radi Allahu Anhu has narrated that the Rasul Allah Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam has stated, ‘Eating with one finger is a practice of Satan, eating with two fingers is a practice of the arrogant and eating with three fingers is a practice of the Holy Prophets عَلَيْهِمُ السَّلَا م .’ (Al-Jāmi’-uṣ-Ṣaghīr, pp. 184, Ḥadis 3074)


    However, the Noble Prophet Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam would occasionally eat with four fingers as well. (Al-Jāmi’-uṣ-Ṣaghīr, pp. 250, Ḥadis 6942)


    Proper manner of eating with three fingers


    Eating with three fingers would allow small morsels which would be chewed easily. Well-chewed morsels will properly get mixed with the digestive enzymes in saliva, helping their digestion. Sayyiduna Mullah ‘Ali Qari Rehmatullah Alaih has stated, ‘Eating with five fingers is a sign of the greedy.’ (Mirqat-ul-Mafatih, pp. 9, vol. 8) It is not difficult to eat bread with three fingers. You just have to pay a little heed, and you would be able to do so easily. However, eating rice with three fingers may be somewhat difficult, but not for those who have a Madani mindset and a devotion to Sunnah. Surely there is grace in acting on every Sunnah. One should avoid eating with five fingers in the greed of eating big morsels.


    In order to make a habit of eating with three fingers, at mealtimes, one may bend the ring finger and the little one and wrap a rubber band around them or whilst eating, one may take a small piece of bread in his palm and hold it with the ring finger and the little one. If one is sincere, these tips will help one get into the habit of eating with three fingers Insha Allah azwajal. Once this becomes a routine, one will no longer be in the need of using these techniques. If rice grains are well separated and it is impossible to eat rice with three fingers, one may use four or five fingers. However, make sure that neither the palm nor the base of the fingers is stained with food.


    Eating with spoon


    It is contrary to Sunnaĥ to eat with a knife, fork or spoon. Our pious saints used to refrain from using a spoon because the Beloved and Blessed Rasul Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam would eat with three fingers. Sayyiduna Ibrahim Bajuri Rehmatullah Alaih has narrated, ‘Once food was served to the Abbasid caliph, Mamun-ur-Rashid with a spoon. The Qāḍī-ul-Quḍā [chief justice], Sayyidunā Imām Abu Yūsuf Rehmatullah Alaih who was also present over there said, ‘Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ has stated in Sūraĥ Banī Isrāīl,
    "And no doubt, We honoured the descendants of Adam."


    [Kanz-ul-Īmān (Translation of Quran)] (Part 15, Sūraĥ Banī Isrāīl, verse 70)


    O caliph! In the exegesis of this verse, your grandfather Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas Radi Allahu Anhuma has stated, ‘We have made fingers for them with which they eat.’ Listening to this, Mamun-ur-Rashid refrained from using a spoon and ate with his fingers.’ (Mawahibul-Ladunyah, p. 114)


    When can one eat with spoon?


    One can use a spoon when food cannot be eaten with fingers or cannot be drunk (e.g. food like yoghurt). Similarly, if one’s hand is injured or is dirty and water is not available to wash it, there is no harm in eating with a spoon. Further, it is also permissible to use a knife to cut large pieces of cooked meat etc.


    Medical benefits of eating with hand


    Medical practitioners have agreed that when a person eats with his fingers, certain digestive enzymes are secreted by his fingers and get mixed with food. This inhibits the deficiency of insulin, and is also beneficial to the diabetic patients. By licking the fingers clean after eating, digestive enzymes are properly consumed and swallowed into the stomach, which is very beneficial to the eyes, the brain and the stomach. This is a great cure for various diseases of the stomach, the brain and the heart.

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    Jazak ALLAH khair

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