Food and Eating Habits According to the Sunnah

It is sufficient for the son of Aadam to eat a few mouthfuls, to keep him going. If he must do that (fill his stomach), then let him fill one third with food, one third with drink and one third with air.


[1]: When he put his hand in the food, he would say, Bismillaah (with the Name of Allaah),’’ and he told people to say this when eating. He said, “When any one of you eats, let him mention the name of Allaah. If he forgets to mention the name of Allaah at the beginning, let him say ‘Bismillaahi fee awwalihi wa aakhirihi,’ (with the name of Allaah, at its beginning and at its end).” [2] The correct view is that it is obligatory to mention the name of Allaah (say Bismillaah) when eating. The ahaadeeth which state this are saheeh (authentic) and are clear, with no contradictions in them.

[2]: When he raised the food to his mouth, he would say,Al-hamdu lillaahi hamdan katheeran tayyiban mubaarakan feehi ghayri makfiyyin wa laa muwadda’ wa laa mustaghni ’anhu Rabbanaa ’azza wa jall (Allaah be praised with an abundant, beautiful, blessed praise. He is the One Who is Sufficient, Who feeds and is never fed, The One Who is longed for, along with that which is with Him, and the One Who is needed. He is Our Lord, may He be glorified).[3]

[3]: He never criticized food at all. If he liked it, he would eat it, and if he did not like it, he would leave it and not say anything. [4] Or he would say, “I do not feel like eating this.” [5]

[4]: Sometimes he would praise the food, as when he asked his family for food, and they said, “We have nothing but vinegar.” He asked for it and started to eat it, saying, “What good food is vinegar.”[6]

[5]: He used to talk whilst he was eating, as is seen from the report quoted above about vinegar. And he said to his stepson ’Umar Ibn Abee Salamah (radiyallaahu ’anhu) when he was eating with him: “Say Bismillaah and eat from that which is in front of you in the dish.’’ [7]

[6]: He would repeatedly urge his guests to eat, as generous hosts do, and as is seen in the hadeeth of Aboo Hurayrah (radiyallaahu ’anhu), related by al-Bukhaaree, about the story of drinking milk, where he repeatedly said to him, “Drink,” and he kept telling him to drink until he (the guest) said, “By the One Who sent you with the truth, I have no more room for it!” [8]

[7]: When he ate with others, he would not leave until he had made du’aa (supplication) for them. He made du’aa in the house of ’Abdullaah Ibn Bishr, and said: “O Allaah, bless for them that which You have provided for them, forgive them and have mercy on them.” [9]

[8]: He commanded people to eat with their right hands and forbade them to eat with their left hands. He said, “The Shaytaan eats with his left hand and drinks with his left hand.” [10] This implies that eating with the left hand is haraam (unlawful), and this is the correct view, because the one who eats with his left hand is either a shaytaan (devil), or he is imitating the Shaytaan.  It was also reported in an authentic hadeeth that he told a man who was eating with his left hand in his presence, “Eat with your right hand!” The man said, “I cannot.” He said, “May you never be able to,” and the man never lifted his right hand to his mouth after that. [11] If it was permissible (to eat with the left hand), he would not have prayed against him for doing so. It was the man’s stubborn arrogance that made him refuse to obey the command, and this is the utmost disobedience which deserved this prayer against him.

[9]: He commanded those who complained that they never felt full to eat together and not separately, and to mention the name of Allaah (say Bismillaah) over the food so that He might bless it for them. [12]

[10]: It was also reported that he said, “I do not eat reclining.” [13]

[11]: He used to eat using the first three fingers (of his right hand), which is the best way of eating.


[1]: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) used to know what he was eating.

[2]: He used to eat what was good for him.

[3]: He used to eat enough to keep him going, but no so much as to make him fat. Ibn ’Umar related that the Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “The believer eats in one stomach whilst the disbeliever eats in seven.” [14]

[4]: He taught his Ummah something to protect them from diseases caused by eating and drinking. He said, “The son of Aadam does not fill any vessel worse than his stomach. It is sufficient for the son of Aadam to eat a few mouthfuls, to keep him going. If he must do that (fill his stomach), then let him fill one third with food, one third with drink and one third with air.” [15]

[By: Imaam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (d.751H)|Zaadul-Ma’aad (p. 2/397-406)]
[1] Zaadul-Ma’aad (p. 2/397-406)
[2] Saheeh: Related by at-Tirmidhee (no. 1859) and Aboo Daawood (no. 3767).
[3] Related by al-Bukhaaree (no. 5142)
[4] Related by al-Bukhaaree (no. 3370) and Muslim (no. 2064).
[5] Related by al-Bukhaaree (no. 5076) and Muslim (no. 1946).
[6] Related by Muslim (no. 5052)
[7] Related by al-Bukhaaree (no. 5061) and Muslim (no. 2022).
[8] Related by al-Bukhaaree (no. 6087)
[9] Related by Muslim (no. 2042)
[10] Related by Muslim (no. 2020)
[11] Related by Muslim (no. 2021)
[12] Saheeh: Narrated by Abu Dawood (3764) and Ibn Maajah (3286).
[13] Related by al-Bukhaaree (no. 5083)
[14] Related by al-Bukhaaree (no. 5081) and Muslim (no. 2060).
[15]: Saheeh: Related by at-Tirmidhee (no. 1381)and Ibn Maajah (no. 3349). It was authenticated by Shaykh Muhammad Naasirud-Deen al-Albaanee in Silsilatul-Ahaadeethus-Saheehah (no. 2265).

About Umm Abdulazeez

"I am a Muslim who is upon the Qur'aan and the Sunnah and upon the methodology of the Salaf As-Saalih (Pious Predecessors). And that can be said in short by saying, 'I am a Salafee' " [Shaykh Al-Albaanee رحمه الله] ________ Sufyaan Ath-Thawree (rahimahullaah) said: “Indeed knowledge should only be learned for the purpose of fearing Allaah. Indeed, knowledge has been given virtue over other than it because with it Allaah is feared.” [Jaam'i Bayaan al-'Ilm wa Fadlihi by Imaam Ibn Abdil-Barr (rahimahullaah)]
This entry was posted in Adab|Manners, Character, Food, Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah [Muhammad bin Abiy Bakr bin Ayyuwb bin Sa'ad (691-751ah)]. Bookmark the permalink.

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