Eating Habits Of The Prophet (s.a.w.)
Simple (Islamic) Living
It Makes Life Easier; And
You Are Rewarded By Allah
(By: M. Javed Naseem)
Simplicity is the virtue of the saints. It is the lifestyle that has been prescribed by Allah through the Quran; it is the lifestyle stressed upon by Islam; and it is the lifestyle Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) adopted to show all Muslims that it is practicable in every era if we only want to live a simple life.
A lot is written on the noble habits and routines, likes and dislikes of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) – “Shama’el-e-Tirmidhi” being the best on the subject. He showed us the way how to live in this world according the Quranic teachings. The Almighty Allah has also commanded us in the Quran to follow and obey the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.). For a Muslim, it is the key to
Paradise, and for a non-Muslim, it is a successful way of
life that can save you all kinds of ailments (spiritual and physical).
Here are some excerpts from my new book: “The Way (Sunnah) of The Prophet (s.a.w.)”.
Yusuf bin Abdullah bin Salaam narrated:
"I once observed Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) take a piece of bread and put a date on it and said: ‘This is the curry for this (bread)’, and then ate it.” – (Tirmidhi)
(It’s enjoyable. It’s part of my breakfast for many years.)
Umm Mundhir (r.a.a.) narrated:
"Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) visited me in the company of Ali (r.a.a.). We had some bunches of dates hanging. Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) ate from them and Ali (r.a.a.) also ate. Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) stopped Ali (r.a.a.) saying, “You have just recovered from an illness and should not eat this”. Ali (r.a.a.) stopped while Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) continued eating. Umm Mundhir (r.a.a.) said: “I then cooked some barley and beetroot. Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) said to Ali (r.a.a.): “Eat from this, it is suitable for you". – (Tirmidhi)
(Excerpts from my new book: “The Way (Sunnah) Of The Prophet (s.a.w.)”.
Table Manners of The Prophet (s.a.w.)
Kaab bin Maalik (r.a.a.) said: "Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) licked his fingers three times (after eating)".
Note: It is ‘mustahab’ to lick the fingers after eating, before washing the hands.
Mulla Ali Qaari says three times is not meant here, but that three fingers should be licked.
Anas (r.a.a.) said: "Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) used to lick his three fingers after eating food."
Note: It was the noble habit of Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) to eat with three fingers only. Although we find in a few narrations that he used five fingers also. In most narrations, the three fingers, thumb, and middle fingers are mentioned.
Imaam Nawawi says: 'We gather from these Ahadith that it is ‘mustahab’ to eat with three fingers'. But this does not mean that using four or five fingers is prohibited.
Abu Juhayfah said: "Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) said: I do not lean and eat”.
Kaab bin Maalik (r.a.a.) said: "It was the noble habit of Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) to use three fingers while eating, and he also licked them".
The Bread of The Prophet (s.a.w.)
Mother of the believers, Aayesha (r.a.a.) said: "Till the demise of Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.), his family never ate a full stomach of bread made of barley for two consecutive days".
Note: It is possible that they may have eaten a full stomach of dates, but not of bread.
Abu Umamah Al-Baahil said: "Bread made of barley was never left over in the house of Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.).”
Note: Whenever bread made of barley was prepared, the quantity was so little that there was none left over.
Ibn Abbaas (r.a.a.) reported: "Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) and his family spent many consecutive nights without food, because there would be no supper. The bread of Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) was mostly made of barley".
Note: Sometimes, wheat-bread was also available, but rarely.
Some of the companions were wealthy but the Prophet (s.a.w.) did not let anyone know, nor did his family members let anyone know of their financial state.
Someone asked Sahl bin Saad: "Did Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) ever eat bread made of white (fine) flour?" He replied: "White flour may not have come before Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) until his last days".
It was then asked: "Did you people use sieved flour in the time of Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.)?”
He replied "No, it was not used".
He was then asked: "How was bread from barley prepared (because barley flour had more particles/husk and hard grains in it and needed sifting)?”
Sahl replied: "We used to blow into the flour and the big particles flew out. The rest was made into dough".
Anas (r.a.a.) reported: "Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) never ate food from a table, nor from small plates, nor was ‘chapati’ (a type of thin bread) ever made for him.”
Yunus said: “I asked Qatadah: “Then on what did Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) put and eat his food?” He replied: “On this leather spread (table-cloth).”
Note: Allama Munaawi and Mulla Ali Qaari say that it has always been the custom of the rich/arrogant people to eat on a table. It has been stated in the 'Kaukab-e Durri' that in our times, it is a common practice to follow the Christian traditions, but it is “makruh tahreemi”. We have been prohibited from imitating non-Muslims in the manners of eating, drinking, dressing and even worshipping.
Masruq narrated: "I went to Aayesha (r.a.a.). She ordered food for me and said, 'I never eat a stomach-full but feel like crying, then I do cry”.
Masruq asked: “Why do you feel like crying?”
She replied: “I remember that condition of Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) on which he left us for the next world. I swear by Allah that he never filled his stomach twice in one day with meat or bread".
Aayesha (r.a.a.) narrated: "Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) never filled his stomach with bread made of barley for two consecutive days till he passed away".
Note: Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) preferred a simple life for himself and his family. There was not so much, that all could fill their stomachs. Even when there was something available, it was given to the poor.
Anas (r.a.a.) said: "Till the end of his life, Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) never ate on a table and never ate a ‘Chapaati’.”
Curry of The Prophet (s.a.w.)
Aayesha (r.a.a.) said: "Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) once said: What a nice curry vinegar is!”
Jaabir bin Abdullah (r.a.a.) related that Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) said: "What a wonderful curry vinegar is!"
Note: It is possible that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) might have said this on different occasions.
Vinegar is very good for health and has many benefits. It is an antidote for poison. It stops phlegm and gall. It helps digest food, kills the worms of the stomach and creates a good appetite. Due to its cold effect, it may not be good for some people but it surely is a good curry which is available easily.
It is narrated that Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) made ‘dua’ for ‘barakah’ in it and said: 'It was the curry of the previous prophets also. In a Hadith it is stated: “The house that has vinegar in it, will not be in need” (i.e., that house will not be in need of curry). These narrations have been mentioned in the “Jam'ul Wasaa-il” from Ibn Maalah.
Numaan bin Bashir said: "Are you not in the luxuries of eating and drinking? I have seen Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) not having ordinary dates to fill his stomach".
Zahdam Al-Jarmi said: “We were present in the assembly of Abu Musa Ash’ari (r.a.a.) and fowl (bird) meat was served for food. One of the guests moved back. Abu Musa (r.a.a.) asked him the reason (for doing so). He replied: 'I have seen the fowl eat something (dirty) so I swore that I will not eat it. Abu Musa (r.a.a.) said: 'In that case, I have seen Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) eat the meat of a fowl (bird)'.
Abu Usayd narrated: "Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) said: Use olive oil in eating and for rubbing (on the body), for it is from a ‘mubarak’ (blessed) tree".
Note: The reference ‘mubarak tree’ is from Surah al-Noor from the Holy Quran. Scholars say that it is blessed because of its many benefits. Abu Nu'aym said: 'It has cure for seventy diseases of which one is leprosy'.
Ibn Abbaas (r.a.a.) said: 'Every part of the olive is beneficial. The oil is used for burning and cooking. It is also used for tanning. Its wood is used for firewood. The ash of the olive is especially good for washing silk'.
It is related from Umar (r.a.a.) that Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) said: "Use olive oil in cooking and rubbing (on the body) because it is from a sacred (‘mubarak’) tree".
Anas bin Maalik (r.a.a.) said: "Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) loved gourd (‘dubbaa’, ‘dodhi’, ‘ghiyya’ or ‘kaddu’ / ‘lauki’).”
Once food was presented to Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) or he attended an invitation (narrator is not sure about the occasion) where gourd (‘kaddu’) was served. I knew Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) loved it. I searched for pieces from the curry and presented it to him".
Jaabir bin Taariq said: "I attended the assembly of Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) and I observed that they were busy cutting a gourd into pieces. I inquired: 'What shall be made of this'. He replied: “It will add to our food”.
Anas bin Maalik (r.a.a.) said: "A tailor once invited Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) and I also attended. The host served Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) bread made of barley, and gravy with meat and gourd (‘kaddu’) in it. Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) looked for pieces of gourd from all sides of the plate. From that time I also began loving gourd (‘kaddu’).”
Aayesha (r.a.a.) said: "Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) loved ‘halwa’ and honey".
Note: ‘Halwah’ in Arabic means ‘sweet’. In this case anything sweet, a dish, dessert, confectionary, home-made sweets, Indo-Pak Mitha’ee, etc.
The first person to present ‘halwa’ to Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) was Uthmaan (r.a.a.). Rasul-Allah (s.a.w.) liked it. It was made of flour, butter-oil (‘ghee’), and honey. Sugar was not commonly used those days. Honey and dates were used as sweetening agents.