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CHAPTER ON THE DESCRIPTION OF THE EATING OF SAYYIDINA RASULULLAH SALLA LAHU ALAYHI WA’ALE HI WASALLAM

Hazrat Sheikh-ul Hadeeth Maulana Muhammad Zakariyya Kandhelwi (R.A.) explains;   

A few of the eating and table manners of Sayyidina Rasulullah Salla lahu 'Alayhi Wa’ale Hi  Wasallam are mentioned in this chapter.  

Five ahaadith are mentioned herein.   



(130) Hadith Number 1.

Hasrat Kaa'b bin Maalik Radiyallahu 'Anhu says: "Rasulullah Salla lahu 'Alayhi Wa’ale Hi Wasallam licked their blessed fingers thrice (after eating)". 
  



Commentary


After eating it is mustahab (the Sunnah which is recommended but not obligatory – waajib. Mustahab practise means  if done there is reward but if not, there is no sin. Waajib means if not done then it is a sin) to lick the fingers before washing the hands. According to some authorities, due to this narration it is mustahab to lick the fingers thrice. Mulla 'Ali Qaari says three times is not meant here, but that three-fingers should be licked, as will be stated in another narration. Therefore, another narration of Sayyidina Kaa'b bin Maalik Radiyallahu 'Anhu is also mentioned in this chapter. Some commentators of the hadith say that it is a separate etiquette to lick the fingers thrice, so that it becomes completely clean, and in another narration where three fingers are mentioned, is also one of the etiquettes. 



(131) Hadith Number 2.

Hasrat Anas Radiyallahu 'Anhu says: "Rasulullah Salla lahu 'Alayhi Wa’ale Hi Wasallam used to lick three fingers after having eaten".  


Commentary


It was the noble habit of Sayydina Rasulullah Salla lahu 'Alayhi Wa’ale Hi Wasallam to eat with three fingers only. Although we find in a few narrations that Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) used five fingers also. In most narrations the three fingers; thumb, and middle fingers are mentioned. The benefit of eating with three fingers is that the amount taken (morsel) will be less, and one will not eat more. Imaam Nawawi says: 'We gather from these ahaadith that it is mustahab to eat with three fingers'. For this reason the fourth and fifth fingers should not be used unnecessarily. However if such food is eaten, where it is difficult to use only the three fingers, then there is no harm in using more. Mulla 'Ali Qaari has written that to eat with five fingers is a sign of greediness. Many a time due to the morsel being big, it results in the stomach being unnecessarily strained, it is also the reason for food getting stuck in the throat. 
 



(132) Hadith Number 3.


Hasrat Abu Juhayfah Radiyallahu 'Anhu says: "Rasulullah Salla lahu 'Alayhi Wa’ale Hi Wasallain said: 'I do not lean and eat"'.  


Commentary

This hadith has been discussed in a previous chapter.



(133) Hadith Number 4.



Hasrat Ka'b bin Maalik Radiyallahu 'Anhu says: "It was the noble habit of Rasulullah Salla lahu 'Alayhi Wa’ale Hi Wasallamn to use three fingers whilst eating and-also licked them".   



Commentary


It has been mentioned in some narrations that Sayyidina Rasulullah Salla lahu alayhi wa’ale Hi Wasallam first licked the middle finger, then the sha-haadah finger, then the thumb. It was the noble habit of the master to use these three fingers. The 'ulama have
mentioned many benefits in this method (sequence). The first is that the licking of the fingers will run in a manner where it goes to the right. The Sha-haadah finger will be on the right of the middle finger. The second is that the middle finger is long, therefore it will be more contaminated. For this reason it is more appropriate to begin with this finger. Khattaabi says: 'Some foolish people do not like to lick the fingers, and think it is disgraceful, but they do not reason that the food that is on the finger is the same that they have been eating, there is nothing new on it'. Ibn Hajar says: 'If someone thinks of his own deed as disgraceful, it could be discussed. However to think of any act of Sayyidina Rasulullah Salla lahu 'Alayhi Wa’ale Hi Wasallam as disgraceful, could be dangerous and may even lead to kufr (disbelief). -Jam'ul Wasaa-il.

In reality these things have alot to do with habit. If one has a habit of something, it does not matter, and one will not even take notice of it. This is why if one naturally feels these deeds to be disgraceful, then one should try to form a habit of it, (and should remind one's self that it is Sunnah - way of Sayyidina Rasulullah (Salla lahu 'Alayhi Wa’ale Hi Wasallam)). Once when this humble servant went to Hijaaz (Saudi Arabia), a few who had not been to India asked me surprisingly and with great astonishment, that we hear that there is a fruit in India known as the Mango. We hear such disgusting things about it that it surprises us. It is put to the mouth and sucked, it is removed then put to the mouth and sucked again, It is again removed looked at, and sucked again. They were describing it with such disgust that it seemed they were about to vomit. An Indian will not feel anything disgusting about it. There are many such examples. One takes a spoonful of custard and puts it into the mouth, then puts the same spoon which has some saliva on it, into the plate again, eating from it a second and third time. There are countless other instances where a person is used to a certain way and manner and does not feel the least disgusted about it.



(134) Hadith Number 5


Hasrat Anas bin Maalik (Radiyallahu anhu) says: "Dates were presented to Rasulullah (Salla lahu 'Alayhi Wa’ale Hi Wasallam). I saw Sayyidina Rasulullah Salla lahu alayhi wa’ale Hi Wasallam eating them. Due to hunger they were sitting on the support of something and not on their own support".   



Commentary

That means Sayyidina Rasulullah Salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam was being supported by a wall or something else. It has been prohibited in the Ahaadith to lean on something and eat. Here it was due to weakness, therefore it cannot be said that it is contrary to the ahaadith prohibiting it, nor can it be reasoned from this hadeeth that it is permissible to lean and eat.

Studying Ash-Shaam-il  

The eating of Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) 

This chapter discusses the noble eating habit of Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam). Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) would only use three fingers to eat. These three fingers are the ‘middle’, ‘thumb’ and ‘index’. If there is food on the fingers, we should lick them with our lips but without making any noise. Also the fingers should not be licked by taking them inside our mouth.  

Also in this chapter, a hadeeth is discussed in which Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) were presented with dates. When eating dates, we should always take in the seed with the date then remove and push out the seed from the mouth, onto the top of the index/middle finger. Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) did not use the tips of their blessed fingers when eating. 

This chapter mentions that Sayyidina Rasululah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) did not eat while reclining.
   


The Elegance of Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam)  

Sayydina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) is the most decent and elegant therefore the Sunnah of our beloved messenger is the most beautiful. The elegance in the way of Islam is much more than what is found in western etiquettes. Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) was most concerned with hygiene and with elegance. However when we adopt the sunnah, we must also know how to perform it correctly. The Sunnah is beautiful therefore we must beautify it, this is done by practicing it in the correct way. Therefore we should pick up ways of the Sunnah, from scholars not from books. The ‘Ulama practically show us how a Sunnah, like the licking of the fingers is done correctly. We can not take the practical way by reading a text from a book.   


The truth of Kaa’b bin Maalik (Ra) 

The narrator of hadith mentioned in this chapter is Hasrat Kaa’b bin Maalik (Ra). Hasrat Kaa’b bin Maalik (Ra) has also quoted a hadith, which is regarded as one of the longest and most discussed. That hadith discusses the importance of telling the truth and sincere repentance. It is in relation to the ‘Battle of Tabuk’, when Hasrat Kaa’b bin Maalik (Ra) opted not to accompany Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) upon this expedition. Hasrat Kaa’b bin Maalik (Ra) had accompanied Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) on all previous expeditions but when the time for ‘Tabuk’ came Hasrat Kaa’b bin Maalik (Ra) did not go. The hadith mentions that Hasrat Kaa’b bin Maalik (Ra) when meeting Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) upon their return, chose to speak the truth and not fabricate any excuses.
Sayydina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) asked Hasrat Kaa’b bin Malik (Ra) the reason why he did not go, and Hasrat Kaa’b bin Maalik (Ra) replied saying that ‘O Messenger of Allah, By Allah if I were to sit before anybody else, a man of this world, I would have definitely saved myself from his anger on one pretext or the other and I have a gifted skill in argumentation, but By Allah, I am fully aware that if I were to put forward before you a lame excuse to please you, Allah would definitely provoke your wrath upon me. In case, I speak the truth, you may be angry with me, but I hope that Allah (swt) would be pleased with me (and accept my repentance). By Allah, there is no valid excuse for me. By Allah, I never possessed so good means, and I never had such favourable conditions for me as I had when I stayed behind’. Sayyidina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) informed Hasrat Kaa’b bin Maalik (ra) that he spoke the truth and therefore must wait until Allah (swt) gives a decision about him.

The Muslims were ordered to boycott those who had not accompanied the believers to ‘tabuk’ and thus Hasrat Kaa’b bin Maalik was also boycotted for fifty days. After this period, the Messenger of Allah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) informed the believers that the repentance of Hasrat Kaa’b bin Malik (Ra) has been accepted. Sayydina Rasulullah (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) greeted Hasrat Kaa’b bin Malik (ra) delighted upon receiving this revelation from Allah (swt). Hasrat Kaa’b bin Maalik (Ra) said to the Messenger (salla lahu alayhi wa’ale hi wasallam) that ‘O Messenger of Allah, Verily, Allah has granted me salvation because of my truthfulness, and therefore, repentance obliges me to speak nothing but the truth as long as I am alive.