I wanted to write an article that plays off of yesterday’s. One detail about the Islamic lifestyle that I don’t believe is transparent enough to reverts is dining etiquette. It’s simple and straightforward but if you are not surrounded by other Muslims who are willing to take the time to point these things out to you, how are you going to know?
There are quite a few details so I will write them all out as a list so nothing gets lost in translation.
- Before you begin eating, say Bismillah Irahmaan Iraheem. This means “In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful”. This essentially blesses the food and is equivalent to a Christian’s prayer before eating. If you forget and have already begun eating, say “Bismillahi Awwalahu Wa Aakhirahu”. This means “In the name of Allah at the beginning and at the end.”
- Only eat with the right hand as it is the most honoured hand and it is seen as very rude to eat with the left. A full explanation can be found here.
- It is very common in Muslim households to eat with one’s actual hand, no utensils. I have found that my new Muslim friends and family are very considerate and always provide me with utensils to eat with. But honestly, I prefer eating with my hand now too. It’s more efficient and after awhile, you get used to it and utensils become a burden. Ever forgotten to grab a fork? No problem now.
- This one is pretty common sense and you probably already practice this one: wash your hands before eating!
- Eat the food that is directly in front of you. No reaching in front of other people to grab a bite or taking from your neighbor’s plate.
- Once you have finished eating, say “Alhamdulillah.” This means “Praise God.”
- Wash your hands and rinse your mouth after eating.
- You should always eat whilst sitting. This is sunnah and also recommended by scientists as it aids in fully digesting one’s food. This should also be done when drinking liquids. There have also been some studies that claim standing while drinking is bad for the joints.
- Take what is offered to you (unless you suffer from a severe allergy or insensitivity) and do not criticize the food.
- It is preferred to eat in a group and to converse about subjects all across the board, as long as they are halal.
- Eat in moderation! This keeps you from feeling sick but also takes pressure off of your digestive system which can cause issues along the way if not done. One way I make sure to do this is to take half of the portion I believe I need. I also avoid empty calories and stick to meals that are primarily vegetables and protein. Also another reason to eat with other people and to talk to them is so that you give your body time to digest what you are eating and this allows you to feel full faster.
- Obviously, eat only food that is considered halal. I am currently working on an article that gives all the details of halal food and debunks some of the myths people believe about it. It should be up within the next week, insha’Allah!
- It is preferred that you do not drink water with your meal as it can mess with digestion.
- And lastly, avoid gold and silver dishware as it is haram.
So, there you go. The 14 rules of Muslim dining etiquette. I have a feeling I probably missed something so if I did, please add the missing rule below and I will add it to the list! If you would like a more in-depth explanation of the above bullet points and the Hadith that support them, you can find it all here.
I hope that this post was helpful and that these tips will come easy to you. Bon appetit!