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Food: Islamic Rules and Teachings

By Hassan El-Najjar

 10 Dhul Qaíada, 1424, 1/2/2004


The basic Islamic rule concerning food is that God has recommended that we eat the good food that benefits us and prohibited us from eating bad and harmful food. (Al-Araf, Ch. 7, Verse 157).


Main rules from the Holy Qurían:

Note: The following is a summary, not a translation of the verses or Hadith.


  1. Allah (God) made all food allowed (halal) for the children of Israel, except what Israel (Jacob) prohibited himself from (Al-Omran, Chapter. 3, Verse 93).
  2. For those who were guided before (Jews), God prohibited eating animals with claws. They were also prohibited to eat fats of cows and sheep (Al-Aníam, Ch. 6, Verse 146).
  3. Muslims are allowed to eat food of the people of the Book (Christians and Jews) and provide them with the Muslim food, which is allowed to them (Al-Maeda, Ch. 5, Verse 5).
  4. The difference between humans and angels is that angels donít eat food (Al-Anbiya, Ch. 21, Verse 8).
  5. All messengers of God were humans (not angels), who ate food (Al-Furqan, Ch. 25, Verse 20).
  6. Muslims are allowed to eat all what they catch from the sea (Al-Maeda, Ch. 5, Verse 96).
  7. Muslims are allowed to eat  meat of all animals, except what has been prohibited somewhere else in the Qurían (Al-Maeda, Ch. 5, Verse 1).
  8. Muslims are not allowed to eat dead animal corpses, blood, pig meat (pork products), and meat from animals sacrificed in cults where the name of other deities than God was mentioned (Al-Baqara, Ch. 1, Verse 173; An Nahl, Ch. 16, Verse 115).
  9. Muslims should not prohibit themselves from eating what God has allowed them to eat (Al-Maeda, Ch. 5, Verse 87).
  10.  Drinking alcoholic beverages, in all forms, is not allowed because they harm the human body, they are abomination from the devil, and they cause hostility and hatred among people when they get drunk (Al-Baqara, Ch. 1, Verse 219; Al-Maeda, Ch. 5, Verse 90-91).


Main teachings of the Prophet (pbuh), Hadith, about food,

from the book of ďRiyadh Assaliheen,Ē by Imam Nawawi, (Pp. 213-222):


  1. Muslims should mention the name of Allah (God) before they start eating  or drinking and thank Him when they finish.
  2. If you forget to mention the name of Allah (God) at the beginning, mention it whenever you remember, even at the end.
  3. Mentioning the name of God on food repels the devil from getting into it.
  4. Mentioning the name of God on food blesses it, making it healthier and better in sufficiency and effect.
  5. Muslims are not arrogant in all aspects of life, including food. There is no superior or inferior food. If you like food, eat it. If you donít like it, donít eat it.
  6. Itís an Islamic courtesy to accept invitations on food, if you are hungry or if you like the food. If you are fasting, thank the inviter and pray while people are eating.
  7. If somebody invites you for food, in a party or a banquet, and you want to bring a friend with you, you have to ask the hostís permission first before you bring anybody with you.
  8. Use your right hand while eating, and eat from what has been assigned to you or from which is directly in front of you. Donít eat from what has been assigned to others or from which is direct to them.
  9. Eating with a group, a family or friends, is more blessed than eating alone.
  10.  Eat and drink while you are sitting down in an upright position. Donít eat or drink while you are lying down or leaning toward one side or another, in a resting position.
  11.  Donít eat or drink while standing or walking, unless you have to, like in a place where there is no space for sitting down or when traveling.
  12.  Donít be wasteful in food. Donít throw food away if it is good. Keep it for another time, give it to somebody else, or give it to birds or animals.
  13.  It is recommended that you drink in several sips, not in a one-time and a long drink.
  14.  The host should serve guests with food or drinks starting from his/her right if guests are close in age. Otherwise, the elderly should be served first, even if they are sitting on the left.
  15.  The host eats or drinks last, after serving all guests.
  16.  Muslims are humble. They should avoid showing off their wealth by using utilities (jugs, cups, plates, etc.) made of gold or silver. Gold, though, can be used by women as ornaments.

Earth, a planet hungry for peace


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers (Ran Cohen, pmc, 5/24/03).


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank, like a Python. (Alquds,10/25/03).

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