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Sunnah 19: Say Bismillah and eat with your right

May 8, 2010

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Say grace (Bismillah); eat with your right hand; and eat what is close at hand” [Muslim]

When we recite the name of God before we eat, or when starting to do anything, what that means is, “I start this action accompanied by the name of Allah or seeking help through the name of Allah”, seeking blessing thereby. Indeed, the Prophet (pbuh) taught us that whoever does not say bismillah before starting something good, then it will be cut off from blessing.

As for eating with our right hand, Al-Ghazaali said in al-Ihya’ (4/93): “Then the One Who gave you two hands to do things with, some of which are noble, such as picking up the Qur’an, and some are ignoble, such as removing impurities. So if you pick up the Qur’an. with your left hand, and you remove impurities with your right hand, then you have used that which is noble to do something ignoble, and you have neglected its rights and wronged it, and turned away from what is proper”

Al-Nawawi said in Sharh Muslim (13/191): “The objection to eating and drinking with the left hand applies so long as there is no excuse. If there is an excuse which prevents one from eating and drinking with the right hand because of sickness, injury etc, then it is not makrooh.”

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