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Sunnat Regarding Food and Drinks and Forbidden Food in Islam


A reference to the Holy Prophet's food habits and to his abstemiousness has been made at pages 149, 170 and 171, which may be reference to. From the authentic books of Ahadis, the Holy Prophet's Sunnat in regard to eating and drinking is briefly as follows :- He used to wash his hands before commencing his meal; he invariably recite "Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Rahim" before starting to eat; he used his right hand for eating; he did not recline on a pillow or bolster but used to sit at the table-cloth in a respectful posture; he used to eat from the side of the plate or bowl in front of him; he used ti take small morsels and used to chew each morsel slowly and carefully; he never found fault with the food placed before him; if he relished it, he partook of it; otherwise he refrained from eating but never complained about the quality of the food; he did not allow food to be wasted and took in his plate only so much as he needed and he cleaned his plate; he washed his hands after eating; he invariably gave thanks to Allah after meals; one of his supplications as recorded in Tirmizi, Abu Dawood, Ibn Maja etc., is:- "Al-hamd-u-lillah-il-lazi at'amana wa saqana wa ja'alna min-al muslimin" (Praise to be Allah, Who has fed us and given us to drink and made us Muslim); he never ate any thing while standing, or walking in the streets; he never ate anything while standing and walking in the streets; he did not like a raw onion and raw garlic; he used to drink water, or milk, in three sips. while sitting and used to hold the bowl in his right hand l he advised his followers not to blow with their mouths into a bowl of milk etc ; he used to say ''Allhamdu-lilah'' after drinking milk or water; and he advised his following that, while dining together, they should have regard for others and not get up from the table-cloth while others were still eating.


Specially for new Converted Muslims
Let us now consider the verses regarding forbidden food. These are :-2 : 173 : 5 : 4 ; 6 : 121, 145 ; and 16 : 115. The things forbidden by these verses are :-dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which any other name has been invoked besides that of Allah ; that which has been killed by strangling, by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by being gored to death ; that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal, unless you are able to slaughter it (in due form) ; that which is sacrificed on stone (altars) ; (forbidden) also is a division (of meat) by raffling with arrows ; that is impiety ; meat on which Allah's name has not been pronounced ; that would be impiety ; but if one is forced bu necessity, without  willful disobedience, nor transgressing due limits, then he is guiltless ; for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.

The following extracts from Abdullah Yusuf Ali's notes on these verses will make the position clear :-. . . . ."Maitat". . . . the original Arabic has a slightly wider meaning given to it in Fiqah (Religious Law) : anything that dies of  itself  and is not expressly killed for food with the Takbir duly pronounced on it. But there are exception, e.g. fish and locusts are lawful though they have not been made specially halal with the Takbir. But even fish or locusts as carrion would be obviously ruled out " . . . . . . ." Carrion on dead meat and blood as articles of food would obviously cause disgust to any refined person. So would swine's flesh where the swine live on offal. Where swine are fed artificially on clean food, the objections remain : (1) that they are filthy animals in other respects, and the flesh of filthy animals taken has food affects the eater : (2) that swine's flesh has more fat then muscle-building material : and (3) that it is more liable to disease than other kinds of meat: e. g. trichinosis, characterized by hair-like worms in the muscular tissue. As to foods dedicated to idols or false gods, it is obviously unseemly for the Children of  Unity to partake of it". As pointed out by another commentator, "that which dies of itself and that which was torn by beasts was forbidden by the law of Moses also (Lev. 17 : 15), so was blood (Lev. 7 :26) ; and the flesh of swine (Lev. 11 : 7)....The Jews held the swine in great detestation and the mention of the animal in Gospels shows that Jesus Christ held it in equal abhorrence, which proves that he too regarded the animal as impure. Neither does he appear to have broken the Jewish law in this respect''. To continue with Abdullah Yusuf Ali's notes :- ''If an animal dies by strangling or by a violent blow, or a headlong fall, or by being gored to death, or by being attacked by a wild animal, the presumption is that it become carrion, as the blood is congealed before being taken out of the body. But the presumption can be rebutted. If the life-blood still flows and the solemn mode of slaughter (Zibah) in the name of God as a sacrifice is carried out, it becomes lawful as food.''
''This (sacrifice on stone altars) was also an idolatrous rite. Different from that in which a sacrifice was devoted to a particular idol or false god.....Division of meat in this way (i.e. a sort of lottery or raffle practiced by Pagan Arabs) is here forbidden, as it is a form of gambling''. As regards the words ''damam masfuhan'' occuring in 6: 145, Abdullah Yusuf Ali has explained :- '' Blood poured forth : as distinguished from blood adhering to flesh, or the liver, or such other internal organs purifying the blood''

A part from the forbidden food specifically mentioned in the verses of the Holy Quran cited earlier, the meat of certain other animals was forbidden by the Holy Prophet. In the light of the Quranic verses and the Holy Prophet's traditions, our doctors of law have worked out the other detail. To put it briefly, (a) carnivora, (b) birds of prey which attack their prey with their claws and beaks, (c) birds of the air which eat nothing but carrion, (d) reptiles, and (e) insects, have been declared unlawful (Haram). The list includes :- lions, tigers, leopards, panthers, wolves, jackals, foxes, bears, elephants, donkeys, dogs, cats, monkeys, eagles, hawks, falcons, kites, crows, snakes, weasels, chameleons, lizards, rats, frogs, alligators, and crocodiles. On the other hand, declared as lawful (Halal) is the meat of horses, deer, antelopes and hare, and the flesh of fowls, such as cocks, hens, drakes, ducks, geeze, peacocks, partridges, pigeons, doves, quails, and sparrows. Fish and locusts have already  been mentionad above as being lawful.
Regarding other things, it may be explained here that the permission contained in 5 : 5 is obviously subject to the restrictions imposed by 5: 2 , 97 and 98 on hunting and the use of game while a person is Ihram or within the sacred precincts.