1. Utensils that are allowed in eating and drinking:
Silver and golden plates are not permitted for eating and drinking and even
their use for other types of work is doubtful. But it is better to avoid their
use and display for decoration purpose. Any food which is kept in silver and
gold is not permissible though this food can be taken out in other types of
utensils. There is no reliability about this tradition. One group of Ulema does
not perform Wuzu with utensils of silver and gold.
Many ulema are of the view that the following things should not be made of
either gold or silver. Surma bottle, scent case, agar case, chilam, lanterns
(which are open on two sides and hung in holy tombs), case of the Quran, cases
for the books of prayers and supplications, mirror cases and even walking sticks
and pens; but according to me (i.e. Majlisi) their non-permissibility is not
proved. However, the end of Hukka pipe (Mohnal) should never be made of gold or
silver. To eat or drink in all gilded utensils is makrooh (detestable). If you
eat in them, it is better not to let your mouth touch them.
If wine is kept in any utensil of glass or brass, then these utensils can be
cleaned by washing them and even raw china which is not porous. But all clay
utensils made by potter from ordinary clay need a lot of water to be cleaned
once they have been soaked in dirt (wine). The water should be soaked in the
clay pot to the extent that the impurity is removed. However, it is better not
to use them.
According to a tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), the person who uses
utensils of silver and gold in this world will be kept away from them in heaven.
According to another tradition, Umro Bin Abilmukdam brought a cup of water for
Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) which was joined with a silver piece which the Imam (a.s.)
let loose with his teeth.
According to another tradition, Imam Rida (a.s.) has prohibited the use of clay
pot coming from Egypt.
According to Buzi ibne Umar, he saw Imam Mohammed Taqi (a.s.) having food in a
black bowl in the middle of which Sura ‘Qulho Wallah’ was written in yellow
2. The right to have good tasty food and prohibition of greed:
According to traditions coming from Ahle Bait (a.s.), it is Mustahab to eat and
let others eat good and clean food and serve it with all formalities; and it is
not right to make good food Haram upon oneself. It is however necessary that the
food is sought by Halal means and one should not eat to the extent of forgetting
prayers. One should not be like animals and only bother about eating and
drinking; as eating and drinking is done for the sake of prayer and that one may
gain strength. One should not spend to the extent of being known as spendthrift
as God does not keep this type of man His friend.
According to a reliable tradition, Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) used to serve
people with good bread, tasty firni and delicious halwa and used to say that
when God is generous to us, we should be generous to people when serving them,
and when we are in need we should be careful.
According to another tradition from the same Imam (a.s.), God will question
every Momin on three topics on the day of judgement; firstly, what he had eaten,
secondly, what he had worn and thirdly, how much he had fulfilled the desire of
obedient wife and kept her away from haram. Abu Khalid Kabuli visited Imam
Mohammed Baqir (a.s.) who served him with delicious food during breakfast. When
the Imam (a.s.) asked how was the food, Abu Khalid praised the food and recited
‘And on that day will be definitely questioned about the manifold blessings of
According to a tradition from Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), if you eat too much food,
then white spots appear.
According to a tradition from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), God keeps those people
enemies who have these habits:
a) Who sleep during the day when they have not been awake during the night,
b) Who laugh meaninglessly,
c) Who eat after the stomach is full.
According to Hazrat Ali (a.s.), once Hazrat Esa (Jesus) (a.s.) visited a city
where a man and a woman were fighting with each other in loud tones. Hazrat Esa
(a.s.) enquired about the cause. The man replied that the woman was his wife,
very pious and had no vices but he did not like her and desired to be separated
from her. When the Prophet Esa (a.s.) further asked the cause he said that the
woman was getting old and had lost the freshness of the face. Hazrat Esa (a.s.)
asked the woman whether she wanted the freshness of her face. She replied, "Why
not." Then Hazrat Esa (a.s.) asked her not to eat much for it spoils the
freshness of the face. When the woman acted accordingly she looked young and was
accepted by her husband.
According to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), two things; leprosy and white spots
are caused by five habits:
a) To use noorah on Friday and Wednesday
b) To perform Wuzu and bathe with the water heated by sunlight
c) To eat during the state of Janabat
d) To cohabit with a woman when she is in period (monthly course)
e) To eat even when the stomach is full.
According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), man needs to eat that much food which
is needed for his strength. One part of the stomach should be for food, the
second for water and third for breathing. One should not try to fatten oneself
like the lamb meant for Zabeeha (slaughter). He also said that a full stomach
causes revolt (disobedience) and quarrels.
Except fever, all sudden diseases and pains are caused by over-eating.
Another tradition from Hazrat Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) states that if the
followers of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) follow the ways and manners of alien
people especially those of dress and food, they will not be blessed and on the
contrary, they will be degraded.
3. Ways and timings of eating:
It is Sunnat (recommended - optional) to eat early in the morning and be without
food for the whole day and then have food for a second time after Isha prayers.
The morsel should be small, the food should be chewed properly, while eating one
should not stare at anyone and should not take very hot food. One should not
cool the food by blowing with the mouth instead, let the food remain for some
time till it cools. One should not cut the bread with knife and should not
completely empty the bones. At least three fingers should be used to hold the
morsel, and when quite a few people are eating in one plate, one should not put
the hand in front of the other's section. The plate and fingers should be
completely cleaned. It is Makrooh (detestable) to eat in the state of Janabat.
The rigidity of order is relaxed if one performs Wuzu or washes hands, gargles
and puts water in the nose or simply washes hand and face and gargles. It is
stated in a tradition that one may suffer from the disease of white spots if he
neglects the above direction.
According to a reliable tradition, the nephew of Shahab went to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq
(a.s.) complaining of stomach ache and heaviness of bowels. The Imam (a.s.)
asked him to eat only two times - day and night - for God has said the same in
the praise of food in Heaven.
‘(For those whose abode is Heaven), they will get their food already prepared
both the times, morning and evening.’
According to another tradition, a person who does not eat in the evening gets
old, and old people should eat a little before going to sleep that they may be
able to sleep. This will also cause good breath in the mouth and the person will
grow more polite.
According to Hazrat Ali (a.s.), any person who wants that the food should not
harm him should not eat until his bowels are clear and he feels very hungry.
When he begins his food, he should recite ‘Bismillah’. The food should be chewed
and when there is a little bit of hunger left to be appeased, then one should
According to Hazrat Imam Hasan (a.s.) twelve points should be kept in view about
food by every muslim. Four are compulsory, four are Sunnat (optional) and four
are about manners.
The compulsory ones are:
a) Knowing one's ‘Giver’
b) To know that all that we have is from God and be satisfied with the food He
c) Saying ‘Bismillah’
d) Thanking God.
The Sunnat are:
a) To wash hands before eating
b) To sit by keeping one's weight to the left side
c) To eat with atleast three fingers
d) To lick the fingers.
The manners of eating are:
a) To eat that food which is placed before one
b) To take small morsels
c) To chew the food
d) Not to look at others' faces while eating.
4. Complete etiquette of having food:
It is Sunnat to eat with the right hand and sit on the knees. No food should be
taken while lying or relaxing but one can rest on the left hand while having
food as there is no harm. It is wrong to squat while eating and worse to put one
foot over the other. Eating alone is makrooh (abominable). It is sunnat to eat
with servants and slaves - sitting on the ground. It is a popular belief among
ulema that one should not eat while walking and that it is sunnat to wash the
hands before and after the meal and not to dry them on a towel.
Certain ulema are of the opinion that one should not eat with people who take
Haram (non-permissible) food or perform Haram (non-permissible) act. Even to sit
on a table set for them is Haram. It is also Haram to sit and eat with those
people who lie about muslims and blame them of performing non-permissible deeds.
To taste salt before and after the meals is sunnat.
Another reliable tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) states that a man
who sits on the table with drunkards is cursed.
According to many of the reliable traditions, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has
prohibited the use of left hand for having food except when a person is forced
to or whose right hand is diseased.
Another tradition prohibits eating while lying on one's stomach, relaxing or
According to a tradition from Hasan, one day Ibad-e-Basari, a noted Sufi and
Sunni Alim visited Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) while he was having food. Imam (a.s.)'s
left hand rested on the ground. Ibad said to Imam (a.s.), "Aren't you aware that
the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has stopped us from resting our hand on the ground?"
The Imam (a.s.) lifted his hand a little and rested it back again. Ibad
commented again. The third time the Imam (a.s.) replied that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)
has certainly not prohibited the resting of the left hand while having food.
A tradition states that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) used to eat only from what
was in front of him. He used to sit as one sits in the state of Tashahud while
praying. The right foot used to be on the left and the back of the right foot
used to meet with the front of left. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) used to say
that he was a creature who was like others and sat among them.
According to Hazrat Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), when a person can use his right hand
for eating, it is makrooh to use the left hand.
According to Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.), one should not eat while walking,
except when forced.
Many reliable traditions from Ahle bait and Hazrat Ali (a.s.) state that if a
person wants his house to be blessed then he should wash his hands before every
meal. Washing of one's hands after taking the meal stops poverty and body pains.
Another tradition from Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) explains the etiquette of
washing hands. Before the meal, the host should wash his hands first, followed
by the guests and there may be no lapse of time between the washing of hands and
having the meal. However, at the close of the meal, guest seated on the left of
the host should wash his hands first followed accordingly by the other guests so
that the turn of the host comes last. It is compulsory and obligatory for the
host to wait with patience until all the guests have washed their hands.
Another tradition from the same Imam (a.s.) states that when one washes one's
hands before the meals one should not dry it but keep it wet for the food is
blessed as long as the hands are wet. After the meal, the hands should be washed
and rubbed on one's face so that one's daily bread may increase and the freckles
on the face disappear.
Mufazzal ibne Umar states that he complained of pain in the eyes before Imam
Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.). The Imam (a.s.) told him that when he washes his hands
after the meal, he should keep the wet hands on his eyebrows and eyelids and
recite three times:
‘All praise is due to Allah who ministers kindness, makes one beautiful, showers
one with blessings and elevates one!’
Mufazzal states that he followed the instructions of the Imam (a.s.) and never
again had eye pain.
When Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.) was having a meal in the house of Fazal bin Yunus,
Fazal brought a napkin so that the Imam (a.s.) may cover his lap but Imam (a.s.)
refused, saying that it was the etiquette of non-Muslims and allies nations.
It is narrated in a reliable tradition that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) asked
Hazrat Ali (a.s.) to have salt before and after the meals; for, a man who takes
salt before and after the meal is saved from seventy types of curses and a major
of them is leprosy.
A tradition from Imam Mohammed Baqir (a.s.) says that salt is the cure for
seventy diseases and if people will come to know the advantages of salt, they
will not use any other cure except salt. The Imam (a.s.) also said that God
asked Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) to order his followers to have salt before and after
the meals and if the order was not obeyed they will be encircled with troubles
and at that time they will curse themselves.
Another tradition advises one to have vinegar before meals as it sharpens one's
brains. A tradition states that Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq (a.s.) had said that he took
salt before and after the meals.
Yaser, the servant of Imam Rida (a.s.) states that the Imam (a.s.) used to call
the young and old and even all the servants before sitting for the meals and
make these people sit with him.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) commands us to take off socks and shoes before
taking meals as; besides being the best of sunnat, it is very comfortable for
A reliable tradition states that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), while having food
with congregation, used to order the guests to start the food early and to
finish late or at leisure so that they may be able to eat more.
It is narrated in a reliable tradition that Sama bin Mahran asked Imam Ja'far-e-Sadiq
(a.s.) what he should do first when the time for food and prayers collide. The
Imam (a.s.) asked him to have his meal first if the time for prayer was there,
but if having food will cover the precious time for prayer, then he should pray
first and take his meal later.