Ever eat a meal and forget what it smelled or tasted like because you were watching TV or focusing on something else? Dr. Osman Umarji describes the prophetic etiquette of eating and how we can develop a habit of enjoying our food and its blessings.
Mindfulness is the art and the science behind understanding how to control your thoughts better. Mindful eating is the act of thinking about your food, of not being in a rush or distracted while eating, so that you can actually enjoy and savour each bite of your food. Mindful eating is a good habit that was also taught to us by the Prophet ﷺ and is mentioned by Allah SWT in the Qur’an.
The sunnah of eating and drinking
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ used to have a routine when he ate his meals. He would begin by invoking the name of Allah. He would take his time when he was eating and drinking. Then then he would close this meal by invoking the name of Allah SWT again.
It was reported by Anas ibn Malik that when the Prophet ﷺ would eat and drink, that he would take multiple breaks while drinking to breathe. The Prophet ﷺ explained that he did it because that made the meal more enjoyable and it was also better for his health.
The Qur’an on where food comes from
Allah SWT calls our attention to how we interact with our food. Allah tells us in the Qur’an to look at our food and reflect on where it came from. Allah says that He sent rain down from the skies; the rain penetrated into the earth and caused a plant to come out. The plant then produced fruits and vegetables of all different shapes, sizes, colors, and tastes. He did this for us and the animals to enjoy (the food).
Steps to enjoy your food
1 – Begin with the name of Allah SWT
The Prophet ﷺ would say at the beginning of the meal:
اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِيمَا رَزَقْتَنَا وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
Allahumma barik lana fima razaqtana waqina azaban-nar
2 – Take your time
Look at your food, smell it and savour it with each bite.
3 – Don’t rush while drinking
Take a few sips of your drink and breathe between each sip.
4 – End your meal with the name of Allah SWT
At the end of the meal, the Prophet ﷺ taught us to read the following dua:
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي أَطْعَمَنَا وَسَقَانَا وَجَعَلَنَا مُسْلِمِينَ
Alhamdu-lillahil-lazi at’amana wa saqana wa ja’alana muslimin
The benefits of mindful eating
- Helps us to digest food properly
- You enjoy your meal better
- Allows us to be grateful to Allah SWT and recognize His mercy and blessings upon us