22.2 FOODS, at 'Imat

By Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr.


The human needs food to survive and eating is waajib. The body needs about 50 different nutrients classified as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and water. Carbohydrates and fats provide energy. Proteins are needed to build and repair the body. Minerals play roles in metabolic processes. Vitamins are needed in very small quantities to help enzymatic function. Water is a major component of all tissues, it is a solvent that transports food and wastes in the body, it stabilizes temperature, and lubricates. Fiber is not a nutrient but helps in intestinal voiding.


22.2.2 HALAL and HARAM

The haram foods are specified. The rest are halaal. Haram foods can be eaten in situations of necessity, dharurat. Refusing to eat the halaal for no valid reason is bid’at. Halaal foods are all plants, all land animals not specifically forbidden, and products of halaal animals, and all All aquatic life except frogs and crocodiles. Haram foods are dead animals, animals not slaughtered according to the Law, animals that prey/hunt with fangs or talons, mules, donkeys, flowing blood, pork, and any food that is harmful to health as shown by customary experience or scientific investigation. Animals must be slaughtered by Muslim (man orwoman) who is adult, sane, and mentions Allah’s name when slaughtering. Meat slaughtered by people of the book is halaal. Meat is haraam if slaughtered by a murtadd or a kaafir even if they mention Allah’s name. Any meat is treated as haram if the butcher is unknown. Meat sold in Muslim markets is considered halaal even if the butcher is unknown. Meat in the markets of mishrikiin is haraam unless the butcher is known The best method of killing the animal is using a sharp knife that causes little pain to the animal when done quickly. Use of gunshots and electric shocks are still controversial. Facing the qiblat during slaughtering is mustahabb; it is neither a shart or a waajib.


22.2.3 ETIQUETTE OF MEALS, adab al ta'aam

Believers eat only when they are hungry and do not eat their fill. Allah's name and a dua are mentioned at the start and hands should be washed. It is recommended to eat in a group. It is forbidden to eat at a table where alcohol is served. Eating is with the right hand even if the person is left-handed. Eating should be in haste with the objective of finishing and going on to do other things. The meal is not entertainment nut is a act of ibadat to give the body energy. It is sunnah to eat from the top of the dish and eat only the food next to you. Eating while reclining or standing is prohibited. Eating hot food is forbidden. Food served should be finished. Certain foods like onions should not be eaten when planning to enter a mosque. It is forbidden to blow over food. Allah is praised at the end of the meal. A tooth-pick is used to remove impacted pieces of food. Hands are washed and the mouth is rinsed at the end of the meal. The host is praised and is thanked at the end of the meal.



Satiety can be described in three states: the necessary, dharurat; the needed, haajat; and the excess, fadhl. Dharurat is the minimum nutritional intake necessary to maintain health in the best status. Haajat is intake that is more than dharurat but which prevents the feeling of hunger. Fadhl is the excess intake beyond the need. Obesity is a social and medical disease due to excess food intake. It interferes with physical acts of ibadat such as saum, salat, and hajj. Both obligatory and nafilat fasting help in controlling excess intake. Fasting is also training in appetite control during the ensuing non-fasting period.



Waste in eating and drinking is condemned. A Muslim should eat only what satisfies hunger and give the rest of the food to the needy. It is a waste to eat more than what you actually need. Most of this just passes through the alimentary canal and is voided as waste. It is considered bad to eat whatever you desire without discrimination. Often people buy more food than they will cook and consume. Poor methods of food preparation result in food waste


22.2.5 HUNGER

Voluntary hunger in Ramadhan gives the rich practical experience of hunger that makes them understand and appreciate the suffering of the poor. The Qur’an emphasized the virtues of giving food to the needy. Food security must be ensured for the individual, the family, and the whole world.

(c) Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. 2004