Food is close to our heart. Islam has given significant attention to the value of food. It is the tradition and manner of the Prophet (sa) that he used to lick his fingers and say: “You don’t know which part of the food is blessed.” (Tirmidhi) Hence he used to finish off every morsel of food on his plate.
Aisha (rtaf) once found a single grape next to her bedside. She gave it in Sadaqah (voluntary charity). People asked: “Oh Aisha, are you giving a single grape to the poor?” She replied: “How many atoms are there in a single grape?” Whoever did an atom’s weight of good will see it.
“How many atoms of weight of goodness are there in these grapes that I have given away?” A Sahabi said, after donating shrivelled grapes that had almost shrunk to the size of raisins. They would not even belittle that.
Shariah has given tremendous weight to the topic of food. One of the leading reasons for men to enter Jahannum (Hellfire) is that they never encouraged others to feed the poor. How many punishment’s Kaffarah (compensation) is to feed people? If you say your wife is like your mother’s back, part of the Kaffarah is to feed 60 people. If you kill somebody, sleep with your wife in the month of Ramadan (while fasting), break an oath, or are not able to fulfill your Hajj, the Kaffarah is to feed people.
During Hajj, we experience a season of feeding millions of people the meat of our slaughtered sacrificial animal.
“Oh Rasool Allah, what is Islam?” a man came and asked. “Islam is nothing but beautiful speech and feeding food.” (Ahmad)
“What is the most beautiful thing about Islam?” “The most beautiful thing is what you say with your tongue (such as the Ayahs, Ahadeeth, the Azan, the Azkar, good speech with your brother like Salam, Dua for him, not harming with your tongue, etc.) and also the feeding of food.” (Tirmidhi)
Righteous people never belittle the feeding of food. It was one of the things that made Abu Bakr (rtam) better than the other Sahabah (Companions). There is a famous Hadeeth where the Prophet (sa) asked his companions many things, and Abu Bakr (rtam) scored highest in all areas of virtuous deeds. The Prophet (sa) had asked: “Who has done this?” or “Who has done that?” referring to the following of a funeral, visiting the sick, caring for an orphan, and finally, feeding people.
We have a great opportunity around us with our brothers and sisters. Whether or not they need to be fed is beside the point. When we observe the Prophet (sa) and those around him, we discover that they were not dying of hunger. It wasn’t a situation as bad as Africa. They were people who already had food. Yet they shared their food frequently, and offered to others also.
Invite people to dine with you frequently. Just offer extra or, in some instances, your own food too. Once, my friend, Haroon, bought amazing fish for himself. I know that he was hungry. I tested him by taking it away from him, and he offered it to me. From that day, I love him even more. He preferred his meal for me, and bought a new one for himself. Allah (swt) gave him the blessing.
Nothing joins the hearts more than the feeding of food. Hearts come together when you eat together. This used to be an advertisement of a famous coffee brand, too. Even the CEOS of companies are recommended to eat with their team and not alone. Dining together is not only appreciated in Islam it is also the essence of our community.
Abdullah ibn Umar (rtam) said: “At the time of the Prophet (sa), we were beaten if we bought food from the market, and sold it at the same place without moving it.” (Tirmidhi)
The reason for this was that when you are moving food items, you are more careful about getting the right amount and selling the right amount, as you need to transfer it from Point A to Point B.
Prophets of Allah (swt) were sent to people to correct their attitude on the topic of food. What did Shoaib (as) say to his people: “O my people, be honourable and just regarding your weighings.” Surah Mutafiffin was revealed about those people who sell their food without weighing it correctly. Allah (swt) said that when they took, they took their due measure, but when it was time to give back, they gave wrong measure.
After arriving in Madinah, what is the first instruction that the Prophet (sa) gives? “Feed people, and spread Salam amongst yourself.” (Tirmidhi)
The Prophet (sa) gave glad tidings: “Verily in Jannah (Paradise) there are beautiful homes, where you can see the inside from the outside and the outside from the inside.” The Sahabah inquired: “Who are they for, Rasulullah?” He replied: “For those who beautify their speech, and for those who feed others.” (Abu Dawood)
The Prophet (sa) never specified that the people who had to be fed were poor. Just the act of feeding food is Mahmud (praiseworthy) whether to folks in need or not in need. Of course, those in need are more worthy of our food.
Marry women who are fond of cooking abundant food and generously serving it. It does not need to be lavish. Just add more rice or curry to the dish, and share it with others. It will bring Khair (goodness), Insha’Allah.
Nothing else can ever achieve the results that offering food does. It brings individuals together, opens up their hearts, and enables them to become friends. May Allah (swt) make us among the people who come on the Day of Judgement, after having fed Allah’s creation only for His pure pleasure. Ameen.
Transcribed for hiba by Rana Rais Khan
What happens when a hungry beggar is refused…
A freed slave of Uthman (rtam) said that Umm Salamah (rtaf) was presented with a piece of meat. She told her maid servant that the Prophet (sa) liked meat, and requested her to place it in the house, as the Prophet (sa) may eat it. It was placed on the window ledge of the house.
A beggar came, stood at the door, and said: “Give alms (Sadaqah)! May Allah bless you.” When they replied, “May Allah bless you,” the beggar left. Then the Prophet (sa) entered, and asked Umm Salamah (rtaf) whether she had anything for him to eat. She replied that she had, and told the servant to go, and bring the meat to Allah’s Messenger (sa). When she went, she found only one piece of flint (a piece of white stone) on the window ledge.
The Prophet (sa) said: “The meat changed into flint because you did not give it to the beggar.” (Baihaqi)