By Hafsa Ahsan
Did you know that whenever you smile at or greet someone who visits your home you are following the Sunnah? Did you know you are also following it when you cook something nice and send some of it to your neighbour? Yes, some of the Sunnah practices are as easy as that.
It is quite a sorry state of affairs that the Sunnah practices in general are regarded as something very difficult to follow. And from that misconception arises another very gross conclusion – there is no need to follow these traditions. On the contrary, there are many practices which are quite simple to implement in one’s practical life, and some of those are as follows:
The Right Side
One of the main Sunnah practices to implement is to do everything from the right side first, for instance, eating and drinking with the right hand, putting on clothes from the right side first, stepping out of the washroom with the right foot forward first, walking into the mosque with the right foot first, sleeping on the right side, etc.
Narrated by Aisha (rta): “The Prophet (sa) used to love to start doing things from the right side whenever possible in performing ablution, putting on his shoes and combing his hair.” (Bukhari)
The interesting scientific benefit of sleeping on the right side is that it avoids undue pressure on the heart, which is on the left side. In fact, doing everything with the right hand has the scientific logic that since the heart is on the left side, doing things with the left hand will put pressure on the heart.
Sunnah practices while eating involve taking smaller portions, smaller bites, chewing properly, not reclining while eating and not criticizing any food.
Narrated by Abu Juhaifa (rta): “Allah’s Apostle (sa) said: ’I do not take my meals while leaning (against something).’” (Bukhari)
Narrated by Abu Hurairah (rta): “The Prophet (sa) never criticized any food (he was invited to), but he used to eat it if he liked the food, and leave it if he disliked it.” (Bukhari)
Scientific evidence shows that eating while reclining leads to the food not being digested properly. Similarly, taking smaller bites and chewing thoroughly helps in digestion.
Saying ‘Bismillah’ before doing anything
This is one of the easiest practices one can follow. Saying ‘Bismillah’ ensures that one does not do something which would bring about Allah’s (swt) displeasure. Moreover, one actually is rewarded for doing that particular task.
Narrated by Wahb Ibn Kaisan Abi Nuaim (rta): “A meal was brought to Allah’s Apostle (swt), while his step-son Umar Ibn Abi Salamah was with him. Allah’s Apostle (swt) said to him: “Mention the Name of Allah and eat of the dish which is nearer to you.’” (Bukhari)
Making intention pure before embarking on any task ensures reward for that task. For instance, if you’re cooking with the intention of fulfilling your rights towards your family members, or visiting an old relative purely for Allah’s (swt) pleasure, there is no reason why you won’t be amply rewarded.
Narrated by Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (rta): “I heard Allah’s Apostle (sa) saying: ‘The reward of deeds depends upon the intentions, and every person will get the reward according to what he has intended. So whoever emigrated for worldly benefits or for a woman to marry, his emigration was for what he emigrated for.” (Bukhari)
Sunnah drinking habits include having a drink while sitting, drinking water in three breaths, not drinking directly from the water jug and not breathing into the water vessel.
Narrated by Abu Hurairah (rta): “The Prophet (sa) forbade the drinking of water directly from the mouth of a water skin.” (Bukhari)
Before going to sleep
Narrated by Jabir (rta): “Allah’s Apostle (sa) said: ‘Extinguish the lamps, when you go to bed; close your doors; tie the mouths of your water skins and cover the food and drinks.’ I think he added, ‘…even with a stick you place across the container.’” (Bukhari)
So there you have it. Following the Sunnah practices requires only some degree of effort initially, but the rewards are numerous. All you need to do is to remind yourself that not only are these practices beneficial for you in your everyday life (as has been proven by modern science), but following them will also earn you rewards in this world as well as in the Hereafter. So make a firm resolve to start these very basic practices from today.