Q&A: Wasting Food

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Q: When eating and drinking many people have the habit of leaving a little of the food or drink in the utensil. For instance some tea or soft drink will be left over in the cup or some grains will be left over in the plate. If a person wipes his utensil clean with his finger and eats the little specks of food, he is regarded as lacking manners. What is the correct procedure in this regard?

 

A: Food and drink are great bounties of Allah Ta`ala. Every grain of food and every drop of water or any halaal drink must be greatly appreciated. Wasting is the way of shaitaan. Allah Ta`ala says: "Indeed those who waste are the brothers of shaitaan. Verily shaitaan was most ungrateful to his Rabb" (S:17,V: 27). We have been especially warned against wasting food and drink. The Quraan-ul-Kareem proclaims: "Eat and drink and do not waste, verily Allah does not love those who waste." (S:7, V:31)   

GROSS INGRATITUDE

Delibrately wasting even a little food is an act of gross ingratitude. Ingratitude draws down the wrath of Allah Ta`ala, as is clearly mentioned in the Quraan: "If you are grateful I will grant you increase (in your bounties) and if your are ungrateful then verily my punishment is very severe." (S: 14, V: 7)

    

Wiping the utensil clean with one's finger even of the little specks of food may be regarded as an act of poor manners by those who are devoid of manners and etiquette entirely. In Western cultures, and in the minds of those who ape the West, good etiquette is to waste some food and drink. This is no surprise. After all, in Western culture if two couples meet, it will be bad manners if each man does not embrace his friend's wife. When his friend is embraces his wife, or at least warmly shakes her hand, "good western manners" will dictate that he must stand by smiling from ear to ear. It is this very rotten culture that teaches one that it is good manners to waste the bounties of Allah Ta'ala. May Allah Ta'ala save us from aping such rotten values.

 

UTENSIL SEEKS FORGIVENESS

In the beautiful Deen of Islam, true manners and etiquettes have been taught. Among these etiquettes is to appreciate every ni'mat (bounty) of Allah Ta'ala. This includes every grain of food and every drop of water. Hence, it was the practice of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) that after eating he would lick the utensil clean with his finger and not leave behind even a tiny speck of food and drink. He would even lick his fingers clean of any food particles. He ordered his followers to also do the same, as has been mentioned in many Ahadith. In fact, great virtues have been mentioned for this. In a narration of Tirmizi it has been mentioned that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) said: "The one who eats in a plate, then licks it clean (with his finger), the utensil seeks forgiveness for him." In another narration it is mentioned that the utensil prays for him in the words: " May Allah free you from the fire as you have freed me from shaitaan (by not leaving any food behind for shaitaan)" (Mishkaat). 

One should therefore always wipe the utensil clean and not leave behind anything for shaitaan.

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