Eating: Etiquettes & Supplications [40-42]

40. It is vital to ensure that no food goes to waste, whether it is one’s own food or someone else’s; rather, wasting another’s property entails double wrongdoing even if the owner permits it. Food should be saved from falling on the ground and that which has fallen, and is suitable for eating should be picked up. Food should not be left in the utensil. Bones should be cleaned from meat and other food particles. If one eats at a restaurant, then the leftover food should not be wasted. Rather, one should take the food along and not experience any shame in doing so.

When any event involving food (even religious events) comes to an end, it seems as though animals partook instead of humans. A sizeable amount of food is seen going to waste. Another significant amount is thrown or washed away when cleaning utensils. If this very food was saved and given to the hungry and needy, imagine the rewards one could reap.

The case should have been that we gather every small particle of food and feed it to animals, and if not, then even to insects, like it was the practice of the pious.

The fuqahā (jurists) have gone to the extent of saying that being unmindful and careless of even grains being wasted when washing them prior to cooking, is a sin.

41. Eating bread from the middle, and leaving it’s ends without a valid reason, falls under wasting and is thus sinful. However, if then ends are used by another person, or is fed to an animal, then one will be absolved of sinning.

42. One should only take food out according to one’s need and capacity. If the need to take more arises then one may do so. Taking a large amount and consequently wasting it, is a sin.

(Adapted from Khāne Pīne ke Ādāb by Muftī Muhammad Riḍwan. Published by Kutub Khāna Idāra Gufrān, Rawalpindi.)

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