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Traditional Foods of Other People: [Be Sensitive to Other People’s Feelings! Either Eat or Leave It, And Be Careful What You Say]

In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Abu Hurairah [may Allaah be pleased with him] said, “The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] never criticized any food, but he would eat it if he liked it; otherwise he would leave it”. [Saheeh al-Bukhaari Number 3563]

Meaning, he never criticized food that was permissible to eat, but as for forbidden food, he used to criticize, dispraise and forbid one from eating it. Imaam An-Nawawi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “One of the etiquettes of dealing with food is that one does not criticize it, such as saying, ‘Salty, sour, insufficient salt, coarse, need more such and such, not well cooked and what is similar to (these descriptions). (1)

Imaam Abdul Azeez Bin Baaz [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, ” This is from his [i.e. the Messenger’s] noble manners. He would neither say that it is salty nor the opposite of it.

Question: What if one says the food is such and such in order to warn (or notify the people)? Answer: There is no harm in doing so, for warning (or notifying) is something else because it is done to educate (people about food etc). (2) Ibn Umar [may Allaah be pleased with and his father]reported that there were some people with Allaah’s Prophet [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] from among his Companions, Sa’d [may Allaah be pleased with him] being one of them. There was brought to them the flesh of the lizard when a lady amongst the wives of Allaah’s Prophet [may Allaah be pleased with them] said, “It is the flesh of the lizard”. Thereupon Allaah’s Messenger said, “Eat, for it is lawful, but it is not my diet”. (3)

Abdullah Bin Abbaas [may Allaah be pleased with him and his father] reported, “I and Khaalid Bin Al-Waleed [may Allaah be pleased with him] went to the apartment of Maimoonah [may Allaah be pleased with her]along with Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him], and there was presented to him a roasted lizard. Allaah’s Messenger stretched his hand towards it, whereupon some of the women [may Allaah be pleased with them] who had been in the house of Maimoonah said, ‘Inform Allaah’s Messenger what he intends to eat’. Allaah’s Messenger lifted his hand. I said, ‘Messenger of Allaah! Is it forbidden?’ He said, ‘No. It is not found in the land of my people, and I feel that I have no liking for it’. Khalid said, ‘I then chewed and ate it, while, Allaah’s Messenger was looking (at me)'”. (4)

[Ref 1: An Excerpt from Fat’hul Baari. Chapter 21: ‘The Prophet Never Criticised Food’. Vol 9. page 678. Publisher: Daarus Salaam, 1st Edition 1421AH (Year 2000)]

[Ref 2: Al-Hulalul Ibreeziyyah Min At-Taleeqaat Al-Baaziyyah Alaa Saheeh Al-Bukhaari’Vol 3’ page 120’ footnote 2. slightly paraphrased. Source:]


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