a. His Guidance in Eating
He (peace be upun him) never refused what was available nor did he strive to obtain what was not. He (peace be upun him) ate all good things, and if he disliked it, he would leave it without forbidding it or forcing himself to eat it. He never criticized any food; if he liked it, he ate it, otherwise he would leave it, as he did when offered lizard, because he was not used to eating it.
He (peace be upun him) used to eat whatever was available, and if there was nothing he was patient, to the extent that he would tie a stone against his stomach from hunger. Sometimes three consecutive months would pass when no fire was lit in his home for cooking.
It was not of his guidance to restrict oneself to one type of food.
He (peace be upun him) would eat sweets and honey and liked them. He ate the meat of the camel, sheep, chicken, birds, zebra and rabbit. He (peace be upun him) also ate seafood, roasted meat and fresh or dry dates. He also ate thareed, which is bread soaked with meat and broth, and ate bread with oil and cucumber with fresh dates. He (peace be upun him) ate cooked pumpkin and liked it, and also ate dried meat and dates with butter.
He (peace be upun him) liked meat, especially the forearm and front part of the sheep.
He (peace be upun him) used to eat the local fruits in their season, and did not avoid them.
Most of his food was placed on a mat on the ground.
He (peace be upun him) ordered people to eat with the right hand and forbade them from eating with the left hand, saying: “Indeed, Satan eats and drinks with his left hand."
He (peace be upun him) used to eat with three fingers and lick them when he finished.
He (peace be upun him) didn’t eat while resting on his side, while sitting cross-legged or while resting on one hand and eating with the other; these three positions are disliked. He (peace be upun him) used to eat sitting back on his buttocks with his legs straight. He (peace be upun him) said:
“I sit as a slave sits and eat as a slave eats.”
When extending his hand to the food he (peace be upun him) would say “Bismillah.” (In the name of Allah.) He (peace be upun him) told people to do the same, saying: “When one of you eats, he should pronounce the name of Allah. If he forgets to mention the name of Allah at the start, he should say: “Bismillah awwalahu wa akhirahu." (In the name of Allah at its beginning and its end.)
He (peace be upun him) said: “Indeed, Satan deems food over which the name of Allah is not mentioned as permissible [to him].”
He (peace be upun him) used to talk during the meal, and would repeatedly offer his guests more food, as generous people always do.
When the food was removed he (peace be upun him) would say:
“Al-hamdulillahi hamdan katheeran tayyiban mubaarakan feehi ghayra makfiyyin wa la muwadda`in wa la mustaghnan `anhu rabbuna." (Praise be to Allah, abundant, pure, and blessed praise, insufficient and unending and not without need of our Lord.)
When he (peace be upun him) was invited to food with some people he would not leave until he supplicated for them, saying: “Aftara `indakumus-sa'imoon wa akala ta`amakumul-abraar, wa sallat `alaykumul-mala'ikah." (May those who fast break their fast with you, and may the pious eat your food, and may the angels invoke blessings upon you.)
He (peace be upun him) used to supplicate for those who invited the poor, and praise them.
He (peace be upun him) never disdained eating with any person, young or old, freeman or slave, bedouin or emigrant.
When he (peace be upun him) was invited to eat while fasting, he would say: “I am fasting.” He (peace be upun him) told those who were offered food to pray for the host if fasting and to eat from it if not fasting.
When he (peace be upun him) was invited to a meal and someone followed him, he would inform the host, saying:
“This man followed us, so if you wish, permit him, otherwise he will go back.”
He (peace be upun him) told those who complained to him that the food was not enough to satisfy their hunger to gather for the meal and not separate, and to pronounce the name of Allah over it so He would bless it for them.
He (peace be upun him) said: “A human being does not fill a container worse than his stomach; a few bites are sufficient to support his back. But if he must [eat], then only a third of his stomach for his food, a third for his drink and a third to allow breathing.”
He (peace be upun him) entered his home one night looking for food and did not find any, so he said: “Allaahumma at`im man at`amani waski man sakaani." (O Allah, feed whoever feeds me and give drink to whoever gives me.)
b. His Guidance in Drink
His guidance in drink was the most perfect for protecting health. His favourite was a sweet and cold drink. He (peace be upun him) used to drink milk, both undiluted and mixed with water. And he would say:
“Allaahumma barik lana feehi wa zidna minhu, fa innahu laysa shayun yujzee `anat-ta`aami wash-sharaabi illal-laban." (O Allah, bless it and increase it for us, for nothing suffices as food and drink except milk.)
It was not of his guidance to drink during his meal. They used to prepare for him nabidh in the early night and he (peace be upun him) would drink from it the following morning, the following night and one more day and night until the afternoon. If some of it remained, he (peace be upun him) would give it to the servant or pour it out. He (peace be upun him) would not drink from it after three days, fearing it would become intoxicant.
It was from his guidance to usually drink while sitting down, and he (peace be upun him) would admonish those who drank while standing. But once, he drank standing, which was said to be for a reason or that the prohibition had been abrogated, or else to show that both ways are permissible.
He used to pause three times to breath while drinking and said: “It is better for quenching the thirst, is more satisfying and is healthier.” It meant that he moved the vessel away from his mouth and breathe outside of it. He (peace be upun him) said: “When one of you drinks, he should not breathe in the vessel but move it away from his mouth.”
He (peace be upun him) also prohibited drinking from the crack of a vessel or from its spout.
He (peace be upun him) used to pronounce the name of Allah when he started to drink and praise Allah when he finished. He (peace be upun him) said: “Allah is pleased with the servant who eats something and praises Him or drinks something and praises Him.”
He (peace be upun him) used to be provided with fresh water (palatable without saltiness), and he would prefer water that had been standing.
When drinking, he (peace be upun him) would pass it on to the right, even if there was someone on the left older than him.
He (peace be upun him) ordered the container to be covered and closed firmly, even with a stick, and to pronounce the name of Allah at that time.