Umar ibn Abi Salamah said: “I was a boy under the care of Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) and my hand used to go around the dish. So Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said to me, ‘Son! Mention the name of Allah, eat with your right hand, and eat from what is nearest to you on the dish.’ Since then, this has been my manner of eating.” Narrated by Bukhari
I like this hadith for January, as it is a bit more instructional.
I remember when I first converted, I actually had a very difficult time remembering to say “Bismillah” (In the name of God) when I began to eat, and an even more difficult time learning to eat with my right hand.
As a university student, I had become quite accustomed to eating at my desk with my fork in my left hand, and the right hand occupied by a book, pencil, typing, or other things like that. Half the time I wasn’t even looking at my food as it was going from my plate to my mouth (perhaps why I always spill things on my clothes?)!
Anyhow, I still often struggle to eat from what is closest to me on the dish…especially here in Algeria my husband and I both spend a lot of time reaching around the table for what we want.
Honestly, the only advice I have to offer on this for new converts, is that practice makes perfect! I will still sometimes stop myself in the middle of a mouthful or a swig of water and take the fork or cup out of my left hand and place it into my right.
This hadith really does go to show, though, how Islam is not only a religion, with rites and ceremonies to be attended to, but a whole comprehensive way of life. Everything, from how we pray to the smallest etiquettes of how we have our lunch have been laid out for us in the best way possible.
Peace and bon apetit y’all =)