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Respect The Bread #Hadith

Muslims' attitude towards food has decayed in recent years. Obesity, 'fast foods' and wastefulness is common in Muslim populat...

Muslims' attitude towards food has decayed in recent years. Obesity, 'fast foods' and wastefulness is common in Muslim populated countries. Recently several Qatarites were hospitalised for overeating in Ramadan.

In my Islamic studies with the Al-Markaz institute in Bradford UK, I memorised several principles regarding food.

From all the verbal teachings (Ahadith) of Prophet Muhammad of Islam, Allah's peace and blessings be upon him, one particularly stood out to me for its humbling attitude towards food:
"Ak ri'mul khubza"
Handle the bread with respect

In Islamic tradition, Muslims have to go through a process of spiritual awakening even in something considered non-celebratory like eating a sandwich, or pouring a drink. There are positive reminders called `Adab, which means etiquettes and manners, towards food. After ensuring their food is sourced ethically and is Halal, Muslims must begin eating by saying the Basmallah:
Bismilla-hirahmaan-iraheem
In the name of God, entirely Compassionate, especially Merciful;
by eating slowly, chewing and swallowing one mouthful before taking another bite; and ending with a supplication (du`a') of praise to Allah:
Alhamdulillah
All praise belongs to God.
This Hadith of Prophet Muhammad reinforces the thankful relationship towards food and for the provision of which Muslim believe is given by Allah. In another Hadith it's said to tear bread (or any type of whole food) instead of cutting as that process is more noble for the food. This is why we tear our roti (chappati), home-baked bread, tortillas, naan, baguettes etc.

Just like a Chinese tea ceremony, in Islam there is a spiritual connection in eating wholesome food, taking the time to be aware of what you are consuming, with the appropriate phrases and actions of thankfulness (Shukr in Arabic).

I hope this was useful for new readers and old friends in understanding why Muslims see each meal as an integral part of faith.

More Halalifed Food
Spirituality of Food Ethics, Imam Afroz Ali
+ 5 Important Fatwas on Halal Food, Drinks & Medicine
+ 10 Eco Muslim Tips On Food Management

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