Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem, Alhamdulillahi wa solatu wasalaamu ‘ala Rasulillahi wa aalihi wa sohbihi ajma’in…
Prophet Sulaiman upon whom be peace, as we know was a King that was given a kingdom unlike any other king. He ruled not just over man but over jinns and animals. One day he decided to have a feast for the creatures of the ocean. He asked permission from Allah and Allah asked him to make preparations.
Prophet Sulaiman pbuh commanded men and jinn to gather various types of food as much as they could. Then he commanded his helpers to call out to the creatures of the ocean. “O ye creatures of the sea! Gather round for Sulaiman’s feast!” At that, a gigantic whale that lived in the depths of the vast and deep ocean emerged. “Today your sustenance is from Sulaiman so go to him!” shout the Prophet’s assistants.
Prophet Sulaiman pointed to the feast and said to the whale, “Eat to your satisfaction!” The huge whale turned to the feast and swallowed everything, leaving nothing behind. It raised its head and said, “O Prophet of Allah, I am still hungry. This is only a third of my need.” At that moment, Prophet Sulaiman realised his inability as a mere servant of Allah and none can provide sustenance save Allah Ar-Razzaq, the Provider of Sustenance.
Do you not consider Allah’s Power, how He Exalted is He manages the sustenance of all the different creatures from the smallest to the largest of them anywhere they live in this endless universe. The Prophet Sulaiman couldn’t provide enough for one creature although he had the help of thousands of men and jinns. Subhanaka Ya Razzaq!
In the act of eating, Our Master The Messenger of Allah may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him and his family has taught the proper etiquette. Here we shall highlight some of the adabs. First of which, it is recommended to eat with a fresh wudhu. The benefit is that one is able to limit the Satanic whisperings and chatter of the mind/lower self. The heart can then reflect and remember Allah as the provider of the food that is laid in front of us. Every mouthful should be taken in small sizes without haste but with a tranquil, present heart saying bismillah before the food enters the mouth and alhamdulillah as the food is swallowed.
“And We placed therein gardens of palm trees and grapevines and caused to burst forth therefrom some springs. That they may eat of His fruit. And their hands have not produced it, so will they not be grateful?” Ya siin 34-35
Chewing the food as much as possible is part of the way of the Prophet. This not only helps to speed up digestion (smaller particles-increased surface area of food in contact with stomach acid hence faster reaction), it also does not make one feel bloated/too full. Hence one feels more light and not lethargic nor heavy after meals as digestion is faster.
Reflection (that the food is from Allah, how the rain that He sent down made it possible for the food to be on our table and so on and so forth) during eating increases the light of love, faith and khusyu’ in the heart. It is very difficult but the wudhu’ helps. One should also focus on one’s plate to focus the mind upon reflection. Try it!
It is part of the sunnah not to complain about the food but to eat it thankfully as Allah has decreed the food to be yours. It is indeed a great wrong to complain, may Allah help us against complaining! It thickens the veil between the person and Allah Ar-Razzaq, meaning the person forgets that Allah is the one who made it possible for the food to be on his table.
“Do they not see that We have created for them from what Our hands have made, grazing livestock, and [then] they are their owners? And We have tamed them for them, so some of them they ride, and some of them they eat.” Ya-siin 71-72
It is also resommended to take wudhu’ and siwak after eating in order to limit the chatter of the lower self and Satanic whisperings as when the stomach is filled, these gain strength (i.e. mind chatter and satanic whisperings).