The Prophet’ssa Simple Life
The Prophetsa was extremely simple in the matter of food and drink. He never expressed displeasure with ill-prepared or ill-cooked food. If he could eat such food he would do so to save the person who had prepared it from disappointment. If, however, a dish was uneatable, he merely refrained from partaking of it and never expressed his disapproval of it. When he sat down to a meal he paid attention to the food placed before him and used to say that he did not like an attitude of indifference towards food as if the person eating was above paying attention to mere matters of food and drink. When any eatable was presented to him he always shared it with those present. On one occasion somebody presented him with some dates. He looked round and after making an estimate of the number of people present divided the dates equally among them, each of them receiving seven. Abu Hurairara relates that the Holy Prophetsa never ate his fill even of barley bread (Bukhari).
On one occasion while he was passing along a road he noticed some people gathered round a roast kid ready to enjoy the feast. When they saw the Holy Prophetsa they invited him to join them, but he declined. This was not due to his not having a liking for roast meat but to the fact that he did not approve of people indulging in a feast in the open where they could be observed by poor people who had themselves not enough to eat. It is related of him that on other occasions he did partake of roast meat. Ayeshara has related that the Holy Prophetsa did not, till the day of his death, on any occasion, eat his fill on three consecutive days. He was very particular that a person should not go to a meal in another person’s house uninvited. On one occasion somebody invited him to a meal and requested that he might bring four other persons with him. When he arrived at the house of his host he found that a sixth person had also joined his party. The host came to the door to receive him and his party and the Holy Prophetsa drew his attention to the fact that there were now six of them and that it was for the host to decide whether he would permit the sixth person to join them in the meal or whether the latter should depart. The host, of course, readily invited the sixth person also (Bukhari, Kitab al At‘ima).
Whenever the Holy Prophetsa sat down to a meal he always began to eat by invoking the name and blessings of Allah, and as soon as he concluded he rendered thanks in these words: ‘All praise is due to Allah, Who has given us to eat: praise, abundant and sincere and ever-increasing; praise, which does not leave an impression upon one’s mind that one has rendered enough praise but which creates in one’s mind the feeling that enough has not been said and the praise which ought never to be terminated and which makes one think that every divine act is worthy of praise and should be praised. Oh Allah! do Thou fill our hearts with these sentiments.’ Sometimes he used these words: ‘All praise is due to God Who has satisfied our hunger and thirst. May our hearts ever yearn after His praise and never be ungrateful to Him.’ He always admonished his companions to stop before they had eaten their fill and used to say that one man’s food should always suffice for two. Whenever any special food was prepared in his house he used to suggest that a portion of it should be sent as a present to his neighbours; and presents of food and other articles used constantly to be sent from his house to his neighbours’ houses (Muslim and Bukhari, Kitab al-Adab).1
1. Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud-din Mahmud Ahmadra, Life of Muhammad (Tilford, Surrey, U.K.: Islam International Publications Limited, 2013), 198-199.