Licking fingers and eating from one plate Sunnah
Fatwa No: 319630

  • Fatwa Date:27-3-2016 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 18, 1437
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Question

Assalaamu alaykum. I want a few clarifications regarding some manners of eating 1. Is it from the Sunnah to lick your fingers and wipe the plate with your fingers after finishing meals? My family members find it disgusting when I clean the plate like this while telling them that this is a sunnah of our beloved prophet sallallahu alaihi wasallam. 2. Is it also sunnah to eat while sharing the same plate or vessel, or should we eat together but in different plates/vessels? 3. In India, most of the people share the same glasse to drink water, and they even drink water left by someone in a glass, especially at weddings and in mosques. Is it ok to drink water and other drinks by sharing the same glass?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger. 

We have previously underlined in fatwa 131933 that it is an act of the Sunnah to lick the fingers after eating. We have also said that it is recommended in the Sunnah to eat in a group from a single plate in fatwa 91998. The Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, “Get together when you eat, and mention the Name of Allaah (when you start eating), Allaah will bless your food.” [Abu Daawood] Shaykh Ibn ʻUthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him commented on this hadeeth, saying, “This indicates that a group should eat collectively from a single plate. So if there are five or ten people, then they should eat collectively from a single plate that is sufficient for them all. Indeed, doing so is a cause for divine blessings to descend, whilst eating separately is a cause for blessings to depart.

Some scholars deemed it disliked to eat from one plate with the non-Muslim. Abu Al-Waleed Al-Baaji  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him wrote, “Imaam Maalik stated, as cited in Al-ʻUtbiyyah, that it was more desirable to him to refrain from eating with the Christian from one plate; however, he did not believe it to be prohibited. It is not allowable for the Muslim to befriend a Christian. He forbade from eating with a non-Muslim from the same plate because it is an indication of friendship...” [Al-Muntaqa]

There is also no harm in drinking the water left over after the Muslim has drunk from the glass; the scholars unanimously agreed that the leftover water of Muslims is pure. It has been reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, and the honorable Companions used to drink from the same vessel one after another, as has been stated in many ahaadeeth. For instance, it was narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him that the people of As-Suffah drank from one bowl. He said:

...So I went to the people of As-Suffah and called them, and they came and asked the Prophet's permission to enter. They were admitted and took their seats in the house. The Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, said, 'O Aba-Hirr!' I said, 'Labbayk (at your service), O Messenger of Allaah!' He said, 'Take it (a bowl of milk) and give it to them.' So I took the bowl and started giving it to one man, who would drink his fill and return it to me, whereupon I would give it to another man, who, in his turn, would drink his fill and return it to me, and I would then offer it to another man, who would drink his fill and return it to me. Finally, after the whole group had drunk their fill, I reached the Prophet, sallallaahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, who took the bowl and put it on his hand, looked at me and smiled and said. 'O Aba Hirr!' I replied, 'Labbayk, O Messenger of Allaah!' He said, 'There remain you and I.' I said, 'You have said the truth, O Messenger of Allaah!' He said, 'Sit down and drink.' I sat down and drank. He said, 'Drink,' and I drank. He kept on telling me repeatedly to drink, till I said, 'No; by Allaah, Who sent you with the Truth, I have no more room for it.' He said, 'Hand it over to me.' When I gave him the bowl, he praised Allaah and pronounced His name on it and drank the remaining milk.” [Al-Bukhari]

Allaah knows best.

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