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“The Prophet ﷺ would not eat at a table…” – Shama’il At-Tirmidhi [Explanation by Shaykh Zubayr ‘Aliza’i]

Abu Sinan

Hadith No. 146

Imam At-Tirmidhi said: Muhammad bin Bashar narrated to us: Mu’adh bin Hisham narrated to us: My father informed me on the authority of Yunus from Qatadah, who narrated from Anas bin Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) who said,

“The Prophet ﷺ would not eat at a table, nor from a Sukurrujah¹, nor did he have soft and thin bread.”
So I (Yunus) said to Qatadah, “So what did he eat on?” He replied, “Upon these cloths [spread on the floor].”

Grading and References 

Ṣaḥīḥ (At-Tirmidhī #1788, and he said: Ḥasan Gharīb, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī #5386)

Explanation and Benefits

1. The actions in the aforementioned Hadith are not Haram (prohibited), rather they are related to matters of Taqwa, humility and virtuousness. In other words, it is not prohibited to eat at a table, however it is better not to without an excuse. It is not prohibited to eat thin bread of which the flour has been sifted (to clean out impurities), but it is better not to. Eating from a plate and small vessels is permissible, but it is better not to – and it is better that all the people eat together from one dish.

2. It is established from Surah An-Nur, Ayah 61, that it is permissible to eat alone and to eat together.

3. It is established from Surah Al-A’raf, Ayah 31, that it is permissible to eat all kinds of Halal and good foods, without extravagence. The next ayah (32) explicitly states that preparing both Halal and good foods is permissible.

4. Even in those actions which are permissible, acting upon them in the manner which is established from the Messenger of Allah ﷺ is more virtuous, however, remember that declaring something Halal to be Haram without a clear evidence and the understanding of the Salaf is incorrect.

(Shama’il At-Tirmidhi with the Tahqiq of Shaykh Zubayr ‘Aliza’i p. 177, 178)

Translator’s Notes

¹ Ibn Mandhur said regarding the definition of ‘Sukurrujah’, “…a small vessel in which condiments are eaten.” (Lisan Al-‘Arab 7/217)


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