Unity, blessing and food wastage

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله وعلى آله وصحبه

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Gathering together and not indulging in waste

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‘Umar bin al-Khattab رضي الله عنه narrated that the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم said:

كلوا جميعا و لا تفرقوا ، فإن طعام الواحد يكفي الاثنين ، و طعام الاثنين يكفي الثلاثة و الأربعة ، كلوا جميعا و لا تفرقوا ، فإن البركة في الجماعة

“All of you eat together and do not be divided, for the food of one person is sufficient for two and that of two persons is enough for three and four. Do not be divided (dispersed) among yourselves, for blessing is in (being a) community.”

[Musnad al-Bazzar, 127 (inc. the last sentence) – graded as hasan in ‘Saheeh al-Jaami’, 4501/8630 and ‘Silsilat as-Saheehah’, 2691 – (see also Saheeh al-Bukhari, 5392)].

1. This beautiful hadeeth imparts many points of profound benefit for the Muslim community; as it provides a means to cementing communal unity. It also provides a solution to the problem of food wastage (and the looming global food supply crisis). A crisis that has primarily arisen due to the individualism of society, where every person is indoctrinated to “look after number one” under a consumerist capitalism – resulting in extravagance and wastage.

2. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى Said:

وَلَا تُسْرِفُوا ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِي

“And waste not by extravagance, verily He likes not the Musrifoon (those who waste by extravagance).” [Al-Anaam, 141]

This Ayah promotes efficiency in being sufficient, just as the du’a of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم highlights:

اللهم اجعل رزق آل محمد قوتا

“O Allaah! Provide for Muhammad’s family what will nourish (i.e. sustain) them.”  [Saheeh Muslim, 1055]

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3. What better solution to the problem of wastage than through the very simple act of sharing? An act that enforces discipline and guides every partaking member to take (only) what is necessary and divert the excess to fulfilling the needs of others – (see also ‘Fath al-Bari’, 5077).

4. Environmentalists have created slogans to “go green” and devised environmentally friendly action plans from pooling resources to leading a greener life in and around the home. What many have overlooked is the simple idea of cutting green-house emissions through sufficing oneself by sharing food collectively – (the food system and its subsequent packaging makes a substantial contribution towards such emissions).

See also “10 Tips to food management from a Muslim perspective

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5. The hadeeth links barakah to the sharing of food to being part of a community. It shows the means by which bonds of brotherhood can be maintained because eating together and sharing food increases love and imbibes community spirit. Wahshi bin Harb رضي الله عنه narrated that the Companions of the Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم said:

يا رسول الله إنا نأكل ولا نشبع قال فلعلكم تأكلون متفرقين قالوا نعم قال فاجتمعوا على طعامكم واذكروا اسم الله عليه يبارك لكم فيه

“‘O Messenger of Allaah, verily we eat and are not satisfied’. He صلى الله عليه و سلم said, ‘Perhaps you eat separately?’ They said, ‘Yes’. He صلى الله عليه و سلم said, ‘Gather together (to eat) and remember the name of Allaah and it will have barakah (be blessed for you).'”

[Abi Da’wud, 3764, Musnad Ahmad and others – graded as hasan bu Ibn Hajar in ‘Takhreej Mishkat al-Masabih’, 4/172 and al-Albani (see ‘Saheeh ibn Majah’, 2674)]

The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم also said:

أحب الطعام إلى الله ما كثرت عليه الأيدي

“The (most) beloved food to Allaah is the one touched by many hands (i.e. shared by many).” [Shu’ab al-Imaan, 7/3154 and others – graded as hasan by al-Araqi, Ibn Hajar and al-Albani (see ‘Saheeh at-Targheeb’, 2133)]

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May Allaah unite our hearts upon the Sunnah and make us not from the musrifoon.

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