2645. There are certain Mustahab rules to be observed while taking a meal; they are as follows:
Washing both the hands before taking a meal.
After taking a meal, one should wash one's hands, and dry them with a dry cloth.
The host should begin eating first, and should also be the last to withdraw
his hand. Before starting to take a meal, the host should wash his own hands
first, and thereafter, the person sitting on his right should do so.
Then the other guests should follow him, till it is the turn of the person sitting on the left side of the host. After finishing the meal, the person sitting on the left side of the host should wash his hands first, and thereafter other persons should follow him till it is the turn of the host.
One should say Bismillah before starting to eat, and if there are several dishes, it is Mustahab to say Bismillah before partaking of each of the dishes.
One should eat with one's right hand.
One should eat using three or more fingers and should not eat with two fingers only.
If several persons are sitting together for their meals, everyone of them should partake of the food placed in front of him.
One should take small bits of food.
One should prolong the duration of taking a meal.
One should chew the food thoroughly.
After taking one's meal one should praise and thank Allah.
One should lick one's fingers clean after taking food.
One should use a toothpick after taking a meal. However, the toothpick should not be made of sweet basil (a fragrant grass) or the leaves of date-palm.
One should collect and eat the food which is scattered on the dining cloth. However, if one takes meal in an open place, like a desert etc, it is better to leave the food which has fallen aside, so that it may be eaten by the animals and the birds.
One should take one's meal in the earlier part of the day, and in the earlier part of the night and should not eat during the day or during the night.
After taking one's meal one should lie on one's back, and should place one's right foot on one's left foot.
One should take salt before and after the meal.
When eating a fruit, one should first wash it before eating.