Lecture for 3rd year students on December 2, 2000 by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr.


The human needs food to survive, haajat al insaan li al ta'aam (p.?  2:35, 5:75, 6:14, 7:19, 15:3, 19:25-26, 20:121, 21:8, 23:33, 25:7, 25:20, 32:27, 47:12, 106:4). Humans need different amounts and types of food depending on their gender, age, health status, and type of activity. The body needs about 50 different nutrients. Nutrition is the science that studies nutrients in food and their effect on health. Human food consists of nutrients, which are different elements and compounds needed by the body. Nutrients are classified as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and water.


 Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the main source of energy; about 55% of energy carbohydrates supply requirements. Simple carbohydrates are small molecules like glucose. Complex carbohydrates like starch consists of larger molecules made up of several molecules of sugars. Complex carbohydrates have to be broken down in the process of digestion to simple carbohydrates that enter the metabolic pathways.


Fats: An amount of fat supplies twice as much energy as an equal weight of carbohydrates. The body has the ability to synthesize fats from carbohydrates. Most body energy is stored in the form of fats. Saturated fats contain the maximum number of hydrogen atoms and are found in animal products like meat, milk, cheese, eggs, and butter. Unsaturated fats can take on more hydrogen atoms. They are found in foods of plant origin like corn, peanut oil, and certain types of margarine. It is recommended that no more than 30 percent of food energy should be from fats and not more than 10 percent from saturated fats. Saturated fats increase amount of cholesterol in the body.


Proteins: Proteins are needed to build and repair the body. They are made up of amino acids. The body is able to synthesize 12 amino acids, these are called non-essential amino acids since they need not be part of the diet. There are 8 essential amino acids that must be taken in the diet because the body cannot synthesize them. A complete protein is one that can supply all the essential amino acids. Incomplete proteins miss one or more of the essential amino acids. When carbohydrates and fats cannot supply enough energy, recourse is made to proteins.


Minerals: Calcium is the most important mineral being a major component of teeth and bones. Iron is needed for haematopoiesis.


Vitamins: are needed in small quantities. They help enzymatic function.


Water: Water is the most important nutrient. It is possible to survive without food for weeks but not without water. Water serves the following functions: a major component of all tissues, a solvent that transports food and wastes in the body, temperature stabilization, and lubrication.


Fiber: fiber is not a nutrient but is still a very important part of human diet. It is made up of complex carbohydrate molecules that cannot be broken down or absorbed by the body. They help in intestinal voiding.




Humans are at the top of the food chain. All  the universe was put at the disposal of humans. Thus humans can take the life of plants and animals for purposes of their nutrition with the permission of Allah. It is in recognition of this that they must mention Allah's name, basmalah, when slaughtering or starting to eat food. Basmalah was enjoined when eating, tasmiah ala al  ta 'am (KS 343 Bukhari K70 B2, B3; Muslim K36 H102, 103, 108; Abudaud K26 B14, B15; Tirmidhi K23 B41, B47; Ibn Majah K29 B7, B17; Darimi K8 B1, B15; Muwatta K49 H32; Ahmad 1;153, 234, 302; Ahmad 3:346, 383, 397, 501; Ahmad 4:26, 27, 189). In the same way Allah's is praised at the end, al hamdu ala al ta 'am (KS 343 Muslim K48 H89; Abudaud K25 B21; Tirmidhi K45 B54; Ahmad 1:153, 225; Ahmad 2:283; Ahmad 3:100, 439).



Every food has its benefits and harms. In the end it is the balance of the two that is used as a guideline in decisions regarding halaal and haraam. The haram foods are specified. The rest are halaal. The Qur'an listed permitted food, ta'aam mubaah akluhu (p 747 2:57-58, 2:168, 2:172, 3:93, 5:1, 5:87-88, 5:96, 6:118-119, 6:141-142, 7:160-161, 8:69, 16:5, 16:14, 16:114, 18:19, 20:54, 20:80-81, 22:30, 23:19-21, 23:51, 34:15, 35:12, 36:72, 40:79). It also listed foods that are forbidden, al haraam min al ta'aam (p 324 2;173, 5;3, 5;90, 6:121, 6:145, 16:115). Exemptions were made for certain foods, rukhas al ta'aam (p 746-747 2:173, 5:3, 6:119, 6:145, 16:115, 24:61). Haram foods can be eaten in situations of necessity, dharurat. Meat slaughtered by people of the book is permitted, hill ta'aam ahl al kitaab  (p. 744 5:5). The food of magians may also be allowed (KS 343).



  • All plants
  • All land animals not specifically forbidden.  Products of halaal animals like hair, skin, and bone are halaal. The following were specifically mentioned as allowed, al dhabb (KS 346), locusts, jaraad (KS 347), wild donkeys, laham al himaar al wahshi (KS 346).
  • All aquatic life except frogs and crocodiles



  • Animals found dead except in exceptional exemptions, ibaahat laham al maitat (KS 346).
  • Animals not slaughtered according to the Law. Meat found and whose method of slaughter is unknown is eaten after mentioning basmalah on it (KS 343 Bukhari K34 B5, Abu daud K16 B19
  • Animals that prey/hunt with fangs or talons (KS 347).
  • The following were specifically mentioned as forbidden: laham al ghuraab (KS 346), laham al bighaal (KS 346).
  • Flowing blood
  • Pork is najasat
  • Any food that is harmful to health



Animals for food must be slaughtered in the Islamic way. The prophet did not eat meat not slaughtered in the Islamic way (KS 343: Bukhari K72 B16; Abudaud K16 B13; Ahmad 6:24). Meat slaughtered in other than the prescribed way is forbidden (p 441 2:173, 5:3, 6:121, 6:145, 16:115). Allah's name must be mentioned while slaughtering otherwise taking the life of the animal is illegal. The best method is using a sharp knife. It causes little pain to the animal when done quickly. Use of gunshots and electric shocks are still controversial.


C. ETIQUETTE OF MEALS, adab al ta'aam


Humans eat a wide range of foods, tanawu 'u al ta 'am (p 745 2:61, 6:141, 13:4). The believers eat differently from the non-believers (KS 345: Bukhari K70 B12; Muslim K36 H182-186; Tirmidhi K23 B20; Ibn Majah K29 B3; Darimi K8 B13; Ahmad 2:21, 43, 74, 145, 257, 318, 375, 415, 435, 455; Ahmad 3:336, 337, 357, 392; Ahmad 5:369; Ahmad 6:335, 397; Tayalisi H1834, 2521). They eat only when they are hungry and do not eat their fill. Supper should not be abandoned even if it is one date (KS 347: Tirmidhi K23 B46; Ibn Majah K29 B54



Allah's name is mentioned at the start of the meal (KS ? Bukhari K70 B2, 3; Abudaud K26 B38; Tirmidhi K23 B19; Ibn Majah K29 B35; Darimi K8 B1, Muwatta K49 N32, 34; Ahmad 3:117; Ahmad 4:62, 336, 337; Ahmad 5:375, 382, 397; Ahmad 6:143, 207, 246, 265). A supplication, dua may also be recited. Hands should be washed to remove any infectious or toxic material that when ingested with the food may cause disease. Hand washing should be done immediately before starting the meal in order not to give an opportunity to infectious and toxic material to accumulate.



The Qur'an has taught the etiquette of eating, adab al ta'aam (p 744 33:53). Many sayings and actions of the prophet also give guidance on how to eat. It is recommended to eat in a group because it has blessings, barakat (KS 343: Abudaud K26 B14; Ibn Majah K29 B17). It is forbidden to eat at a table where alcohol is served. Eating is with the right hand (KS 344) even if the person is left-handed. Eating should be in haste and with earnestly; the objective being to finish food and go on to do other things. The meal should not be treated as a form of entertainment to be taken and enjoyed over a very long time. It is a necessary act of ibadat to give the body the energy and nutrients needed to undertake the human mission on earth. Enough time should be spent chewing the food well to ensure good digestion. It is sunnah to eat from the top of the dish. It is sunnat to eat only the food next to you, yakul kullu rajuli mimma yaliihi (KS 344: Bukhari K70 B2,3; Muslim K36 H104-108; Muslim K37 H71; Abudaud K26 B19; Abudaud K31 B41; Tirmidhi K23 B47; Ibn Majah K29 B8; Darimi K8 B9; Muwatta K49 H5,6; Ahmad 2:8, 33, 80, 106, 128, 134, 146, 325, 349; Ahmad 3: 202, 254, 293, 327, 334, 357, 362, 387; Ahmad 4:26, 27, 45, 46, 50, 69, 383; Ahmad 5:311, 380; Ahmad 6:77, 165, 170, 265, 287, 288; Tayalisi H1358). Eating while reclining is not encouraged, la yaakul mutakia (KS 344). Eating and drinking while standing are prohibited (KS 345: Ibn Majah K29 B25; Ahmad 3:199, 291; Tayalisi H1904, 2017). Eating hot food is forbidden (KS 345: Darimi K8 B17). Food served should be finished (KS 343: Bukhari K70 B12, B13, B44; Muslim K36 H150-151; Abudaud K26 B16, B18, B43; Tirmidhi K23 B16, B28; Ibn Majah K29 B6, B21, B41, B62; Darimi K8 B24, B30; Muwatta K49 H32; Ahmad 2:371). Certain foods like onions should not be eaten when planning to enter a mosque (KS 345).



It is forbidden to blow over food, la yanfakhu ala al ta'aam (KS 345: Ibn Majah K29 B18; Ahmad 1:309, 357). This will spread bacteria and viruses over the food that others will eat and may lead to infections.



At the end of the meal Allah is praised and His name is mentioned, al hamdu wa al basmalah ba'ada al ta'aam (KS 343: Bukhari K70 B54; Muslim K36 H147; Abudaud K26 B52; Abudaud K31 B1; Tirmidhi K23 B18; Tirmidhi K45 B55; Ibn Majah K29 B16; Darimi K8 B3; Ahmad 3:32, 98; Ahmad 4:62, 187, 188, 190, 236, 336, 337; Ahmad 5:252, 256, 261, 269, 375, 415). Using a toothpick, khillal. Washing hands after food. Rinsing mouth after eating. Praising the host at the end of food, hamd al mudhiif ‘aqiba al ta’am (KS 345).



STATES OF SATIETY, maraatib al ghadha

Dharurat: is the minimum nutritional intake necessary to maintain health in the best status. It represents the balance between excessive and too little intake. Haajat is intake that is more than dharurat but which prevents the feeling of hunger. It is however recommended not to eat to full satisfaction, shaba’u. Believer and non-believer’s intestines. Fadhl is the excess intake beyond the need.



Desire for obesity: medicine for making women fat. Physical ibadat for the obese: saum, salat, and hajj



Both obligatory and nafilat fasting help in controlling excess intake. The fasting person takes and absorbs less food in a day that a non-fasting one. Fasting is also training in appetite control during the ensuing non-fasting period.




Waste in eating and drinking is condemned (p 103 7:31). Licking the fingers, la’aq al asabi’u (KS 344) is recommended for those eating by hand to avoid fod waste.



A Muslim should eat only what satisfies hunger and give the rest of the food to the needy (K 344-345: Ahmad 5:65). It is a waste to eat more than what you actually need.



It is considered bad to eat whatever you desire without discrimination, sharr akl kull ma ishtahayta (KS 345: Ibn Majah K29 B51; Ahmad 4:132)



Often people buy more food than they will cook and consume


Poor methods of food preparation result in food waste




Voluntary hunger in Ramadhan gives the rich practical experience of hunger that makes them understand and appreciate the suffering of the poor



The Qur’an emphasized the virtues of giving food to the needy (p 745 2:184, 5:89, 18:77, 22:28, 22:36, 36:47, 58:4, 69:34, 74:44, 76:8-9, 79:18, 90:14, 107:3; p 311 90:14). The prophet taught the virtue of feeding others, fadhl al ‘it’aam (KS 344) especially the hungry, it’aam al jai’u (KS 343). This can take any of the following forms: sadaqat, kaffaarat, zakat al maal, and zakaat al fitr. The prophet taught the virtue of sharing food when he said that the food of suffices 4 (KS 344). He also taught that food not needed should be given to the needy, man kaana ghaniyan ‘an al ta’aam faliyuwajihahu ila ghayrihi (KS 344)

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule sr. December 2000