Eat From What Is Near You
Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Mention Allah's Name (i.e., say 'Bismillah' before starting to eat), eat with your right hand, and eat from what is near you.” [Bukhari]
For every act that a Muslim does, there is a chance for him to earn some reward for it from Allah (subhana wa ta’ala). These rewards and blessings can be attained only by those keen to follow the guidance and example of Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam), thereby seeking nothing but the pleasure of their Creator. The entire life of such a person can become an act of worship. Even eating and drinking upon which all living things depend, can become acts of worship. Thus, by acquainting ourselves with the Sunnah of eating and drinking, we can turn this mundane exercise into a source of hasanaat (reward) for the Akhirah and blessing for this world.
There are three things we are told in this hadith:
1. We should start eating or drinking by saying 'Bismillah'. Once a bedouin came and ate the food available in two mouthfuls. Allah’s Messenger (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said that had he said 'Bismillah' before eating, the food would have been sufficient for six people. Taking the name of Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) before starting to eat puts blessing in the food.
2. We should use our right hand for eating and drinking. The left hand is used to clean ourselves with in the bathroom.
3. We should eat from our side of the dish, without stretching our hand to the side where someone else is eating from. This is the case when more than one person is eating the same kind of food from a single dish. But in case a variety of foods or fruits are lying before us on the table, we are free to take our pick.