On preserving the blessing of food
All praise is due to Allah Who endowed upon us His favours abundantly and granted us His bounties plentifully. I bear witness that there is no deity save Allah, having no associates. He feeds and is not fed. I also bear witness that our Master Muhammad is the Servant of Allah and His Messenger. He sent him with the religion of peace; a religion that urges for feeding the poor and showing kindness to others. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his pure blessed family and companions, and all those who follow them in righteousness till the Day of Judgment.
As to what follows,
I urge you, O servants of Allah, and myself to be aware that you are asked to obey Him the Most Exalted, in line with His orders, "and eat of what Allah has provided for you [which is] lawful and good. And fear Allah, in whom you are believers." (Al-Maida: 88).
Allah, the Most Exalted and Sublime, has amply bestowed upon us His favours, both apparent and unapparent. The Almighty says, "and if you should count the favours of Allah, you could not enumerate them." (An-Nahl: 18). Amongst the most important of those great favours is the blessing of food. The latter is a basic need for sustaining one's life and a key source of physical energy and nutrients. The endower of such a favour is Allah the Almighty Who says, "let them worship the Lord of this House, Who has fed them, [saving them] from hunger and made them safe, [saving them] from fear." (Quraish: 3-4).
Allah the Almighty further enjoined upon mankind to ponder upon the wonderful way in which their food is formed. The Most Great says, "then let mankind look at his food - how We poured down water in torrents, then We broke open the earth, splitting [it with sprouts], and caused to grow within it grain, and grapes and herbage, and olive and palm trees, and gardens of dense shrubbery, and fruit and grass - [as] enjoyment for you and your grazing livestock." (Abasa: 24-32).
So, let us look how Allah the Almighty has created food in a variety of colours and shapes. Doing so, one sees palm trees and crops of different [kinds of] food, and olives and pomegranates, similar and dissimilar. And it is Allah, the Most Exalted, Who subjected the sea "for you to eat from it tender meat." (An-Nahl: 14). And the grazing livestock He has created "for you; in them is warmth and [numerous] benefits, and from them you eat." (An-Nahl: 5).
Having been blessed with such treasurable provisions, one should thank the Bestower of them; Allah, the Most Gracious, in line with His orders: "eat from the provisions of your Lord and be grateful to Him." (Sabaa: 15). We should also be grateful to Allah the Almighty, following in this in footprints of the Prophets, peace and blessings of Allah be upon them. In many verses of the holy Quran, Allah the Almighty praises them as recognising His great favours and being grateful to Him. In one of such verses, Prophet Ibrahim pbuh acknowledges his Lord's favour saying, "and it is He who feeds me and gives me drink." (Ash-Shuaraa: 79).
In like manner, our Master Muhammad pbuh thanked Allah much for His favours, mentioning food as the first and foremost of them. In this regard, it was narrated that Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said that when the Messenger of Allah pbuh went to bed, he used to say, "All praise is due to Allah who has fed us and given us to drink, and has sufficed and granted us refuge, and how many are they who have none to suffice them and none to grant them refuge."
In this sense, there are many ways for one to appreciate Allah's blessings and thank Him for His abundant favours. One of the greatest ways to show gratitude to such a blessing as the food is to recognise its value and understand that, on the Day of Judgment, we will be accountable before Allah, the Most Beneficent, for preserving it. On this account, it was narrated that once the Prophet pbuh and his companions were offered fresh dates and meat. When they finished eating, the Prophet pbuh reminded them of the favour that their Lord bestowed upon them saying, "By Allah in Whose Hand my life is, this (food) is part of the blessings concerning which you will be questioned on the Day of Resurrection."
Moreover, amongst the other aspects of being grateful to Allah for the blessing of food is to avoid being excessive and wasting it. Scholarly opinion on this matter said, "Allah has combined all of the remedies in half a verse: (and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess)." On the same matter, Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "Eat what you like and wear what you like, so long as you avoid two things: extravagance and vanity."
As such, when preparing food, one should avoid immoderation in the number of the different dishes to be served. We should also preserve the food and avoid wasting the leftover, taking in this the example of the Prophet pbuh. He pbuh used not to waste food leftovers. On this account, it was narrated that Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "The Prophet pbuh liked to eat the remains, i.e. the remains of food, and he used to say, 'You do not know in which part of your food the blessing lies'."
One other sign of gratitude towards Allah the Almighty for blessing us with the favour of sustenance is to give part of our food as a gift whenever this was possible. One can start this practice of gifting the food with family and relatives as well as neighbours, thus keeping good ties with them. The Prophet pbuh emphasised the importance of sharing food with others as he said, "O Abu Dharr! Whenever you prepare a broth, put plenty of water in it, and give some of it to your neighbours as a present."
Similarly, the Messenger of Allah pbuh used to give food as a present to his friends. In this regard, it was narrated that the Mother of Believers, Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, said, "Whenever the Prophet pbuh slaughtered a sheep, he would send meat to the friends of Khadijah as a present as much as would suffice them."
Amongst the other ways one can show appreciation and gratitude to Allah for granting us the gracious blessing of food is by keeping the leftovers of food. The Muslim is recommended to eat to his need and give the remaining untouched food as charity to the less fortunate people. The Prophet pbuh said in this regard, "Those who have surplus of provisions should give it to those who have no provisions." This way one may contribute to touching the heart of a hungry person with happiness.
On another level, one other way of thanking Allah the Almighty for His bounties is to acknowledge those bounties and praise Him for bestowing them upon us. The Messenger of Allah pbuh said, "Indeed Allah is pleased with the servant who, upon eating his food he praises Him for it or drinking his drink, he praises Him for it."
With this in mind, let us pray to Allah, the Most Giving, to help us remember Him much. O Allah, we supplicate to You to help us to appreciate Your blessings and be dutiful towards them.
May Allah the Almighty continue blessing us with goodly living and guide us all to obey Him and obey His Messenger Muhammad pbuh and obey those He have commanded us to obey in line with His orders: "O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you." (An-Nisaa: 59).
May Allah direct us all to the blessings of the Glorious Quran and the Sunna of His Messenger pbuh.
I say this and ask Allah for forgiveness for me and you, so invoke Him for forgiveness, for He is the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful.
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. I bear witness that there is no deity save Allah, having no associates. I also bear witness that our Master Muhammad is the servant of Allah and His Messenger. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon our Master Muhammad, his pure family, companions, and all those who follow them in righteousness till the Day of Judgment.
I urge you, O Servants of Allah, and myself to be aware that you are asked to obey Him, the Most Exalted and Sublime.
Please know that food leftovers should not be wasted for doing so is a failure in being grateful for the blessing of food. Throwing food surplus in the garbage also involves extravagance which Allah the Almighty has forbidden. Truly, if you collect the remains of the food to feed a bird or an animal, it will be recorded for you as an act of charity.
In fact, Allah the Almighty has bestowed upon us in this blessed country the favour of welfare and multiple sources of provisions. In return, it is a duty incumbent on all of us to take care of the blessing of food by avoiding wasting it. The responsibility of raising awareness of the younger generation about the importance of preserving the grace of food lies in the hands of parents and teachers too. They should teach the children how to conserve the blessing of food and rationalise their attitude towards it. This way, appreciating the favour of sustenance will become a culture that will bring about prosperity to the community and welfare to individuals, families and, ultimately, the homeland as a whole.
From this perspective, the UAE wise government has launched many pioneering initiatives to instil this culture. Amongst such initiatives is the "Hifdh al Niema" (Preservation of Grace) that is aimed at collecting untouched food leftovers and distributing them to those in need. Indeed, this is such a civilised model to be emulated by the world. It embodies the meanings of being grateful to Allah's bounties, preserving the blessing of food and offering it to the those in need.
You are urged, therefore, to appreciate the favour of food as befitting to its value by maintaining it and also by teaching your daughters and sons to do so.
That is said, please bear in mind that you are instructed to invoke peace and blessings on the Prophet pbuh. Allah, the Most Sublime, says, "indeed, Allah confers blessing upon the Prophet, and His angels [ask Him to do so]. O you who have believed, ask [Allah to confer] blessing upon him and ask [Allah to grant him] peace." (Al-Ahzab: 56).
On the same matter, the Prophet pbuh said, "For everyone who invokes a blessing on me will receive ten blessings from Allah."
O Allah, please confer Your blessings and grant peace upon our Prophet Muhammad pbuh, his family and all of the companions.
May Allah be pleased with the Rightly Guided Caliphs: Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali, and all of the noble Companions.
May Allah have mercy on the honourable martyrs of our nation and gather them with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favour of the prophets. May Allah make the dwelling of the martyrs, their families, parents and relatives Indeed, You answer to the supplications.
O Allah, please grant the best reward for the families of the martyrs and offer them patience and solace. May Allah grant victory to the soldiers of the Arab Coalition who gathered to restore the rights to their owners. O Lord, please be by their side and guide the Yemeni people to everything that is good. O Allah, make them rally for the word of truth and legitimacy, and bless them with welfare and stability, O the Most Generous.
O Lord, we beseech You to bless all of the Muslim countries and the whole world with stability and peace.
O Allah, we seek Your grace to increase the UAE in delight and beauty and give the best of rewards and recompense to whoever sowed the seeds of goodness and welfare in it. Indeed, You are the Most Merciful of the merciful.
May Allah grant success and continued health and care to the UAE President HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. May Allah also ensure success to his Vice-President, trustworthy Crown Prince and his brothers, Their Highnesses the Rulers of the Emirates.
O Allah, please forgive all of the Muslims, men and women, living and dead. May Allah have mercy on Sheikh Zayed, Sheikh Maktoum and the Late UAE Sheikhs. O Lord, forgive and show mercy on them and bless them with Your kindness and satisfaction. O Lord, forgive and show mercy on our parents, relatives and whoever has done a favour to us.
We pray to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, to continue blessing the UAE with stability and welfare and bless its provisions. O Allah, please continue blessing the UAE with safety and security.
O Allah, we seek Your favour to send us wealthy rain and make us not amongst those who are despondent. O Allah, relieve us! O Allah, relieve us! O Allah, relieve us! O Allah, give us from the blessings of the sky and grow for us from the blessings of the earth.
Remember Allah and He will remember you. Be grateful of His benevolence and He will increase His blessings to you.