Hazrat Ali (a.s.)’s food habits too were very moderate and frugal. Generally he took bread made out of unsieved barley flour and Sattu (a sweet beverage prepared from parched barley meal). The accompaniment for the bread generally was a little

salt, sometimes he took a little vinegar, sometimes green vegetables and

at times milk. He ate very little meat. Ibne abil Hadeed says: “If he used anything with the bread, it used to be the salt or vinegar. Sometimes he ate greens. He rarely took camel’s milk with his food. He seldom ate meat and used to say that people Should not make their tummies the Grave yard of animals!”

Imam Mohammed Baqir (a.s.) says that Hazrat Ali (a.s.) served meat and bread to his guests and he himself ate his bread with vinegar or olive oil..

He used to keep bread and Sattu in a sealed bag. Someone said that he was living in Iraq, a land of plenty, and what was the need to seal his supply of food? The Imam (a.s.) replied that he didn’t seal his stock of food for the reason of scarcity and the real reason was:

“I don’t like to fill my tummy with a thing I don’t know about!”

Ref: Tareeq e Kaamil

Umro Harith says that once at noon time he had the privilege of visiting the Imam (a.s.). He saw a sealed bag was placed in front of him. He took out a dried piece of bread from it, soaked in water, sprinkled a little salt over it and ate. Seeing the dry pieces of bread Umro asked Fidda atleast she should sieve the flour and remove the chaff before kneading it for making the bread. Fidda said that once she sieved the flour and the Imam (a.s.) asked her not to do it again. Once she had put in the bag other eatables besides the dry bread, the Imam (a.s.) started sealing the bag to.avoid anyone putting other things in the bag.

Adi ibne Hatim says that once he saw dry pieces of barley bread, salt and a pitcher of water in front of Ali (a.s.), He said “You are busy with Jehad during the days and occupied with prayers in the nights. Is the food you are taking sufficient for your nutritive maintenance?” The Imam (a.s.) looked at Adi and said, “The psyche has to be trained for Riyazat (Mystic Exercise) that it doesn’t become rebellious.” Then he recited the following couplet: “Ala an

nafs bil qunu wa ala

Talabat fauq ma yakfiha

Make your psyche accustomed to contentment

Otherwise it will have excessive desires!”

Ref: Manaqib ibne Shahr Aashub

Sawed ibne Ghafla says that he went to the Imam (a.s.) and saw that he had a bowl of sour yogurt in front of him and a barley bread in his hand. which had flakes of barley chaff all over. He was breaking the bread, sometimes with his hand and others by putting it on his knee. Once he went to greet the Imam on the occasion of Idd. He saw that Hazrat Ali( a.s.) had bread and Khatifa (An Arab food that is prepared by boiling flour in milk). Sawed asked the Imam (a.s.), “Even on a festive occasion you eat such frugal food?” The Imam (a.s.) replied, “Innama haaza eid leman ghafar lahu-Eid is for those whom Allah has pardoned!”

The Imam (a.s.) never ate two types of food at one time. If, at any time, various dishes were placed in front of him, he would mix and make them one. Therefore, at the time of a festival, several dishes were placed before him. He mixed portions of the different foods and made it one. Once he got food that had meat in it but not any oil. Someone suggested if some oil could be added to it. The Imam (a.s.) replied,

“We don’t eat two things at one time!”

Ref: Kifayatal Talib

The Imam (a.s.) always ensured this..During his last days, once his daughter Umm Kulthum placed barley bread, salt and milk in front of him. He asked her to take away the bowl of milk and ate the bread with salt.

In emulation of the Prophet (s.a.) he abstained from things that Hazrat Mohammed (s.a.) avoided eating. Therefore Adi ibne Tabit says that once Hazrat Ali (a.s.) was served Faluda (a drink prepared from sieved flummery). He refused to take it. And said:

“A thing that the Prophet (s.a.) has not taken,

I don’t like to take!”

While Hazrat Ali (a.s.) avoided eating delicacies, never ate even the frugal fare to the fill. Ibne Abil Hadeed writes: “Maa shaba min ta-aam qat

He never ate to satiation of the appetite” Ref: Muqaddima Shara Nahj al Balagha

While Ameer al Momineen (a.s.) emulated the Prophet (s.a.) in other matters, he was meticulous in following his food habits as well. He took care of the minutest details of seating at the meals, the way of taking the morsels and the style of eating.Imam Jafar e Sadiq (a.s.) says:

“Kaana Ameer al Momineen (a.s.) ashba al naas taamat ba Rasool Allah (s.a)

Ameer al Momineen (a.s.) was much like the Prophet (s.a.) in his food habits and style of eating.”

He used to wash his hands before and after eating. He used to say that hands became clean of oily deposit if they were washed. And also the eyes become bright He used to sit on his knees with folded legs. He disapproved of putting one leg over the other and sitting cross legged. He used to recite Bism Allah before starting to take food. He also said that if someone missed reciting this before starting to eat, he could do so in the midst of the meal as well. He used to commence the meal with a little salt. He used to wait for the food to cool down if it was served hot. He used all the five fingers of the right hand for eating. He always picked his morsel from the front instead of taking the hand to different sides of the platter. He never picked up Tareed (the pieces of bread soaked in gravy) from the center of the service and always took his share from the periphery. Of all the beverages he preferred water and particularly the rain water. He said that the rain water wards away diseases and cleansed the digestive system. Instead of throwing away the crumbs of bread from the spread, he used to pick and eat them. He said that this practice cured illness. He never drank from the mouth of the pitcher nor from the broken side of any container. He didn’t like blowing from the broken side of any container. He didn’t like blowing over foods and drinks. Once he asked his servant, Muslim, to fetch a tumbler of water. When he came in front of the Imam (a.s.) he blew over the water because there was some particle floating on the surface. The Imam (a.s.) said, “Now! You drink this water and bring another tumbler for me!”over foods and drinks. Once he asked his servant, Muslim, to fetch a tumbler of water. When he came in front of the Imam (a.s.) he blew over the water because there was some particle floating on the surface. The Imam (a.s.) said, “Now! You drink this water and bring another tumbler for me!”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s