I dropped a piece of food on the floor this evening. Then I picked it up, carried it over to the trash can, and dropped it in. No pangs in my conscious about not following the sunnah of Muhammad by blowing on it, saying ‘Bismillah’, and eating it. No guilty feelings about about leaving food for the jinn to eat. There are two sunnahs of food that I struggled with: eating food off the floor/ground and drinking something that a fly had fallen into.
I tried really hard to eat food that had fallen on the floor. My ex-husband was a champion at it. I tried to get inspired by watching him pop lint-ridden food into his mouth after blowing on it. I would keep reminding myself of the numerous rewards of following Muhammad while saying “I think I can, I think I can”.
Eating food directly off the floor(and especially the ground) proved to be too much for me. Even if the floor looked clean just the thought of all the feet that had passed over it made the idea unappealling. I didn’t care how much books claimed Muhammad was the best of mankind therefore Muslims should follow his sunnah: food that came into direct contact with floor always went into the garbage. I did feel a little bit like a punk but hey, I walked around in 90 degree heat covered from head to toe so I figured I could cut myself a little slack.
Flys in the drink? Nope, couldn’t do that what one either no matter what the “scientific evidence” said. Bugs would fly into my cup and meet their death in the fluid in it. Just as I would sit down and prepare to drink, there would be the bug floating around, as it had perished trying to get a sip of coffee. I look at it and groan. I push the fly down into the liquid and wait a few seconds in hopes it will sink to the bottom and I don’t have to see it floating around. It doesn’t. Instead it sticks to my finger. “Shoot, now what” , I think to myself. “If I don’t put it back in the drink does that mean the medicinal effect of the other wing is lost?” What a conundrum.
In the end, I decide to give the fly a proper burial in the trash can and then it is back to the feat at hand: drinking my beverage knowing a fly was just swirling around in it. People can argue that we eat insect parts all the time from food from food from processing plants. Well that is different. I don’t know I’m eating them. Ignorance is bliss when it comes to that. People can argue there are hungry people in the world who don’t worry about such pettiness. Well fortunately I am not one of them and I have the ability to be petty over swirling a fly around in my drink.
30 minutes later the drink had either gotten too warm, too cold, or watered down from the ice melting and I hadn’t taken a sip. What if the fly released some poop into the drink just before it died? That was too much for me and down the drain it went. No extra hasanat written down for me in my book of deeds. Bummer.
These days, when I throw away food that has been on the floor or pour the fly-drink down the drain, I can do it with ease of mind. I don’t have to fret over neglecting the sunnah of Muhammad. I only have to think about the time it will take to fix myself something else to drink.