Was eating dinner in the night a Sunna of the Prophet, upon him be peace? Betül Bozali - Hadith Researcher

14.12.2011, Wednesday

The Prophet Did Not Eat in the Middle of the Night

Many examples of Prophet Muhammad’s Sunna in relation to manner in which he ate have reached the present day. Salient issues in these examples include his washing his hands both before and after eating, saying ‘In the Name of God’ before eating, praising God at the end of the meal and making supplication, everyone’s eating from in front of them in gatherings where food is consumed from one vessel, eating with one’s right hand, refraining from waste, not showing disfavor or dislike toward any kind of food and not making negative remarks in relation to these, refraining from filling the entire stomach with food and not eating while standing.

Notwithstanding the fact that the exact times are not known for certain, it is generally accepted that Prophet Muhammad ate twice every day.

By means of the Prophetic tradition, “When the supper is served to any one of you and the prayer also begins. (in such a case) first take supper, and do not make haste (for prayer) till you have (taken the food)” (Muslim, Masajid 66), the Prophet indicates the measures that need to be taken to ensure that one is not preoccupied with anything else during the prayer. However, it is also possible to extract from this tradition the meaning that dinner ought to be consumed between the evening (sunset) and night prayers.

Moreover, if we are to recall the Prophet’s advising his followers to sleep as soon as possible after performing the evening prayer, we can better understand that eating dinner in the middle of the night is not one of the practices of Prophet Muhammad.