Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah t reports that Allah Ta'ala offered Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] the lifestyle of a king or the lifestyle of a slave. Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] opted for the lifestyle of a slave. (Musnad Ahmad Hadith7160 Sahih ibn Hibbaan Hadith6365 Majmauz-zawaaid vol.9 pg.19)
Simplicity was a natural part of the lifestyle of Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam]. Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] took joy in expressing himself as an Abd (slave/bondsman). He r therefore used every opportunity to express this salient characteristic in his life.
Sayyiduna Umar t reports that Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] said, 'I am but a slave (of Allah)'. (Sahih Bukhari Hadith3445) Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] used to also state, 'I eat as a slave does, and I sit as a slave sits.' (Majmauz-zawaaid vol.9 pgs.19, 21 Takhrijul Ihyaa Hadith2410)
Sayyiduna Anas t reports that Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] never ate on a raised platform. (Sahih Bukhari Hadith5386). The present-day practice of eating on tables was not the way of Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam].
It is sad to note that today this practice of Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] of sitting on the floor for meals has become almost extinct among Muslims.
Nowadays, we sit on chairs and thereby recline on the back rest, Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] said, 'I definitely do not eat while reclining.' (Sahih Bukhari Hadith5398) In fact, we have defected so far that the present trend in some gatherings is to 'serve yourself and eat standing!!' Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam] has strictly prohibited standing whilst eating. (Sahih Muslim Hadith5243)
Remember, 'You are what you eat'. When one eats Halaal and undoubtful food, it is easier for him to do good deeds. Therefore, if we express humbleness and eat on the floor, the qualities of a true slave of Allah will come in us and we would be a step closer to the pristine life of Rasulullah [sallallaahu alayhi wasallam].
The sunnats that pertain to eating are numerous and the opportunity to practice upon them is repeated at least three times a day (if not more). One should not feel ashamed to portray these Sunnats wherever one may be. This would bring about simplicity in one’s life.
May Allah Ta'ala grant us the true realization. And may He grant us the ability to adopt every Sunnah of His and our beloved Rasul r, Aameen
SUNNATS OF EATING1. To wash both the hands before and after meals. (Sunan Abi Dawud Hadtith3755)
2. To sit on the floor. (Sahih Bukhari Hadith5386)
3. To sit in one of the following three postures;
a) In the Tashahhud position (like in Salaat) (Fathul Baari Hadith5399),4. To eat with the fingers (thumb, index and middle fingers). (Sahih Muslim Hadith5265 and Majmauz-zawaaid)
b) Same as above with the right knee raised, (Ibid; Takhrijul Ihyaa Hadith1304) and
c) In the squatting posture (Sahih Muslim Hadith5299).
5. To take the name of Allah before eating. (Sahih Bukhari Hadith5376)
6. To eat with the right hand. (Sahih Bukhari Hadith5376)
7. To eat from the closest part of the plate and not from the middle. (Sahih Bukhari Hadith5376)
8. As far as possible, to eat collectively from one plate. (Ibn Kathir Surah24 Aayat61; Sunan ibn Majah Hadith3287)
9. To clean every bit of food left on the plate and to lick the fingers before washing them. (Sahih Muslim Hadith5268)
10. To recite the various Masnoon du'aas after meals. One of them is, 'Alhamdulillaahil ladhiy at'amanaa wa saqaanaa wa ja'alanaa muslimeen'. (Sunan Abi Dawud)
SUNNATS OF DRINKING1. To sit and drink. (Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith6452 and Sahih Muslim Hadith5242, 5247). Zamzam water and left over water in the utensil used for Wudhu are excluded from this.
2. To drink with the right hand. (Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith5380; Sahih Muslim Hadith5233)
3. To take 3 sips (or more in odd numbers). (Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith5631; Sahih Muslim Hadith5255)
4. To say Bismillah before drinking. (Sahih al-Bukhari and al-Azkaar; Fath al-Baari vol.10 pg.117)
5. To say Alhamdulillah after drinking. (Ibnus-sunni Hadith472; Majmauz-zawaaid vol.5 pg.81; Sunan al-Tirmidhi Hadith1885; Fath al-Bari vol.10 pg.117 Hadith5631)
6. If there are several people who are going to share the drink, it should be given to the one on the right. (Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith5612; Sahih Muslim Hadith5257)
7. The one who is distributing the water (or food) should himself drink after everyone. (Sunan al-Tirmidhi Hadith1894)
8. To recite the following Du’aa after drinking, ‘Alhamdulillaahi llaadhiy at’ama wa saqaa, wa sawwaghahu wa ja’ala lahu makhraja.’ (Abu Dawud Hadith3847). This Du’aa could also be recited after eating. (Ibid)
9. After drinking milk to recite ‘Allaahumma baarik lanaa feehi wa zidnaa minhu’. (Sunan Abi Dawud Hadith3723; Sunan al-Tirmidhi Hadith3455; ibnus-sunni Hadith474).