A child about 3-4 years old eats with his left hand from the beginning. When his elders try to make him eat with right hand he desists from eating. His elders think eating with left hand is a sin.
How important is to eat with the right hand?
Is it a sin to eat with left hand?
Eating with the right hand belongs to that category of directives, which relate to Muslim etiquettes. It is the same category in which greeting our Muslim brothers by saying “Assalaam Alaikum” lies.
Eating with the right hand is a Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). It, therefore, entails a significant importance. A person who appreciates the importance of the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) is expected to follow it in letter and spirit. Nevertheless, a child who has yet to learn the significance of the Sunnah cannot be held responsible for deviating from it. It is the responsibility of his elders to teach him the importance of following the directives of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, at the right time and in the right way. Sometimes, we force our children to do certain things in such a way that they are irritated and consequently develop an aversion for these actions. In my opinion, teaching and modifying the behavior of a child requires a lot of care.
If a person appreciates the significance of following the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) and understands a particular action to be one of the Sunnahs of the Prophet, but still avoids following it, it is likely to be considered a sin. This really means that if a person understands that eating with the right hand is a Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) and is aware of the significance of following the Sunnah, but still likes to eat with his left hand, then he commits a sin, not because of his particular action but because of his “avoiding” attitude toward the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). On the other hand, if a person’s right hand is injured or because of any other reason he is forced to eat with his left hand or has eaten with his left hand by mistake, it is hoped the Ever Merciful shall forgive him, as in all these cases the attitude is not one of avoiding the directives of the Prophet of God.
29th August 1998