6 - Hadith: “One of you should eat with his right hand, and should drink with his right hand, and should take with his right hand; because the devil eats with his left hand and drinks with his left hand and gives with his left hand and takes with his left hand.” (*)
This Hadith was reported by Ibn Majah (1) who narrated it from Hisham ibn `Ammar, from Al Hiql ibn Ziyad, from Hisham ibn Hassan, from Yahya ibn Abi Kathir, from Abu Salamah, on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) said the abovementioned Hadith.
Ibn Majah was alone in this narration through this chain.
However, Al Busayri said: “This chain is authentic and the narrators are trustworthy.” (2) End of quote. But this authentication needs an examination, as this chain includes Hisham ibn `Ammar about whom Al Hafiz Ibn Hajar said: “He was trustworthy and expert of reciting the Glorious Qur’an, but when he got old he made mistakes in the narration, that is why his previous narrations are more authentic.” (3) I did not find any proof that may confirm hearing of Ibn Majah from Hisham ibn `Ammar, whether it was before he was imbalanced or after it?
In addition to this, the both Imams: Abu Hatim and Ad-Daraqutni weakened this chain of narration, but they differed in authenticating this Hadith; as Abu Hatim views that the true narration is through the chain of `Abdullah ibn Dehqan on the authority of Anas, (4) while Ad-Daraqutni believes that it is from `Abdullah ibn Abu Qatadah, on the authority of his father. (5) The detail of this point will come below in this episode.
Furthermore, this Hadith has been narrated through another chain on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, as was reported by Ishaq ibn Rahawayh, (6) Ahmad (7) and Abu Ya`ala. (8) All of them narrated it from Jurayj, from Nu`aman ibn Rashid, from Az-Zuhri, from Sa`id ibn Musayyib, on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, however it does not mention “gives” and “takes” in the text of the Hadith.
It has been stated by Ahmad that Ibn Jurayj has heard from Nu`aman ibn Rashid and Nu`aman ibn Rashid is a trustworthy narrator but he has a bad memory. (9)
However, this chain was weakened by Imam Ad-Daraqutni, but the authentic version is that of Az-Zuhri, from Abu Bakr ibn `Ubaydullah ibn `Abdullah ibn `Umar, from Ibn `Umar, from the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him). (10)
Moreover, the chain that has been authenticated by Abu Hatim is the chain of him, (11) Ibn Abi Shaybah, (12) Ahmad (13) and Abu Y`ala. (14) All of them narrated it from Hisham ibn Hassan, from `Abdullah ibn Dehqan, on the authority of Anas similar to the abovementioned Hadith, however the version of Ibn Abu Hatim and Ibn Abu Shaybah does not include “gives” and “takes” while others have narrated that the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade eating with the left hand or to drink with the left hand.
`Abdullah or `Ubaydullah ibn Dehqan was mentioned by Al Bukhari, (15) and Ibn Abi Hatim. (16) However, they neither mention any criticism nor recommendation nor any narrator from him except Hisham ibn Hassan, also he was mentioned by Ibn Hibban in his book ‘Ath-Thiqat’ or (The Authentic Narrators) (17) and Ibn Hibban adds that Hisham ibn `Urwa narrated from him. As well as Al Hafiz said: “If the narration of Hisham ibn `Urwah from `Abdullah ibn Dehqan is an authentic narration that means he is not unknown.” (18)
Furthermore, the chain authenticated by Ad-Daraqutni has been narrated by Ibn Hibban, (19) through the chain of Hisham Ad-Dstowa’I, from Yahya ibn Abi Kathir, from `Abdullah ibn Abu Qatadah, on the authority of his father that the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade to give something with the left hand, or take with it, also he (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) forbade breathing into the vessel when one drinks from it. The chain of this narration is authentic.
7 - Hadith: “Indeed, Allah loves in everything to be started with the right (side).” (*)
8 - Hadith: “Start with the right side even in wearing the shoes and combing the hair.” (**)
I did not find the first version with the abovementioned word in any source except ‘Nasab Ar-Rayah’ who commented on this narration by saying: “Unfamiliar with this wording.” (20)
In addition to that, Ibn Hajar said: “I did not find it so, but Al Bukhari and Muslim have narrated it on the authority of `A’ishah that the Messenger of Allah (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) loved to start with the right …....... (21).
However, I could not find the words of the second version; perhaps, the writer has conveyed the meaning of the previous Hadiths in his own words.
These Hadiths were quoted by Mahmud Mahdi Al Istnbuli in his book (Signs of the Prophecy in the Light of Modern Knowledge) (22), while the Hadith No.7 has been quoted by Muhamad Kamil `Abdus-Samad, in his book (The Scientific Miracles in Islam – Section: As-Sunnah) (23). The reasoning is based on the fact that the meaning of the Hadith is coinciding with scientifically proven reality- as they said - that every movement in the human body, rotates according to an accurate system. The movements start from the right to the left until it dwindles and ends, they gave some examples for this; including the following:
1 - The Circulation of Blood : the first drop of blood within the circulatory system starts from the right side, when the muscles of heart shrink to pump the blood, circulation of pure blood begins through the ventricles of heart into the aorta and heads from the right to the left in a curved form, thus the blood flows beginning from the right and moves to the left, as the vascular arteries diverge and branch out from thin to thinner until the blood flow decreases and becomes invisible to the naked eye.
2 – The Movement of Foodstuffs in the Intestines: As the foodstuffs start their moves from the opening of duodenum, so the direction of moving foodstuffs becomes from the right to the left.
3 - The Movement in the Colon: the movement in the large intestine starts from a point in the right side towards the left, when it shrinks to push the remaining food material to the opposite left side after the process of absorption, having accumulated in the large reservoir in the stomach. Thus, the remnant materials move from the right to the left than to the parallel transverse colon, and so on.
4 – Movements of Neural Alerts: the movements of neural alerts in the nerve centers and sensory related nerves are weird and wonderful in creation. These movements also start from the right and end on the left side, when performing their normal physiological function.
The abovementioned scholars view that the Hadith has indicated to this scientific phenomenon in the human entity, which was discovered only after the passage of many centuries on this prediction by the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him).
If their reasoning is accepted, perhaps the best way for this meaning is to formulate the expression as follows: The Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) was sent by Allah the Almighty with this great religion, the religion fully coinciding with human nature. Amongst its teachings is the principle of starting any auspicious work with the right side, while it has been scientifically proven that the system of human body was created on the principle of ‘right-sidedness’ in the movement of organs, thus the teachings of the religion coincide with the natural system of the creation. So it is among the miracles of the Prophet (may the peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him) as the teachings introduced by him are coinciding with the system of Allah establish in His creatures and Allah knows best.
It should also be noted that the right organs are stronger than the left; so it is appropriate to be preferred. But who contemplates in those Hadiths will find that the devil prefers his left; with it he eats, with it he drinks, with it he takes and with it he gives. That is why it is more preferable for a Muslim to differ from the devil and he was ordered by Shari`ah to start with the right side.
Al Qurtubi said: “This etiquette is preferable and it is a sort of honoring the right on the left; because mostly they are stronger, faster in action and more perfect in the works. Furthermore, the word ‘Tayamun’ (the right-sidedness) was derived from ‘Yumn’ (auspiciousness) and the people of Paradise were honored by Allah the Almighty as they were attributed to the ‘Yamin’ (right side) while the people of Hell were ascribed to the left.
In short, the ‘Yamin’ (or the right) and whatever has been ascribed to it and its derivatives are auspicious in the terms of language, religiosity and devoutness while the left is opposite of these good qualities. After this point has become clear, it is among the appropriate etiquettes that coincide with good morals and good ethics especially in the sight of meritorious people to prefer always the right side in auspicious actions and clean conditions.” (24) End of quote.
(1) Sunan Ibn Majah - Book of Foods – Chapter on (eating with the right hand), (2/1087, Hadith No. 3266).
(2) Misbah Az-Zajajah, (3/74).
(3) Taqrib At-Tahdhib, (p. 573).
(4) Al-`Ilal by Ibn Abu Hatim, ( 2/18 Hadith No. 1528 )
(5) Al-`Ilal by Ad-Darqutni, (plate no. in manuscript 3/97/a)
( 6) Musnad of Is’haq ibn Rahawayh, (1/419 Hadith No.476)
(7) Al-Musnad, (2/325, 349 ), however, in the first place it is ‘Nu`aman ibn Abu Shihab’, perhaps, it is a typographical mistake, but in the second place it is correct.
(8) Musnad Abu Y`ala, (10/305 Hadith No. 5899).
(9) Taqrib At-Tahdhib, (p.564).
(10) As was mentioned in the context of commentary on the Hadith “None of you should eat with his left hand ...”
(11) Al-`Ilal by Ibn Abu Hatim, (2/18 Hadith No.1528).
(12) Musannaf of Ibn Abu Shaybah, (8/104 Hadith No. 4491).
(13) Al-Musnad, (3/202)
(14) Musnad of Abu Y`ala, (7/260 - 262 Hadith No. 1517-1519).
(15) At-Tarikh Al-Kabir, (5/380).
(16) Al-Jarh Wat-T`adil, (5/47).
(17) Ath-Thiqat, (5/68).
(18) T`ajil Al-Manfa`ah, (221).
(19) Al-Ihsan, (7/328, 329 Hadith No. 5205).
(*) The Scientific Miracles in Islam – Section: As-Sunnah, (p. 184).
(**) The Signs of Prophecy in the Light of Modern Knowledge, (p. 124).
(20) Nasab Ar-Rayah, (1/34).
(21) Ad-Dirayah Fi Takhrij Ahadith Al-Hidayah, by Ibn Hajar, (1/28 Hadith No.18).
(22) The Signs of Prophecy in the Light of Modern Knowledge, (p. 122, 124).
(23) The Scientific Miracles in Islam – Section: As-Sunnah, (p.184).
(24) Fath Al Bari, (9/523).