Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: This question is regarding your mention of the sunnah of eating, implying being seated on the floor, eating with one’s hands, etc. How do the scholars determine which of these practices are considered rewardable sunnah, as opposed to happenstances related to the Holy Prophet’s time and place, peace be upon Him? I.e., how do we answer the question, were the Prophet (s) alive today, would he still eat without utensils, etc.
Answer: The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is unconditionally our exemplar. Everything he did or even approved of is an example for us.
The “sunnas of habit” are rewarded if followed. Some of them are more emphasized than others, which is why we need fiqh and depth of understanding.
Utensils existed in the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace); people sat at tables… but he showed us a way of elegant simplicity. This is a value and a practice.
And Allah alone gives success.