The Hadith about the Disbeliever Eating in Seven Intestines

Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam

Question: How should I interpret this hadith in Sahih Muslim? Ibn ‘Umar reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying that a disbeliever eats in seven intestines whereas a Muslim eats in one intestine.


Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

I pray that you are well, insha’Allah.

This narration (hadith) is related by both Bukhari and Muslim in their respective collections. It is an authentically established report.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The Muslim eats in one intestine and the disbeliever eats in seven.” [Bukhari; Muslim]

This narration (hadith) is primarily encouraging restraint and moderation in eating. Such restraint is achieved by the believer by following the sunnas of eating. [Nawawi, Sharh Muslim]

Sunnas of Eating and Wisdoms

Some of the sunnas related to eating are:

[1] Beginning with the basmala

[2] Thanking Allah for the blessing of having food and intending to gain strength to worship Allah by eating it;

[3] Eating with the right hand;

[4] Praising good food and not criticizing anything one doesn’t like;

[5] Upholding restraint and stopping before one reaches one’s full;

Moreover, Nawawi relates that the scholars have said that the point of the narration (hadith) is an encouragement to have some abstinence, to lessen one’s intake of worldliness (dunya), and to be moderate and satisfied. They continue that not eating too much is also from the praiseworthy character traits of real men. [ibid.]

And Allah alone gives success.


Tabraze Azam

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani