Should We Cover Food?

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question: Assalam alaykum,

What does the following hadith from Bukhari mean?

Abu Humaid came carrying a cup of milk to the Prophet. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Will you not cover it even by placing a stick across it?”

Is this hadith only about covering milk or any food?

Answer: Wa alaykum al-Salam

RasuluLlah sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam encouraged his ummah to cover vessels of both food and drink in a number of hadith. Accordingly, the covering of a vessel is not restricted to milk. [See answer below]

Regarding the partial covering of the vessel as mentioned in the narration you quoted, ibn Hajar stated that the Messenger sallaLlahu alayhi wasallam stressed the covering of vessels to the extent that he said one should even cover it with a stick, meaning when no other covering is to be found. He then suggested that the partial covering of the vessel with a stick is indicative of preventing from entering and thus the shayatin would understand that there is no permission for them to enter. [Fath al-Bari]

You may also read the following related answer:

Can I Use Oil Which Have Been Left Open at Night?

Wassalam
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan

Shaykh Abdurragmaan
received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.

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