By the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
When you eat do so with humility as befits slave of Allah. Pick up small morsels, chew well and then ingest. Don’t eat food while it is steaming hot; not should you blow it with the mouth. If you are in a hurry fan it or leave it until it has cooled.
When you eat do not look at your companion to see how he eats. Do not eat with less than three fingers. Take a morsel from the plate in front of you and do not extend your hand to pick up a morsel from your companion’s plate.
Start your meal by eating a little salt and finish it likewise. By doing thus, you will save yourself from seventy two kinds of diseases among which are madness, leprosy, skin disease or pain in the throat, teeth or stomach, as is given in the Hadith of the Prophet (Peace be upon him and his successors), Eat with your right hand, start by saying Bismilaah (بسم الله) and end with Alhamdu-lil-laah (الحمد لله).
There is a Hadith emanating from our second Imam, Hassan son of Ali (Peace be upon him), stating; certain manners are compulsory for every Muslim to know when he sits down to eat. Four of these are obligatory i.e. (a-b). To know and be thankful to Allah for granting you the ‘rizque’ (sustenance); (c) To say Bismillah when you start eating; (d) to thank Allah for granting you the health to be able to eat that food. Four are recommended (sunnah); (a) to wash hands before and after eating; (b) to sit leaning on the left; (c) to chew until the food is softened; and (d) not to look at your companion’s face.
There is a Hadith emanating from our First Imam Ali son of Abi Talib (Peace be upon him) instructing our second Imam Al-Hasan (Peace be upon him), thus: “Shall I teach you four good habits which if you adopt will never necessitate your going to a doctor?” He replied in the affirmative. The Imam said:-
1.”Do not sit down to eat if you are not hungry.
2. Leave off eating while you are still hungry.
3. Chew well until the food is softened.
4. Before going to bed make your toilet.”
It is recommended that when you wash your hands before eating, do not wipe them but let them remain wet, for by doing so, you are increasing the blessing in the food. When you wash your hands after food, it is recommended that you pass your hands over your eyes and face and this will save you from disease.
Selected From Book: Children's Guide to ISLAM