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Sunnah Foods to Try and Recipe for Tharid – The Beloved Meal of Prophet (ﷺ)

by in Culture on 7th April, 2023

Ramadan is the best time for us to study the Sunnah on food and eating etiquettes. The simplicity of Sunnah eating is an easy-to-follow lifestyle, and emulating this part of the Sunnah can help us practice moderation during this holy month and beyond. Incorporating the preferred foods of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) into our diet is also a great way to observe our faith traditions and culture.

Many of these foods are also contemporarily known to possess great health benefits, being extremely nutritious and providing us with energy. The Sunnah teaches us about the most beneficial foods that can sustain us through our fasts, as well as replenish us afterwards. In this article, we will explore ways in which we can utilize foods from the Sunnah, and discover a beloved meal of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).

Foods from the Sunnah

Olives & Olive Oil

It was narrated from ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Season (your food) with olive oil and anoint yourselves with it, for it comes from a blessed tree.” (Ibn Majah)

Dates

Narrated Sa’d: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “He who eats seven ‘Ajwa dates every morning, will not be affected by poison or magic on the day he eats them.” (Bukhari)

Dates are mentioned in the Qur’an as a source of nourishment in Surah Maryam:

“And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm tree. She said, ‘Oh, I wish I had died before this and was in oblivion, forgotten.’ 

But he called her from below her, ‘Do not grieve; your Lord has provided beneath you a stream.

And shake toward you the trunk of the palm tree; it will drop upon you ripe, fresh dates.

So eat and drink and be contented…’” — (Qur’an 19:23-26)

Figs

The 95th chapter of the Quran is called At-Tin (The Fig):

“By the fig and the olive

And [by] Mount Sinai,

And [by] this secure city [i.e., Makkah]

We have certainly created man in the best of stature;

Then We return him to the lowest of the low,

Except for those who believe and do righteous deeds, for they will have a reward uninterrupted.” — (Qur’an 95:1-6)

Black seed

Abu Hurairah narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Use this black seed. For indeed it contains a cure for every disease except As-Sam” and As-Sam is death. (Tirmidhi)

Honey

Narrated ‘Aisha: “The Prophet (ﷺ) used to like sweet edible things and honey.” (Bukhari)

“…There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colors, in which there is healing for people. Indeed, in that is a sign for a people who give thought.” — (Qur’an 16:69)

Ways You Can Use Sunnah Foods

Black Seed & Honey: A Powerful Medicine

Black seed is a great healing and preventative medicine. You can take it with honey for added benefit. Taking this as a precautionary measure is the perfect way to incorporate the Sunnah into our daily lives.

Steps:

  1. Take a spoonful of honey witha pinch of black seed on top.

Fig, Date & Almond Shake: A Ramadan Energy-Booster

This is a great energy-booster, and is therefore perfect for either Suhoor, to get you through the day ahead, or for Iftar to give you stamina for Taraweeh.

Steps: (Makes 2 servings. Feel free to alter the amount of the ingredients to your liking.)

1. In a blender, add

  • 20 almonds
  • 4 walnuts – You can also use other nuts like cashews and pistachios.
  • 3 figs – Ripe or dried. Ripe will give you a richer flavor and creamier texture.
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1.5 cups of milk

2. Blend to a smooth and creamy consistency and enjoy.

Tharid: The Beloved Meal of Prophet (ﷺ)

Tharid is a dish consisting of meat cooked in a broth with vegetables and spices, which is then poured over pieces of bread. It’s essentially a one-pot dish, which is commonly cooked during Ramadan. It is considered to be one of the favorites of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) as we see exemplified in the Hadith:

“The superiority of ‘Aisha to other women is like the superiority of Tharid to other kinds of food.” (Bukhari)

Variations of this dish exist in Middle Eastern, Turkish, Uyghur and Malay cuisines, to name a few. Different cultures use different ingredients, adding their own flair to the dish, but the components are the same across the globe: meat, vegetables, its broth – all poured over pieces of bread.

Based on this Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) used to have gourd in his Tharid:

Narrated Anas: “I went along with the Prophet (ﷺ) to the house of a young tailor of his. The tailor presented a dish of Tharid to the Prophet (ﷺ) and resumed his work. The Prophet (ﷺ) started picking the pieces of gourd and I too, started picking them and putting it before him. Since then I have always loved (to eat) gourd.” (Bukhari)

Ingredients:
Alter your measurements based upon how many people you are serving. To make a basic Tharid, you will need:

  • Meat : Lamb shoulder is most common, but you can use any cut you prefer.
  • Gourd or Squash : You could also add vegetables like potatoes and carrots if you wish.
  • Spice mix : Use any spices you favor. An easy mix is bay leaves, cumin, clove, cardamom, turmeric powder, black peppercorns and salt to taste.
  • Tomato paste : This is optional; you can use it to help thicken the broth.
  • Water : Enough to create the broth.
  • Bread : Use a sturdy bread so that it holds enough of its shape after being soaked in the broth.

Steps:

  1. Start by boiling the lamb in a large pot. Remove the lamb and set aside once cooked through. Drain the remaining water. 
  2. In the same pot, heat oil or ghee.
  3. Add the vegetables and spice mix and cook for a few minutes, until they start to soften slightly.
  4. Then, add the cooked lamb to the pot.
  5. Next, add tomato paste and enough water to cover everything and let this cook until all ingredients are fork-tender.
  6. Strain the broth for any residue that may have floated to the top.

Assembly:

  1. Tear pieces of bread and place at the bottom of a large flat dish with raised sides 
  2. Place the meat and vegetables over the bread
  3. Pour the broth over the dish
  4. Optionally, garnish with fresh herbs. You can also top Tharid with Talbina, and you can find the recipe for that here.

It was narrated that Wathilah bin Asqa’ Al-Laithi said: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) took hold of the top of the Tharid and said: ‘Eat in the Name of Allah from its sides and leave the top, for the blessing comes from its top.’” (Ibn Majah)

Basic Sunnah Etiquettes of Eating

  • Begin each meal with saying “Bismillah” (Tirmidhi)
  • Eat with your right hand (Muslim)
  • Do not waste food (Muslim)
  • End with praising Allah (Tirmidhi)

Because Ramadan teaches us to exercise self-restraint, it is the perfect backdrop for us to discover these etiquettes from the Sunnah. In doing this, we can learn to appreciate the blessings of a simple lifestyle.

Ammarah Ahmed

Ammarah Ahmed

Ammarah is a South Asian Muslim writer born in the U.S. who focuses primarily on Muslim identity. She believes in the power of the pen, and seeking and spreading knowledge. Her goal is to reclaim the narrative on Muslims through her writing to inspire peace and understanding.