There is a Hadith which states Sayyiduna Abul Haytham ibn Tayyihan (radiyallahu ‘anhu) presented to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and some Sahabah different types of dates. Thereafter he slaughtered an animal and served the meat to them.
Is it correct to serve and consume fruit first before the main meal or should one have fruit after the meal?
I have not come across a Hadith which explicitly mentions this particular practice.
(Refer: Kashful Khafa, vol. 1 pg. 358)
However, Imam Ghazali (rahimahullah) says, ‘If a person has fruit, then he should consume it first for this is better for a person’s health. Since fruit digests quickly, it should be at the bottom of the belly. In the Quran, Allah Ta’ala also mentioned fruit before meat; [In the Hereafter, they will be served] a variety of fruits to choose from and the meat of the birds they desire’ (Surah Al Waqi’ah, Verse: 20-21)
(Ihya ‘Ulumid Din, vol. 3 pg. 68)
The narration you have cited in your question is recorded in Sahih Muslim.
Under the commentary, ‘Allamah Nawawi (rahimahullah) states, ‘This Hadith proves that it is desirable to serve/eat fruit before meat and bread.’
(Sahih Muslim with Al Minhaj, Hadith: 5281)
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar,
One should bear in mind, that generally Rasulullah (sallallahu’alayhi wasallam) and the Sahabah (radiyallahu’anhum) didn’t have much of a variety in their food, for such a practice to be established as a continuous habit.
Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar