Wasting Food

A couple of years ago a group of students from Macquarie University attached a label to each of its Active organic water bottle and this made headlines across the globe, especially through social media. The quote was not from Aristotle, Plato or any other non Muslim philosopher but a quote from non-other than, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) The quote was a Hadeeth narrated in Sunan ibn Majah, Do not waste water even if you are at a running stream.”.


A question arises, why was this quote attached to the water bottle and what compelled them to attach this quote? The simple answer is due to the ever increasing problem the world is facing regarding wasting water and food.

According to Statistics

 15 million tonnes of food is thrown away every year in the UK.

 7 million tonnes comes from our homes.

 One-fifth of what households buy ends up as waste, and around 60% of that could have been eaten.

 Britons are still throwing away the equivalent of 86 million chickens every year.

 The top three foods being thrown away uneaten in British homes are bread, potatoes and milk. The equivalent of 24 million slices of bread, 5.8 million potatoes and 5.9 million glasses of milk are wasted daily.

This has led to new companies emerging around the globe to resolve this global problem, in England, Love Food Hate Waste was launched in 2007 to raise awareness of the need to reduce food waste and in June 2009, then Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn announced the government’s “War on Waste”, a programme aimed at reducing Britain’s food waste.

According to research, food waste was only identified as a problem in the UK during World War 1, whereas Islam had identified the problem and raised awareness about this issue 1400 years ago.

Allah has classed those people who waste as brothers of Shaytan,

      “Verily, those who squander are brothers of the Shayatin (devils)” (Surah al-Isra` 17:27 )

At another juncture Allah revealed his displeasure to those who waste, by stating

“Eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He does not like those who commit excess.” (Surah al-A`râf: 31)

In Islamic terminology wasting food or water is classed as Israf (waste). Israaf according to Imaam Raaghib Isfehaani (RA) means:

‘Any action which an individual performs which exceeds the limits is considered as being Israaf’.

Being extravagant is to spend more than your means – which means that extravagance is relative and not something that we can put a limit/number to.

How many times have we sat down to eat, or been in a restaurant or at a wedding function and wasted food, and it doesn’t even cross our mind that we have just violated the commandment of Allah. Not only violated the commandment of Allah but also wasted crucial resources which was used behind the preparation of food such as energy, fuel, time and water that went into growing, harvesting, storing, transporting and cooking the food.


Some nine months ago somewhere in India a farmer planted rice seeds.

Every day he goes out in the morning and check his crops until the rice grains are mature and ready to be harvested.

He drains any excess water and harvest.

After being harvested it goes to a milling process, the objective of a milling system is to remove the husk and the bran layers from paddy rice.

It is then transported to a packaging company, where thousands of employees work to pack rice in bags, before it is shipped around the world.

The rice is transported to a warehouse and then it is directed to our local supermarket.

Someone from our household goes to the shops and buys the rice, comes home and whilst we are at work spends their time preparing the food.

After work we come home, get changed and sit down to eat, the food is placed in front of us in our plates.

After all this, we have the decency to label it as rubbish food and have the courage to throw it away.

Dear readers we have not just wasted food, we have wasted the nine month cycle where thousands of pounds, employees effort and time was spent behind the preparation for the food.

Whereas our prophet  was so particular about not wasting that it is narrated in a hadeeth that the Prophet (pbuh) g  said “when you eat, do not wipe your hands till you have licked it”, he has mentioned licking of fingers to make sure no food is wasted.

So dear readers let us from today make a firm intention, that we will try our utmost in not wasting food.

So dear readers let us from today make a firm intention, that we will try our utmost in not wasting food.

Moulana Abubakr Diwan

One thought on “Wasting Food

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  1. Mashallah, excellent article. One further consideration is to give away any excess food from our wedding and other functions to the homeless. For example, St George’s Crypt located in Leeds City Centre will gladly accept this excess food so not only will the donor get sawab for not wasting food they will also get sawab for helping the needy. Furthermore this is also a small step in improving relations with our non-Muslim members of the wider community. The contact details for St George’s is:-
    St George’s Crypt,
    Great George Street,
    Telephone: 0113 245 9061

    Liked by 1 person

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