Alhamdulillaahi rabbil-‘aalameen, was-salaatu was-salaam ‘alaa Rasoolillaah, wa ba’d:
Eating and drinking in the masjid takes the ruling of being mubaah (allowable), except if that which is being eaten carries a foul smell such as garlic, onions, leeks or radish, because the Angels are harmed by that which harms the humans as is mentioned in the hadeeth in Bukhaaree and Muslim.
Eating in the Masjid is either for the one making i’tikaaf or other than the one making i’tikaaf:
As for the one making i’tikaaf, then he eats and drinks within the masjid, and he should not leave the masjid for the purpose of eating, because leaving the masjid opposes the purpose of I’tikaaf. Imaam Maalik (rahimahullaah) stated,
“It is disliked/forbidden (makruh) for the one making I’tikaaf to leave the masjid and eat at the doors of the masjid, rather he should eat in the masjid…” and he said, “The one making I’tikaaf does not eat and drink except in the masjid, and he does not exit the masjid except for human needs such as urinating or defecating.”
See “al-Madawannatul-Kubraa” (1/300).
As for one who is not making I’tikaaf, then likewise it is permitted for him to eat in the masjid, and it is not restricted to one over another as the evidences are general in nature, and from them is what has been reported from Abdullaah bin al-Haarith bin Jaz’ az-Zubaidee who said:
“We ate alongside Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) roast meat in the masjid, and the iqaamah was called, so we wiped our hands on pebbles, then we stood and prayed and we did not perform wudoo.”
Reported by Ahmad (29/243), at-Tirmidhee in ash-Shamaa’il (166), Ibn Maajah (3311). This also proves that the Sahaabah ate
And also from Abdullaah bin al-Haarith (radhi Allaah ‘anhu) who said:
“We used to eat bread and meat in the masjid during the lifetime of Allaah’s Messenger (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam).”
Reported by Ibn Maajah (3300), Ibn Hibbaan (1657) by way of Abdullaah bin Wahb from ‘Amr bin al-Haarith from Sualimaan bin Ziyaad from Abdullaah bin al-Haarith. Al-Busairee stated it was ‘hasan’ in az-Zawaa’id. Shaikh al-Albaanee (rahimahullaah) stated in Tamaamul-Minnah (p. 295), “Rather its chain of narration is saheeh.”
And a further witness to to this is that Ahlus-Suffah used to live in the masjid as has been reported in Saheeh al-Bukhaaree, and they would have eaten in the masjid, as they had no living quarter other than the masjid. Likewise the story of the captivity of Thumaamah bin Uthaal (radhi Allaah ‘anhu) wherein he was tied to the pillar in the masjid for three days (Bukhaaree and Muslim), and he would have been fed. Additionally we have the story of Sa’d bin Mu’aadh (radhi Allaahu ‘anha) when the Prophet (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) set up a tent for him in the masjid so that he could visit him from close-by since he (salallaahu ‘alaihi wassallam) lived next to the masjid – and he likewise would have eaten in the masjid. And this was after him being injured during the battle of the Khandaq. See al-Bukhaaree, no. vol. 1, 556, with al-Fath of Ibn Hajr.
And from the proofs is the visitation of the delegation of Thaqeef and other than them to the masjid.
All of this proves the permissibility of eating in the masjid. It was not known amongst the Sahaabah that there was any prohibition of eating in the masjid, and the origin therefore is allowance, and how much more so when this principle is further supported by strong evidences. Refer to Ahkaam al-Masaajid (3/158).
However it is incumbent upon those eating in the masjid to put a sheet or a cloth or something similar to it on the ground so that the food particles fall upon that and the masjid is not littered.
The author of “al-Iqnaa'” stated:
“There is no harm in eating within it (the masjid) for the one performing I’tikaaf and for other than him…”
Refer to “Islaah al-Masaajid” of al-Qaasimee, pp. 265-266 with the checking of al-Albaanee.
It is further stated in an-Nawawee’s “al-Majmoo’ Sharh al-Muhadhdhab” (2/534),
“Imaam ash-Shaafi’ee and his companions used to say: It is permitted for the mu’takif (the one making I’tikaaf) and other than him to eat and drink in the masjid and to place a cloth to eat upon on the ground, and to wash one’s hands so that he does not harm anyone. And if he washes them in a tray then that is better. And the evidence for all of this is in the book. Our companions say that it is recommended for the oneeating that he lays down a cloth or something similar so that the cleanliness of the masjid is maintained and preserved.”
So these narrations and statements show the permissibility of eating in the masjid. The ahadeeth that show allowance of this are numerous and many as has been mentioned by ash-Shawkaanee in “Naylul-Awtaar” (2/168-169).
Walhamdulillaahi rabbil-‘aalameen, wa salallaahu ‘ala nabiyinaa Muhammad.
Abu Khadeejah Abdul-Waahid