Is it sunnah to eat with right knee up, resting on the left heel, with top of the left foot on the floor?
The basis of this action is the hadeeth : ‘I do not eat while I am in position of ‘ittika”. Reported by Abu Dawud from the narration of Abu Juhaifa (Radiallahu anhu).
The scholars have differed in the meaning of word ‘ittika’ in this hadeeth. Some scholars told it is sitting while leaning on right hand or left hand. Some scholars have included sitting in relaxed position like sitting cross legged also in ‘ittika’. From them Al Khattabi and Ibn-ul-Qayyim.
So the scholars who say sitting cross legged is included in this hadeeth say it is not from good manners of eating and they recommend sitting on left foot and keeping the right leg up which is not a relaxed position.
Shaykh Al Uthaymeen Rahimahullah told ‘ittika’ means only sitting while leaning on right hand or left hand and he excluded sitting in relaxed position from this word. So according to his view sitting in relaxed position doesn’t enter in bad manners. He mentioned in his explanation of ‘Riyadh As Saliheen’ :
‘So the sitting is of two types, first, sitting while leaning, this is not from guidance of the Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) to sit while leaning and remaining positions of sitting are permitted, but it is better that you don’t sit in relaxed and stable position so that it wont become a cause for eating more food which is not needed and the better for a person is to set one-third for food and one-third for drink and one-third for breath, this is the best way of taking food even if more is available and it is permitted to eat full stomach occasionally’.
So from the saying of Shaykh Al Uthaymeen, we can understand that it is better to avoid in sitting relaxed position while eating, so a person can chose like sitting on left foot and keeping the right leg up.
Allah knows the best.
Compiled by : AbdunNoor Al Hindi