Riyad Us-Saliheen (Gardens of the Righteous)
Eating from the Side of the Vessel
744. Ibn `Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Blessing descends upon food in its middle, so eat from the sides of the vessel and do not eat from its middle.''
[At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud].
Commentary: This Hadith tells us that if a few people or members of the same family recite the Name of Allah and take meal at the same table, a two-fold benefit will accrue to them. Their hunger will be sated with their subsistence being given the Divine blessing. And if they do otherwise, the result will be otherwise too.
745. `Abdullah bin Busr (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) had a large bowl called Al-Gharra', which would be carried by four men. One day, when the Companions finished their Duha (forenoon optional) prayer, Al-Gharra' was brought full of sopped bread, meat and broth, and they sat down around it. When their number increased, Messenger of Allah (PBUH) sat down on his knees and rested on the soles of his feet. A bedouin said to him: "What sort of sitting is that?'' Thereupon Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, "Verily, Allah has made me a courteous slave not a fierce tyrant.'' Then he said, "Eat from the sides of the bowl and leave the central part of it so that your food will be blessed.''
Commentary: Here, too, we are told to eat collectively and from our side of the table. Messenger of Allah (PBUH) calls it the blessed way. There is also a provision for sitting with bent knees (while resting on one's soles). Moreover, the excellence of Messenger of Allah (PBUH) as well as his humility are brought to our knowledge.