WHAT IS THE ISLAMIC RULING ON EATING AND DRINKING WHILE STANDING?
The issue of eating or drinking while standing has drawn a lot of debate among muslims. and many scholers have given their ruling stating that eating or drinking while standing is haram. one such shcoler is sheikh albani. But when we analyse all the ahadeeths , the correct conclusion is that drinking /eating while standing is not haram at all. First of all if we analyse the issue of eating while standing, there is no authentic evidance to prove that prophet(sal) forbade eating while standing. some try to prove the opinion of anas rali. the hadith is as follows
Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Prophet (ﷺ) forbade us from drinking while standing. Qatadah reported: "We asked him: 'What about eating?"' He said: "That is even worse, (or may be he said) more detestable."
[ Sahih Muslim].
In this hadith anas rali is mentioning that the prophet (sal) forbade drinking while standing. and he was asked about the eating while standing, he gave his opinion that it's worse. this is only anas rali opinion and this cannot be taken as evidance to prove that eating while standing is haram. Even for the sake of argument if we accept this hadith based on the opinion of a sahabi, then this is what ibn umar rali had to say about eating while standing
Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “We used to eat at the time of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) whilst walking, and we used to drink whilst standing.” (Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.)
so there is no doubt that eating while standing is not haram. As for drinking while standing, many have tried to prove wrongly that drinking while standing is haram based on the hadiths which are narrated
in sahih Muslim and is narrated from Anas and Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade drinking whilst standing.
there are some who try to come to wrong explanations based on assumptions. one such example is that they quote the below hadith
1)Al-Bukhaari (5615) narrated from ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) that he drank whilst standing then he said: Some people say it is makrooh for one of you to drink whilst standing, but I saw the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) doing what you have seen me do.
2)Ahmad (797) narrated that ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allaah be pleased with him) drank whilst standing, and the people looked at him as if they objected to that. He said: “What are you looking at? If I drink whilst standing, I saw the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) drink whilst standing, and if I drink sitting, I saw the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) drink whilst sitting.” Ahmad Shaakir said in Tahqeeq al-Musnad: its isnaad is saheeh.
and come to the assumption that ali rali did not know that the prophet (sal) had forbade from drinking while standing. my question is, what is the evidance they have to prove this assumption? and the answer is none. in the second hadith which I have quoted, ali rali himself says"If I drink whilst standing, I saw the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) drink whilst standing, and if I drink sitting, I saw the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) drink whilst sitting.”
This clearly shows that ali rali was clearly aware of what the prophet sal said and did. Many people go to the extent of telling that only ali rali drank while standing. this opinion is proven wrong by the following hadiths.
Bukhaari and Muslim narrated that Ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I brought water to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) from Zamzam and he drank whilst standing.
this is clear evidance that ibn masud rali was also aware that prophet drank while standing.
Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “We used to eat at the time of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) whilst walking, and we used to drink whilst standing.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi.
Here ibn umar rali also drank while standing making it clear that that scholarly sahaba themselves drank while standing. and they were the most knowledgeful of the saying and actions of prophet(sal).
The thing that has gone wrong here is that many have only come to a conclusion based on one or two hadiths and have not reconciled all the available sahih hadith on the subject.as a result of this , they fall in to mis judged opinions and assumptions. there are similar examples of prophet(sal) forbade one thing in one hadith and allowed it in another hadith. for an example
Aboo Hurayrah related that a man asked the Prophet (r) about a fasting person
fondling [his wife] and he allowed it for him. Another asked him and he forbade
it. The one who he permitted was an old man and the one he forbade was a young
man(Saheeh Sunan Abu Dawood)
In this hadith it is very clear that the prophet (sal) forbade the young man because his sexual urge is strong and won't be able to control his urge and would break his fast by having intercourse with his wife.(by penetrating his penis on to her vagina). the reason for allowing the old man was because he could control his urge. these are supported by so many other authentic narrations. the other example is:
Umm Salamah said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (r) prohibiting them [two units after the
afternoon prayer], but later on I saw him praying them. When he prayed them, he had offered the
afternoon prayer. He then came to me while a number of women from the Haraam clan of the
Ansaar were sitting with me. He prayed these two units of prayer. I sent a slave-girl to him and
told her: Stand beside him and tell him that Umm Salamah has asked: Messenger of Allaah, I
heard you prohibiting these two units of prayer [after the afternoon prayer] but I see you praying
them yourself. If he makes a sign with his hand, step backward from him. The slave-girl did so.
He made a sign with his hand, so she turned away from him. When he finished his prayer, he said:
O daughter of Aboo Umayyah, you asked about the praying of two units of prayer after the
afternoon prayer. In fact, some people from the ‘Abul-Qays clan had come to me with the news
that their people had embraced Islaam. They hindered me from praying the two units after the
noon prayer. It is those two units.( Saheeh Sunan Abu Daawood,)
in this hadith, it is very clear that the prophet himself told why he prayed the two unit after afternoon prayers because he was asked why. this shows clearly there is no contradiction in the sunnah of rasulullah(sal). but no one asked the prophet on the issue on why he drank while standing while forbidding some sahaba from doing the same. so the correct conclusion. is we should not make this an issue and come to our own conclusion of what he would have really meant. because no matter how much we try we won't be able to come to the correct conclusion. There is a hadith reported in both Bukhari and Muslim which is narrated by Aisha rali in which Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) ordered his companions after the battle of Al-Ahzaab saying, “No one of you should pray Asr until you reach the village of Bani-Qurayzah (A Jewish tribe) .”While they were on their way, the time of Asr came. Some companions said we should not pray until we reach Bani-Qurayzah. Others said we should pray Asr now because the Prophet (S.A.W.) did not mean for us to leave the Asr prayer, but he wanted us to be in a hurry. So some of the companions prayed Asr , while others continued on until they reached Bani-Qurayzah after sunset. When they went back to the Prophet, they mentioned to him the story, He accepted the action of all of them.". This clearly shows that the prophet(sal) accepted both the actions of two groups of the companions because both of them prayed asr prayer according to the sunnah of the prophet(sal). similerly drinking/eating while standing and sitting are both in the sunna. the correct thing to do is to follow the sunnah of prophet(sal) by reconciling all the sahih hadiths and coming to a correct conclusion. and the conclusion is, that eating or drinking while standing is not haram.
And Allah Knows Best