Is it Sunnah to eat sitting on your knees?

Quran

Hadith

Islamic Text

Yes, sitting on your knees to eat is a Sunnah established in authentic Hadith.

عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ بُسْرٍ، قَالَ: أَهْدَيْتُ لِلنَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ شَاةً، فَجَثَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَلَى رُكْبَتَيْهِ، يَأْكُلُ، فَقَالَ أَعْرَابِيٌّ: مَا هَذِهِ الْجِلْسَةُ؟ فَقَالَ: «إِنَّ اللَّهَ جَعَلَنِي عَبْدًا كَرِيمًا، وَلَمْ يَجْعَلْنِي جَبَّارًا عَنِيدًا»

Abdullah bin Busr  said, ‘I gave the Prophet ﷺ a gift of a sheep, and the Messenger of Allah ﷺ sat on his knees to eat. A Bedouin said: ‘What is this sitting?’ He ﷺ said, ‘Allah (Most High) has made me a noble slave (of Allah) and has not made me haughty or stubborn.’ (Sunan Ibn Maja 3263, Hasan).

Imam Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani mentioned that the Sanad (chain of narration) for this Hadith is Hasan (Strong):

حَدِيثِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ بُسْرٍ عِنْدَ بن مَاجَهْ وَالطَّبَرَانِيِّ بِإِسْنَادٍ حَسَنٍ قَالَ أَهْدَيْتُ لِلنَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ شَاةٌ فَجَثَا عَلَى رُكْبَتَيْهِ يَأْكُلُ

The Hadith of Abdullah bin Busr narrated by Ibn Maja and al-Tabarani with a Hasan chain in which he says, ‘I gave the Prophet ﷺ a gift of a sheep, and the Messenger of Allah ﷺ sat on his knees to eat… (Imam Ibn Hajr al-Asqalani, Fath al-Bari).

There are similar narrations in other Hadith collections that further strengthen this Sunnah, for example Sunan Abi Dawood Hadith number 3773, al-Sunan al-Kubra of Imam al-Bayhaqi Hadith number 14653.

And Allah (Most High) knows best.

Answered by Shaykh Noor ud-deen (04.01.2021)

See also:

When a Muslim tells you meat is Halal, can you take his word for it?