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Eating rice with hands is NOT a sunnah? Words pleasing to ears isn't a sign for its authenticity. Since few years Moulana Tariq Jameel Sahab (db) has been seen prescribing this to the students of madaaris. And then through ascription towards him everyone has started doing the same. Infact the reality is that having meal with hands is masnoon. While eating rice in itself is not masnoon. Adding both and proving that eating rice with hands isn't sunnah is just a false analogy. If having meal with hands is masnoon. Then even if rice is to be eaten, using hands for it would also be considered masnoon. As for the matter that having rice this way alienates people then this problem exists in all foods. Its not specific with just rice. Having chapati dipped in gravy in such a way that its drops spread over hands and clothes or any such style of eating which turns away people should then also be considered against sunnah. But the reality is that when Prophet ﷺ would have pumpkin he would search the entire can using his fingers for the remains of it. Thus sunnah must be that we also adopt this way while eating pumpkin. Moreover, very rarely would he have meat to eat but when he would, then he would tear its pieces using his canines/teeth. Hence sunnah must also be accordingly. Now even if this act would alienate sophisticated people, then what would be its solution? Finally, who says to add so much gravy onto the rice that it looks odd.If eaten properly then even rice can be had with hands in a very sophisticated manner. But, eating with hands only should also not be insisted upon. Rather if someone eats with spoon then that's also fine, but if he uses his hands in a wise manner then this act must also be appreciated as being the love for the Prophet ﷺ. Mufti Abuhajira DB