Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chopstick - The State of Art

I still remember everytime Chinese New Year I was following family to my grand ma house. We spent 3-4 days staying at there and having lunch together at round table. Recalls my memory while I was just 7 years old, still learning how to use chopsticks.

"Grand Ma makan."
"Uncle makan.."
"Aunty makan..."
"Ayah Makan..."
"Mak Makan......"

Meal only can be started after younger siblings invite elders by "Jemput Makan".
Everyone were start eating their meal and my dilemma cames... A bowl of white rice and pair of chopstick put in front of me, I was gossip to my mother :" Why there are no spoon and fork ???" My mother was angry and put chopsticks in my hand :"Don't ask too much, your grand ma don't like people eating rice with spoon... Just use it."

My little hand holding the chopstick and remain still, while my grandma was "clipping" his two wooden sticks to pick up rices. Seems like snow balls rolling up to her mouth with the magic of chopsticks. At the same time TV was showing the Kacang advertisement... Where there was an old man playing chinese chess and all of the sudden.. "Poom !!!" He smashed so hard on the table till peanuts are raising up in the sky. He quickly grab chopstick and make a snap on the air!!!

Kacang was clipped between his chopstick
The old man was smiling with his "skills"....

"Aiks... Why you just staring at the food? Eat the food before it went cold." Grand Ma was muttering at me.. Finally I put my face on bowl and use my chopstick like kind of gold digger push them all into my mouth.

It was a hard lesson for me to achieve the skill of using chopstick. How could you put your strength into two wooden sticks and let the only tiny spaces between tips to "drag away" anything? Even if you was ask me to use both hands also make no sense. My parent were patiently correcting my chopstick position in hand, it should be let the first stick hold firm while another one as a "clipper" moving up and down in tiny C Shape.

I spent 3 years in learning this "the state of art". It is our important chinese tradition in learning and even teaching it to our descendant. I love to use chopstick for eating Mee only because easier to pick up them. (However I still failed to clip any flying flies or kacang ...)

"Isshh... Makan macam orang kafir.."

Some muslim was looking at us with such weird looks while eating sizzling noodles at foodcourt. Of course they were not dare to say it out, but I can "hear" it from their eyes. Also there was a local film Gadoh reflected this issue: malay students was trying to learn using chopstick from chinese friends, suddenly a gangster malay come in arguing and scolded :" Lepas ni.. ko belajar macam mana nak makan Bxbi !!"
( Please refer Youtube Gadoh Part 5  at 4.00 minute)

Itu hanyalah "Sentimen Perkauman" yang bukan perkara baru di Malaysia.
As a matured people, we should be more open in accepting others culture and lifestyle. Islam is not racist religion, but people does.

"Eh Ikhwan, makanlah dengan tangan...." My malay colleagues was joking with me while having lunch with them, although I know their meaning is more to "perli" me eating with spoon. I was smiling and say nothing.

Of course I know how to eat with hand, I learned it from my wife as a reward for teaching her using chopsticks. Until her mother feel shocked and said :"Your husband eats no different like malay now." 

Eating with right hand also sunnah Nabi :

Dari ‘Umar bin Abi Salamah radhiallahu anhu dia berkata: Dulu aku adalah anak kecil yang berada di bawah pengasuhan Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam. Ketika makan, tanganku berpindah-pindah kesana kemari di atas piring. Maka beliau bersabda kepadaku:
“Wahai nak, sebutlah nama Allah, makanlah dengan tangan kananmu, dan makanlah yang ada di dekatmu.”

(HR. Al-Bukhari no. 5376 dan Muslim no. 2022)

However I don't like to show off my "right hand" while eating at public, the reaction from others while noticed I am eating with hand would be a most shocking moment. How can I enjoying my meal at the same time people looking at me with "Mata nak terkeluar" emotion? Well just let me be a normal chinese customer that eating with spoon and start with Bismillah...

Unfortunately, this innocent "Chopstick" have been forbidden unofficially by muslim. Where we can find all kind of information at internet mentioned : "Makan menggunakan tangan, bukan chopstick." The reason it's so innocent due to chopstick is not related to Akidah issue or made by Haram material. Mostly it was made by plastic or bamboo.. Also it have 3000 years history where chinese can't trace who was invented chopstick.

Islam is universal and never forbidden utensils in eating. Besides chopsticks and spoon, we also have fork, knife for western food, batang kayu satay, cup and also drinking straw... What we must do is follow the sunnah instead of saying : This is Haram, That is Haram without dalil and just based on their self-perception only :

Dari Abdullah bin ‘Umar radhiallahu anhuma bahwa Rasulullah shallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam bersabda:

“Jika seseorang di antara kalian makan, maka hendaknya dia makan dengan tangan kanannya. Jika dia minum maka hendaknya juga minum dengan tangan kanannya. Kerana syaitan makan dengan tangan kirinya dan minum dengan tangan kirinya pula.” 

(HR. Muslim no. 3764)

How do I eat western food Chickenchop with chopstick?
How do I eat Mee with hand?
How do I drink water without straw and cup?

The point is we must be start with right hand according to sunnah, using chopstick or spoon with right hand, holding cup with right hand and sort of. Islam is universal religion for every races on earth, also fit into natural law.

How do we going to dakwah based on the real definition in Islam, while at the same time muslim are forbidden reverts to maintain their important cultural that bring no syirik or Haram? Please don't bring personal perception into preaching of Islam because that's misleading and scare others away from Islam. 


I am not anti-Sunnah anyway.. What I mean is between eating with spoon or right hand issue, of course eating with hand is the best way according to Sunnah.

As I mentioned above, I love to use right hand too while having lunch with wife's family. However what I was try to say is : No problem to use spoon or chopstick as long as it's not made by Haram material. (Especially reverts who still in striving stage to convince family that they are not leaving non-syirik tradition )

I know this article have been hurt few people feeling and I apologize for that, just want to say out my true feeling about chinese tradition. Jazakallah Khayran.

Rujukan :






  1. nice entry
    each people have their own perception about others people but for me I'm totally agree with your entry
    pernah juga belajar makan dengan chopstik...
    kadang2 berjaya kadang2 terlepas makanan tu n mka terus merah

  2. Jazakhallahukhyron my brother
    it's a nice entry as brother Hans said
    Islam is universal
    accepting the difference is a basement of dahwah

  3. you have a good family life brother i bless you always well a good moral lesson to learn from you also

    thank you brother

  4. Assalamualaikum Ikhwan,
    LOL...your post here reminds me a lot about the first time I had to eat with chopsticks at 8 years old - at my cousin's Cantonese grandma's house.
    True, it's nothing wrong for Muslims to eat food with any suitable utensils. I remember my little nieces were taught this skill using chopsticks tied with rubber bands.Those Malaysian Muslims who discourage us to eat with chopsticks are just plain ignorant; we should just smile and ask them to eat mee with just 3 fingers of their right hand too [ikut sunnah nabi, huhuhu] :)

  5. Rasulullah s.a.w. bersabda, "Apabila seorang daripada kamu telah selesai makan, jangan dibersihkan jari-jarinya sebelum dia menjilatnya". (HR Muslim)

    Tidak pasti hadis ni sahih atau lemah tapi rasanya kalau mengikut pengertian hadis ini mesti makan dengan tangan, kalau dengan sudu atau sebagainya tentu tak perlu jilat jari untuk dapat pahala sunnah, bukan begitu....?

  6. Hans:

    Thanks for coming hehe.. Hans pun suka belajar makan dengan chopstick ke? apa yang paling mencabarkan ialah makan fishball dengan chopstick hehe..

  7. Hannah Muminah :

    Jazakhallahukhyron sis..Yup Islam is universal for all mankind, where it suitable for most place and time... That's why dakwah with neutral perception is the best way.

  8. sadnesspart2008 :

    Thanks for visit my blog bro, Try to cheer up man, everything got their bright side.

  9. aliya:

    Walaikumsalam sis Aliya and thanks for visit my blog : )

    Yes every chinese have to face the "chopstick dilemma" at childhood, No fork given to eat mee, have to use that chopstick too in all kind of way huhu. Those sweet memories can't be forgotten, and my grand ma also passed away few years ago.

    For Malay and Indian, sure no problem eat with right hand because that's their tradition, so for malay muslim sure no problem in following sunnah.

  10. studioukm :

    Rasulullah s.a.w. bersabda, "Apabila seorang daripada kamu telah selesai makan, jangan dibersihkan jari-jarinya sebelum dia menjilatnya". (HR Muslim)

    Benar, kerana sebelum Islam diturunkan ke tanah Arab, penduduk Arab telahpun mengamalkan adat makan dengan tangan. Kalao diberi pilihan untuk makan nasi dengan tangan atau sudu, tentulah tangan lebih baik kerana boleh merasa haba makanan dan mencegah kanser tekak (yang disebabkan oleh memakan makanan yang terlalu panas)

  11. Assalamualaikum Ikhwan..Terima kasih atas perkongsian ini.Buat pengetahuan Ikhwan dan rakan-rakan lain...ain sampai sekarang masih bermasalah guna chopsticks..Still kekok.Maybe budaya ain dari kecil yg kemelayuan-yelah baba nyonya.DAri kecil dah dibiasakan makan menggunakan tangan.
    Sejak kecil tinggal dan dijaga nenek yg pure nyonya melaka!...
    Jika Ikhwan dibimbing isteri menggunakan tangan untuk makan, ain pula hingga kini still ajar suami guna chopsticks,sedangkn ain sendiri kekok!

  12. Salam bro.

    I was having dinner with my Chinese friends (including one Chinese from China friend) at a local mamak and most of us used our hands. My China friend was quite amused at our "skill" and insisted we teach him how to eat using his hands. LoL~

  13. nurain vivian :

    Walaikumsalam, Saya tak pernah berjumpa dengan kawan yang mempunyai budaya nyonya, teringin nak rasa juga makanan nyonya..

    Hehe kita ni sama2 mengajar pasangan hidup budaya kita masing2..

  14. Hajar:

    wow that's tradition exchange, Malaysia is full of various cultural which makes me very flexible too.. spoon ke, chopstick, tangan ke... semua ok je ~~

  15. "Hehe kita ni sama2 mengajar pasangan hidup budaya kita masing2.. "

    aku je yg jadi bujang terlajak kui kui kui.
    teringin gak nak berdakwah kat isteri muallaf, mesti bahagia rasanya.

    and about the peanut advertisement, haha i remember that. classic peanut chopstick advertisement. i aslo remember the petronas version of chopsticks ad..

    and i sincerely thought that ur articles below this topic could not make them tersinggung in any way. and i even a mix blood in heritage.

    i used chopsticks to eat kuey teow goreng. i'm good at it. spoon for char kuey teow as it is cook with prawn and egg gravy. and rice, bread or fruit with hand. if they ask me why i use different method to eat then i would ask them a question in a study case format;

    one day, MAE, IKHWAN NG, AND RAJOOGOPAL, 3 best friends enter a mamak stall for their morning break drink. they all order a glass of hot tea. the 3 glasses of tea then finally came.

    MAE is seen stirring (menggodak/mengacau) his tea in a clockwise manner (ikut pusingan jam).

    IKHWAN NG is seen stirring his tea in anti clock-wise manner (godak ke kiri berlawan putaran jam).

    RAJOOGOPAL is seen stirring up his tea in upside down manner (godak atau kacau mcm pukul telur).

    one foreign tourist who have seen their different manner in drinking the hot tea suddenly approach them to ask for their reason in doing so.

    MAE, IKHWAN NG, AND, RAJOOGOPAL look at the tourist face and say, nothing much sir, our method might be different, but our ultimate goal of stirring our tea is to larutkan gula (dissipate the sugar inside the drink). hahahaha.. one malaysia la katakan..

    tak salah kekalkan budaya yg tak bertentangan dengan ajaran ISLAM. tapi afdhal sekiranya mengikuti sunnah nabi muhammad s.a.w. dapat pahala dan scientifically ada reason behind of it.

    in case klu mcm situasi ikhwan ng, his grandma doesn't like anyone on the table not using chopstick, then use chopstick to please her grandma.

    malah sangat2 dituntut didalam ISLAM menjaga hati org2 tua, dan agar tak merosakkan suasana happy masa makan. imagine klu ikhwan ng berkeras nak menggunakan tangan depan grandma and his parent itu kan dah berdosa menyakitkan hati org tua sedangkan makan menggunakan chopstick tak bertentanngan dengan ajaran ISLAM.

    sy sokong perbuatan ikhwan ng demi dia menjaga hati keluarganya selagi mana ia tak bertentangan dengan akidah dan syariaat ISLAM dan tak mengkufurkan dan menyekutukan ALLAH.

    memeluk ISLAM bukanlah bermaksud meninggalkan segala2-galanya. staz ridhuan tee yg muncul kat forum perdana ehwal islam tu pun selalu hantar family dia pergi tokong as it is a tanggungjawab for anak, dan turut sama meraikan hari raya cina selagi mana ia tal disamakan dengan perayaan umat ISLAM keran ia adalah bersifat ibadah dan meraikan kemenangan. hehehe.

  16. Using Chopstick is one of our chinese tradition and nth to do with aqidah.I'm using chopstick everyday,and my wife is learning from me when she eat mee.
    I'm also good in using right hand when have meal at my mother in law's house.
    But same like you,when eating in public like canteen,spoon and fork.

    1. Yup using chopstick is not against aqeedah, just certain people might feel uncomfortable due to cultural background


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