Eating in Hotels and Restaurants?

Ques: A brother this weekend mentioned a thing, that amazed me. He said something like: “A person who [usually] eats at Hotels and Restaurants does not count as a reliable witness in Hanafi Madhab!” So, what’s the reality behind this statement, if there’s any?

Assalamu Alaikum.

It is mentioned in Fatawa Hindiyyah:

ولا تقبل شهادة من يفعل الأفعال المستحقرة كالبول على الطريق والأكل عليها ، كذا في الهداية .
، وكذا من يأكل في السوق بين الناس ، كذا في السراج الوهاج

His witness will not be accepted who does dirty things, like Peeing in road and eating on it. Hidayah.
Similarly, who eats in market in front of people. Sirajul Wahhaj

In Bahrur Rayeq:

( قوله أو يبول أو يأكل على الطريق ) ؛ لأنه تارك للمروءة وإذا كان لا يستحي عن مثل ذلك لا يمتنع عن الكذب فيتهم … والمراد بالأكل على الطريق والبول بأن يكون بمرأى من الناس … وأشار المؤلف بما ذكره إلى أن ما يخل بالمروءة يمنع قبولها وإن لم يكن محرما ولذا قال في الهداية ولا تقبل شهادة من يفعل الأفعال المستحقرة مثل البول والأكل على الطريق والمروءة أن لا يأتي الإنسان بما يعتذر منه مما يبخسه عن مرتبته عند أهل الفضل وقيل السمت الحسن وحفظ اللسان وتجنب السخف والمجون والارتفاع عن كل خلق دنيء

(His witness will not be accepted if he pees or eats on road) because he lacks manliness. And when he doesn’t feel shy from those, he will not refrain from telling lie also, thus he will be accused.

Meaning of eating on road and peeing on it is, doing them in front of people. And the author indicated that whatever lacks manliness, will prevent accepting his witness, even it is not Haram. Thus, it is said in Hidaya, His witness will not be accepted who does dirty things like peeing or eating on road. And manliness means not to do anything from which one has to apologize, which lowers his grade near good people. Alternatively, it means good character, protecting tongue, avoiding rubbish things and buffoonery, and refraining from all dirty habits.

In Raddul Muhtar:

قوله أو يأكل على الطريق ) أي بأن يكون بمرأى من الناس بحر .
ثم اعلم أنهم اشترطوا في الصغيرة الإدمان ، وما شرطوه في فعل ما يخل بالمروءة فيما رأيت ، وينبغي اشتراطه بالأولى ، وإذا فعل ما يخل بها سقطت عدالته وإن لم يكن فاسقا حيث كان مباحا ، ففاعل المخل بها ليس بفاسق ولا عدل ، فالعدل من اجتنب الثلاثة ، والفاسق من فعل كبيرة أو أصر على صغيرة ، ولم أر من نبه عليه .
وفي العتابية ، ولا تقبل شهادة من يعتاد الصياح في الأسواق بحر .
قال في النهاية : وأما إذا شرب الماء أو أكل الفواكه على الطريق لا يقدح في عدالته لأن الناس لا تستقبح ذلك منح س

Summarizing.. It will be considered bad when one does is usually… In Nihaya: But he who drinks water or eats fruit on the road, it will not degrade his fairness. Because people do not hate this.

What I understand from these texts is, any act that is considered immoral, done usually, will nullify one’s capability to be a witness. So, it should vary with customs and traditions. Like u see, in Fatawa hindiyyah it is said that eating in front of people in markets will be considered bad. When in Nihayah it says, “drinking water or eating a fruit on road will not be considered like that, because people don’t hate that habit.

So, it should depend on customs and traditions. Like in our country, we do not consider just eating in good hotels a bad habit. But, eating in small shops beside the roads, taking tea or coffee, standing or sitting on a road-sided bench, is regarded a bad habit. Also, chatting in hotels for long times, passing times there, smoking or listening to music are considered bad habits. Therefore, it varies upon countries and traditions, I think.

Well, the hotels today are full of music, TVs and other Haram materials. Therefore, we should not go there except when we hardly need to. We can go there and bring the foods as parcels also, then eat them in our home/office or elsewhere. Well, this is of course a different issue, not relevant to the texts quoted above.

And Allah knows best.

Answered by Yousuf
Sunniforum, 8th May ’09