There is nothing in this world that is not regulated in Islam. Even things like eating and drinking are also well regulated. But, in the community, there are thoughts that eating and drinking must be done while sitting. Some of them say that the Apostle himself told us to drink while standing. But, is it true that the assumption that has been circulating so far?
It turns out that the law of drinking while standing in Islam is permissible. There is no proposition that shows the prohibition of drinking while standing. In fact, some arguments show that the Apostle once drank and even ate while standing. (Also read: 15 Importance of Foods in Islam – Manners, Types, and Benefits).
Ibn ‘Abbas Radhiyallahu Anhuma said,
سَقَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مِنْ زَمْزَمَ فَشَرِبَ قَائِمًا
“I gave drink to the Prophet Sallallaahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam from zam-zam water, then he drank while standing.” (Narrated by Bukhari no. 1637 and Muslim no. 2027)
From Ibn ‘Umar Radhiyallahu Anhuma, he said,
كُنَّا نَأْكُلُ عَلَى عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- وَنَحْنُ نَمْشِى وَنَشْرَبُ وَنَحْنُ قِيَامٌ
“We used to eat at the time of the Prophet Sallallaahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam while walking and we drank while standing.” (Narrated by Tirmidhi no. 1880 and Ibn Majah No. 3301. Shaykh Al Albani said that this hadith is saheeh).
From ‘Amr bin Syu’aib, from his father, from his grandfather, he said,
رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- يَشْرَبُ قَائِمًا وَقَاعِدًا
“I have seen the Prophet Sallallaahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam drink while standing, as well as never been seated.” (Narrated by Tirmidhi no. 1883 and he said this hadith is saheeh)
The Prophet Forbade Drinking While Standing
However, drink while standing is not better than drink while sitting. The best method for drinking is to do it in a sitting position. As for some of the arguments that show the Apostle prohibiting drinking while standing, there are also those which become the basis of the law of drinking while standing in Islam.
The Law of Drinking and Eating While Standing
From Anas Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu, he said,
عَنِ النَّبِىِّ -صلى الله عليه وسلم- أَنَّهُ نَهَى أَنْ يَشْرَبَ الرَّجُلُ قَائِمًا
“From the Prophet Sallallaahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam, he forbade someone to drink while standing up.” Qotadah said that they were then asking (to Anas), “What about eating (while standing)?” Anas replied, “It is worse and worse.” (Narrated by Muslim no. 2024). The scholars explained that it was said that eating while standing was worse because eating takes longer than drinking.
From Abu Hurairah Radhiyallahu ‘Anhu, the Prophet Sallallaahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam said,
لاَ يَشْرَبَنَّ أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمْ قَائِمًا فَمَنْ نَسِىَ فَلْيَسْتَقِئْ
“Never one of you drink while standing. If he forgets, he should spit it out.” (Narrated by Muslim no. 2026)
Even though there are restrictions, the law does not come to illegitimate direction. This can be seen from the example given by the Apostle by drinking while standing which shows it is permissible not forbidden.
Al Bajuri in the Assyria of Ash Syamail,
وإنما شرب (ص) وهو قائم ، مع نهيه عنه ، لبيان الجواز ، ففعله ليس مكروها في حقه ، بل واجب ، فسقط قول بعضهم إنه يسن الشرب من زمزم قائما اتباعا له
The Prophet Sallallaahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam once drank while standing. Even though on the other hand, he forbade it. The act of drinking while standing had shown what it might be. So what he did was not makruh from his side, it could even be obligatory (to explain to the ummah it would be okay). So the opinion of some people said it is sunnah to drink zam-zam water while standing in the framework of ittiba’ (imitating) the Prophet Sallallaahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam. (From I’anatuth Tholibin, 3: 417)
Ibn Hajar Rahimahullah said, “It is said that eating is worse because it takes longer than drinking time.” (Completion of ‘Fathul Bari, 10/82)
This opinion was chosen by Islamic Sheikh Ibn Taimiyan while he said,
“It is necessary to eat and drink while standing without any need.” (From ‘Fatawa Kubro, 5/477)
Mardawai Rahimahullah said, “The owner of the book Furu said, “What appears from their words is not to eat while standing. And (makruh) is intended for like drinking. This is the opinion of Sheikh Taqiyudin Rahimahullah. I said, “If you say makruh for us to drink while standing, then it must be because there is harm. That does not happen to eating so that it cannot be included. (Completed by ‘Al-Insof, 8/330)
Shaykh Rahimahullah also said:
The hadiths that discuss this problem says that it is prohibited to drink or eat while standing. But, there is also a hadith from the Prophet Sallallaahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam which shows him drinking while standing. The concession and the hadith that talk about it all are saheeh, whereas the prohibition indicates makruh. If someone needs to eat while standing or drinking by standing, then it does not matter. There is a saheeh hadith which shows that the Prophet Sallallaahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam drank while sitting and standing. So, once again if you need it, then it is okay to eat and drink while standing.
There is a hadith which explains that the Prophet Sallallaahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam drank zam-zam water while standing. There is also a hadith from ‘Ali Radhiyallahu ‘anhu which explains the Prophet Sallallaahu ‘Alaihi Wasallam drinking while standing and sitting.
In essence, this problem is clear. Eating and drinking while standing is indeed not forbidden, but it would be better if done while sitting so that the flow of water and food will enter the stomach more smoothly.