Narrated Jabala bin Suhaim:

At the time of Ibn Az-Zubair, we were struck with famine, and he provided us with dates for our food. `Abdullah bin `Umar used to pass by us while we were eating, and say, “Do not eat two dates together at a time, for the Prophet (ﷺ) forbade the taking of two dates together at a time (in a gathering).” Ibn `Umar used to add, “Unless one takes the permission of one’s companions.”

Reported by Al Bukhari and Muslim

Imam Al Uthaymeen رحمه الله said:

“….As for the first (of the two chapters) then it is in regards to the prohibition of eating two dates at once, and similar to it which is ate one at a time if he is with a group, except with the permission of its his companions.

Meaning something which the customs be (such) that it be eaten one by one such as the dates. If you are with a group, then don’t eat two dates at once because this will harm your brothers whom are with you.

Don’t eat more than them except if you seek permission, and you say, “Do you permit that I eat two dates at once” and they give you permission. (In that case), then no problem.

Similarly that which has come in the customs that it be ate one at a time such as (i.e. for example is) some of the small fruits which the people take a seed at a time and they eat it.

For indeed the person doesn’t combine between two except with the permission of his companion whom is with him, fearing that he may eat more than his companion.

As for if the person is alone, then there is no problem that he eat two dates at once or two seeds which are ate once at a time because he won’t harm anyone with that, except if he fears upon himself from choking.

For the general folk say:

“The one who makes his bite big will choke”

Thus if he fears that if he eats two dates at once or two seeds at once from that which is ate one by one (whereby) that he may choke, then he shouldn’t do so because that will harm him, and the soul is a trust with you. It’s not permissible for you to do that which will harm it.

[Sharh Riyaadus Saliheen volume 4 page 216-217]

Translated by

Majid Jawed Al-Afghanee
Abu Layl