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Be it the hand, the leg or any other part of the body, the right hand side always, AFAIK, takes a higher status, preference or position in terms of positivity then the left.

E.g.:

For the right side:

  • use the the index finger of the right-hand when touching the Quran during recitation*
  • during ablution/ghusl wash the head, neck then preferable the right shoulder
  • when stepping out of the house put your right foot out first*
  • give alms with the right hand*
  • angel on the right shoulder logs good deeds*
  • in wassu wash and wipe right hand and foot first
  • eat with the right hand*

For the left side:

  • in all the above cases it is either left out, comes second or is used for bad things (angel on the left side log bad deeds)
  • clean yourself with the left hand*

Why is this so? Is it Islamic, mythical or cultural ?

* don't know the authenticity of it

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Assalamualakikum brother!

Actually, the right side concept is purely Islamic. Prophet Muhammad's life is full of examples, where he preferred the right side.

As far as my personal research is concerned, the reason behind it is not told to us clearly in Quran or hadith , that why only right side is preferred over left.

Logically, there are benefits in adopting right side. For example, sleeping on right side has many medical benefits.

Also, in most cases, like in case of drinking, the reason behind it is that satan eat and drinks with left hand, so we have to do opposite of him, as stated in this hadith:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “If one of you eats, he should eat with his right hand. And if he drinks something, he should drink with his right hand. For indeed, Satan eats and drinks with his left hand.” [Sahîh Muslim (2020)]

So , reason for few of the cases of adopting right side are clear, but not for all. So there isnt any general reason that why right side is always preferred.

In most cases, we have to follow the sunnah, as it is told to us, even if there is no clear reason we can see behind it, still we have to do it without worrying that what reason it has in that that it is said to us. because this is called believe in un-seen, as said in Surah baqarah:

[2:3] Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them

And Allah knows the best

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Belief in the Judgment day is of central importance in Islamic belief. i.e. You will face your Lord one day and will be held accountable for your deeds. Those who have done more good actions, than bad ones will goto Heavens and others goto Hell. This is characterized as the ultimate success or failure. As mentioned in Quran, the book of deeds of successful people will be given in their right hands.

To remind us of the fact, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) did a lot of things preferring his right hand (or foot). He established eating with right hand as his sunnah. He also showed how we can make everyday deeds into an act of reminder of Allah and that all-important day.

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    Yeah, I had that verse in mind, but then I wasn't planning to make an exhaustive list of thing. I agree, but why does the right-side have such high status? Any explanation on that? As in the reason. – Bleeding Fingers Dec 27 '13 at 9:44
  • I would not say it has "high" status. It just a preferred way of doing things. The reason is, as I mentioned, is high importance of that day. – goto Dec 27 '13 at 10:03
  • About eating food: Shaitan eats food using left hand. – motiur Jan 26 '14 at 9:10

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