22. A SPECIAL MEAL

Talha was invited for supper by his friend Yunus. They had recently become friends and this would be Talha’s first visit to Yunus’s home. His father drove him there after magrib salaah. Yunus was there waiting  for him, at the gate. The boys made salaam to each other and Yunus took Talha inside and offered to show him his house.

Talha was surprised to see the inside of the house. Unlike his own, this house had very simple furnishings and curtains. He expected to see a large dining-room table with fancy chairs like the ones in his home but noticed that there was no dining room suite at all. The room looked quite bare. A tablecloth was laid out on the floor. There were a few plates and tumblers set out on it.

Talha wondered if those would be enough for everyone. He then thought to himself: ‘Perhaps Yunus’s family cannot afford to buy a table and more dishes’. Talha was very curious so he asked Yunus, “Why is there no table in the dining room? Can’t your father afford to buy one?” Yunus was quite amused by Talha’s question. “We used to have a table,” he said, “but my father sold it so that we could became rich.”

Talha was now very confused. “How can selling a table make you rich? Did you sell it for a lot of money?” he asked. “No, we sold the table because we prefer to eat on the floor. This is what will make us rich in the aakirah. Our Nabi (s.a.w) always sat on the floor when he ate. By doing the same, we are not only following a sunnah but we also  receive great reward, especially when its a sunnah that most people do not pactice upon.” 

Talha was amazed to hear all this. He immediately wanted to know more. “Why are there so few plates laid out?” he asked.

“We share plates as this is also a sunnah. Sharing increases the love between people. Today, you and I will share a plate and eat together,” Yunus answered.

Just then, it was time to have supper. The boys went to wash their hands and sat down on the mat. As Yunus’s mother placed a steaming platter of food on the table cloth, she reminded the boys to recite ‘Bismillah’. This was very helpful as Talha generally forgot. Talha and Yunus shared from the same plate. This was a new experience for Talha and he enjoyed it. He noticed that Yunus and his brother did not fuss about the food as he did at home.

He watched carefully as they ate with the right hand and noticed that they did not use all their fingers as he did. They used only three fingers : the thumb, index and middle fingers and only used the other fingers when necessary. They also ate from the part of the plate closest to them and not from the middle. Talha realized that this too was probably also a sunnah and did his best to copy them.

When they finished their meal, they all remembered to recite their duaa. He was amazed to see Yunus and his brother also help out to clean up afterwards. Talha had certainly learnt a lot from this special meal at Yunus’s home. He felt embarassed at his lack of knowledge of sunnah acts. He made up his mind that he would now make more of an effort in future, to learn about his deen and practice upon it.

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