The wonderful smell of pies baking wafted through the house. “Mummy, I’m hungry. Are the pies ready?” asked Amatullah. “Please wait five minutes honey,” her mummy answered. “Although they’re ready, they’re too hot to eat. Go wash your hands and wear your scarf. Thereafter, choose a hadith for today’s taleem (lesson) and then you may call the others.” Amatullah did as requested and called her brothers to eat.
When they had washed their hands, removed their shoes and were seated on the dastarkaan (table-cloth), Amatullah recited durood (blessings on the Prophet s.a.w) followed by the hadith she had chosen: “YOU SHOULD LIKE FOR OTHERS WHAT YOU LIKE FOR YOURSELF AND DISLIKE FOR THEM WHAT YOU DISLIKE FOR YOURSELF.” This was followed by a brief explanation. They recited (dua after taleem)*, and Amatullah then recited the dua for eating (Bismillahi wa ala barkatillah), aloud, as a reminder to the others. They repeated after her and were ready to begin eating.
Their mother then carefully set a platter of pies and a tureen of soup on the table. She told them to continue without her, as she would eat after Esha Salaah with their dad, who had been delayed. The sight of the pies and the delicious aroma of the food had the children’s mouths watering. Each waited their turn for the platter to be passed around and helped themselves to a pie, under their mother’s watchful gaze.
Just then the phone rang and their mother went to answer the call. For a few minutes it was peaceful and then the peace was disrupted. By now all had eaten their pies and reached for seconds. Jaleel took four pies and dropped them into his plate. Not to be outdone Jawid followed suit. This left only one for Amatullah who got upset and called out, “Mum, come quickly. Jaleel and Jawid are not being fair. They both took four pies and left only one for me.”
Fortunately their mother’s call was over and she hurried back, just in time to see Jawid about to whack his sister on the head with a spoon, for complaining. “Put that spoon down at oncel” commanded their mother, entering the dining room. “Why were you about to hit your sister, Jawid?”
“Mum,” he answered innocently, “I told her to shut up and eat quietly but she was still making a noise.”
“And why was she making a noise?” asked their mother. She continued, pointing at the pies. “Do you think the fact that you two brothers have four pies each and she has only one, could be the cause?”
Jaleel tried to defend Jawid by saying, “Mum, she’s smaller than us so that’s enough for her little tummy, whereas we’re growing boys and need much more food. I don’t see why she should complain.” Their mum lifted the extra pies from their plates and returned them back to the platter. She then gave Amatullah four and gave Jaleel and Jawid only a single pie each. “But mum,” squealed the boys. “That’s not fair! We now have only one each whereas she has four. You like her more than us!”
“No! I like you all the same. But speaking of ‘liking’, tell me the hadith Amatullah recited before you began eating. Perhaps that may prompt me to share the pies equally.” Jaleel and Jawid remembered the hadith at once, as they had felt pangs of guilt when greed made them fill their plates, leaving only one pie for Amatullah. Both called out together, “YOU SHOULD LIKE FOR OTHERS WHAT YOU LIKE FOR YOURSELF AND DISLIKE FOR THEM WHAT YOU DISLIKE FOR YOURSELF.”
Their mother then asked, “If you both can recall the hadith so well, how is it you could not put it into practice.” Jaleel and Jawid grinned sheepishly. Jaleel then said, “Sorry mum. Blame it on your pies. They were just so delicious they made us forget our manners. We’ll try to be fair in future.” Their mother placed three pies in each child’s plate and said, “In future you will count the food items, work out your share and take only that amount or less to eat. When the others have finished, you may help yourselves to the extras. Don’t ever let greed get the better of you.”
“Yes mum! We’ll certainly try,” replied Jaleel and Jawid together. Later that night she knew they had learnt their lesson, when she offered them a slab of chocolate to share. They smiled knowingly at her and said, “How many pieces per person, mum?”
DUA AFTER TALEEM: “Subhanallahi wa bihamdihi, subhanakalla humma wa bihamdika nash hadu allah ilaaha illah anta nastagfiruka wanatubu ilaik.”
Glory be to Allah who is above all faults and praise be to Him. We testify that none is worthy of worship besides You (O Allah), we seek Your forgiveness, and turn to You (O Allah).