Monday, 30 April 2012
The Generous Slave Boy
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
Once, ‘Abdullah ibn Ja’far ibn Abu Thalib (r.a.) went past an orchard where an Abyssinian slave-boy was working. Someone brought the slave-boy his daily food, three loafs of bread. At the same time, a stray dog came into the garden and stood next to him. The boy threw a loaf of bread to the dog. The dog ate the bread but did not go away. The boy threw another loaf. The dog ate that too but still did not leave. The boy gave the dog a third loaf, thus letting the dog eat the whole of his daily food allotment.
‘Abdullah ibn Ja’far (r.a.), who had been watching this, said to the boy, “How much bread do you get as your daily ration of food?”
“I get three loaves every day,” the boy replied.
‘Abdullah ibn Ja'far (r.a.) asked, “Then, why did you feed the dog all three loaves of bread instead of eating some yourself?”
The boy said, “As you may be aware, there are no dogs living round here. This poor creature must have travelled a long distance to reach here and it must be feeling very hungry. So, I felt ashamed to send it away, without serving it any food.”
‘Abdullah ibn Ja'far (r.a.) said, “What will you have for food today?”
“I shall go without food for a day, which I do not mind,” said the boy.
‘Abdullah ibn Ja'far (r.a.) said to himself, “People criticise you for spending too liberally. You give to the poor generously but you still have something left for yourself, whereas this young boy has preferred to go hungry and gave all of his daily food to a dog. This young boy is far more generous than you are.” After this he went back to the town and after purchasing the boy, the garden and all the other effects therein from the owner, he set the slave-boy free and gave him the garden as a gift.
As recorded in Swahih al-Bukhari and Swahih Muslim, our Prophet (s.a.w,) once said, “A man walking along a path felt very thirsty. Reaching a well he descended into it, drank water to fill and came out, then he saw a dog with its tongue hanging out, trying to lick up mud to quench its thirst. The man said to himself that the dog was feeling the same extreme thirst as he had felt a little while ago. So he descended once more into the well, filled his leather hosier with water and came up holding it by his teeth and gave the dog a drink. Allah Appreciated the act of this man and Forgave his sins.”
The Prophet (s.a.w.) was asked, “Messenger of Allah, are we Rewarded for kindness towards animals as well?”
He replied, “There is a Recompense for kindness to every living thing.”