Tuesday, February 18th, 2014
We live in an age of fear.
We are afraid of what people will say, afraid of what the weather might be tomorrow, and afraid of how the economy might go next year.
We are afraid to eat the chocolate cake, afraid to step on the scale and afraid to call an old friend.
We are afraid to watch the news, afraid to discipline our children, and afraid to eat a grocery store tomato.
Islam comes as a cure for the rumbling fear. It tells us to trust, rely and depend on our Lord. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) taught Abū Hurayra (r) this lesson when he ﷺ found him hungry and invited him to his home for a bowl of milk.
Abū Hurayra was extremely hungry. We know that people who live in a state of want can become anxious, depressed, and even violent. Maslow teaches us that one of the basic needs of the human being is food. Certainly all the dieting folk around the world prove that food influences our moods, as they growl and groan at their loved ones while staying under 1200 calories a day.
A person who stays for a long period of time without enough food may begin to fear for his life, his health, and his strength.
When the Prophet ﷺ invited Abū Hurayra (r) to his home for a bowl of milk, Abū Hurayra had already been hungry for a long time. He was ravenous. After he saw the milk, the Prophet ﷺ instructed him to go and get the others who lived in the mosque, who were more than likely also hungry. Abū Hurayra recounts that this made him upset, because he felt he had the most right to that milk, (he was afraid, perhaps, that there wouldn’t be enough) but since he could not disobey the Messenger of God, he went forth and retrieved them all.
Once they were back with the milk, the Prophet ﷺ gave the bowl to Abū Hurayra and instructed him to give it to the others first. Subḥān Allah. Abū Hurayra was first! He was so very hungry. Yet the Prophet was a teacher and guide of humanity, and Abū Hurayra had something to learn.
After every one of them had drank from the bowl, and only the Prophet and Abū Hurayra remained, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ asked Abū Hurayra to sit and drink his fill. He did. When he was finished, he gave the bowl over to the Prophet ﷺ, who finished it off.
There was enough.
And whenever we are afraid, we must remember that. There is enough. There is enough food to go around, enough love, and enough joy.
Fear is a tool of shayṭān. It steals our faith and turns us into mean and disagreeable people.
When we rid ourselves of fear, and trust in Allah (z), we hang on to the rope of faith and become kind, generous and empathetic people.
May we be of those willing to serve the bowl of milk, before partaking of it ourselves. May we be of those who throw fear out the window and replace it with taqwā and tawakkul.