THE LITTLE HUNGRY BOY AND THE RAWDHA
Shaykh al-Islam ʿAllamah Ẓafar Aḥmad ʿUthmani (May Allah shower him with mercy) writes: After performing Ḥajj, I went to the Illuminated City of Madinah. Once during my stay there, we happened to eat a meal outside the inn at which we were lodging. After finishing, we swept the uneaten remains and crusts of bread off the dastarkhan [picnic blanket] into the grass for the animals to eat, and I returned to my room.
A short while later, however, when I came outside again, I saw something shocking: A sweet and adorable nine-year-old child was nibbling at those remains! I was filled with pity. I took the boy inside and fed him until he was full. Was I not in the city of he (May Allah grant him Peace and Blessings) who was the keeper of the poor and the guardian of the destitute? The boy was very moved by how I had treated him. As we were walking back, I asked him, “My child, what does your father do for a living?” The boy replied that he was an orphan. So I said, “My child, will you come with me to Hindustan? “When we get there, I will feed you lots delicious food. I will buy you fine clothes to wear. I will give you an educationat my madrasah, and when you have earned your Ālim Faẓil diploma, I will bring you back here myself so that you can take care of your mother. Run along home and ask your mother for permission.”
The boy was very happy. He ran skipping back home to his mother. The poor widow was already worried because she did not even have enough money to raise her other children, and she immediately gave her permission. The boy ran back to me and said, “My mom says yes! I’m coming with you.” Then he began asking me, “Hey Mister, when we get to your country, do they have lots of beans [chanay] to eat?” I told him, “Yes, you will have all these things in abundance!” The child grabbed my finger. He led me to Masjid al-Nabawi (May Peace and Blessings be on its patron) and [when we reached inside] he stopped. His eyes fell on the blessed Rawḍah of the Master of Both Worlds (May Allah grant him Peace and Blessings), and the great doors of the Masjid, and he asked me, “Mister, in your country, do they have these doors and this Rawḍah also?” I looked at him. “My child, if they could be found there, then why would I come all the way here?” The color in the boy’s face changed. He let go of my finger. “Mister, you go ahead. If they don’t have these, then I’m not letting go of these doors.” He was choosing to remain hungry and remain thirsty. He could have just as well said “I’ll relieve my hunger and thirst by gazing at these doors, just like I have kept relieving it up till today.” Having said this, the child began to cry, and upon witnessing his love, I began to cry too. *** Translated by Shoaib A. Rasheed