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The Plentiful Platter

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On one occasion, many days passed in which Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) did not have any food to eat. Eventually, when it became difficult to tolerate the hunger, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) went to the houses of his respected wives, (enquiring as to whether they had any food. However, they were also in a state of hunger,) and not even one of them had food in her home.

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) then went to the home of his beloved daughter, Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) and addressed her saying, “O my beloved daughter! Do you have anything for me to eat? Indeed, I am experiencing hunger.” Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) replied, “By Allah! I do not have (any food)!” (Hearing this,) Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) departed.

After Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had left, one of the neighbours of Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) sent her two loaves of bread and a portion of meat. At that time, Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) and her household were also undergoing starvation and hunger. Yet, as soon as she received the food from the neighbour, she placed it on a platter and said, “By Allah! Regarding this food, I will give preference to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) over myself and my household!” She then sent one of her sons, Sayyiduna Hasan or Sayyiduna Husain (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma), to request Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to return to her home.

When Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) returned, Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) said to him, “Allah Ta‘ala has sent some food, so I have kept it aside for you.” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) then requested Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) to bring the food.

When Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) went to the platter and uncovered it, she found that it was filled with meat and bread! On seeing the abundance of meat and bread in the platter, she was amazed and realized that this was barakah (special blessings) that Allah Ta‘ala had bestowed to them. She thus praised Allah Ta‘ala and recited durood upon His Rasul (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).

Thereafter, she presented the platter to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). When he saw the food, he praised Allah Ta‘ala and asked her, “O my beloved daughter! Where did you get this (food) from?” She replied (by reciting the following verse of the Quraan Majeed):

هُوَ مِنْ عِندِ اللَّهِ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَن يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ​

“It is from Allah. Indeed, Allah provides sustenance to whom He pleases without measure.” (Surah Aal ‘Imraan v37)

Hearing this reply, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “All praise is due to Allah Ta‘ala who made you, O my daughter, resemble the best woman of the women of the Banu Israa-eel (i.e. Sayyidah Maryam [‘alaihas salaam]). Indeed, when she was asked where she had acquired food from, she replied, ‘It is from Allah. Indeed, Allah provides sustenance to whom He pleases without measure.’”

Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) then sent for Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). Thereafter, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), Sayyiduna ‘Ali, Sayyidah Faatimah, Sayyiduna Hasan, Sayyiduna Husain (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), together with all the respected wives and other household members of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) ate (from this food), and yet the platter still appeared full and untouched. Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) sent the remaining food to all her neighbours.

(Abu Ya’la – Al-Mataalibul ‘Aaliyah #3958 and Ithaaful Khiyartil Maharah #7350)

Lessons:

1. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and his respected household had hearts of such compassion and sympathy that they never hesitated to feed others while remaining hungry themselves. This is one of the reasons why they often went without food for days on end. On account of their very high level of imaan, they willingly sacrificed their comfort and embraced the lifestyle of austerity, firmly believing that in exchange, Allah Ta‘ala will reward them with the bounties and delights of Jannah.

2. Despite the hunger that she and her family were suffering, Sayyidah Faatimah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) could not eat while her beloved father, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), was undergoing starvation. Hence, she resolved to give preference to him over herself and her family. It was perhaps on account of her conducting in this selfless manner, and putting the comfort of others before her own comfort, that Allah Ta‘ala placed such barakah in the food that instead of it sufficing just two or three people, it sufficed almost an entire locality! From this, we understand the great value of barakah and the importance of securing barakah in all dimensions of our lives.