Ask our children:
- When we look at another person and see all the nice things that Allah Ta‘ala has given them, then how should we feel?
- How should we feel regarding the things that Allah Ta‘ala has given us?
- Would the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) compete with one another to see who could get more things of the world, or to see who could become more pious and get closer to Allah Ta‘ala?
Now tell them the story:
Kareem was a little boy who was intelligent, had very good manners and was always obedient to his parents. However, Kareem had one weakness in him – he always looked at the nice things of the dunya that Allah Ta‘ala had given to others and then felt that what he had was not good enough. He was not happy and content with what Allah Ta‘ala had given him, but always wanted to get for himself what other people had and what they were enjoying.
One day, Kareem went to the shop with his father to buy groceries. As they were walking to the supermarket, they passed a clothing store. Just then, Kareem’s friend, Irfaan, came out of the store, wearing a brand-new, shiny jacket, and brand-new, shiny shoes. He saw Kareem and excitedly shouted, “Kareem! Look! Alhamdulillah I have new shoes and a new jacket!” Saying that, he zipped up his jacket, smiled at Kareem, and then turned and walked away with his father.
As Kareem watched Irfaan walking away, Kareem remarked and said, “If only I could have that jacket and those shoes! My jacket and shoes are already old!” When Kareem’s father heard this, he said, “What do you mean that they are already old Kareem? I bought your jacket and shoes just six months ago! They are not old and there is nothing wrong with them! You must appreciate what Allah Ta‘ala has given you instead of desiring the things that other people have! There are many people who do not have any shoes or any jacket to wear!”
A few hours later, when it was zuhr time and they could hear the azaan, Kareem and his father got into the car and went to the musjid for salaah. As they drove into the parking lot, in their old Toyota Corolla, they saw Irfaan and his father driving in with a brand-new BMW. When Kareem saw the flashy car, and heard the exhaust rumbling, his eyes became big and he said, “If only we had that car! We are driving the same old Corolla since I was a small child!”
Once again, Kareem’s father corrected him. He said, “Kareem! I am happy for Irfaan’s father, but I am also happy with what Allah Ta‘ala has given me. There is nothing wrong with our car, and I am grateful to Allah Ta‘ala for giving me this car! There are many people who do not have a car. They have to walk or take taxis. Allah Ta‘ala has been so kind to us and has given us so much to be grateful for!”
A little while later, after they had finished performing the zuhr salaah, Kareem met Irfaan. Irfaan said to him, “Kareem! I am so excited! We are having a braai for lunch today!” When Kareem heard this, he felt disappointed, as he had seen his mother stirring a pot of beans on the stove before they had left for salaah.
Fifteen minutes later, when Kareem and his father returned home and sat on the dastarhaan to eat lunch, Kareem complained, “Beans! If only we were having braai like Irfaan’s family!” Kareem’s father looked at him, and then said to him gently, “Kareem! Alhamdulillah we had a braai two weeks ago, and alhamdulillah we are having beans today! We must be content with whatever Allah Ta‘ala has given us, and we must grateful that He has given us so much when there are other people who do not have any food at all!”
Then Kareem’s father said, “Kareem! I have noticed that you always look at the things that other people have – the clothes that they wear, the cars that they drive and the food that they eat, and then you become unhappy with all the good things that Allah Ta‘ala has given to you and you forget all the good times that you had. You should feel happy for them, and should also be happy with what you have. Really, we do not deserve anything that Allah Ta‘ala has given us. Everything that he has given us, He has given us out of His kindness, mercy and generosity.”
Just then, Kareem’s brother arrived. His brother was in the madrasah and was studying to become an aalim. When his brother heard what they were speaking about, he said, “Oh yes! My Moulana was speaking about the same thing in class the other day! Let me tell you what he said! In the Qur’aan Majeed, Allah Ta‘ala says:
وَ لَا تَمُدَّنَّ عَیۡنَیۡك اِلٰی مَا مَتَّعۡنَا بِه اَزۡوَاجًا مِّنۡهمۡ زَهرَة الۡحَیٰوة الدُّنۡیَا ۬ۙ لِنَفۡتِنَهُمۡ فِیۡه ؕ وَرِزۡقُ رَبِّك خَیر وَّاَبۡقٰی ﴿۱۳۱﴾
In this aayah, Allah Ta‘ala teaches us that we must not look at all the nice things of the dunya that other people enjoy and then desire for it. Instead, we must be happy with what Allah Ta‘ala has given us and must worry about making Allah Ta‘ala happy and earning our Jannah.”
Kareem’s brother then said, “When we look at the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), then we see that that when they looked at each other, then they were not looking to see who had a nice horse, and who had a nice kurta. Rather, they were looking to see what good deeds each person was doing so that they could also carry out these good deeds.
“Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) looked at Hazrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and saw how much of charity he would give, and he wanted to try and give more than him. When it was time for the expedition of Tabook, Hazrat Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) brought half of his money and gave it to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to spend on the army, but Hazrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) still beat him because he brought all of his money and spent it in the path of Allah Ta‘ala. This was because Hazrat Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was the greatest Sahaabi and no Sahaabi could match him in his piety.
“But anyway, what we learn from this story is that the Sahaabah always looked at the deen, the piety, the good deeds and the ibaadah that the next person had – NOT the dunya, money, food and other things of the world. They were appreciative and content with what Allah Ta‘ala had given them.”
After Kareem’s brother had spoken and they finished eating lunch, Kareem went outside and sat on the swing. He began to think and ponder over what his father and brother had said, and he realized that they were right. Allah Ta‘ala had given him so many things to be grateful for! He had good shoes, a good jacket, good food, and a good car, and many other favours of Allah Ta‘ala which others did not have. But, whenever he saw what others were enjoying, then he became ungrateful for what he had. Kareem was happy that his father and brother had corrected his mistake, and from that day on, he became Content Kareem.
- When we see another person who has been given some favour of Allah Ta‘ala, then we must feel happy for them.
- We must be happy, content and grateful for everything that Allah Ta‘ala has given us. We must realize that there are many people in the world who do not enjoy the things that we enjoy. Although we do not deserve anything, Allah Ta‘ala is so kind to us and has given us so much.
- The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) would compete with one another to see who could carry out more good deeds and become more pious. They would not look at the dunya and money of other people.