Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم was gifted some food and after eating, Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم returned the bowl empty. He did not fill the bowl with another dish. From this we learn that it is not necessary to give food back when we return someone’s container. If someone has given us food, eat it and then return the container back to its rightful owner. If you have some food, give if you wish, but don’t feel obliged and burdened to fill the container, assuming it’s below your standards and dignity to return it empty.
That person might be waiting for their container, whilst you’re clutching onto it just because you haven’t had the chance to fill it with food yet! When a baby is born many times ladies want to delay the visit or not even visit at all…why? Because they haven’t prepared a gift yet! Or they consider it below their dignity to go without an expensive gift. This is incorrect and against the grain of the Sunnah. Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم didn’t have one wife…Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم had nine! They could’ve easily cooked something up, but Nabi صلي الله عليه وسلم didn’t make ‘filling the container’ a compulsory act in deen, so they gave it just like that, empty.
Be sincere. Give if you wish, but do it for the sake of Allah not to preserve your respect amongst the ladies in the community. Whenever I went to meet Hazrat Maulana Yunus Patel رحمة الله عليه in His house or madrassa, he would always gift me something before I left. To the extent that he kept bags of crisps in his office and if there was nothing to give, Hazrat would give crisps.
Now look at this level of sincerity and humility; Hazrat never assumed gifting a cheap packet of crisps below His standards! A child giving crisps is one thing but for an adult, many would consider it an embarrassment. However Hazrat was so sincere in His aims, He never saw it that way. He never considered it below His dignity.
Sometimes if I dropped by to Hazrat’s house, they would feed me a good meal or exotic chocolates. Other times, he would ask that what’s there in the cupboard? He would gift whatever was inside, small or big. The point is Hazrat’s objective was amal, not preserving His respect or sense of dignity in the community. Hazrat’s gaze was on the sunnah, not on people. He would gift for the sake of Allah, not to show off or outdo others.
Once I left Hazrat and I was walking away from Hazrat’s house. As I walked, I noticed car lights flashing behind me. I stopped to turn, and saw a brother rushing towards me. He came and gave me a miswak stick saying that Hazrat has sent me to give this to you. That day Hazrat hadn’t given anything and as soon as he remembered, he sent this brother to give a miswak stick.
This is the sincerity and humility that we should all aspire to inculcate in our lives. May Allah grant us the tawfiq to learn from the akabireen and make Amal upon the sunnah like they did, Aameen.
— Hazrat Maulana Dawood Seedat حفظه الله
(The above is an extract from Hazrat’s majlis on 14/4/2016.)