This is a story that Marz enjoyed. We had used Goodword Kidz’s book “The Miracle of the Bowl of Milk” but I think you can tell this story without the aid of a book. Below is the hadeeth in full – you can adapt the language for your little ones. I used a lot of drama when I related how the milk was passed from one person to another and remained full. I remember Marz’s eyes widening when I told her that Abu Hurayrah drank from the bowl till he was full and it was STILL not empty!
This is a nice story with so many learning points:
- the importance of obeying Allah and His Messenger unreservedly and the rewards one gets from doing so
- the miracles of the Messenger of Allah
- the difficulties that the early Muslims endured
- charity and brotherhood
Here are a few quick points about Abu Hurayrah radhiallahu `anhu:
- His name was `Abdu-Shams (the servant of the sun) so the Prophet sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam told him to change it to `Abdur-Rahman (the servant of the Beneficient)
- He is best known as Abu Hurayrah (father of the kittens) for he loved a cat and fed it so much so it always followed him
- His mother resisted Islam at first and this saddened him very much. He asked the Prophet to make du`aa for her and alhamdulillah, she embraced Islam thereafter
- He memorised a great many ahadeeth for he used to accompany the Prophet most of the time. He also said this about this ability to relate so many narrations: Abu Hurayrah said, “You people claim that Abu Hurayrah narrates many narrations of Allah’s Apostle. (Anyhow) with Allah will be our appointment. I was a poor man, and used to stick to Allah’s Apostle contented with what will fill my stomach, and the Muhajirin (emigrants) used to be busy trading in the markets, and the Ansar used to be busy looking after their properties. One day I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, ‘Who will spread his Rida’ (a garment covering the upper part of the body) till I finished my speech and then fold it, (i.e. wrap it over your body), in which case he will never forget anything he had heard from me.” So I spread my garment which I was wearing; and by Him Who sent Muhammad with the Truth, ever since, I have never forgotten whatever I heard from him (the Prophet).” (Bukhari)
Abu Hurayrah & The Bowl of Milk
Narrated Abu Hurayrah radhiallahu `anhu:
By Allah, except Whom none has the right to be worshipped, (sometimes) I used to lay (sleep) on the ground on my liver (abdomen) because of hunger, and (sometimes) I used to bind a stone over my belly because of hunger.
One day I sat by the way from where they (the Prophet and his companions) used to come out. When Abu Bakr passed by, I asked him about a Verse from Allah’s Book and I asked him only that he might satisfy my hunger, but he passed by and did not do so.
Then `Umar passed by me and I asked him about a Verse from Allah’s Book, and I asked him only that he might satisfy my hunger, but he passed by without doing so.
Finally Abu-l-Qasim (the Prophet ) passed by me and he smiled when he saw me, for he knew what was in my heart and on my face.
He said, “O Aba Hirr (Abu Hurayrah)!”
I replied, “Labbaik, O Allah’s Apostle!”
He said to me, “Follow me.” He left and I followed him.
Then he entered the house and I asked permission to enter and was admitted. He found milk in a bowl and said, “From where is this milk?”
They said, “It has been presented to you by such-and-such man (or by such and such woman).”
He said, “O Aba Hirr!”
I said, “Labbaik, O Allah’s Apostle!” He said, “Go and call the people of Suffa to me.”
These people of Suffa were the guests of Islam who had no families, nor money, nor anybody to depend upon, and whenever an object of charity was brought to the Prophet , he would send it to them and would not take anything from it, and whenever any present was given to him, he used to send some for them and take some of it for himself.
The order of the Prophet upset me, and I said to myself, “How will this little milk be enough for the people of As-Suffa?” I thought I was more entitled to drink from that milk in order to strengthen myself, but behold! The Prophet came to order me to give that milk to them. I wondered what will remain of that milk for me, but anyway, I could not but obey Allah and His Apostle so I went to the people of As-Suffa and called them, and they came and asked the Prophet’s permission to enter. They were admitted and took their seats in the house.
The Prophet said, “O Aba-Hirr!”
I said, “Labbaik, O Allah’s Apostle!”
He said, “Take it and give it to them.”
So I took the bowl (of Milk) and started giving it to one man who would drink his fill and return it to me, whereupon I would give it to another man who, in his turn, would drink his fill and return it to me, and I would then offer it to another man who would drink his fill and return it to me.
Finally, after the whole group had drunk their fill, I reached the Prophet who took the bowl and put it on his hand, looked at me and smiled and said, “O Aba Hirr!”
I replied, “Labbaik, O Allah’s Apostle!”
He said, “There remain you and I.”
I said, “You have said the truth, O Allah’s Apostle!”
He said, “Sit down and drink.”
I sat down and drank. He said, “Drink!” and I drank. He kept on telling me repeatedly to drink, till I said, “No. by Allah Who sent you with the Truth, I have no space for it (in my stomach).”
He said, “Hand it over to me.” When I gave him the bowl, he praised Allah and pronounced Allah’s Name on it and drank the remaining milk.
(From Sahih al-Bukhari)