Monday, November 4, 2013

The value of a cup of tea


This is a true confession by someone who's been hospitalized. Amazing how illness can sharpen one's insight and views of life. May Allah inspire us to return to Him and forgive us.

"A long time ago when I was living in the UK, I received a phone call from a homeless friend saying he wanted to visit me. He said he had 60 pence in his pocket, just enough for the bus fare to my house which was 20 minutes away from where he was calling.

I waited and waited for him but he never turned up. Only after about 3 or 4 hours later did he arrive at my doorstep. I asked him what happened. Why did it take him so long to arrive? He said he decided to use the 60 pence to buy a cup of tea instead. His answer surprised me. Who would be dumb enough to want to walk 3 hours and not take the bus so that he could have a cup of tea? I put it down to the English eccentricity.

After having been in the hospital for quite some time and not being able to eat or drink, I crave for a cup of tea with milk and sugar. Now after a couple of decades, I thought of this homeless man and finally understood why he chose to spend on a cup of tea over a bus ride. At this moment, if I was given a choice of whether to take the bus or enjoy a cup of tea, I would definitely make the same decision as the homeless man - a cup of tea.  

The saying that you should never judge a man until you have walked in his shoes, is certainly true. What may seem like a dumb decision made by someone can be the same decision you would probably have made, if you were in the same situation."

In my opinion the homeless man exhibited some traits of a friend of God with good adab
  • He could have just taken the bus and expected our friend to serve him tea. But he chose neither to expect favor from people nor harbor hope on what is in the hands of people.
  • His action proved his intention. When he phoned our friend, he said he wanted to visit him. He didn't say he was coming for tea.
  • He might be yearning for tea so he used whatever he had i.e. 60p to fulfill his own wish. He didn't expect people to fulfill his wish for him.
  • He kept his promise to meet our friend even if he had to walk for 3 or 4 hours. He could have just stayed where he was and begged for his bus fare but he didn't. He decided to put in his own effort and walk.
  • He valued friendship a great deal.
  • He had faith in God about his provision/needs. He must have believed that what's with God was worth a lot more than 60 pence, so spending all he had was no big deal because surely God can give more.
  • That cup of tea was a provision/gift from the Lord to him. To walk to our friend's house was a labor he chose, that was his gift to his friend, a fellow human being. Our friend must have been someone special in the heart of that homeless man.

Allahu a'lam.

Allahumma arifna nikmataka bidawa miha 
wala tu'arif ha lanaa bizawa liha

It's a du'a I picked up from Al-Hikam. It roughly means:
O Allah, make us recognize Your bounties while we have them,
and not recognize them only after You have withdrawn them.

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