The kids were going to be home soon. The table was almost set for lunch. Mommy was just finishing chopping up the ingredients for a salad, when she heard the doorbell ring. That definitely sounded like her son – nobody else rang the doorbell exactly five times, Mommy mused.
‘Salam alaikum buddy! Oh where are Reem and Daddy going?’, she said as Mustafa dashed inside. She waved to her husband and daughter as they backed out of the driveway.
‘They went to return the library books, but I was too hungry to wait so I asked dad to drop me home. Boy am I starving!’, Mustafa said as he dashed to wash his hands.
Every Sunday the kids went to the masjid for Arabic class. Mommy made sure to give them either a snack or a dollar to buy something to eat. Reem alternated between taking snacks from home and buying, but Mustafa always chose to take snack money. Mommy now wondered what kind of snacks Mustafa was spending his money on lately. He always came home starving!
‘Here sweety, why don’t you eat some of these carrots I’m chopping?’, said his mother. ‘We’ll have lunch as soon as your sister and dad get back. Mustafa honey, what did you buy from the masjid snack station today? Was it something you didn’t like? Or was it one of those mini snack bags?’
Mustafa grinned. ‘I definitely liked what I spent my money on, mommy. And it might start out tiny, but it gets bigger and bigger!’
Mommy was confused now. ‘What exactly did you buy with your money hon?’
Mustafa looked at his mom. He crunched on his carrots and thought for a bit. ‘Hmm I guess I can tell you. Since you are my mother after all. But you must keep it a secret. Promise mommy?’
His mother was intrigued. She put aside her knife and chopping board, and sat next to him. ‘I won’t tell anyone’, she promised.
‘Well every week I see the sign* at the masjid which says Allah loves a person who does good deeds continuously, even if it’s something very small. And I also read a hadith** the other day which says it’s good to give charity in secret. So, every sunday during recess, I go to the sadaqa box. I hide my left hand in my pocket, and drop the dollar into the box with my right hand. So you see, mommy, I’m doing a good thing continuously AND in secret – it’s like a double deed bonus!’
Mustafa’s mom was smiling now. ‘Wow buddy, that’s really impressive! Now I get why you’re so hungry every week. But why did you say you keep one hand in your pocket?’
‘Mom don’t you remember that hadith**?! You give in secret – so my right hand puts the money in the box, and my left hand stays in my pocket so it doesn’t even know what I’m doing!’, Mustafa explained.
His mommy chuckled. ‘That’s super secretive alright. MashaAllah sweetheart I’m so proud of you! But how about next week you take a dollar from home and a snack as well, so you don’t come back so famished? That way you get your reward from Allah, and you don’t miss out on going to the library with daddy.’
‘Hmm, good idea mommy. Can I finish eating my carrots now?’
‘Go right ahead sweety. And I hear daddy and Reem coming in. It’s time to eat!’
Mommy grinned as she greeted the rest of her family. She wished she could tell daddy Mustafa’s story- but a promise is a promise.
*It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “O people, you should do whatever good deeds you can, for Allah does not get tired (of giving reward) until you get tired. And the most beloved of good deeds to Allah is that in which a person persists, even if it is little. If the family of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) started to do something, they would persist in it.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 43; Muslim, 782.
**Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “Seven people will be shaded by Allah under His shade on the day when there will be no shade except His. They are: 1. a just ruler, 2. a youth who grew up in the worship of Allah, 3. a man whose heart is attached to the mosque, 4. two men who love each other for Allah’s sake, meeting for that and parting for that. 5. a man who is called by a woman of beauty and position but he says, “I fear Allah”, 6. a man who gives in charity and hides it, such that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives in charity, and 7. a man who remembered Allah in private and so his eyes shed tears.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari (Eng. translation) vol. 2, hadeeth no. 504)