Our Beloved Rasulullah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam never ate refined bread. Course barley flour bread was all he ever ate if it was available, and even then in minute portions, always preferring to give to others in favour of himself and his noble family. Tirmidhi’s Shamaa’il includes various Ahadith concerning bread and our Blessed Nabi SallAllahu alaihi wasallam.
Whereas now, as one walks the maze of streets and alleys defining the residential areas of Madinatul Nabi, volumes of excess bread scraps are a common sight. There are organized receptacles, like the one above…
or empty flour bags, brimming with dry old bread seen beside many of the bread shops, or plastic bags hang from makeshift hooks, or on left on ledges, windowsills ready to be collected by brothers who regularly walk the streets with wheelbarrows. Groups gather in the neighbourhoods crushing this discarded bread to be used for animal fodder.
Many brothers are involved with collecting fresher left over bread from hotels and restaurants which is then distributed to the poor and hungry at various designated places around Haram. Often tea and simple meals are also distributed with this bread.
Alhumdulillah for all devoting their time, some on a daily basis, collecting and then caring for and serving others. I have seen brothers carrying very heavy bags of bread from various food outlets in the main shopping malls around Haram. May their efforts be accruing mountains of rewards in their Akhirah, Ameen.
More ‘bread’ stories from this previous post.
Milk is another staple and nourishing food Allah Ta’ala has blessed His creation with. Many stories are told of incidents involving milk and Rasulullah SallAllahu alaihi wasallam and his Sahabah RadhiAllah; sheep whose supply had dried up suddenly flowing with milk, dates soaked in milk, miracles where a small amount sufficed many.
Narrated Urwa RadhiAllahu anhu: Aisha RadhiAllahu anha said to me, “O my nephew! We used to see the crescent, and then the crescent and then the crescent in this way we saw three crescents in two months and no fire for cooking used to be made in the houses of Allah’s Apostle. I said, “O my aunt! Then what use to sustain you?” ‘Aisha RadhiAllahu anha said, “The two black things: dates and water, and our neighbors from Ansar had some Manarh and they used to present Allah’s Apostle some of their milk and he used to make us drink.” SubhanAllah!
Around the corner is a shop that has fascinated me for years. Without fail it opens early every morning, until late in the evening. For decades the dedicated brother has been running this business. He patiently sits waiting for customers to buy dried milk. It has a rancid aroma that reminds me of my former ‘farming’ days.
He insisted on having his photo taken, making sure that I included the framed Ayat and the television with the constant fuzz and static of a Qura’n program that fills this tiny, rather grimy space, and the immediate area beyond the always open doorway.
‘…dried milk (laban) known as called “madheer”. Many eat it as a snack. The sister gave me some to try, it is sour and salty. They boil the milk, drain any liquid, form patties, then let it dry. It can be dissolved and used in cooking. One other older sister some time ago sitting at another place selling her goods told me some add it to their kabsah, the famous Arab meat on rice dish. I became the audience of a dramatic enactment by this dear sister showing me that it is extremely effective for preventing morning sickness during pregnancy. Plus due to it being a non perishable foodstuff, able to withstand the heat and not requiring refrigeration, it would be a staple commodity with the Bedouins.’
The scales and weights look so ancient, seeming to sing refrains of gratitude for a life time of Halal Rizq. May the Scales weigh heavily for this brother and all who labour so hard, and yet so simply, in the desert clime of this Mubarak City of the Prophet, Ameen.
One narration by Abu Said al-Khudri RadhiAllahu anhu says, “We used to pay the zakat al-fitr with a sa of wheat, or a sa of barley, or a sa of dates, or a sa of dried sour milk, or a sa of raisins, using the sa of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.”
Scenes such as these seem to be from a time warp, and are such a contrast to what the majority of pilgrims see when visiting this Radiant City. They are humbling and connect the heart to those glorified days of our Blessed Prophet SallAllahu alaihi wasallam. Reminders. Reminders. May hearts be forever reminded of such glorious times and never lose connecting back, and thus forward to the eternity of the Garden of Bliss, Insha’Allah.
The sisters tending to these ‘stores’ sell madheer. Wandering these streets and seeing people engaged in such simple life styles, earning meagre wages is truly humbling.
I could not resist these Nasrudin ‘bread and milk’ tales. Apart from their deep spiritual teachings, the genre fits with these Madanian ‘bread and milk’ vignettes.
One day the Nasrudin went to a rich merchant’s house for a feast. As he was wearing laborers clothes he was shown to the servant’s entrance and given a few scraps. Next week he was invited to the same place and he dressed in his best attire looking as good as any prince. He was welcomed at the front door and given the place of the honor next to the host. He ate a morsel of bread and then started putting all the rich food offered him into his sleeves. His host asked him, “What are doing my good man?” “I’m feeding my clothes,” Nasrudin replied, “They deserve the good food since my worth was established last week.”
The king’s three scholars had accused Nasrudin of heresy, and so he was brought into the king’s court for trial. In his defense, Nasrudin asked the scholars, “Oh wise men, what is bread?” The first scholar said, “Bread is sustenance; a food.” The second scholar said, “Bread is a combination of flour and water exposed to the heat of a fire.” The third scholar said, “Bread is a gift from God.” Nasrudin spoke to the king, “Your Majesty, how can you trust these men? Is it not strange that they cannot agree on the nature of something they eat every day, yet are unanimous that I am a heretic?”
One day Nasrudin and his friend stopped at a little restaurant. They were both very thirsty and decided to share a glass of milk. When the milk came, the friend suggested that Nasrudin drink half first.”I have got a little sugar with me,” said the friend, “but it is just enough for me. So after you have drunk your half I will add the sugar to my half.”"Why don’t you add it now?” Nasrudin said. “I will only drink my half.” “No, no. This little bit of sugar cannot sweeten a full glass of milk,” said the man. So Nasrudin went and got some salt from the kitchen.”Well then,” he said. “You can sweeten your half later. But I will have my half after adding this salt to it.”
Mulla Nasrudin sends his son to get some milk. Just before the boy is on his way, he says to him: “Take care and don’t spell the milk!” And he closes the sentence with a hard slap in the boy’s face. “Are you out of your mind?” his wife shouts, “He hasn’t done anything at all and he did not spill the milk!” Very gently, our hero replies: “Woman! As usual you do not understand a thing. What good would it do to slap the boy after the milk is spilt?”
All good is from Allah Ta’ala whereas mistakes are from this humble speck. May Allah Ta’ala Bless all readers, bringing you all closer to Him and His Rasul SallAllahu alaihi wasallam. May He accept our humble efforts and grant us the capacity to be good and do good. Ameen.