The Story of Little Zayd
A Good Boy
Abu Ubayd Attari Madani
After eating lunch, mother took the dishes and cleaned the dining mat. She then came to the kitchen to wash the dishes, but the washing-up liquid was nowhere to be seen. She then remembered that it had finished in the morning. ‘I’ll just take out another bottle from the cabinet’, she thought to herself. When she opened the cabinet, there was no washing-up liquid there either. Meanwhile, grandma entered the kitchen. ‘Dear, what are you looking for?’ enquired grandma. ‘Mother, the washing-up liquid finished in the morning, and I assumed that there was more washing up liquid in the cabinet. I just checked, and there is none here either. How am I going to wash the dishes now?’ ‘Why are you worrying? Give £2 to little Zayd. He will run to the corner shop and bring you the washing-up liquid’, advised grandma.
After taking the money from his mother, little Zayd reached the shop. There were many customers at the shop. The shopkeeper would quickly take the cash and place the items in a shopping bag and hand them over. ‘Do you have washing-up liquid?’ said little Zayd asking for a third time, to which the shopkeeper replied: ‘Yes, how many do you want?’ Little Zayd responded: ‘I need one; how much is it?’ Before little Zayd could even finish his sentence, the shopkeeper handed over the washing-up liquid. So, little Zayd also gave him the £2. The shopkeeper placed the £2 in his till and quickly gave little Zayd £1 change whilst saying, ‘Here, take it’, and then began serving another customer. Little Zayd began thinking for a while whilst holding onto the £1—he looked at the washing up liquid and it said ‘£2’ on it. He realised that the shopkeeper made a mistake, and hence he fearfully left the shop in silence. Upon entering the home, he handed over the washing-up liquid and the £1 change to his mother and said: ‘Take this mom! Your little Zayd has purchased the washing up liquid for £1.’ His mother took hold of the washing-up liquid and saw ‘£2’ written on it. Surprised, she asked: ‘How did you purchase it for £1?’ ‘The shopkeeper gave it by mistake’, replied little Zayd. His mother said: ’Why did you take it?’ In the meanwhile, grandma came and asked: ‘What happened? Is it the wrong washing-up liquid?’ The mother answered: ‘It’s the right washing-up liquid, but the shopkeeper mistakenly gave little Zayd £1 change, and he knowingly brought it home.’ Grandmother said to little Zayd: ‘Go on son; go and return the £1 to the shopkeeper.’ Little Zayd replied: ‘But grandma, the shopkeeper gave it willingly.’ Explaining to little Zayd, she said: ‘Son, it is a bad thing to take advantage of a person’s mistake. When he remembers, what will the shopkeeper think of you, ‘What a naughty child! He took the £1 and left!’ A pious person of Allah Almighty would sell clothes. According to the price of that era, some suits would cost £5 and others would cost £10. One day, he was not at the shop, and his worker sold a £5 suit to a villager for £10. When the owner found out, he continued searching for the villager for a long time and eventually found him. He said to the villager: ‘My worker mistakenly sold a £5 suit to you for £10.’ The villager responded: “No problem! I am ok with buying it for £10 as well.’ The pious individual said: ‘Whatever I consider bad for myself, I consider it bad for others too. Either take a £10 suit or keep this one and take £5 back. If you cannot do either, give me back my suit and take back your £5.’ In the end, the villager returned the suit and took his five pounds. When leaving, he asked someone, ‘Who is this pious person?’ Someone replied, ‘He is Sayyiduna Muhammad Bin Munkadir رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه.’ The villager said in amazement, ‘He is that individual who, when it does not rain in our village, we use as an intermediary when supplicating to Allah Almighty.’ (Kimiyae Saadat, vol. 1, p. 333) Did you see little Zayd? You should like for others what you like for yourself. Would you like it if someone else took advantage of from your mistake?’ Little Zayd, whilst shaking his head, replied, ‘No.’ His grandma further stated: ‘When this is the case, then you too shouldn’t take advantage of someone’s mistake and cause them harm. Now go and return the £1 back to the shopkeeper.’ In a state of apprehension, little Zaid asked: ‘Grandma, I really did do a bad thing. What will the shopkeeper think of me? Grandma, he won’t become upset and scold me if I return him the £1, will he?’ Grandma replied: ‘Of course not! When you tell him: ‘Uncle, you gave me £1 extra by mistake, and now I have come to return it to you’, he will be really happy, and he won’t say anything to you.’
When little Zayd returned the £1 to the shopkeeper, he became happy and praised little Zayd by calling him a good boy. He then took out a 50p coin and gave it to little Zayd and said, ‘This is your reward.’