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The Gift of Gratitude On one occasion, after Nabi Ismaeel Alayhis salaam had married, Nabi Ebrahim Alayhis salaam came to visit him in Makkah Mukarramah. On arriving at his home, however, he did not meet Ismaeel Alayhis salaam as he was out, and instead met his wife. As she had never met Ebrahim Alayhis salaam before, she did not recognize him. Ebrahim Alayhis salaam asked her where Ismaeel Alayhis salaam was to which she replied, “He has gone to find sustenance for us (i.e. he has gone out to hunt).” Ebrahim Alayhis salaam next asked her regarding their condition and state. She replied by complaining and mentioning, “We are in a bad condition. We are undergoing constraints and poverty.” Ebrahim Alayhis salaam then said to her, “When your husband arrives, convey my salaam to him, and tell him to change his doorstep.” When Ismaeel Alayhis salaam later returned, he perceived that someone had visited, and thus asked his wife, “Did anyone come?” She replied, “Yes, an old man with such-and-such an appearance arrived. He asked me where you were, and so I told him that you were out. He asked me regarding our condition, and so I told him that we are in difficulty and hardship.” Ismaeel Alayhis salaam asked her, “Did he give you any message?” She replied, “Yes, he told me to convey salaam to you, and to tell you to change your doorstep.” Ismaeel Alayhis salaam responded, “That was my father, Ebrahim Alayhis salaam. He has instructed me to separate from you.” (Ebrahim Alayhis salaam was actually referring to the wife of Ismaeel Alayhis salaam when he used the term ‘doorstep’.) After some time had passed, Ismaeel Alayhis salaam remarried. When Ebrahim Alayhis salaam came to visit him after he remarried, he was again out of the home. Hence, Ebrahim Alayhis salaam met his wife who did not recognize him. Ebrahim Alayhis salaam asked her where Ismaeel Alayhis salaam was to which she answered, “He has gone to search for sustenance for us.” Ebrahim Alayhis salaam next asked her regarding their condition. She praised Allah Ta‘ala and replied, “We are in a good condition, enjoying prosperity.” Ebrahim Alayhis salaam then said to her, “When your husband arrives, convey my salaam to him, and tell him to keep and look after his doorstep.” When Nabi Ismaeel Alayhis salaam later returned, he perceived that someone had visited, and thus asked his wife, “Did anyone come?” She replied in the affirmative and informed Ismaeel Alayhis salaam of what had transpired, together with conveying to him the salaam and the message of Ebrahim Alayhis salaam. Ismaeel Alayhis salaam responded, “That was my father, and you are the ‘doorstep’ to which he referred. He has instructed me to keep you as my wife and look after you.” (Bukhaari #3364) NB: The doorstep acts as a form of protection for the door and the home. Similarly, the woman of the home is a form of protection for the home, as she guards the home in the absence of the husband. Furthermore, the wife always remains at home (in the ideal situation) just as the doorstep never moves and always remains in one place. For this reason, the word ‘doorstep’ was used to refer to the woman of the home. (Fathul Baari vol. 6, pg. 499 and Al-Kautharul Jaari vol. 6, pg. 261) Lessons: 1. The first wife and second wife of Ismaeel Alayhis salaam had lived in the same home and had both experienced the same conditions of hardship. However, there was a great difference between the two wives. The first wife had the bad qualities of ingratitude and complaining, and hence she was deprived of remaining in the marriage of Ismaeel Alayhis salaam. The second wife was blessed with the qualities of gratitude for the favours they enjoyed, patience over their hardships, and contentmentwith the little that they had, and so she was honoured to remain the wife of Ismaeel Alayhis salaam. 2. The importance of the wife remaining grateful to her husband and abstaining from complaining can be clearly understood from the hadeeth in which Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam warned the women of this Ummah that one of the main causes for them entering Jahannum is their excessive complaining and lack of appreciation for the favours and kindness of the husband.(Muslim #2048) In another hadeeth, Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi wa Sallam described those women who do not have the quality of appreciation saying, “If you treat such a woman kindly for your entire life, and she thereafter sees something from you (that she dislikes), she will say, ‘I never saw any good from you!’ (i.e. on account of one unhappy experience, she will immediately forget the lifetime of good that you showed her and will immediately complain.)” (Bukhaari #29) 3. Ismaeel Alayhis salaam heeded the advice of his father, Ebrahim Alayhis salaam regarding his wife. Similarly, we should ensure that we consult and follow the advice of our parents and elders when choosing a spouse. uswatulmuslimah.co.za