Sunday, 3 May 2015

Zayd and Abeed

There once was a man who was poor but generous named Abeed who had a sister who was married to a miserly rich man named Zayd.  One day guests came to visit the generous poor man Abeed, and Zayd knew this because of their many camels which they had knelt down in front of his wife’s brother's house.  He was happy because he knew that Abeed would not be able to be generous to that great many guests.   Except that Zayd’s wife – and she hated his miserliness – bet him a hundred she-camels which she would give to him if her brother was not generous with his guests, and she would take their like from her husband if her brother was able to be generous with them.

When Abeed had nothing in his house except a container of dates, he asked his wife to grind them in the hand mill until they became fine like wheat, then he headed for the camels of his guests and slaughtered one of them, and he mixed the fine dates with the camel meat and cooked it like hares, but with less fat.

So he went out carrying a pot to fill it with fat at Zayd’s house, but Zayd was so miserly that he refused to give him any fat and indeed he justified it in front of his wife that he did it so he would not lose the bet, for he said to his wife I will win from you the wager because your brother does not have any fat and he will not be able to show his guests hospitality.  In this way Abeed returned with his empty pot.  

When he entered the kitchen of his house with his pot he put it in front of him and covered the opening with his kumma (his head covering) and repeated this phrase: Allah is richer than Zayd’s cows, and Allah will come with relief soon.  No sooner had he raised his kumma from the pot than he found it boiling over with fat, so he took from it what he needed and his wife finished the food for her guests, and they showed them the most generous hospitality.  

When the news reached Zayd and his wife he knew that he had lost the wager, and he gave his wife – and he was very sad, broken hearted – a hundred of his camels. His wife took those hundred camels which she had earned from her husband in the wager and added to it a hundred she-camels of her own – those which she would have given to her husband if she had lost the wager – and gave them all to her brother.  

As for the guests, when they went out to their camels they found them short one and they searched for it but they couldn’t find it, and when they asked Abeed about it he said to them: Instead of losing your time searching for your lost camel, chose one from these two hundred camels which is better than it, and leave me in charge of the search for your lost camel.  

Because of this, when the guests thanked Abeed as they were leaving, they felt they had received not two but three generosities: the hospitality, a camel better than their lost camel, and their time.


  1. MashaAllah I actually liked this one, but don't thinkAbeed should have killed their camel... I dunno, that isn't very host-like;)

    1. I agree! I thought it was cute. I thought that was really dishonest and dubious of Abeed though (and maybe haraam, although is it stealing if you replace it? I think it's still lying). Somebody said to me that they considered generosity to guests more important than truthfulness, I think that's probably accurate.

      Your comment was in moderation so long, sorry about that! I haven't signed in in ages.