Islamic Date17 Rabi‘ at-akhir
English Date14 December
A Dead Lamb Anyone
“Jabir b. Abdullah reported that Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wasallam) happened to walk through the bazaar coming from the side of 'Aliya and people were on both sides of him. There he found a dead lamb with very short ears. He took hold of its ear and said: ‘Who amongst you would like to have this for a dirham?’ They said: ‘We would not like to have it even for less than that as it is of no use to us.’ He said: ‘Do you wish to have it (free of any cost)?’ They said: ‘By Allah, even if it were alive (we would not have liked to possess it), for there is defect in it, as its ear is very short; on top of that it is dead now.’ Thereupon, Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wasallam) said: ‘By Allah, this world is more insignificant in the eyes of Allah than (this dead lamb) is in your eyes.’” [Muslim]
This hadith is a wonderful reminder of the insignificance of this world; yet how much we fret for it. Our worries for the things of this world should be more proportionate to their importance. We ask Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) to give us eternity, never ending life. On top of that we want it in a place better than we can possibly imagine. In it we expect to have youth for ever, no noise, nothing unpleasant, no worries. In this everlasting life, in Paradise, we also expect to get more beautiful and enjoy more luxuries with each passing day, although after the first day we cannot imagine that anything could be better. We expect never to be separated from our loved ones, or feel anything except positive emotions. In return for this, when Allah (subhana wa ta'ala) asks us to obey Him for just 70-80 years, maybe a little more or a little less, we think it too much? He is asking you for a drop, while you are asking Him for the ocean!
This hadith also illustrates what an exceptional teacher Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wasallam) was. We know what impact visual aids have. The more theoretical the words, the less of an impact they have, the more the thoughts can be translated into visuals or experiential, the more lasting its impact. Now we have educationists teaching us to use the same techniques that were employed by Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wasallam) as a teacher.