Saturday, 21 January 2012

Why Moineau?

I've never really explained the title of this blog before, now have I? Well, here's a go at it.

Ma Chere Moineau = My dear sparrow. Except, it obviously sounds better en francais. Obviously.

The inspiration was at least 18 years in the making. Way back in the mid-90's.


When asked what my favourite animal is, I've always said, "Sparrow", without a moment's hesitation. 

They are such beautiful creatures, happily chirping away.

My neighbourhood has plenty of sparrows, and they seem to always be around, no matter what the season or time of the day.  This means that I've had plenty of opportunities to just observe them, from the time I was a small child. 

As a nine year old, I remember a sparrow building her nest on the inner beams of our patio roof.  Her five eggs hatched by spring time, and we watched as she fed her little babies. But sad as it is, there were a handful of accidents, and only one little baby survived. One of the eggs actually toppled to the ground, with the foetus still underdevelopped.  Another infant sparrow fell from the height of the roof as it was learning to walk.  Another had a flying accident.  And so it was, but that little mother bird, she went on caring for those of her babies that had survived.

And everyday, she went out in search for food.  For herself, and her little family.

Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying,
"If you all depend on Allah with due reliance, He would certinly give you provision as He gives it to birds who go forth hungry  in the morning and return with full belly at dusk." [At-Tirmidhi]

This is a well known hadith, and possibly one of the first ones that struck a deep chord with me when I was just beginning to really embrace this deen.  It's had a deep impact on how I view being a Muslim, and the commentary on it really illustrates its beauty:

"1. Reliance on Allah is one of the most important causes of getting sustenance in this life. Allah said: {And whoever fears Allah, He will provide him a way out and will provide for him from an unforeseen direction. And whoever relies on Allah, He is sufficient for him.}

2. Reliance on Allah does NOT mean not working and striving for sustenance in this life.

3. Tawakkul (reliance) on Allah is: The true reliance of the heart on Allah in the pursuit of acquiring that which benefits and avoiding that which harms in this life and the hereafter and the leaving these issues up to Allah along with the true belief that no one gives, witholds, harms or benefits except Allah Most High.

4. The fruit of tawakkul is the acceptance of Allah’s decree. Whoever leaves his affairs to Allah and then is accepting of what he is given has truly relied on Allah. Al-Hassan and others among the salaf defined tawakkul as ridhaa (acceptance)." [Source: Riyaad-as-Saliheen, Ch. 7] 

And then there's another less well-known hadith that refers to birds:

Abu Hurairah [ra] reported that the Messenger [saw] said:
“There will enter Jannah people whose hearts will be like
those of the hearts of the birds.”[Muslim]

People whose hearts will be like those of the birds.  What an incredible metaphor!
The commentary on the hadith says the following:

"1. Excellence of trust in Allah and kindness of heart are most valuable qualities beause both of them are means to enter Jannah.

2. One should not worry much about one's food and means of subsistence.  In fact, people should have hearts like birds who do not collect to keep in reserve anything and go out every mornign in serach of ..andfood and return to their nests fully satiated.  This advice is repeated in another hadith to the effect that wehn birds leave their nests in the morning they are hungry but when they come back, their stomach are full and they do not need any more food.

3.  It has been interpreted that such people are those who put their trust in Allah; another interpretation is that these people are tender-hearted.
4. Just as the hearts of birds are free from every tint of jealousy, in the same way the hearts of the people of Jannah will be free from jealousy, rancor, deceit, and hatred. Secondly, just as birds are always alert and cautious of any danger, in the same way the hearts of the people of Jannah will also be wakeful. Thirdly, trust as the birds trust in Allah for their food, in the same way the people of Jannah will have complete trust in Allah regarding their sustenance, rather, their very existence." [Source: Ibid.]
May Allah make our hearts like those of the birds.  Ameen.

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