The Three Dates
A'isha, the Blessed Prophet's wife, was a very hospitable and generous person. She loved to entertain guests, and spend happy hours chatting to them.
Once, a woman came to visit A'isha, bringing her two daughters with her. A'isha received her, smiling and welcoming, and very soon, the two woman were deep in conversation.
However, A'isha was faced with a certain difficulty. SHe wanted to entertain her guest, but at that time, things were very hard in Madinah. Often, the people went hungry, and in the Blessed Prophet's house, no fire was made for days on end. It was difficult to come by the simplest food, and even dates were in short supply.
A'isha decided that she must search the house throughly in the hope of finding something to offer her guest. The room in which she had welcomed her guest was so small that when A'isha stood up, her head almost touched the ceiling.
It did not take A'isha very long to search it, and she quickly realised that she did not have very much to offer her guest. Eventually though, she managed to find three dates. A'isha gave them to her guest, who looked at her very gratefully.
The woman gave one date to each of her daughters, and the girls grabbed tem eagerly. They were very hungry and had not had enough to eat for several days. Their mother kept one date for herself, but she did not eat it. Instead, she held it in her hand while she went on talking to A'isha.
Because they were hungry, the two little girls gobbled up their dates very quickly. When they had finished, they began to eye the last date, the one which their mother held in her hand.
Their mother saw them out of the corner of her eye, and she smiled. She knew exactly what they wanted, and what she muct do. So, she divided the last date into two pieces and gave half to each of the girls.
A'isha was very moved by the great love and self-sacrifice shown by this mother, and as soon as the Blessed Prophet came home, she told him what had happened.
"Indeed", the Blessed Prophet said. "The woman had entered Paradise because of the love and kindness she showed to her little daughters. Allah will show her mercy because she showed mercy to them."