Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) owned a slave who would earn an income for Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) through working.

One night, the slave brought some food that he had earned for Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was so hungry that as soon as the food was placed before him, he picked up a morsel and began to eat. Seeing this, the slave was surprised and asked, “What is the matter? Every night (before you eat), you normally ask me (as to how I earned the wealth). Why did you not ask me tonight?”

Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replied, “I was overcome by extreme hunger. Where did you get this food from?” The slave answered, “On one occasion, during the days of Jaahiliyyah (the days of ignorance, before Islam), I passed by a certain tribe and provided them with the service of reciting some words and blowing as a form of treatment for them. However, they did not pay me immediately and promised me that they would pay me later on. It so happened that I passed by this tribe today while they were engaged in wedding festivities. As they still owed me for my service, they gave me some food from the wedding as payment.”

When Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) heard this, he exclaimed, “You nearly destroyed me (by feeding me haraam)!” He then began to stick his hand into his throat, trying to spew out the haraam morsel. However, although he retched and gagged, he could not vomit the morsel (as his stomach was too empty). Seeing this, somebody remarked, “The morsel will not leave your stomach unless you drink water.” Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) thus asked for a large bowl of water and began to drink. After he had filled his stomach with water, he again began to stick his hand into his throat, forcing himself to vomit, until the haraam morsel was finally expelled.

A person who had witnessed the scene said to Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), “May Allah have mercy on you! You underwent all this difficulty for just one morsel?” Sayyiduna Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) responded, “Even if I had to lose my life to remove the morsel from my stomach, I would have done so! I heard Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) mention, ‘Every body which is nourished by haraam, the fire (of Jahannum) is more worthy of it.’ I was thus afraid that some part of my body would be nourished by this haraam morsel.” (Hilyatul Awliyaa vol. 1, pg. 64)

Lessons:

1. As juicy as the burger may be, and as tempting as the t-bone may seem, we cannot put anything and everything into our mouths! As Muslims, we have to adhere strictly to the guidelines of haraam and halaal. For this reason, it is necessary for every person to ensure that the food he is eating is halaal, and if there is even the slightest doubt, he must refrain.

2. ‘Halaal’ doesn’t only refer to the food that we eat. Rather, we have to ensure that income and our wealth which we use to acquire all our food, clothing, etc., is totally halaal. If our wealth is haraam, then everything that we acquire with it will also be corrupted with the effects of haraam. In this way, all barakah (blessings) will be lost.