The Pomegranate: A Symbol of Love

Written by: Sakina Baisaheb and Khadija Baisaheb

This is the story of how such a simple thing as a pomegranate came to be the center of the expression of love.

One day Maulana Ali AS asked Maulatona Fatema AS upon noticing she was unwell, ‘What does your heart desire from the sweet things of the world?’ She simply replied, ‘I crave for a pomegranate.’

This simple question and desire speaks volumes to the love shared between a husband and a wife. It sets an example of how aware one should be of their significant other; no words needed. Their deep connection was enough to convey her state and thus be noticed by her husband. His immediate reaction was of concern and wanting to make it better – offering her all the delicacies of the world. The sky was the limit when it came to her wellbeing. This simple exchange shows the key components of a loving, harmonious relationship.

In order to fulfill his beloved’s wish, Maulana Ali AS borrowed a couple of dirhams from someone and bought a pomegranate for his raihānat (fragrance). As he was returning home, he came across a man who was lying on the street, severely weakened. Maula Ali AS asked him of his state, the man replied: ‘You are the first passerby in five days to show me any concern – since you ask me, I will express to you that I crave for a pomegranate.’ Maulana Ali AS was silent for a few moments while he thought deeply, struggling between fulfilling Maulatena Fatema’s AS desire and Allah Taʿāla and his Rasul’s SAW prohibition of turning away a person in need. In that moment, Maulana Ali AS broke the pomegranate and fed it to the man; immediately replenishing him and making him happy.

This act is symbolic of how feeding others, conveys a greater message of caring about humanity. Being a mighty example of how food is a vehicle for the conveyance of love and care amongst humans, the simple act of feeding was enough to say it all. In today’s world where 690 million people are starving, Maulana Ali’s AS generosity inspires us all to take whatever little steps we can to help eradicate global starvation and spread compassion. Our biggest role model who we take inspiration from is Burhanuddin Maula RA and his FMB initiative which ensures that not even one mumin or mumina goes to bed hungry. This was not simply a goal or an aim, but rather a plan of action that Muffadal Maula TUS executed to perfection. Even in these trying times he was a well of replenishment, not just for our community but for countless people of different faiths and ethnicities worldwide. Maula TUS honours us greatly by giving us the opportunity to be a part of this great organisation as well as earning thawāb (divine reward) every single day. Similarly, Amir al-Mumineen’s AS choice of giving the fruit to the man also teaches us that of all relationships, the relationship we should honour the most is the one that we have with Allah Taʿāla and our Maula TUS.

After this act of kindness, Maulana Ali AS walked home, his head lowered and his hands empty. Maulatena Fatema AS, upon sensing his sadness immediately embraced him saying: ‘O Maulana Ali, please do not be sad, for as soon as you offered that man the pomegranate, Allah Taʿāla melted away it’s desire from my heart and healed me completely.’ This made Moulana Ali AS very happy.

What a wonderful connection between husband and wife: her awareness of the circumstance; her embracing him; his distress at not bringing her what she had desired and his finding sakīna (peace) in her love. Maulana Ali’s AS act of selflessly giving the pomegranate to fulfil another’s need was the very fruit of love that fulfilled Maulatena Fatema’s AS desire and healed her. In a selfish world, it is hard to find a relationship with such deep-rooted trust; where you always believe the best in each other. This instance reveals the sheer understanding and oneness in thought and heart that every companionship should strive towards.

As this unfolds, Maulana Salman al-Farisi RA knocks on Maulana Ali AS and Maulatena Fatema’s AS door with a gift from Allah Taʿāla; a tray full of pomegranates. There were nine to be exact and Maulana Ali AS asked about the tenth one, as Allah Taʿāla has promised that for every good deed there will be a tenfold reward. Maulana Salman RA smiled and withdrew the tenth from his sleeve, admitting that he had kept the tenth one hidden to witness and realise Moulana Ali’s AS faith in Allah’s absolute and perfect justice.

What started with a simple craving for a pomegranate resulted in an abundance brought by these acts of selflessness and devotion. Allah Taʿāla showed his love for this divine companionship – ‘azalī joro’ – by showering them with fruits; shining light on how food is a language of love. Thus, we can understand that food is the way not only to a man’s heart, but that of a woman, a child and all humankind. When mothers and wives or in some cases husbands or children bring food to the table, they are not only carrying roast chicken with vegetables or a rack of lamb with saffron rice, but rather they are bringing out nurturing platters of love, affection, and respect.

During the holy month of Ramadan, giving iftar to those who are fasting is of great importance. Everyday magical hands in the kitchen prepare delicious iftar that makes our stomachs smile on the dinner thāl after our souls have been filled with ʿibāda.

Finally, let us take a moment to bow our heads in gratitude to our Maula TUS who is the living embodiment of this narration. He teaches us how to actualise the concept of showing love through food. Maula TUS brings FMB to our homes – both ethereal and physical provisions- in the form of asbāq (knowledge) as well as food. Those who have been granted the honour of being in his presence in Galiakot this Ramadan know the pleasure of eating iftar from the very dates that Maula TUS personally sends from his home.

رَبَّنا أَنزِل عَلَينا مائِدَةً مِنَ السَّماءِ تَكونُ لَنا عيدًا لِأَوَّلِنا وَآخِرِنا وَآيَةً مِنكَ ۖ وَارزُقنا وَأَنتَ خَيرُ الرّازِقينَ

Our Eid is truly the dīdār of Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS, which replenishes us entirely and completely. May Allah Taʿāla rain upon each of us this divine māʾida and grant our Maula a long life until the day of qīyama.