Knock Before You Enter

The Story of Little Zayd

Knock Before You Enter

Mawlana Haider Ali Madani

The Sun was beaming through the scattered clouds on a pleasant Sunday morning. After a hearty breakfast together, everyone in the family was busy with something. Dad was reading in his favourite chair, and Grandma was reciting the Quran. But Little Zayd was following his mum around wherever she went, bombarding her with unceasing requests. “Little Zayd!” Mum suddenly cried. “I have a lot of chores to do today. Please don’t disturb me!”

“What happened Umm Zayd?” called Grandma.

“Little Zayd wants to do crafts with me, but I am extremely busy.”

Grandma turned to Little Zayd and gave him an idea. “Little Zayd,” she whispered, “why don’t you ask your sister to help?”

Little Zayd approached his sister’s room. He had heard her come out of the bathroom, so he knew she was done with brushing her teeth and washing her face. As Little Zayd turned the handle to open it, he was met with a scream. “Zayd!” his sister bellowed. “What are you doing? Stay outside and shut the door!”

Little Zayd ran away in fright and sat with Grandma. After a while, his sister came in, angry and red in the face. “Zayd, you silly child! Don’t you know you can’t just barge into someone’s room like that? I was changing my clothes!”

Grandma interjected, “I will speak to Little Zayd. Don’t worry. But for now, please help him with his crafts.”

After lunch, Little Zayd lay down next to Grandma, ready for a nap. She took the opportunity to explain to him why what had happened in the morning was not good. She said, “Little Zayd! Islam is so beautiful it guides us in every matter in our life. Our Allah tells us:

‘O believers! Do not enter the houses except your own, until you have obtained permission and have greeted its residents; this is better for you, that you may ponder.[1]’”

Little Zayd was listening attentively. “Just like we have to seek permission before entering someone’s home, we also have to seek permission before entering someone else’s room,” Grandma continued.

“But why do I have to seek permission in my own home?” asked Little Zayd.

“Let me tell you a hadith. A man once asked the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم if he should seek permission when going to see his mother. The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said that he should. The man explained that he lived in the same house with her. Despite this, the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم told him to seek permission before entering.[2]  

You see, someone could be changing their clothes in their room. So, you must seek their permission before entering the room. This includes the rooms of your parents and siblings. Otherwise, you might find yourself in an embarrassing ordeal.”

“Okay Grandma” agreed Little Zayd. “I will keep this in mind from now on.”

[1] [Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 18, Surah Al-Noor, verse 27)

[2] Al-Muwatta lil-Imam Malik, vol. 2, p. 446, hadith 1847




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