Dr Maa­souma’s sheep

Kuwait Times - - FROM THE ARABIC PRESS - By Dr Saleh Al-Ojairi —Trans­lated by Kuwait Times

In the early 1980s, my son Mo­hammed was pre­par­ing for his mas­ter’s de­gree in the US, so I vis­ited him in Colorado to check how his stud­ies were go­ing. It was Ra­madan and we were fast­ing. “A fe­male class­mate is go­ing to cook if­tar for us to­day. Would you like to come along?” my son asked me, and I replied “Of course,” be­cause I was get­ting fed up of restau­rant meals. “What is your col­league’s name,” I asked, and he told me Maa­souma Al-Mubarak.

We went over after sun­set and found that she had cooked a purely Kuwaiti meal in­clud­ing pud­ding, dumplings and stew with dried black lemon on top. “Where did you get the dried lemon from in Amer­ica?” I asked. She told me that there was even a greater sur­prise. “The meat you are eat­ing is a young lamb that we slaugh­tered to eat for if­tar,” she told me. We en­joyed the taste of Maa­souma’s sheep and thanked her warmly.

Years after that evening, she called me here in Kuwait. “I am Maa­suoma. Do you re­mem­ber me?” she asked, and I in­stantly said yes. “How can I for­get you after eat­ing your sheep in Amer­ica?” I said, and she gig­gled for long, be­fore ask­ing me to in­tro­duce her to the then min­is­ter of so­cial af­fairs and la­bor, the late Ha­mad Al-Ru­jaib. I took her to his of­fice and made her wait un­til I saw him first. In his of­fice, the min­is­ter for­got his po­si­tion and started re­call­ing our past mem­o­ries to­gether, when we used to act on­stage to­gether. “Do you re­mem­ber when I asked you what you had for lunch and you told me that you had bread and rice?” he asked me.

Our meet­ing went on for long, be­fore I told him that a cit­i­zen out­side wished to meet him. She was ush­ered in and dis­cussed what she wanted, and we both left hap­pily. Sev­eral years later, she be­came a min­is­ter, and I paid her a visit in her of­fice to con­grat­u­late her and give her a present on the oc­ca­sion. We too rem­i­nisced about our mem­o­ries in the US and the sheep we ate.

Get­ting up to leave, she in­sisted on see­ing me off till the front door de­spite my protests that I was merely a cit­i­zen and she was a min­is­ter. “You are more im­por­tant than a min­is­ter,” she told me. Maa­souma in fact fol­lowed the Prophet’s (PBUH) ha­dith, when he said that Al­lah had cho­sen Is­lam for us and asked us to fully ob­serve good man­ners and be gen­er­ous to make it com­plete. She did dis­play good man­ners by see­ing me out and was gen­er­ous when she fed me a sheep for if­tar in the US.

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