Pause for Thought: HRH Princess Badiya of Jordan, inaugural winner of the Naz Legacy Foundation Honorary Fellowship of Education shares a story about compassion on BBC Radio 2.
From HRH Princess Badiya of Jordan:
Last week, my toddler son had been happily playing with his ball when another child came up and started trying to take it away from him. My son held on tightly to his ball and wouldn’t let him have it. Conflicting thoughts went through my mind: I was proud of my son for standing his ground and not being pushed around, but at the same time I wondered if I should be encouraging him to give the boy the ball so that he learns to share. Fortunately, while I was pondering this dilemma, my son made his own decision: having made it clear that the boy was not going to be able to grab the ball, he gave it to him! Crisis averted.
The ball incident made me think of a story I read about the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). A young orphan complained to the Prophet that one of the Prophet’s closest and most respected friends had taken possession of his palm tree. When it turned out that actually, the tree did legitimately belong to the Prophet’s friend the Prophet acknowledged his right, but asked him privately to give the tree to the orphan anyway as it clearly meant so much to him. The friend refused on the basis that he was the rightful owner. Long story short: in the end, the orphan was given the tree, and even though the Prophet had not held it against him, his friend was deeply ashamed to have objected so stubbornly in the beginning.
To me, the interesting question of this story is the balance between, on the one hand, having the strength to defend your rights, but, on the other, having the strength and consideration to sometimes choose to put them aside. The point is that, ultimately, being compassionate and big hearted can matter more than being in the right. Anyway, I’m not sure if my son has already worked all this out for himself or it was just a good coincidence, if not I’ll tell him about the palm tree when he is older, God willing!