The First Companion Who eat Rice.
Rice is our staple diet for many in South Asia and South East Asia. Rice is taken for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Rice is not the main form of meal for those in Europe so with the Arabs. Thus rice reminds me of about the first time Muslim Arab eats and taste rice. It is the Muslim Army under the commands of Utbah Ibn Ghazwan RA taste and eats the rice for the first time among them- The Arab.
This story about the Muslim Army during the time Caliphate of ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab RA, there was an uprising coming from the Iranian forces that troubled the Muslim Ummah, so Saidina Umar Ibn Al Khattab RA sent 319 Mujahidin under the command of 'Utbah Ibn Ghazwan RA to capture Ablah.
On their journey, after passing over difficult terrain, they stumbled upon a very green and fertile spot near Uballah and encamped there. They didn’t have anything and when their hunger became unbearable, 'Ibn Ghazwan sent some of his companions to look for something to eat.
One of them narrated:
“As we were walking along searching for something eatable, we entered a small grove. There we saw two earthen pots. One was filled with dates and the other one had small yellow grains in it. We picked up both of the pots and carried them to our Commander. One of our companions glanced at it and said they should be very careful, for it might be poisoned.
We all turned towards the dates and started eating them, one of the horses, meanwhile, broke his tether and went straight to the pot with grains, put his mouth in and started to eat them, and we waited if there would be any effect on the house and if it is poisoned we shall kill the horse as it might go on suffering. So we kept watch at night and when the morning came we saw that nothing had happened to the horse and it was fine!”
So, one of the wives of the Mujahidin said:
“I have heard my father saying that if poison is cooked, then the effect of the poison is neutralized.”
She then picked some grains and started to cook it, and then she pointed out that the husk was coming off from the grains, and white grains were appearing. To be able to check out the taste, it was placed on a bowl and was given to the general, he then said to try them, taking the name of Allah (Bismillah), and when he had tasted them, he found them to be delicious.
Later, we learnt that these grains were called rice and were the favorite food of the Far East.“
Note: This was the first ever encounter of these people with rice, like anyone of us, when it will be our first time to encounter something we would always be skeptical about it, but the thing to consider here is that the Sahabah RA were always careful before indulging into something, unlike most of us now, when it’s new, we always want to try it not minding what it can cause us.
Also, a point raised was that it’s clear how the leader, the Amir was the one who tasted and tried the food rather than making his people taste it, unlike how we do these days, we ask others to taste it for us, but during the Sahabah RA, their leaders were more concerned on how their people would be rather than for themselves.
And we pray that we may learn from the actions and good deeds of these great people and in return we may think before we take actions.