“(Remember) When the Hawaariyyeen said: “O Isaa, Son of Maryam! Can your Rabb send down for us a Maa-idah from the sky?’ He (Nabi Isaa) said: “Fear Allah if indeed you are Believers.” They said: “We wish to eat from it to satisfy our hearts and so that we know that you have been truthful to us, and so that we become witnesses to it.”
Isaa, the Son of Maryam said:”O Allah! Send down to us a Maa-idah from the sky so that it becomes a festival (Eid) for those of us present and for our posterity, and a sign from You. And feed us. You are the best of sustainers.
Allah said: “Verily, I shall send it down to you. Then whoever among you who is ungrateful thereafter, verily, I shall punish him with such a punishment with which I shall not punish anyone in the worlds.”
The Hawaariyyeen (Sahaabah/Disciples) of Nabi Isaa (alayhis salaam) requested him for a miracle. They asked that a tablecloth laden with food should descend for them from the heaven. When they made this request, Nabi Isaa (alayhis salaam) was extremely perturbed since such a request displayed deficiency of Imaan and a consequence could be the destruction of those who made the request in the event of them showing ingratitude. Thus, when they made this preposterous request, Hadhrat Nabi Isaa (alayhis salaam) said to them: “Be contented with the food of the earth which Allah has bestowed to you and do not ask for a Maa-idah from heaven. Verily, if it descends upon you, it will be a decree from your Rabb. Verily, the Thamud were destroyed when they had asked their Nabi (Hadhrat Saalih – alayhis salaam) for a Miracle. They were then involved in a trial which ultimately led to their destruction.”
Despite Hadhrat Isaa’s naseehat and admonition, the Hawaariyyeen persisted with their request. When Nabi Isaa (alayhis salaam) observed their insistence, he removed his woolen cloak, made Wudhu, entered his musalla (cloister of Ibaadat). In his musalla he stood facing the Qiblah with his head lowered with humility, hands folded on his chest and with tears gushing down his cheeks in profusion. When his beard was drenched with his tears, he supplicated to Allah Ta’ala:
“O Allah! Our Rabb! Send down for us a Maa-idah from the sky so that it be an Eid (Day of Happiness) for us—for those present and for our posterity. Let it be a naseehat (good counsel) for us and a Sign from You. Grant us food on it (the Maa-idah), You are the Best of providers.”
Allah Ta’ala accepted the supplication. A huge red tablecloth between two white clouds descended from the sky. One cloud was above and the other one below the Maa-idah. All the people looked in wonder at the descending Maa-idah moving towards them. As the Maa-idah descended, Hadhrat Isaa (alayhis salaam) continued crying. He feared the condition which was attached to the fulfillment of his dua, namely the destruction of those who will react with ingratitude after having observed this wondrous event.
Whilst the Maa-idah was descending, Hadhrat Isaa (alayhis salaam) continued supplicating: “O my Allah! Make it a rahmat (mercy). O my Allah! Do not make it a punishment. O my Allah! You have fulfilled numerous of my supplications for miracles. O my Allah! Make us grateful unto You. O my Allah! I seek refuge with You from that You are sending it (the Maa-idah) with Wrath and Punishment. O my Allah! Make it a peace and protection, and do not make it a trial.”
Hadhrat Isaa (alayhis salaam) continued with his supplication throughout the duration of the descent of the Maa-idah until it came to a rest in front of him. The Hawaariyyeen and all others present perceived the wonderful fragrance and aroma of the food emanating from the Maa-idah. Such fragrance was never perceived before by any of them. As the Maa-idah came to a halt on the ground in front of Hadhrat Isaa (alayhis salaam), he and the Hawaariyyeen fell down in Sajdah expressing their shukr (gratitude) to Allah Ta’ala.