SHAFAQNA- Once a poor, unkempt man appeared at the gate of a king’s palace. He was in rags and not at all suitably attired to be admitted into the presence of a monarch. So the guards s “You cannot enter the palace in rags,” they said. The man insisted. He began to quarrel with the guards, raising his voice so loud that the king heard it.” He sent for the man.
When he appeared before the king, the noblemen around raised their eyebrows. What was this pauper doing here? “What is your problem?”, the king inquired. “Oh, I have many problems. But the immediate one is that your guards refused me entry into the palace. Am I not your subject?” “Yes, you are…..indeed, you are. But you must dress properly and suitably,” the king said. The poor man looked up and said, “O king, it is not wrong to enter a palace in rags and empty-handed. But to come out from a palace empty-handed and in rags is indeed a disgrace.”
Saeed is a very promising boy. He is very fond of studies. He also takes part in games and sports. Sometimes he and his father went out for a walk. One day both of them went to the riverside. The scene all around was very beautiful. The riverbed was full of water. On the banks of the river it was all green. Ducks, swans, and other water birds were gliding in the water. Melodious birds were chirping in the trees. The sun was peeping through the branches. This charming scene pleased Saeed very much.
All of a sudden an idea crossed his mind and he asked his father: “Dear father! Who has made all these lovely things?” Father: “Allah has made them”. Saeed: “Can we see Allah? ” Father: “No, my son, we can’t see Him”. Saeed: “Then how do we know that He exists and He has made everything?” Thereupon his father pointed to a building surrounded by trees and said, “Just look at that building. Do you know who has built it?” “Surely masons have built it”, Saeed replied. Then his father said, “Dear son! When we see that building we guess that masons have built it, although we can’t see them. Similarly, when we see some footsteps on sand we know that someone has passed from there. Now look at the Universe. It is very big and must also have a creator, although we can’t see Him. That great Creator is Allah. This world and all things in it are a proof of His existence.” Saeed understood the point and thanked his father for explaining it to him.
Allah loves us and has given us blessings. We should be grateful for all His blessings and should thank him. The best way to thank Allah is to pray (salat) to Him. Praying to Him is like having a conversation with Him. We must pray to Allah five times a day: Once every morning, noon afternoon, evening and night. The time for the morning prayer is from dawn until sunrise. The time for the noon and afternoon prayer is from noon until sunset. The time for the evening and night prayer is from sunset until midnight. Every prayer consists of several parts. Each part is called a Rak’at. The morning prayer consists of two Rak’ats: the noon, afternoon, and night prayers consist of four Rak’ats each, and the evening prayer of three Rak’ats. If our clothes or bodies are not clean before prayer, then we must clean them. Before praying we must make Wudhu.
Prayer has many benefits. A person who prays is always clean and healthy, like a person who cleans himself five times a day in a stream. A person who prays to Allah five times a day will always think of Allah and remember Him; His actions will be virtuous.
Fasting is one of the most important duties in Islam. All the prophets before Hazrat Muhammad(S.A.W.) taught people to fast. We Muslims must fast during the month of Ramadhan. Muslims are very happy at the coming of the month of Ramadhan. They will wake up some hours earlier than the time for the Adhan (call for prayer) of the morning prayer, and will pray to Allah while it is still dark. They will then eat something and begin to prepare themselves for fasting during the day. First they do their morning prayer then at dawn the fast begins. After dawn they do not eat, drink, or do anything that would nullify their fast; such as keeping their heads under water or letting smoke or dirt reach their throats. After sunset, when the Adhan for the evening prayer is called, they break the fast with the remembrance of Allah and eat the food prepared for them. (Iftar)
Fasting is very good for the health of human beings. Whoever fasts, Will have the ability to endure more suffering and more hardship than other people.’ A person who is fasting must try to stay away from sin and all bad deeds. He must try to be very kind and friendly and try not to say anything bad about anyone or hurt anyone.
In Praises Of Allah
We thank Allah for His blessing of creating us, for giving us the power to find the answers to the things we do not know, to advance in knowledge and education. O Allah! Help us so that we may know the value of Your blessings. Help us to obey Your orders and observe your laws of guidance which will make us happy and prosperous. Help and guide us so that we may become kind and well-educated people.
O Allah! Guide us so that we may please our parents and respect them with honour. Allah! We implore You to send Your peace and blessings upon the prophets whom you sent to guide and show us the right way: how to be good; how to become happy and successful. Oh Allah! Send Your peace and blessings upon the Prophet of Islam who taught mankind the laws and manners of brotherhood and equality. Oh Allah! give us the opportunity to worship You and follow the path which Your prophets have showed us.
Fatima: A strong Believer
When Fatima’s mother finished her prayers, she held her rosary and prayed that Allah would help her daughter who was travelling to Europe to continue her treatment. Nothing about this trip was easy. It was the first time that Fatima was going abroad, and what made matters worse was that she was ill and needed extensive treatment, having tried hopelessly ever since she had that accident to install artificial limbs in her own country.
Now that the plane was in the air, Fatima sat there holding a copy of the Glorious Quran, her mother’s precious gift, in her arms. She began to remember her mother’s last words: “Take care Fatima, you are going to a non-Islamic country… Preserve your religion, Allah will make you successful”. -“Allah is the best guardian and the most gracious helper”… That is what Fatima found herself saying as she was fixing her veil and getting ready to go down to the airport. They took her to one of the halls, where the rest of the passengers were waiting.
.A few minutes later, Fatima began to feel that the foreigners were staring at her with astonishment. She noticed that their eyes were fixed on her veil and her severed feet. She was very depressed, but she pulled herself together and said: “I have to be patient, for what I might I have to face, in this country, could be far more difficult than these glares. All I can do is to be patient and ask Allah to hold my feet firmly to his right path”.
Reassured, Fatima moved to the hospital where she met her nurse, and began to live a monotonous life, with all the medical examinations that she had to undergo. She knew right from the word go, that she had to solve the food problem. She could not eat any meat or pork, so she told her nurse in a firm and straightforward manner that she would eat vegetables only. She was a Muslim and Islam prohibited her from eating any meat that was not prepared in accordance with the religious law (Shariah).
The days passed, and Fatima had by that time already began the preliminary treatment necessary to install the artificial limbs, yet she remained committed to her Islamic dress, amid the astonishment and the admiration of the medical team. Then one day the nurse came and asked her to prepare herself for the swimming training session ‘ and gave her a bathing suit. Fatima wore the bathing suit underneath her clothes; she did not ask the nurse for any explanation, thinking that by now, the nurse had understood her Islamic commitments. The nurse accompanied Fatima to the swimming pool. When they got there, she saw that it was crowded with both male and female swimmers. Her heart started to beat fast, and her face grew pale. It was as if an unknown force was nailing her to the ground. She heard the nurse saying, “Come on Fatima, take off your clothes and start swimming”. Fatima froze in her place. She turned her eyes between the pool and her feet. Suddenly she remembered what her mother had told her: “Preserve your religion, Allah will make you successful”. “Do you think that I am going to swim in front of all these men”? Asked Fatima firmly. “Why not?” replied the nurse. “I am a Muslim, and my religion prohibits me from doing so”. “Then let us call the physician in charge”.
When the doctor came he told Fatima: “You understand that you are breaking the treatment regulations”. “I can not do anything against my principles and disobey my God”. “But you are under treatment”. “You can find another kind of training”. “You realise the importance of the artificial limbs, in your condition “It would not be more important than pleasing my God”. “We are not used to see you as stubborn as this, you have been one of our best patients”. “I wish to remain so, if I were only to be exempted from this”. The doctor shook his head. He looked at Fatima with admiration, and what he said next was something she did not expect to hear: “I congratulate you, Fatima. Hold on to your principles, and we will not stand in your way”. He then gave the nurse a new set of instructions, recommending an alternative kind of training. The strong girl’s heart was filled with ‘JOY, the kind of joy one feels when he is victorious, or when he overcomes the temptations of sin. With her artificial limbs installed, and her treatment successful, Fatima went back to her country.
In the plane she did not forget to hold the Quran in her hands and read some Glorious Verses. In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. “But let those rejoice who keep off form idol-worship and turn to Allah in repentance. Give good news to My servants, who listen to My Word and follow what is best in it. These are they whom Allah has guided. These are they who are endued with understanding”.
My Grandfather: The Muezzin
My grandfather on my mother’s side used to serve the “Ghazi Mosque” in Tripoli. He also acted as the mosque’s Imam and Muezzin. He was trusted with the mosque’s keys and he used to open its doors at dawn and close them late at night; he was the first to come in and the last to leave. He was so punctual and so persistent in his work that I used to hear words of praise everywhere I went.
People grew to love his voice, even the Christians living nearby used to get up early at dawn to listen to him. I remember that I asked him when I was ten years old to take me with him to the Mosque, where I could listen to him. I still recall everything I saw that day as if it happened yesterday. How could I ever forget climbing the minaret’s spiral stairs with my grandpa behind me to make sure that I wouldn’t fall down. Reaching the top, I stood on what looked like a round balcony, with a view that showed the whole beautiful city. But happy as I was, once my grandpa started his call for prayers, I forgot everything and sat to watch his face: How his throat used to tighten, and how he opened and closed his mouth. His voice used to charm me and carry me to magical worlds, which I still picture in my mind whenever I remember his great voice.
I asked my grandfather once: “Is it true what they say that in the thirty years you called for prayers, you have never, not even once, missed any call?” “Yes, it is true, I have never failed to perform my duty in all that time”. “But how? Weren’t you ever sick? Didn’t you ever leave the city?” “No, thank Allah, I was never sick and never traveled anywhere”. But he was to fall sick on a very cold winter day. And once again I happened to be visiting him at that time. “Tell me, grandpa, who will call for the Morning Prayer if you do not get well by tomorrow?” Grandpa looked at me with a smile on his face: “Do not worry. Allah willing, I will not be sick tomorrow. When we love our work and believe in it, we can overcome our illness quickly”.
Even though I had a feeling that he wasn’t that serious, I asked him to wake me up in the morning and take me with him to the Mosque. To my surprise, early in the morning the following day, I woke up on my grandpa’s voice telling me to get ready. I opened my eyes, and there he was with his heavy winter coat, and his woolen scarf. “Salamun Alaikum grandpa. How do you feel today. I hope that you are better”. “Not quite, but I am well enough to go to work”. Out on the street, I held my grandpa’s arm. It was so hot that it almost burnt my hand. But we went on to the top of the Minaret. I noticed that he was breathing heavily, and that his voice wasn’t as strong as it used to be.
Later, many people came to grandpa and said. “We knew that you were sick and we were worried”. “Let’s perform our dawn prayers together and ask Allah to heal all those who are sick…”, he answered them smiling. By the end of the day, my grandfather was much better. A lot of people came up and sat behind him as if they were trying to protect him from a danger that would deny them the chance to listen to his moving voice, which they so loved. Grandpa lived for more than eighty years, and in all those years, not even once, did he miss the call for prayers. May Allah bless you, and bestow His mercy on you, my grandfather, for you have taught me a valuable and unforgettable lesson…..
The Elderly’s Resort
Some of the villagers of the Marj and the other villages nearby held their annual meeting recently, to discuss how to improve their social conditions. Everybody came to the meeting with a clear idea about what kind of welfare projects could improve their villages. They studied all the proposals, but they chose the one they considered urgent: Building a resort for the elderly. It gained their full approval, and they decided to prepare a field construction study and to organise a contribution campaign. This meant that they had to pay visits to the village’s very rich men who lived in the city, especially Abu-Ma’rouf, who was probably the richest among them.
They formed a delegation, which included representatives of the Marj and all the nearby villages. They went to visit Abu-Ma’rouf with a detailed description of their project, hoping that they would come back with a generous contribution as a token of appreciation for their noble efforts. Abu-Ma’rouf listened carefully to what they had to say. He nodded his head in a way no one was able to make anything of. In the end, he promised that he would look into the matter, and send whatever money he could afford to donate to the village. A few days later, the people in charge of “the Aged” project were shocked by the modest sum Abu-Ma’rouf had sent. Many of the low income villagers had had donated about the same amount money if not more. Rumours had it that Abu- Ma’rouf was not impressed, and that he believed that the project was useless, and that it was not worth all the money that it was supposed to cost. More importantly, he did not believe that the problem of the old people was an important issue. Yet, none of those who were striving to carry out the project were discouraged. They went on with their campaign as planned.
A few years later, the modest project began to emerge as a “concrete” fact between the oak and poplar trees. People came to the village of the Marj from all the nearby villages to help in the construction work or to learn about the resort. Then finally the work was completed, and the resort opened its doors to the elderly.. to those who found in it comfort and happiness. Allah blessed this work, and the donations increased. As a result, it developed, gaining a wide reputation as the best sanctuary in the region.
Meanwhile, another kind of development was going on at Abu- Ma’rouf ‘s house. All the members of his family were insisting that he should live in a house for the elderly. He had lost nearly all his money and his physical condition was no better. He grew weak and feeble. His children and grandchildren turned away from him and pursued their own interests and pleasures. They all insisted that the old man should live in a home for the elderly, having heard what kind of care and love old people found there.
Abu-Ma’rouf felt that everybody around him was irritated by his presence, and he had no alternative, but to live in a home for the elderly in the village. Abu Ma’rouf went to the village with some of his relatives who wished to see him off. When they got there, Abu-Ma’rouf looked at the building and saw how big it was. An image of the past swept through his memory when he was visited, many years ago, by the villagers to ask him to donate. He remembered how he did not care about the project and how little of his money he paid; the same money that had faded away. The sweet sound of the recitation of the Quran interrupted his thoughts. The words were coming from the nearby mosque, in preparation for the call to prayer, and he felt as if they were talking directly to him. Bism Allah! AL Rahman AL Raheem Behold! You are those who are called upon to spend in Allah’s way, but among whoever is niggardly against his own soul; and Allah is Self-sufficient and you have need (of Him). Allah, the Most Exalted speaks the truth.
Tears began to fall from the old man’s eyes. “We are poor and Allah is rich” he said. He refused to go in before he signed some papers in which he donated all what was left of his property to be used in the further development of the project. What happened that day had a profound impact on the large crowd that witnessed the incident. The story of Abu- Ma’rouf became a moral lesson which they took care to convey to their children and grandchildren.
Life Inside the Womb
Once upon a time, twin boys were conceived in the womb. Seconds, minutes, hours passed as the two embryonic lives developed. The spark of life grew and each tiny brain began to take shape and form. With the development of their brain came feeling, and with feeling, Perception – a perception of surroundings, of each other, and their own lives. They discovered that life was good and they laughed and rejoiced in their hearts.
One said to the other, “We are sure lucky to have been conceived and to have this wonderful world.” The other chimed in, “Yes, blessed be our mother who gave us life and each other.” Each of the twins continued to grow and soon their arms and fingers, legs and toes began to take shape. They stretched their bodies and churned and turned in their little world. They explored it and found the life cord which gave them life from their mother’s blood.
They were grateful for this new discovery and sang, “How great is the love of our mother-that she shares all she has with us!” Weeks passed into months and with the advent of each new month, they noticed a change in each other and in themselves. “We are changing,” one said. “What can it mean?” “It means,” said the other, “that we are drawing near to birth.” An unsettling chill crept over the two. They were afraid of birth, for they knew that it meant leaving their wonderful world behind. Said the one, “Were it up to me, I would live here forever.” “But we must be born,” said the other. “It has happened to all the others.” Indeed, there was evidence inside the womb that the mother had carried life before theirs. “And I believe that there is life after birth, don’t you?” “How can there be life after birth?” cried the one. “Do we not shed our life cord and also the blood tissue when we are born? And have you ever talked to anyone that has been born? Has anyone ever re-entered the womb after birth to describe what birth is like? NO!” As he spoke, he fell into despair, and in his despair he moaned, “If the purpose of conception and our growth inside the womb is to end in birth, then truly our life is senseless.”
He clutched his precious life cord to his breast and said, “And if this is so, and life is absurd, then there really can be no mothers!” “But there is a mother,” protested the other. “Who else gave us nourishment? Who else created this world for us?” “We get our nourishment from this cord-and our world has always been here?” said the one. “And if there is a mother-where is she? Have you ever seen her? Does she ever talk to you? No! We invented the mother when we were young because it satisfied a need in us. It made us feel secure and happy.” Thus, while the one raved and despaired, the other resign himself to birth and placed his trust in the hands of his mother.
Hours turned into days, and days into weeks. And soon it was time. They both knew their birth was at hand, and they both feared what they did not know. As the one was first to be conceived, so he was the first to be born, the other following. They cried as they were born into the light. The coughed out fluid and gasped the dry air. And when they were sure they had been born, they opened their eyes-seeing life after birth for the very first time. What they saw was the beautiful eyes of their mother, as they were cradled lovingly in her arms. They were home.
The Farmer and his Son
One beautiful spring morning, a farmer and his son were taking their donkey to the market in order to sell him. The father and his son were walking along together and the donkey was following them. They had not walked far when they passed a group of girls who were walking in the opposite direction. “Just look at that,” laughed one of the girls, pointing to the farmer. “What foolish people! They walk along the road when they could be riding on their donkey!” The old man quietly told his son to get on the donkey’s back and they continued towards the market.
Next they passed a group of men sitting by the side of the road, talking among themselves. “See what I mean?”, said one of the men, as the farmer and his son passed by. “The young have no respect for their old parents any more. Get down you lazy boy, and let your father rest his legs!” The son jumped down from the donkey’s back and his father got on the donkey. Soon they came across some women and children. “Look at that cruel man!” they exclaimed. “He is riding so fast that the poor boy can hardly keep up with him”. The farmer stopped and lifted the boy up behind him.
They continued on their way and had almost reached the market when they met a shopkeeper on the road. “Is that your own donkey”” asked the shopkeeper. “Yes,” replied the farmer. “Then I’m surprised at how you are treating him”, the shopkeeper said. “Two people on the back of one donkey is too many. He is sure to die from the strain. You should carry him instead!”
By this time, the farmer was getting used to taking other people’s advice. He and his son got off the donkey and tied its legs together. Then they put the rope on a long pole and carried the donkey. But their donkey didn’t want to be carried and, kicking and struggling, he broke the rope holding his feet. The donkey fell into a river near the road and was drowned. There was nothing the farmer could do except return home. “Next time,” said the farmer angrily, “I’ll please myself”. Dear Children, What did you learn from this story? Can we really please everyone? If we don’t decide for ourselves what is right we will always be troubled. As our Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) said, “Anyone who is given wisdom will reach salvation.
A Ship’s Journey
A ship was moving through the calm sea, with its passengers enjoying the beautiful scene of the sea. Suddenly, a storm blew causing the waves to rise and the ship to swing. It was destined to sink, but Allah’s Grace saw to it that it reached a far away island safely. The captain decided to deck on that island’s shore till the sea calmed down again.
The passengers looked around them. The Divine creation was obvious in the beauty of every tree and flower in the island, which seemed uninhabited. Fascinated by the charming Scenery, most of the passengers wanted to tour around to enjoy this beauty, relax and forget all about the troubles they had faced. They asked for the captain’s permission. He agreed on one condition: that they must come back upon hearing the first signal indicating that the sea became calm. He added that they should go home before another storm broke.
The passengers toured around the island. Attracted by the beautiful views, some of them went into the bushes, and began to collect many things to give to their relatives and beloved ones back home. Whereas the rest, who thought carefully about their situation, concluded that the ship couldn’t carry all the things they intended to bring, and decided to take in only their basic needs that would help them in making their journey. They went back to the shore carrying only their vital supplies, and waited patiently for the storm to calm down. Soon, the captain saw that the weather was clear. He signaled once and twice asking the passengers to get aboard right away. The first to arrive were those who were already waiting.
They climbed up carrying their essentials, and they naturally found plenty of room to sit comfortably around the ship. Some of the other passengers hurried back, carrying the precious stones, fruits and flowers. When they reached the ship as it was setting sail, they realized that there was not enough room left to accommodate all what they brought. Thus, they had to throw all of the riches away. A third group of passengers who were preoccupied with seeking more precious stones, fruits and beautiful flowers, were so much attracted by what they had seen that they did not respond to the signals coming from the ship. Finally, the ship set sail leaving them behind, for it had to reach home safely before another storm erupted. They did not realize that the ship had left, except after dark.
They were very exhausted and they slept deeply, hoping that they will be saved one day. The ship reached home after a long and tiresome journey that made the passengers, who were not attracted to the charm and beauty of the island, know the true meaning of survival. They felt that the fate of those who were left on the island is like the fate of the people who are fascinated by the pleasures and joys of this world: They got fully engaged in them that they forgot that they will return back to their Creator to be either punished or rewarded. Allah, the most Exalted, said in His Glorious Book: In the Name of Allah the Compassionate, The Merciful. “Let the life of this world not deceive you, nor let the dissembler trick you concerning Allah ” Allah the Most Exalted speakth the Truth.
The Effort of the Frog
In the Presence of the Wise There is a moment of uncertainty, a moment of unrest. I have just poured my restless heart about the concerns about the community, about the state of the Ummah, about the confused random directions that each one goes instead of aligning energies as a unified force. The moment of silence grows heavy on my mind which is stopped as a steaming hurricane by a wall of patience and reflection.
Then the words of wisdom pour out of my friend’s mouth, a soft and thoughtful voice reads in my ear: “You know, when the fire of Nimrood had engulfed Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.), there was a little frog. This little frog used to full its mouth with water, and pour it on the fire. Others laughed at this ‘mindless, random act of kindness’, and told him that your mouthfuls of water won’t stop the fire of Nimrood. You know what the frog said? It said, on the judgement day, I will be asked of what I did within my capacity, just a frog’s mouthful of water.” I remember the words of Imam (ra), that we are responsible for the duty, and not for the result. A warm smile washes away the tension of confusion, as I thank Allah for the presence of my friend, whom Allah may protect, and guide.
In the Presence of the Wise Her sharp glance peirces through one’s soul as she focuses. I have been listening to her for hours now. As if a hungry being having seen a feast of wonderful, healthy food, my starving soul is overwhelmed with this discourse. And now she is saturating me with everything that could be contained in her elloquent words that draw subtle realities in the most tangible form. It is strange.
A question comes in my mind, and I wonder through a few moments of silence, and then her voice echos in the silence of the night addressing the very same question I had in mind. It is not accidental, but I choose not to ask her why, and how. And she tells me of the realities no one ever spoke of. Every book I had opened would keep it a secret, or wrapped into layers of metaphores that I struggled to imagine through. There is no hush hush in this visit. It is all open, as open as my vulnerable soul. As I am thinking about this very tragedy of being shoved away from realities that should be common knowledge, a smile brightens her round face. Then her crystal clear voice echos: “Imagine you are a fetus. You are trapped in a warm, dark, and perhaps spacious and comfortable environment. All of a sudden you notice you are growing large. You complain: No, I like it to be spacious. But no one listens, and you keep on growing.
Then you notice a painful process of getting these extra things called eyes. Water goes in them, and you hurt. You scream: What is this? I don’t need this. Stop it now. But no one listens and your eyes grow to completion. Then you notice this lenghty process of getting these things called arms and legs. What a discomfort, you think to yourself. I don’t need these accesories which get trapped and stop me from freely floating around. But no one listens, and your extremities grow to completion. But all along one voice keeps on reading to you: Hush. You don’t know. But trust me you will need this someday.
You see that voice doesn’t tell you of a world outside the womb, for you can’t imagine it. You can’t imagine what light is, so it doesn’t bother telling you how you will need eyes. It just tells you why you need them. You can’t imangine walking, and talking, and smelling, and feeling. So it doesn’t bother tell you how. But, one day you come out, needing the same capacities that you hated to see grow in you. Imagine, somebody listening to this fetus, and stoping the growth of its eyes. It will never see, thus will never grasp that part of the reality which manifests itself in a manner that can be seen. Never will it know the beauty of the ocean of colors in a garden, nor the glory of a sunset. If it stoped growing ears, it shall never hear the melody of waves crashing against the coast, nor the horror of the thunder. So is the hidden process of growing invisible parts of our souls, which are often gained with pain, through losses, failures, humiliations, and sufferings.
Some growth comes with ease, comfort, joy, and peace. Yet those capacities you need the most are earned painfully. So your soul must grow eyes through which it could see those manifestation of Reality that can be only seen with the vision of soul. To have vision of soul, you must be ready for the pain that it will require to grow eyes. The choice is yours, eternal blindness, or a the pain of growing eyes. And as to the concern of why so much delay in the process: well, every organ of your soul must grow in the time slot it is allowed to. Otherwise it will have a shape with organs that are under or over developed, incapable of performing the duties they are created for. Be patient, and have trust in the Source of all.
The Old Student
Sukkaki was a talented craftsman. He made a delicate instrument with a yet more delicate lock with much precision, and presented it to the king. He expected a significant amount of award and encouragement for his art. Initially he received much attention as he expected. However, soon an event occurred which changed his life, and mentality.
While the king was busy enjoying the piece of art, and Sukkaki was day dreaming, someone announced the arrival of a scholar. When the scholar entered, the King busied himself with him and forgot Sukkaki, and his piece of art. This event brought about a revolution in Sukkaki’s spirit. He realized that he would not get sufficient encouragement from this line a carrier, and that all those hopes are pointless. Yet his ambitious spirit didn’t find comfort with just this. What shall he do? He thought that he should go after knowledge, and books, and look for lost dreams in them. Even though it is not easy for a mature man to become a colleague with young school age children.
Still, he thought that he had to start from somewhere. The biggest challenge was that he didn’t see enough enthusiasm for reading in himself at the beginning of this ordeal. Perhaps his years of occupation with crafts had suppressed his intellectual drive. However, neither his age, nor his lack of interest could stop him from his decision. Thus he busied himself with studies till another event took place: One of the teachers who was teaching him the Fiqh of Shafi’i taught him that: “The teachers opinion is such that a dog’s skin can become Tahir (clean) by tanning. Sukkaki repeated this sentence many times so that he could remember it for the test. So when asked he said: “The opinion of the dog is such that the skin of the teacher can become Tahir (clean) by tanning.” All the people present laughed. All assumed that this old man who has decided to study isn’t capable of this venture. Sukkaki couldn’t tolerate being in the school or the city anymore.
The vast universe became a small place for him, and he took shelter in a mountain. All of a sudden he saw that there were delicate, but constant drops of water falling on a stone, which had formed a hole in the stone. He thought for a moment. An inspiration enlightened him. He told himself: However infertile my mind is, it can’t be harder than this stone. It is impossible that persistence would be futile. He returned and worked so hard, that he became one of the most inspiring scholars in literature.   Rawdhat ul Jannat, print of Sayyed Sa’eed, p 747
The Homeless Aunt
Khadijah listened, as her aunt tearfully complained to them about her miserable situation. She was saying, “So you see, I have received nothing for my trouble. Both of my children disregard all that I have suffered for their sake. I sold my last gold ornament to send my daughter abroad. I have mortgaged my house twice to enable my son to become a doctor. I have sold a valuable carpet so that I could buy a color TV to please my daughter. Do they appreciate or even remember such sacrifices? No. My son wants me to stay away from his home since his wife can not tolerate my presence in the company of her aristocratic visitors. She says she wants to be free in my son’s house; as if I deprived her of her freedom “I thought my daughter would be happy to have me live in her house. She is my only daughter. You remember how I helped her to live a life free from worry. Do you know how she treated me in return? Like a maid in her service who should clean her house for her and look after her child while she and her husband spent their time at theaters and clubs. Yesterday, she was out until one in the morning. Her child cried and cried and I could not calm him.
When she finally came home, I was tired and complained about her behavior. I wanted her to treat me like her mother, not like a servant or a baby-sitter. Can you guess what she said to me? Without any shame, she told me that since she gave me shelter and food. I had no cause to complain. She also told me that she valued her freedom and was not ready to change for the sake of either her child or her mother.” She wept bitterly, unable to continue. Her niece gave her something to drink and Khadijah’s mother tried to comfort her sister.
Khadijah told her aunt gently, “It is a pity that you have taken so much trouble to raise your children. You have brought them up in such a way that you yourself produced the present state of affairs. You thought that your daughter’s happiness could be found in unlimited freedom, and as a result, she did not learn what her responsibilities were towards you. You helped her neglect her religious duties. Your methods have backfired.
She enjoyed life to the utmost without the least concern for Allah, and she forgot the high position Allah the Almighty has assigned to a mother. Your daughter has forgotten the Qur’anic verse: “And your Lord has commanded that you shall not serve but Him, and goodness to your parents. If either or both of them reach old age with you, reprimand them not, nor chide them, and speak to them a generous word.
And make yourself submissively gentle to them with compassion and say: Oh, my Lord! Have compassion on them as they brought me up.” (Bani- Israel verses 23-24) ” … and keep up prayer; surely prayer is timed ordinance for the believers.” (Al- Nisa verse 103) “You should have taught her the verse in the Holy Qur’an concerning hijab,” continued Khadijah, “…and let them (women) wear their covering over their bosoms and not display of their ornaments…” (Al- Nisa verse 31) “The result of being raised with no regard to religious duties is always deviation from the right path. There is a great difference between one who spends long hours watching television and indecent films and a person who spends nights reading religious books which explain that caring for parents is equal to worshipping Allah, and that Paradise lies at the feet of mothers.” “You have sold your gold ornament,” she continued, “and sent your daughter abroad, but you have forgotten that such travel can uproot all good instincts still buried within her conscience. She has returned to you a figure empty of compassion.”
Her aunt sighed deeply and said: “You are quite right, Khadijah. It is my own fault, but I have realized this too late. I followed my husband’s advice, which was to raise my children free of all complexes, and to allow them to have whatever they desired. Now, I see how wrong I have been. Your parents, who brought you up with much attention to religious instructions, are quite happy with you.” Khadijah replied, “They are happy as well with my husband and with my brother’s wife.
My husband encourages me to fulfill my duty towards my parents in order to please Almighty Allah.” Her aunt then said, “I wish I had chosen a righteous husband for my daughter to help her rid herself of all deviations. She should not have married a man who gambles and drinks.” Khadijah then asked,” Why did you agree to such a marriage?” “It was his expensive car that attracted my daughter, and the high dowry impressed me and prompted me to accept him as a son-in-law.”
Sorrowfully, Khadijah said, “Oh, how frank you are, dear aunt! It is a pity that you have realized the truth too late. May Allah save you from this loss, since you admit your fault.” The aunt spent a week in her sister’s house, and during that time neither her daughter nor her son showed any concern for her well being. Khadijah’s mother wanted her sister to live with them, but their house was small. The aunt was seriously pressed for a place to live. One morning, Khadijah and her husband said to her, “Please come and stay with us. We really would like to have you. Do not disappoint us.” “Oh, I am brokenhearted woman. What can I do for you?” her aunt replied. Then she accepted their kind offer gratefully.
Khadijah mentioned a narration of the Prophet of Islam (S.A.W.) in this regard, which states. ‘A Muslim believer came to the Prophet (S.A.W.) and asked what he could do to please Allah. The Prophet (S.A.W.) asked him if he had a mother, and the man said: “No”. Then the Prophet (S.A.W.) asked if he had an aunt, and he answered “Yes”. The Prophet (S.A.W.) recommended that he should look after her and love her because she had the same position as a mother’. The aunt feared that she would be a burden to them. But Khadijah’s husband said, “Please do not say such a thing. I lost my mother too early in life to enjoy her love and care. Perhaps Allah has sent you to make up for that loss. You can live with us and you can receive your son and daughter whenever you like. Khadijah’s mother who was seated nearby said, “They are quite serious about wanting you to live with them. I would be very happy to know that you are near my daughter.”
The aunt moved to her new home and was comfortable and at ease for the first time in her life. She never felt like an intruder, and accompanied Khadijah when she attended religious meetings. The aunt benefited very much from these meetings and enhanced her religious knowledge. She compared Khadijah’s happy marriage to her daughter’s life, which was full of quarrels resulting from jealousy, selfishness and indifference. She could easily differentiate between the normal, healthy life of her niece and the disturbed, unnatural one of her daughter. She could do nothing but pray to Allah to guide her daughter and son to the right path. Early one morning a few months later, the doorbell rang continuously, and Khadijah hurried to open it.
She was surprised to see her cousin standing at the door carrying her child in her arms. Her eyes were black and she looked pale. Khadijah welcomed her cousin and took her to her mother’s room. The mother was surprised to see her daughter, and she rushed towards her to take her in her arms. She thought that her daughter longed to see her and she had regretted her past behavior. But her daughter sat down on the nearest chair without the faintest idea of her mother’s feelings. The daughter said, “My husband has turned me out of our house, as if I were a piece of used furniture that could be replaced.” Her mother’s face grew pale and she said, “He turned you out? When? How?” Her daughter replied, “Oh mother. You know how he is. He returns home late every evening quite drunk. He throws himself on the bed dead with sleep. When I object to his behavior, he reminds me of our deal that we should respect each other’s freedom. I can do nothing but keep silent, since this idea of freedom was my wish from the beginning. But things have grown worse recently. He has started to help himself to my salary and deprived me of my rights in my house. “Yesterday, he said he would no longer tolerate the chains of marriage and made me leave my own home. I spent the night in the garden. I have nowhere to go! My only brother won’t allow me to stay in his house. I have none to turn to but you.” Her mother did not know what to say. She thought her niece was kind enough to have her in her house. Could she bring someone else to live with her? It was too much a favor to ask.
Khadijah, who had heard everything, knew of her aunt’s hidden suffering. She decided to save her the trouble. She told her cousin, “You have done the correct thing by coming to your mother. She will be happy to have you with her until things get better.” The distraught young woman thanked her cousin for her kind help and said, “Oh, how grateful I am to you, Khadijah! You have been so kind to my mother. Now you are doing me a great favor.” Khadijah smiled and said, “Oh, don’t say such things. You should consider this house as your own.” The aunt was so moved that she rushed to Khadijah and kissed her.
She said, “How wonderful you are, my dear! What great faith you have.” Khadijah whispered into her ear, “Please aunt, tell your daughter to wear her hijab as long as she is in our house.” The aunt answered immediately, “Oh, yes, I have already decided to do so.” She settled herself near her daughter and said, “I have never felt such comfort in my life as I feel here. I have found in your cousin Khadijah and her husband love and care that I never found in you and your brother. You are my own children, but you showed ingratitude towards me, while my niece and her husband flood me with kind feelings. I wish you knew the reason.” She was silent for a while.
Then her daughter said, “Oh, mother, surely it is faith in Allah and His Pleasure that dominates their life, while we lack such faith.” “Praise is due to Allah the Almighty that you have realized the truth by yourself,” said her mother. “Therefore, you should start to show regret for the past and return to religion by first wearing hijab.” The daughter looked down at the floor and was silent. Then Khadijah said, “I think she has found out what happens when one neglects one’s religion. She now feels the importance of Islamic ethics.” Her cousin looked up at her and said, “You are right, Khadijah. I am tired of this life of pretence. I need someone to lead me and teach me true faith and real salvation with no submission to other’s wishes and desires. But I can not help wondering what people will say about me.” Khadijah replied, “You always tried to please people in the past, which made you their slave. You have gained nothing from that but false happiness. You have wasted years, running the wrong way.
Now, it is time for you to come back to your religion and understand Islamic values in order to gain happiness in this life and the Hereafter.” “Will Allah accept’ my repentance after years of deviation?” her cousin asked. “Yes, of course, Allah loves those who repent and hates those who insist on doing wrong.” Then Khadijah recited the Qur’anic verse: “Do they know that Allah accepts repentance from His servants and takes alms, and that Allah is All Compassionate? Say: Work and Allah will see your (good) work and so will His Apostle and the believers.” (Baraat, verses 104-105) The cousin spent a few weeks with her mother. She was greatly effected by Khadijah’s strong faith. Khadijah did her best to help her, and she gave her some Islamic books, which she read and discussed. Eventually Khadijah’s cousin became a good Muslim, and she knew she could no longer live with a man addicted to drinking and gambling. She filed for a divorce, and gave up all her rights to her home in return for keeping her only child, so as to raise him to be a good believer.
The Mutual Consultation Among the Crowd
It goes as:
A lion who held all the beasts of the surrounding in subjection, and was always in the habit of making raids upon them to snap and kill any of them as he required for his daily food. It lasted vey long until the beasts took counsel together and all agreed to deliver him one of their company each day. They thought that it would satisfy the lion’s hunger, and as a result, he would cease to harm them by his continual attacks.
The lion was at first unwilling to trust them and seemed not to believe such words-thus he went on by remarking that he would prefer to rely on his effort. But, by being serious on their decision, the beasts succeeded in persuading him that he would do well to trust them and accept the free offerings.
Having carried the suggestion, the beasts continued for sometime to perform their engagement-sending each day a certain friend of theirs to the lion to devour.
Once it happened to be the turn of a hare to be delivered up as a victim to the lion; but before long he requested the others to let him practise device. The friends mocked him, asking how such a silly beast as he could pretend to outwit the lion. The hare assured them that the wisdom only belonged to Allah, and that was He who might choose weak things to confound the strong. In the end they consented to let him try his luck.
The hare took slowly his way to the lion, and found him roaring in anger. In excuse for his being late he invented that he along with another hare had set out together to appear before the lion, but a strange strong lion had seized the next hare and carried him off into his resting place in a ditch. On hearing the pitiful remarks of the hare the lion was exceeding wroth, and commanded the hare to show him the foe who had trespassed on his area. Pretending to be afraid of the second lion, the hare got on the present lion to ride to the destiny upon his back, and directed him to a well. On looking down the well, the lion saw in the water the reflection of himself and of the hare on his back. Quite in rage, he thought that it was the strong enemy of his with the stolen hare, he plunged down into the well to attack him.
From that moment, not only the hare, but all his beast-friends were released by their wise consulation – which is based on Surah Shura,Ayah 38 ofthe Holy Qur’an:”who(conduct) Their affairs by mutual Consultation;”
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