Childrens Column Content for January 2015 YMD

The Qur’an for Young Hearts – 56

Important Notes

1:The translation of the Qur’an being presented here is interpretative. It is meant for children. Those who can understand other translations should better consult them.

2. Parents are advised to hold sessions at home and teach the verses and explanation as given here, and, if they can, add more from Qur’anic commentaries.

3. Answers to exercise below may be attempted. Parents may evaluate them and reward the children suitably.

4. Schools could also include this in their Islamic curriculum.

5. The underlined words have been explained in the Dictionary given below.

Verses from Surah No. 2, Al-Baqarah

[198] And, there is no sin upon you that you should seek your Lord’s favor.

And, when you have goneforward from ‘Arafat, remember Allah much at Mash’ar al‑Haraam (Muzdalifah). Remember Him in the manner He has asked you. Indeed, you were earlier among those unguided.

[199] Then, go forward from where the (common) people goforward and ask Allah’s forgiveness. Verily Allah is Very forgiving, Very Kind.

[200] And then, when you have completed your rites, remember Allah as you were used to remembering your forefathers, or a stronger remembering. And, among the people are some who pray: ‘O Allah! Give us our due in this world itself.’ There is no share for such (of them) in the Hereafter.

[201] While there are some among them who pray: ‘O Allah! Give us of the good things in this world and of the good things in the Next life, and save us from punishment of the Fire.’

[202] For these (people) there are their rewards in accordance with what they earn. And Allah is fast in taking accounts.

 

Summary of meaning:

The discussion about Hajj goes on: Some people thought that they could not do any business during Hajj. Of course, to go to Hajj basically to do business is not allowed. But if somebody does a little business during matter, it does not matter. For example, if somebody is wearing a watch. Someone says to him during Hajj, “Ah, that is a beautiful watch. Do you think you can sell it to me?” Now, if he sells it off to him, then that is allowed. After all, he has not come to Makkah only for doing business. This is what the verse 198 is saying. It tells us to seek Allah’s favor, that is, do some business if you will, seeking favor from Allah in the form of profits from business. If Allah’s favor is not there, you may make a loss in any business dealing during or after Hajj.

Next instruction says thatyou start your Hajj from a place called `Arafaat. It is about 15 km from Makkah, is a plain land and has a mountain called Mount `Arafaat. There a pilgrim is required to stay until sunset, busy in prayers and supplications, on the 9th of Dhu al-Hijjah, the 12th Islamic month. One should stay there anytime between sunrise and sunset, at least for a few minutes.

The verse is instructing him to go down next to a place called Muzdalifah after sunset. It is closer to Makkah and is also called as Mash`aril Haraam. This place is about 5 km from `Arafaat towards Makkah and so, about 10 km from Makkah. The pilgrim spends his night, engaged, as much as possible in prayers and supplications.

This was Phase-2 of the Hajj.

One issue: In those times, the pagans of Makkah were divided into tribes. The tribe of Qurayshconsidered itself as a supermen. So, when everyone went up to `Arafaat to start their Hajj from there, the Qurayshsaid that since they were a special people, they would not start Hajj from `Arafaat. They started their Hajj from Muzdalifah itself. So, Allah instructed in verse 199 that there is no special place for anyone in Islam; they must also start their Hajj from `Arafaat, just as the common people do. In other words, they should become one with the commoners.

Note: Muzdalifah is the place’s name; whereas Mash`ar al-Haraam is the religiously honored name for the same place.

Verse No. 200: Where do you go next? What do you there? What are the Hajj rites (or acts)? The answer comes from Hadith. The pilgrims go to Mina by the morning of 10th of Dhu al-Hijjah. There, they should throw 7 pebbles at Jamarah al-Kubra (the Great Shaytan), which is one of the three places where Shaytan tried to prevent Ibrahim from slaughtering his son Isma`il (peace on them both) for the sake of Allah’s command, some 3000 years ago. After that one should offer a sacrifice (e.g. a goat) shave his head or cut hair short, after which he could remove his Ihram. To complete the Hajj, he has to stay in Mina, for at least two more days on 11th and 12th of Dhu al-Hijjah.

Mina is about 3 km closer to Makkah than Muzdalifah, that is, about 7 km from Makkah.

Now what the pagan Arabs would do in Mina is to gather together after the Hajj activities, and recite poetry; and also make mention of their grandfathers, great grandfathers, uncles of the past, and so on, remembering how great they were. Verse 200 also instructs the pilgrims not to do these things but, in place, remember Allah much. In fact you should remember Allah more than you used to remember your dead men of the past.

Also, if the pagans supplicated at all at Mina, they would ask for all good things to be given to them in this world alone. O.K. they might get some good things in this world, if they worked for it, but they will get nothing in the Next life.

We are instructed in verse 201 to ask good things of this world and good things of the Hereafter. Good things of this world are Eemaan, understanding of the Qur’an, love of the Prophet, making the Hereafter the aim of this life, an easy life on this earth, and avoidance of all evil.

Verse 202: If someone has only this life in his mind, and keeps asking for it, he may not be givenall that he asks. But, if he asks for good things of both the worlds, and then works for it during the rest of his life during and after Hajj, then, he is sure to be given good rewards. And the good rewards are quick to come after his death, because Allah will settle his account quickly on the Day of Judgment.

Exercise:

  1. Can you mention in points the things to be done from 9th to 12th of Dhu al-Hijjah?
  2. Can somebody go to Hajj, with the intention to do business through and through during Hajj?
  3. Can you name a few Hajj rites?
  4. Why does a pilgrim throw stones at Jamaraat?
  5. Can you mention the verse saying that to get good things in this life and Next you have to work for them?
  6. List what were the wrong things that the Quraysh did during pre-Islamic Hajj.
  7. Can you name a few good things of this life that you should pray for?
  8. When you earn profit in business, is it because of Allah’s favor, or your cleverness?
  9. For how many days in the least, does a pilgrim stay in Mina?
  10. Mention how far Mina, Muzdalifah and `Arafaat are from Makkah.
  11. Why does the pilgrim throw stones at Jamaraat?

Dictionary:

Rites: Acts of worship, especially of Hajj.
Forefathers:  Those who came before the fathers.
Ihram: For men, two unstitched pieces of cloth of any color, for women any dress.

(To be continued)

Inspiring Story

We Are Never Alone

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth’s rite of passage?

His father takes him into the forest… blindfolded… and leaves him… alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night… and not take off the blindfold until the ray of sun shines through it. He is all by himself. He cannot cry out for help to anyone.

Once he survives the night… he is a MAN. He cannot tell the other boys of this experience. Each boy must come into his own manhood.

The boy was terrified… could hear all kinds of noise… Beasts were all around him. Maybe even some human would hurt him. The wind blew the grass and earth… and it shook his stump. But he sat stoically… never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could be a man.

Finally, after a horrific night… the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he saw his father… sitting on the stump next to him… at watch… the entire night.

We are never truly alone. Even when we do not know it, like the Cherokee Indian youth’s father, Allah (swt) is watching out for us… sitting on a stump beside us. The only thing we need to see Him is eyes in our heart.

‘Allah is the friend of the believers, He takes them out of darkness into light…’ (Surah Baqarah: 257)

[Courtesy: Source: http://www.rogerdarlington.me.uk/stories.html#Story63]

Zaki and the Spider

Zaki was lying in the garden reading a book. His eyes strayed from the book he was reading, and as he looked around he saw a spider’s web on the branch of a tree. He got up and went up to the spider’s web which he began examining with interest. The spider, which was near the web, then spoke to him.

“Hello, friend!” it said in a tiny voice.

“Hello,” replied Zaki, who was always very polite. “This web you have made is very interesting. How do you make one like this?”

The spider took a deep breath and began to explain: “I start by finding the right place for it. It must be in a corner or between two nearby objects. Let me explain how I make a web between two tree branches. First I fix the thread tightly to one end of the branch. Then I go to the other end while continuing to produce thread. When I reach the right distance I stop producing that thread. Then I begin to pull the thread back towards myself until it is tight and I fix it where I am. Then I begin to weave the web inside the arc I have thus made.”

Zaki thought for a moment: “I’d never be able to do such a thing as fixing a string tightly between two walls. Isn’t it difficult to keep the thread tight?”

The spider smiled at him “Let me explain how I solve the problem. Sometimes I make a web between two branches that are a long way from each other. Because such webs are very big, they are also really good at trapping flies. But because the web is big it loses its tightness over time. That also reduces my success in catching flies. I go to the center of the web and I fix a thread that reaches down to the ground. I attach a small stone to the thread near the ground. Then I return to the web and try to pull the thread upwards from where the stone is. While the stone is in the air I fix the thread again tightly to the middle of the web. As a result, because the stone below the center is pulling it downwards, the web tightens up again. That’s all there is to it!”

“What a great method!” said Zaki, who was really impressed. “How did you learn such a technique, and how do you use it so well ? Spiders must have been doing this for millions of years…”

“You’re right, my friend,” agreed the spider. “It would be stupid to think that we have enough intelligence of our own to manage this. It is Allah, Who owns and creates everything, Who gives me the skill to use this technique.”

“Don’t forget, Zaki,” the spider went on to remind him: “For Allah everything is very easy. Allah has the power to create an infinite variety of living things and places.”

“Thank you for what you’ve told me,” said Zaki, who was a very polite little boy. “I will now understand rather better how powerful Allah is and what superior knowledge He has every time I see the living things He created, and their flawless features.”

Amazing Facts about Spiders

  • Spiders are arachnids, not insects.
  • Other members of the arachnid family include scorpions, mites, ticks and harvestmen.
  • Spiders have 8 legs while insects have 6.
  • Spiders don’t have antennae while insects do.
  • Spiders are found on every continent of the world except Antarctica.
  • There are around 40000 different species of spider.
  • Most spiders make silk which they use to create spider webs and capture prey.
  • Abandoned spider webs are called cobwebs.
  • Most spiders are harmless to humans but a few spider species, such as the black widow, can bite humans and inject venom. Deaths from spider bites are rare however.
  • An abnormal fear of spiders is called ‘arachnophobia’.
  • Tarantulas are large and often hairy spiders, the biggest species have been known to kill mice, lizards and birds.
  • Most tarantula species pose no threat to humans.
  • The largest specie of tarantula is the Goliath Birdeater.
  • Giant Huntsman spiders have leg-spans of around 30cm (12 in).