Children’s Column

The Tree and Gold Coin

There was a pious man among the Bani Israel who always remained busy in the worship of Allah (swt). A group of people came to him and told him that a tribe living nearby worshipped a tree. The news upset him, and with an axe on his shoulder he went to cut down that tree.

On the way, Satan met him in the form of an old man and asked him where he was going. He said he was going to cut a particular tree. Satan said, “You have nothing to be concerned with this tree, you better mind your worship and do not give it up for the sake of something that does not concern you.”

“This is also worship,” retorted the worshipper.

Then Satan tried to prevent him from cutting the tree, and there followed a fight between the two, in which the worshipper overpowered the Satan. Finding himself completely helpless, Satan begged to be excused, and when the worshipper released him, he again said, “Allah has not made the cutting of this tree obligatory on you. You do not lose anything if you do not cut it. If its cutting were necessary, Allah could have got it done through one of his many Prophets.”

The worshipper insisted on cutting the tree. There was again a fight between the two and again the worshipper overpowered the Satan. “Well, listen,” said Satan, “I propose a settlement that will be to your advantage.”

The worshipper agreed, and Satan said, “You are a poor man, a mere burden on this earth. If you stay away from this act, I will pay you three gold coins everyday. You will daily find them lying under your pillow. By this money you can fulfil your own needs, can oblige your relative, help the needy, and do so many other virtuous things. Cutting the tree will be only one virtue, which will ultimately be of no use because the people will grow another tree.”

This proposal appealed to the worshipper, and he accepted it. He found the money on two successive days, but on the third day there was nothing. He got enraged, picked up his axe and went to cut the tree.

Satan as an old man again met him on the way and asked him where he was going. “To cut the tree,” shouted the worshipper.

“I will not let you do it,” said Satan.

A fight took place between the two again, but this time, Satan had the upper hand and overpowered the worshipper. The latter was surprised at his own defeat, and asked the former the cause of his success.

Satan replied, “At first, your anger was purely for earning the pleasure of Allah, and therefore Almighty Allah helped you to overpower me, but now it has been partly for the sake of the gold coins and therefore you lost.”

Source: From the book ‘Ihyaa’-ulUloomUdDeen,’ by Imam Ghazzali (ra)

Did You Know That…?

  • A 1,200-pound horse eats about seven times its own weight each year.
  • A bird requires more food in proportion to its size than a baby or a cat.
  • A capon is a castrated rooster.
  • A chameleon can move its eyes in two directions at the same time.
  • A chameleon’s tongue is twice the length of its body.
  • A chimpanzee can learn to recognize itself in a mirror, but monkeys can’t.
  • A Cornish game hen is really a young chicken, usually 5-6 weeks of age, that weighs no more than two pounds.
  • A cow gives nearly 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime.
  • At birth baby blue whales seven tons. They are not the only fastest growing living thing on earth, they are also the loudest capable of reaching 188 decibels-audible hundreds of miles away.
  • Polar bears have been known to swim for 60 miles without a break. They might look white but their skin is black. And they are their only mammals with fur on the souls of their feet (good for ice traction).
  • Ferrets are a popular pet and are generally friendly with humans but more people are attacked annually than by grizzly bears.
  • Blind chameleons will still change colour to match their surroundings.
  • Kiwis are blind and are the only birds who hunt using smell. They also have the largest eggs in proportion to their body.
  • Peregrine falcons can spot prey from over 8 kms away.
  • Bluebottle flies can smell meat from over 7 kms away.
  • Vultures sometimes eat so much they become too heavy to take off and fly away.
  • A hippo can open its mouth wide enough to fit a standing four-feet tall child.
  • When a giraffe is born it falls six feet to the earth without getting hurt.
  • Many apes like humans also experience male baldness patterns.

Excerpts from Imam Ghazali’s Ten Principles (for Those Seeking the Path of Allah)

 

Principle One:

Have a sincere, unwavering intention. Prophet Muhammad (saws) said, “Each person will be rewarded for what he intended” (Muslim). This calls for determination in the heart to continuously act or to abstain from something only for God’s sake. A sign of having sincere intentions is that one does not change his resolve for fleeting reasons; what is done for God, the Truth, should not be forsaken to please His creation.

Principle Two:

Work purely for God, (the One) without partners or associates. Prophet Muhammad (saws) said: “Worship God as though you see Him, but if you do not see Him (know that) He sees you” (Muslim). A sign of working purely for God is to not accept anything except the truth, and to see everything else besides the truth as vain and fleeting. As the prophet (saws) said, “Let the slave of the dinar perish” (Bukhari). One should also beware of falling into doubtful matters. As Prophet Muhammad (saws): “Leave what is doubtful for what is not doubtful.” (Tirmidhi and Nasa’i)

Principle Three:

Align one’s desires with the guidelines and rulings of the Shari`ah (Islamic law). Be patient in times of hardship and difficulty, when struggling with personal desires, and in avoiding sinful acts and pleasures. Whoever practices this regularly reaches a state whereby he is in his sleep as if he were awake [worshipping], in his mixing with people as if he were in seclusion, in his fulfillment as if he were hungry, in his pride as if he were humiliated, and in talking to others as if he were silent.

Principle Four:

Base one’s actions on following [the Prophet’s way and scholarly opinions], and not on innovation. This prevents the following of one’s own desires and becoming proud of one’s own opinion. Surely, a person who takes himself as his own ruler will not succeed.

Principe Five:

Have high ambitions, and do not procrastinate. It is said: “Do not leave today’s work until tomorrow,” because actions are built on each another; and whoever is content with a lower [status] will be deprived of a higher one.

Principle Six:

Be aware of one’s incapability and insignificance. This is not referring to laziness in worship or lack of productivity in work. It is about realizing that one is not capable of doing any action without support from God, the Most Capable, and Most Generous. This awareness is also manifested in viewing other people with respect and reverence, for people are means and helpers of one another on the path to God, the Exalted and Most Bountiful.

Principle Seven:

Have fear and hope, and do not be sure that your good deeds are accepted until you have witnessed this [on the Day of Judgment]. One should have hope not because of the good deeds themselves, but because God Himself is the Most Benevolent and Generous.

Principle Eight:

Be consistent in one’s Wird (regular litany of worship), for the one without a Wird does not have additional source of support from God. With a Wird, the soul opens up in public and private; it becomes more mindful of the rights of others; it increases in loving and hating for others what it loves or hates for itself. Also, having that Wirdmakes one work more for God in order to please Him, just as a person would love that God does for him what he finds pleasing.

Principle Nine:

Be constantly observant of your actions and do not stray away from the remembrance of God even the blink of an eye. For the one who is always observant of his heart for the sake of God, and does not let other than God enter his heart besides, is one who has truly found God, experienced His Benevolence, and has reached ‘ilm al-Yaqeen (certain knowledge). This is manifested in seeing God as the Enabler or Mover of everything that remains still or in motion around us. One’s mindfulness then increases from there until he recognizes that God is the Sustainer of everything, so His interaction with the creation is characterized by the best of manners. (Exemplifying this), the Prophet (saws) said: “My Lord taught me good manners, and He gave me the best of manners.”

Principle Ten:

Know what one should be occupied with, both internally and externally for whoever thinks that he is not in need of obeying [God and His messenger] is a broke man who is in opposition to God’s words: “…Say ‘If you love Allah, then follow me, Allah will love you’ ”(Qur’an 3:31). This is the foundation upon which have been built castles like no other.

Qur’an Quiz

In the Qur’an,which is…

  1. The longest Surah?
  1. The best drink?
  1. The best Food?
  1. The greatest Ayah?
  1. The longest Ayah?
  1. The Shortest Ayah?
  1. The longest word?
  1. The smallest animal?
  1. The largest number mentioned in Quran?
  1. The least letter used in Quran?

 

Answers:

  1. Baqarah,
  2. Milk
  3. Honey
  4. Ayat al-Kursi, (Baqarah: 255),
  5. Ayat ad-Dayan,(Baqarah: 282),
  6. ThummaNazar (Mudassir:21),
  7. Fayasyakfeekahum (Baqarah: 137),
  8. Mosquito,
  9. Hundred Thousand,
  10. Letter Zaaas in Zulm

Quiz on the Human Body

 

  1. Where is the jugular vein located in the body? [Thigh, Neck, Head, Palm]
  1. What regulates the temperature of the human body? [Heart, Blood, Skin, Pineal Gland]
  1. Which part of the human digestive system can be removed if it gets chronically inflamed or diseased? [Appendicitis, Spleen, Pancreas, Colon]
  1. When does a baby grow fastest in its mother’s womb? [First Three Months, First Three Weeks, Last Three Weeks, Last three months]
  1. What is the average life span of red blood cells? [110-120 days, 100-110 days, 70-80 days, 80-90 days].
  1. What is the average blood pressure in a human being? [100-120mm, 80-140mm, 60-100mm, 80-120mm]
  1. How many muscles of the face are used in smiling? [17, 27, 37, 47]
  1. What percentage of bones make up the entire body weight? [24%, 12%,36%, 48%]
  1. What is the average life expectancy of an Indian male? [71 years, 61 years, 51years and 41 years]
  1. How high is the sound of human speech? [20 decibels, 30-60 decibels, 70-90 decibels, 40 decibels].

 

Answers:

(Ans:1.Neck, 2.Blood,3.Appendicitis, 4.Last Three Months, 5.110-120 days, 6.80-120mm, 7. 17, 8. 12%,9. 41 years,10. 30-60 decibels)