Children’s Column – June 2016

The Qur’an for Young Hearts – 74

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

[261] The likeness of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is as the likeness of a grain which brought forth seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains. And Allah grants increase to whom He wills. Allah is All‑embracing, All‑knowing.

[262] Those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah and then follow not what they have spent with taunts and injury: for such is their reward with their Lord. They shall have nothing to fear nor shall they grieve.

[263] A good word and forgiveness is better than that charity which is followed by injury. And Allah is All‑sufficient, Forbearing.

[264] Believers! Do not destroy your charity with taunts and injury as one who spends his wealth to show off to the people, believing neither in Allah nor in the Day of Judgment. The likeness of him is as like the likeness of a smooth rock on which is (a thin coat of) soil. When heavy rains fell upon it, it left it hard and bare. They have no power over anything of what they earned. And Allah guides not an ungrateful people.

Understanding these verses:

The Surah is coming to an end. Now, a man is between his Lord and His creations. As Allah has his rights, so have human beings. Allah’s right is that He alone be worshipped, and He alone be obeyed. If that is properly done, a man begins to love Allah. This love is the font from which all other loves spring forth.

But man is not alone in his little world. He has parents, brothers, sisters, kinsfolk, neighbors and many he deals with. If he falls in a hole, the street people rush to lift him up. If he staggers into a bus out of weakness due to sickness or old age, people rise up and give him their seats.When he is a child, when he is free of sins, and full of innocence, everyone loves him. If rioters attack his house, they ring up the police to come and save him. When he dies everyone is sad to hear. So, in many ways he is one of them. He belongs to them. In return they have rights on him. More.According to Islam, they are – Hindus, Christians, atheists – his brothers in humanity. Their father was one: Adam – peace be upon our father.

So, a man must repay and do the peoplegood. How? Well, in any and every possible way. But the easiest is to help with money. He must start with the nearest by blood and distance. His poor cousin, or the neighbor (of any religion) have greater rights on him than people of the next town.

Sharing the wealth is the best way of helping other people. One may save a little for hard days, but the rest should be spent: on the poorest, the widows, orphans, freeing the neck of men from debts, in Jihad, etc. Allah is in the service of those who are in the service of the people.

Allah bestows, but never taunts those whom He bestows, that is, does not remind them of His giving. A great many do not even say thanks to Him. They take from Allah, and thank false gods. But Allah still gives them. So also, His servants should give people, but never taunt them. They do not say, “Are you not the one I helped in the past?” This is taunting; and this destroys charity.

Allah rewards for charity given for His sake. But if those who receive are taunted, then He does not accept the charity and does not reward. All giving should be to please Him. All such giving is in the ‘way of Allah.’

If you try to please other than Allah, Allah lets you please them. They may be pleased, or may not be pleased. But then you are disconnected from Allah, and your charity goes into the air.

Charity has uncountable result on he who spends, on the society of men, and mankind in general. Most of all, it unites the people in joy and grief. It creates love and trust between people. It creates harmony and removes disunity and discord. It has seven hundred effects. Allah approves of this. He multiplies the reward seven-hundred fold, some appearing here, others appearing in the Hereafter.

Spent for show-off, it is like rain on a stony ground. All that happens is that the dust collected over a year is washed off. Bare, shiny stones appear. No fruit trees sprout up. And the man reaps no advantage, no reward. And, there is no power other than Allah, to bring him benefits of his charity.

Thus the Surahis coming to an end with the mention of the most important element of Islam, after the Kalimah, that is, sharing one’s wealth with others. Spending in the right causes is also one’s test; does he have trust and faith in Allah, or in the money he has stored?

(To be continued)


Islam in Practice

 

Today, my 8-year-old son hugged me and said, “You are the best mom in the whole entire world!”  I smiled and sarcastically replied, “How do you know that?  You haven’t met every mom in the whole entire world.”  My son squeezed me tighter and said, “Yes I have.  You are my world.”

*******

Today, as I pulled into my apartment complex, I noticed my neighbor, who’s about eight months pregnant, struggling with her groceries.  I stopped and helped her bring them up the stairs into her apartment. This evening, when I got home from the gym I found a freshly baked apple pie sealed in Tupperware sitting on my doorstep with a note that said, “I used the ingredients you helped me carry to bake this.  Enjoy!”

******

Today, when I opened my store at 5AM, there was an envelope sitting on the floor by the door.  In the envelope was $600 and a note that said, “Five years ago, I broke into your store at night and stole $300 worth of food.  I’m sorry.  I was desperate.  Here’s the money with $300 added for inflation.”  Interestingly, I never reported the incident to the cops because I assumed that whoever stole the food really needed it.


Did You Know…?

 

– 67 million pounds of pesticides and about three million tons of fertilizer are used annually on lawns in the US.

– A single share of Coca-Cola stock, purchased in 1919, when the company went public, would have been worth $92,500 in 1997.

– Americans consume 29 billion, or 58%, of the 50 billion aspirin tablets which are taken worldwide each year.

– Americans spend more than $5 billion a year on cosmetics, toiletries, beauty parlors and barber shops.

– Americans spent over $360 million in 1982 to avoid having bad breath.

– Bayer was advertising cough medicine containing heroin in 1898.

– Britain’s first escalator was installed in Harrods in 1878.

– Carbonated soda water was invented in 1767 by Joseph Priestley, the discoverer of oxygen.

– Coca-Cola was so named back in 1885 for its two ‘medicinal’ ingredients: extract of coca leaves and kola nuts. As for how much cocaine was originally in the formulation, it’s hard to know.

-Cocaine was sold to cure sore throat, neuralgia, nervousness, headache, colds and sleeplessness in the 1880s.


Ant Facts

 

~ In Peru, one researcher reported seeing 43 species of ants on a SINGLE TREE.1

~ Some researchers believe that 30% of the animal biomass of the Amazon Basin is made up of ants.

~ A single ant colony can include over five million busy members – soldiers and workers (undeveloped females; never have wings; cannot mate), males (can mate with the queen), and the queen.

~ Her majesty is one busy bug, laying up to 100-million eggs a day! She only needs to mate once in her lifetime to be able to produce at least fifteen years of eggs.2

~ Although she is called a “Queen,” she is more of an egg-factory than a leader. Somehow, the Creator has designed ants to be highly efficient and organized as a group without a leader.

~ ‘Argentine ants’ keep herds of ‘cows’ (plant lice). ‘Leaf-cutter ants’ run ‘farms,’ raising their own food crops. The Mediterranean ant (aphaenogasterbarbarus) makes ‘biscuits’ from seeds.

~ ‘Honey ants’ store their food in living ‘storage tanks.’‘Amazon ants’ have slaves to help with the work.3

~ Ants have a communication ‘language,’ and each colony member has a task, working together to keep the colony fed, safe and healthy.

~ Ants carry on complex social organizations, building projects, and communications. Many groups of animals depend on leaders. Even herds of wild horses or packs of wolves require leaders. But ants are different.

~ What an amazing Creator we have! Somehow He managed to pack all these complexities into an extremely tiny body and an even tinier speck of a brain. Compare this task to trying to develop a self-powered, fully-independent robot as small as the tiniest ant – and with ALL the ants fantastic abilities. What an impossibly difficult job!

~ There are thousands of species of ants. Ants from the time of the dinosaurs have been preserved in amber. They are identical to those living today. The fossil record shows that they have not evolved from other insects; ants have always been ants.

~ Ants love heat; so we find the greatest numbers in types in the tropics. They come in various colors – red, black, brown, red-and-black, or yellow.

~ Some ants squirt a stinky fluid at their enemies. The most dangerous and aggressive ants are ‘army ants’ (they’re blind), ‘driver ants’ (from Africa), ‘fire ants’ and the various stinging ants. Driver ants have reportedly killed a wounded elephant and stripped its bones clean. Masses of army ants are clever enough to cross rivers.

~ ‘Leaf-cutter ants’ are fascinating to watch as they cut and carry leaves far bigger than themselves from the tops of tall trees down to their ‘farms.’

[Courtesy: Paul and Heather Taylor, Eden Communications]

 

REFERENCES:

  1. Edward Osborne Wilson, The Diversity of Life (W W Norton & Co).
  2. William Steel Creighton, “Ants,” Encyclopedia Britannica.
  3. Fred John Meladu, Why We Believe in Creation, Not in Evolution (Denver, CO: Christian Victory Publishing Co.)

Easy Way to Paradise

 

Assalamualaikum..!” I began excitedly to speak with a new friend over the phone. “Wa `alaykum… [sigh]… assalam[apathetic sigh],” was the reply. Subhan’Allah (Glory to God), I thought. I’m so excited to speak with her, but she seems quite bored or exhausted. Did she have a bad day? Did I do something wrong? Does she not want to speak with me?

After becoming more acquainted with her, I realized that her reply had nothing to do with me or her day; she just naturally is an extremely calm and composed person.This realization was empowering; it meant that her lack of visible or audible enthusiasm had nothing to do with me; I didn’t have to take it personally. I could keep calling. However, not everyone has this realization – especially when it goes down in the masjid (mosque).

How many of us have entered a masjid, for the first time, or the hundredth time and found not a single friendly face? How many of us have tried to say Salaam (the greeting of peace) to someone passing by us in the prayer hall, only to be ignored, stared down or receive in reply a hasty, apathetic Salaam? How many of us have felt that we never wanted to return to that particular masjid because of all the unfriendly faces?

The Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) has told us: “O People! Spread salaam, feed the hungry, be in touch with your kin, and pray while people are asleep (at night) you shall enter paradise peacefully.” When he ﷺ was asked about the best actions and he replied: “Feeding the hungry, and saying salaam to those you know and those you don’t know.”

Remember that time when someone you didn’t know was walking towards you with this enormous smile… and then continued to walk right past you as they enthusiastically greeted the person right behind you? Imagine if you had been greeted in that way… especially if you did not even know the person. And then, upon questioning, if you knew the person, he or she replied, “You’re my brother/sister in Islam!” How would that make you feel? Welcomed? Special? Accepted? Imagine the reward of that person who would make you feel like you belong.

We constantly call for unity in our communities. We call to be united against oppression globally but what are we doing to help create bonds of unity with those in our own localities? What are we doing to help strengthen our relationships so that we’ll insha’Allah (God willing) be united in calling for justice?

Read the wisdom of the Prophet ﷺ: “You will not enter paradise until you believe, and you will not believe until you love one another: spread salaam (the greeting of peace) among you.” Loving one another is linked with saying Salaam! If we really want to feel united in order to help our Ummah (Muslim community) – let us begin where the Prophet ﷺ has instructed us – let us spread the Salaam!

Additionally, giving the Salaams and meeting fellow believers can be a means of having our sins forgiven! This Ramadan, in addition to all that cheek-kissing we do, let’s seek to establish a blessed Sunnah (traditions and practices of the Prophet ﷺ) – one through which, our sins will,insha’Allah, be forgiven.

The Prophet ﷺ has told us, “When two Muslims meet (give salaam), and shake hands, they are forgiven their sins before they part (with each other).”

Observe yourself next time you meet someone and you automatically go for the hugging and cheek-kiss thing (1…2…3…4…7 times? Everyone does it differently!). Do you ever shake hands? In addition to exuding all that physical love, let’s begin to clasp hands, hoping that with the connection of our hands will be the obliteration of our sins.

Finally, while spreading the Salaam, it’s important to be aware of an important Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence) ruling which accompanies the blessed greeting. Allah tells us, “And when you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally.” (Qur’an, 4:86)

We should, at minimum, return the greeting with it’s like or give them an even better greeting.

It is Wajib (an obligation) to respond to someone who has greeted you, and it is a blessed Sunnah to start the greeting. The Prophet ﷺ has even told us: “The person closest to Allah is the one who precedes others in greeting.”

Who knows who is closest to Allah other than Allah (subhanahuwata’ala)? Let’s race to be amongst those closest! Let us try to be the first ones to say Salaam!

This Ramadan, let us, by Allah’s Mercy, be the ones who help people feel like they want to RUSH back to the masjid because they feel like it is truly their home.

Let us smile, shake hands, and spread sincere and warm Salaams to all that we see! May Allah make it a means, by His Mercy, of allowing us to enter Jannah bi-Salaam (Paradise with peace).

[Courtesy: Suhaibwebb.com]