Children’s Column

The Dog and the Pelican

Once upon a time, a dog invited a pelican over for tea at his house. The dog had prepared a variety of dishes for the pelican. When the pelican arrived at the house of the dog, the dog served the food on a flat plate like his own.

The dog lapped his food up easily and had licked his plate clean in a matter of minutes but the poor pelican struggled very hard to eat from the plate as the food kept slipping here and there because of his big beak. After a few unsuccessful attempts he gave up trying.

The dog, instead of changing the plate or assisting the crane, was giggling to himself. The crane felt insulted and left the house in disgust.

At home, the pelican thought about teaching the dog a lesson. The next day, he invited the dog to his house. The dog was served food in a bottle. The pelican waited for the dog to start.

Bismillah,’ he said, ‘Let’s start!’

The dog tried its best to eat from the bottle, but failed in doing so. He first tried putting his mouth in the bottle but it was too big. Then he tried to push his tongue into the bottle but the food kept falling off it.

The dog felt embarrassed and insulted and was about to walk out in disgust when the pelican told him to wait. He ran into his kitchen and brought a little hammer and a plate.

The dog was perplexed. He placed the bottle in the plate and taking the hammer in his beak he swung it at the bottle. The bottle broke into a few pieces and the food fell into the plate.

Then he carefully removed the bits of glass and said, ‘Eat my friend, and remember that is how we should treat our guests.’

The dog felt ashamed and apologized to the pelican. Then they both had dinner in their respected ways and enjoyed the dinner.

Moral: Following the golden rule isn’t always easy, but then the right thing rarely is.


Poem for Young Hearts
Make Me A Moon Make Me A Sun

Mother, give me two rings;
I will make two things.’

‘Moon, I will from one;
From another, sun.’

‘Give me a glass,
In it, I will grow grass.’

‘Basin small I will take,
To make a little lake.’

‘With much joy,’
Said the little boy.

He thought, ‘But,
I must be nuts.’

‘How can I make
Sun, moon, lake?’

‘I must be mad,’
The boy said.

Some water, he got to drink;
And sat aside to think.

Who makes sunlight
The moon so bright?

Who can dig
Lakes so big?

In thought so seriously he sat,
Blank looking at.

Asked the worried mother:
‘What is the matter?’

Replied little boy,
‘I am thinking of my Creator!’

[Source: https://www.al-islam.org/bilal-s-bedtime-stories-a-h-sheriff-a-s-alloo/make-me-moon-make-me-sun]

 

Muslim Slaves: America’s First Muslims

With the rising Islamophobia, and the portrayal of Islam as a religion that is foreign to America, it is important for Muslims in the US to look back at the history of Muslims in this country.

The identity of slaves who came to America is rarely mentioned in the media, movies, or history books. Most of the time African slaves are simply portrayed as non-Christians and their religion is rarely identified. The beginning of Islam in America and its association with African slaves is yet to receive the attention that it deserves.

When we read about slaves in America, very little attention is given to who these slaves really were, what they believed, their morals and values. This is due to the fact that most who wrote about them were ignorant about such things themselves. Many historical works write about slavery from the master’s point of view. Such negligence in determining the culture and beliefs of slaves is very unfortunate given the fact that one of America’s most illustrious sons, Frederick Douglass, may have himself been a descendant of Muslims. [1]

We have limited material on the subject because the colonial and antebellum observers, who were ignorant of the Islamic faith, did not accurately record the religious and cultural expressions of the African slaves. However cumulative evidence does show that such observers were able to distinguish Muslim slaves from other slaves, but they had no interest to record detailed information about them.

Muslim slaves in America were quite significant in number, probably reaching into the thousands. Historian Michael Gomez points out that between 400,000 and 523,000 Africans came to America during the slave trade, at least 200,000 came from areas influenced by Islam, thus Muslims may have come to America in the thousands, if not tens of thousands. [2]

Many of the advertisements for runaway slaves had Muslim names on them even though they were rarely identified as such because their masters associated them with supply zones; however they were identified by name, place, or origin. Both of these sources tell us that these slaves were Muslim. Additionally, Muslim slaves made a genuine effort to practice and maintain their religious beliefs; they also educated fellow non-Muslim slaves about Islam, many of whom converted [3]

In the New World, African Muslim slaves were noted for their resistance to the institution of slavery. In Brazil, hundreds of African Muslim slaves planned and executed a major uprising in Bahia in 1835, they fought soldiers and civilians in the streets of Salvador. Additionally, some Muslim slaves played a role in the revolt on the Spanish slave ship Amistad in the Caribbean in 1839. [4]

Muslim slaves were also known for their strong adherence to Islam and even at times converting others to Islam. The slave Mohammad Sisei, was manumitted by his master because of his stubborn adherence to Islam and returned to Africa in 1811 [5]. Ex-slave Charles Ball, one of the first African Americans to publish an autobiography was in awe by the religious discipline and resistance to Christianity of a 19th century Muslim slave. He wrote:

At the time I first went to Carolina, there were a great many African slaves in the country. . . .I became intimately acquainted with some of these men. . . .I knew several, tho must have been, from what I have since learned, Mohamedans; though at that time, I had never heard of the religion of Mohammed. There was one man on this plantation, who prayed five times every day always turning his face to the East, when in the performance of his devotions. [6]

It is without a doubt that Muslim slaves and Islam have been part of this country since its creation. This is a fact that is deliberately or unintentionally overlooked and ignored by many.

Islam and Muslims are constantly made to appear “new” or foreign to America. In actuality, Muslims were part of the many slaves brought to this country by force. Muslim blood, sweat, and tears have fell on the land of the Americas much earlier than the arrival of immigrants from other European countries. These slaves were separated from their families, homes, and childhood memories. They were robbed of their physical freedom, but their souls continued to be free. Although their bodies were enslaved by white masters, their souls always remained slaves to God.

We should remember these souls who have suffered while laying down the foundations of the country that continues to demonize and dehumanize African Americans, Muslims, and other minorities.

In this month (August), we celebrate their resilience, religious dedication, and resistance to injustice. Although many of these slaves are forgotten as part of American history, God will always remember them as He will others who have been oppressed for no reason other than being what God made them:

“And when the girl [who was] buried alive is asked. For what crime was she killed?”(Q. 81: 8-9).

 

End Notes

[1] Gomez, Michael. 1994. Muslims in Early America. The Journal of Southern History 60, no. 4: 671

[2] Ibid 683

[3] Ibid 672

[4] Turner, Richard B. 1997. Islam in the African American Experience. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press 23.

[5]Turner, Richard B. 24[6] Ball, Charles. 1854. A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Charles Ball, a Black Man. Pittsburgh: John T. Skyrock 143.


All You Need to Know about Bees

  • To make one pound of honey, honey bees must gather nectar from nearly 2 million flowers.
  • Nectar and pollen are not the same thing. Pollen is a protein and nectar is a carb. Pollen is fed to the bee larvae and queen bees. Nectar is stored in the honeycomb and is regular food for daily workers and drones.
  • A single bee would need to fly nearly 90,000 miles, or three times around the earth, to make one pound of honey.
  • A honey bee can fly approximately 6 miles during a pollen-gathering trip.
  • Even though a honey bee’s brain is about the size of a sesame seed, it can learn and remember new things, such as how far it has travelled and how effectively it has foraged.
  • When a queen bee becomes too old to lay eggs, the other honey bees will either replace or kill her.
  • Bee colonies affected by CCD can appear healthy, but then the adult bees suddenly disappear from the hives
  • Since 2006, scientists have become alarmed at what they have termed “colony collapse disorder.” Some possible causes they explored included global warming, pollution, and an increase of atmospheric electromagnetic radiation due to cell phones.
  • The average speed of a worker honey bee is about 15–20 mph when flying to a food source. On its return trip, when it’s carrying nectar, it’s a bit slower, at 12 mph (19 kph).
  • A queen honey bee can produce up to 2,000 eggs a day.
  • When a virgin queen bee emerges from her egg, she locates other virgin queens and kills them one by one.
  • Honey bee queens control their hive by releasing pheromones known as the queen’s scent.
  • The amount and pace at which a queen lays her eggs is greatly controlled by weather and food availability. Her fertilized eggs become female workers or future honey bee queens. Her unfertilized eggs become male honey bees or drones.
  • Honey bees communicate with each other by dancing.
  • After a male and queen bee mate, the male bee dies quickly because his abdomen rips open when his endophallus is removed. Even if he survives, he is kicked out of the nest because he has served his sole purpose of mating.
  • A colony of bees consists of 20,000–60,000 bees and one queen.
  • While a queen bee can live up to 5 years, worker honey bees only live for about 6 weeks and do all the work.
  • Honey bees have been producing honey in the same way for over 150 million years.
  • The only insect that produces food that humans eat is the honey bee.
  • Did you know that honey never spoils?
  • The wings of a honey bee produce its iconic “buzz.” Its wings beat 11,400 times per minute.
  • Bees tell each other where nectar is by performing a “waggle dance.”
  • Honey is the only food that contains “pinocembrin,” which is an antioxidant associated with brain functioning.
  • A bee’s sense of smell is so precise that it can differentiate between hundreds of different flowers. It can also tell from several feet away whether a flower carries pollen or nectar.
  • The scientific name for honey bees is “Apismellifera,” which means “honey-carrying bee.”
  • Honey is a “miracle” food that contains all the substances necessary to sustain life, such as water, minerals, and enzymes.
  • In its lifetime, the average bee will only make 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey.
  • Two tablespoons of honey would be enough to fuel a bee’s entire flight around the world
  • Scientists believe that it would take 1,100 honey bees to kill an adult human who is not otherwise allergic.
  • Honey bees are careful not to poop in the honey. They defecate outside of the nest.

[Source: https://www.factretriever.com/honey-bee-facts]


Bees in the Qur’an

In the 16th chapter, the Qur’an mentions that the female bee leaves its home to gather food. Now, a person might guess on that, saying, “The bee that you see flying around –it could be male, or it could be female. I think I will guess female.”

Certainly, he has a one in two chance of being right. So it happens that the Qur’an is right. But it also happens that was not what most people believed at the time when the Qur’an was revealed.

Can you tell the difference between a male and a female bee? Well, it takes a specialist to do that, but it has been discovered that the male bee never leaves his home to gather food. However, in Shakespeare’s play, Henry the Fourth, some of the characters discuss bees and mention that the bees are soldiers and have a king.

That is what people thought in Shakespeare’s time – that the bees that one sees flying around are male bees and that they go home and answer to a king. However, that is not true at all. The fact is that they are females, and they answer to a queen.

Yet it took modern scientific investigations in the last 300 years to discover that this is the case while the Quran mentioned this in the 6th Century.

[Source: Dr Gary Miller’s article from https://muslimconverts.com/quran/amazing.htm]