Children’s Column

The Qur’an for Young Hearts – 43

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

[151] Just as We have sent you a Messenger from among yourselves who reads out to you Our messages, purifies you, instructs you with the help of the Book (of Allah) and the Wisdom (of the Prophet), and teaches you that which you did not know…

[152] You should also remember Me, (so that), I remember you; be thankful to Me; and not be ungrateful to Me.

[153] Believers! Seek help in patience and Prayers (to solve your problems). Surely, Allah is with the patient.

[154] And, do not think of those who are killed for the sake of Allah, as dead (and gone). Actually, they are living ‑ but you do not see (the how of it).

[155] And surely, We shall try you with a little fear, hunger and loss of goods, lives and crops. Give good news then to those who bear it all in patience.

[156] Such as those who, when struck by a painful thing say, ‘To Allah we belong and to Him we will return.’

[157] It is these on whom comes down from their Lord peace and mercy. It is these who are rightly guided.

Understanding the above Verses

The Qur’an tells us here what exactly it is for which a messenger is sent. He does the following things:

  1. He reads out and explains the true meaning of the messages he brings.
  2. He teaches the wise things that no non-Prophet can teach.
  3. In fact, he teaches more than the two, explaining everything in religion. For example, he teaches about what will happen in the grave, or on the Day of Judgment.
  4. And, he purifies the hearts.

When Allah does so much for His slaves without they asking for it, then, they should also remember Him with thanks. If they do that, then He will remember them when they face problems. Should they not be thankful to Him who sent messages with which to fully enjoy this life? He gives more when people thank Him, but withdraws His blessings if they are ungrateful to Him and give thanks to other than Him. They should remain patient and keep Praying when bad times come. Their Lord is on the side of those of His slaves who are patient.

Now, if Allah is there to help out the believers in solving all their problems, what should they do and say when one of them dies in a battlefield fighting for Islam? They should not think that he died for no good reason. They are martyrs, alive with Him and being fed in Paradise.

And such losses of young men in battlefields will be there. Allah tries the living by their dead. He will also cause them some loss of wealth and property. He might even send some hunger on them. All this is done to find out whether they truly love Allah and whether they are satisfied with Him no matter how He deals with them. They know that they are from Allah, and with death they return to Him. So, why should they be sorry about the martyrs?

True guidance is not simply doing prayers and fasts. It is also whether at heart you are satisfied with Allah’s decisions, and whether you stay patient. Just as good deeds of the body, these are good deeds of the heart. And they are weightier with Allah.

And this is the purification of the heart that the verse 151 above speaks of.

Lessons:

  1. It is a matter of great pride that Allah should send a Messenger to a people.
  2. It is a matter of great benefit that He should send down a Message. Without that message, many of us would have been worshipping cows, snakes, rats, and would be reading junk literature but priding upon it.
  3. To know the Qur’an and to know the Wisdom of the Sunnah is to possess treasures of the heaven and the earth. If you conduct a serious study comparing these two with the rest of the literature humans have produced, you are filled with gratitude for having been given them. The rest of the literature is simply junk.
  4. Allah never forgets any of His creations. But when one of the creations remembers Him, calls Him, then He turns to him with a mercy that He has reserved for His grateful servants.
  5. But when one of us is killed in Allah’s path, it is no moment of tears and endless sadness. It is not the sign of the withdrawal of Allah’s mercy.
  6. Martyrs are alive with Allah; but they enjoy a life that we cannot understand.
  7. If we are tried with something lesser than martyrdom, say hunger or loss of property, we need to resort to patience and Prayers. That opens the gates of Allah’s bounties.

Exercise:

  1. State in your words the four functions of a Messenger.
  2. Imagine for a moment and describe in a few sentences what would you have been worshipping if you were not a Muslim.
  3. What is the first thing you are supposed to do when faced with a setback?
  4. Did that ever happen in the past, and if so, what did you do, and how did you feel?
  5. How do you draw Allah’s special mercy?

(To be continued)

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Ahmad and the Happy Duck

A

hmad had gone with his family to visit his grandfather at the week-end. Before dinner, as usual, Ahmad’s grandfather took him to the park. When they arrived at the park, Ahmad was very happy to see the ducks swimming in the pond. His grandfather knew that Ahmad really liked ducks, so he had brought something along to feed them with. He gave it to Ahmad, and they sat there together on a bench. Ahmad ran toward the ducks.

“Hi,” he said: “My name is Ahmad. I brought you some food.”

One of the ducks there said, “Hi, Ahmad, thank you very much.”

“I was thinking,” said Ahmad: “If they didn’t feed you here, or if you lived somewhere where there were no human beings, how would you find food?”

The duck answered: “We ducks don’t often leave the water when we live in the wild. We get our food from the water.”

“But I don’t see any food in the water where you are swimming,” said Ahmad, puzzled.

The duck explained: “We get our food from the water in several ways. Some ducks stay on the surface of the water and eat plants and insects. Others dip their heads and the front part of their bodies under the water and look for food with their tails in the air. And still others dive right under the water and search for all their food in that way.”

Ahmad had another question: “Why do you stay in the water all the time? Why don’t you walk around on the land?”

“Our webbed feet let us swim around in the water, and we can swim very quickly, but it is hard for us to walk on land,” the duck told him.

Ahmad then asked the duck: “When I go into the water, I always have to keep moving to stay afloat. So, I have to use water wings to stop myself from sinking. How do you manage to stay afloat for so long?”

“Just as you don’t have to move to stay afloat when you use your water wings, so the air in our bodies lets us stay on top of the water,” the duck answered.

Ahmad was still puzzled: “But when I wear water wings, I can’t dive under the water. How do you manage to do it?”

“We have air sacs in our bodies that look like little balloons,” said the duck. “When these sacs are filled with air, we stay afloat; and when we want to dive under the water, we pump the air out of those air sacs. So we can dive easily because there is less air left in our bodies.”

“So, you can stay on top of the water, and you can dive under it, and you can swim beautifully,” said Ahmad.

The duck went on: “It is because of our webbed feet that we can swim so easily. When we move our feet forward or backward in the water, these webs spread out and allow us to push ourselves against the water with more force.”

“Just like the flippers that grown-ups put on their feet when they go swimming in the summer so they can swim faster and easier!” exclaimed Ahmad.

“That’s it, Ahmad,” the duck agreed. “If your human feet were like that you would not be able to walk comfortably. Because we are water birds, however, the shape of our feet lets us swim and feed ourselves very easily.”

“All ducks look alike, so what kind of differences are there between them?” wondered Ahmad.

“We do all look alike,” agreed the duck: “But there certainly are a number of differences between the various kinds of ducks. Male ducks have shinier feathers than females. This is an important protection for the female as she sits on her nest to hatch her young. Because of her dull colors, her enemies can’t see her, and she is much safer as she sits there. The female duck’s dull colors that blend in with the background make her difficult to spot even from a close distance.”

“So, what happens when an enemy comes near the nest?” asked Ahmad.

The duck explained: “The male ducks draw attention to themselves by using their colorful shiny feathers in order to draw the enemy’s attention away from the female in her nest. When an enemy approaches the nest, the male immediately flies into the air, making a lot of noise and doing everything he can to drive the intruder away.”

At that moment Ahmad saw some baby ducks swimming in the water. He was amazed that they were so small and could swim so well. He asked: “How do these baby ducks learn to swim so quickly?”

“Baby ducks manage to make their way to the water to swim and feed themselves just a few hours after they hatch,” the duck informed him.

Ahmad wondered what would happen to him if they left him in the water a few hours after he was born. He would certainly not be able to swim; he would swallow a lot of water and die. He considered how perfectly Allah had created ducks so that they can live, swim and feed themselves in the water. Then Ahmad’s grandfather got up from the bench and came up beside him.

“Grandpa,” said Ahmad: “Ducks can swim really well, can’t they? And they’re so cute!”

His grandfather agreed: “Yes, Ahmad. Just one of their special qualities shows us how perfectly Allah has created every living thing. Did you know that ducks can also fly? When they fly, they keep changing direction so that they will not fall prey to wild birds.”

“How do the ducks know that they have to change direction all the time to escape predators, Grandpa?” he asked.

His grandfather told him: “Just as Allah has given special qualities to other animals, He gave this one to cute ducks so that they can protect themselves. Allah creates what He wills. There is a verse about this in the Qur’an: ‘Allah created every animal from water. Some of them go on their bellies, some of them on two legs, and some on four. Allah creates whatever He wills. Allah has power over all things.’ (Surat an-Nur: 45)”

“Come on Ahmad,” he said: “Dinner is almost ready. We’d better make our way back home.”

“OK Grandpa. I’ll tell you what I learned about ducks on the way!”

“Really?” asked his grandfather. “Now where did you learn all this from?” Ahmad winked at the ducks in the water and said good-bye.

Ahmad took his grandfather’s hand and left the ducks behind. They walked home together talking about Allah’s perfect creation and giving thanks for it.

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Amazing Facts about Ducks

Fact 1

Ducks are found in grasslands and both salt as well as fresh water and are divided into river ducks and sea ducks.

Fact 2

A full grown duck can weigh about 8 lbs and can grow to about 16 to 20 inches in length. Their lifespan is 2–20 years

Fact 3

They are omnivorous and will eat grass, tree leaves, fish, insects, worms and small amphibians. They are opportunistic and will eat fruit, seeds, aquatic plants and crustaceans.

Fact 4

All ducks have highly waterproof feathers as a result of an intricate feather structure and a waxy coating that is spread on each feather while preening. A duck’s feathers are so waterproof that even when the duck dives underwater, its downy underlayer of feathers will stay completely dry.

Fact 5

Most male ducks are silent and very few ducks actually “quack.” Instead, their calls may include squeaks, grunts, groans, chirps, whistles, brays and growls.

Fact 6

There are more than 40 breeds of domestic duck. The white Pekin duck (also called the Long Island duck) is the most common variety raised for eggs and meat.

Fact 7

Ever wondered how a duck can swim in icy cold water, even when the weather is freezing? Ducks have no nerves or blood vessels in their feet. Hence, they never feel hot or cold.

Fact 8

You will be surprised to know that ducks have three eyelids. The bird also boasts of having a keen vision.

Fact 9

Another most interesting fact about duck is that they sleep with half their brains awake. Ducks sleep with one eye open when they are located on the edge of sleeping groups. Ducks have an extremely special ability to detect predators in less than a second.

Fact 10

Duck eggs have tiny pores that help draw in respiratory gas as well as water vapor to assist breathing.

Fact 11

Baby ducks are born with their eyes open and a warm coat and do not rely entirely on their parents for food. In fact ducklings are ready to leave the nest within hours of hatching.

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Jewels for the Soul and Mind

  • ‘The soul is more precious than the body. Hence a Muslims body is fed 3 times a day but his soul should be fed 5 times a day.’ ~ Unknown
  • ‘When you’re tempted to lose patience with someone, think how patient Allaah has been with you all the time.’~ Unknown
  • ‘A person will always remain weak until he seeks strength from Al-Qawi.’ – The All Powerful. ~ Yasir Qadhi”
  • “The believer is not a person who hurts others with words, or curses, or swears, or is foul-mouthed” [Bukhari: al-Aadab al-Mufrad]
  • “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” ~ J. K. Rowling
  • “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make a mistake.” ~ Elbert Hubbard
  • “Speak when you are angry – and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever REGRET.” ~ Unknown

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The law of the garbage truck

O

ne day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches!

The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, ‘Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!’ This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, ‘The Law of the Garbage Truck’.

He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they’ll dump it on you. Don’t take it personally, just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don’t take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

Source: http://www.rogerdarlington.me.uk/stories.

The Prophet (s) said, ‘The strong man is not the one who can win in a wrestling match but the one who can control his anger.’

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France’s first private Muslim school tops the ranks

A

verroès High School in Lille, France, has been in the spotlight for a decade. Ten years ago, it was France’s first private Muslim school to follow the national curriculum. Now, it’s one of the country’s top-rated schools.

The classes may be a source of envy for many a harried high school teacher trying to instill discipline and impart knowledge to a roomful of teenagers interested in anything but spending their days in a classroom. At the Lycée Averroès (Averroès High School) in the northern French city of Lille, the students – boys and girls, some of the latter veiled – assiduously concentrate on their classwork under the supervision of their teachers.

Over the past few days, the students’ concentration has not waned despite the presence of news cameras and crew at the back of some of the classrooms.

Averroès has been attracting a fair amount of attention in France after the private Muslim school ranked at the top of the regional list of quality schools and was among the top three on the national list.

While most French students are enrolled in state schools, around 15 percent of children in France attend some form of private school.

In theory, all public schools should provide the same quality of education. But as every French parent knows, that is not strictly true. The annual school ranking systems have long featured some of the better-known public high schools from across the country.

Over the past few years, private schools – either Catholic, Jewish or secular, with varying levels of state funding – have increasingly made their way to the top high-school rankings.

Averroès High School’s top ranking has raised eyebrows across France in part because it’s a private Muslim school that has been providing quality education to its students.

Home to Europe’s largest Muslim population, France has often been criticized in the international press for what many see as the country’s uncompromising commitment to laïcité – or secularism. A 2004 law banning the explicit display of religious affiliations in public schools was widely criticized in the international community, as well as by some minority groups inside France, although the vast majority of French people supported the ban.

Given France’s complex history of communal relations with its Muslim population, the success of the Averroès school has provided some welcome good news.

It’s something Averroès High School staff have grown used to over the past decade.

Thirty-four journalists for eleven students

In 2003, when the school opened, it was the first private Muslim school in France to follow the national curriculum. “On our first day, there were 34 journalists, including one from Japan – compared to only eleven students and nineteen teachers,” said Amar Lasfar, rector of the Lille mosque and president of the Averroès school, in an interview with the leading French daily, Le Monde.

Ten years later, France’s first private Muslim school has grown to include more than 330 students and has left its old premises at the Lille mosque for a new building that can accommodate up to 600 students. It’s a commendable rise for a school that has only been “sous contrat” (under contract) with the state since 2008. Under the French system, private schools are either “sous contrat” – with the government paying teachers’ salaries and the school following the national curriculum – or “hors contrat” – not funded by the government and, therefore, not obligated to follow any particular curriculum.

When asked about the secret to the school’s success, Lasfar is categorical: “Have faith – not necessarily religious faith, but believe in the project,” he told Le Monde.

At Averroès High School, students’ parents appear to believe in the project as much as the staff, with volunteer parents running the school cafeteria, for instance.

While most of the students are Muslim, the school is open to non-Muslims as well.

As for the students, the advantages of the school are numerous. Averroès graduates list the small class size, the studious atmosphere and the staff’s commitment to quality education as the school’s best features.

They also said they happened to have a lot of fun while they were at school.

Source: http://muslimmatters.org