Children’s Column

The Qur’an for Youthful Minds

Translation for Verses from Surah 2, Al-Baqarah

[17] The likeness of them is as the likeness of him who kindled a fire. When it had lit all about him, Allah took away their light and left them in darknesses, unable to perceive.

[18] Deaf, dumb, and blind (they are); so they will not return.

Summary of Interpretations

After a general description, in verses 8‑16, of the hypocrites, of what they thought and said, now the Qur’an draws, in these verses (17-20), two very precise parables to distinguish and draw a line between the two not‑so‑very‑distinct groups among the dissemblers in Islam. And, although just two verses each have been used to paint the picture of both, the portrayal is complete.

It may also be noted that while in the first group of verses dealing with them (8‑16) what they said was described (“we believe,” “we are improving things,” “shall we believe as the fools have believed?”, and “we are with you,” “we were only mocking”), in these second group of verses (17‑20), what they do has been described.

The first group of the two is the one to which either Islam made no appeal at all right from the start, or, if did, it was for a very brief spell after which they fell into doubts and disbelief. Soon they arrived at a stage where it became immaterial to them whether the message and the Messenger was true or not. They didn’t want anything of it, right or wrong. It just didn’t suit them, even if did suit many others. They felt convinced that the new call was going to ruin their world. They could have gone and joined the enemies of the new emerging order. But they couldn’t do that because that would have meant unsettling themselves and making a fresh start in another place, for their own world, which included many of their own dear ones, was fast succumbing to the call of Islam. So, they couldn’t accept Islam and they couldn’t depart from the world of Islam. They decided therefore to dissimulate faith. They will appear Muslims, but will remain allied to kufr.

They were like a people who were groping in the dark, not knowing right from wrong, good from evil. Then someone lit a fire. They should have profited from the fire and seen things not so apparent in the darkness of disbelief, and should have made corrections in their orientations. But they refused to admit that they were in darkness and that they were not properly oriented. They persisted in holding on to what they were holding on to before the fire was lit, but, for reasons of exigency, they would profess to be like everyone around.

In consequence, Allah (swt) should have withdrawn His light as He does when any of His blessings is not received well. But in this case, it was a few who had refused to profit from what had been illuminated for them. There were others, and in great numbers, who were profiting from the same guiding light.

Therefore, Allah (swt) let the light be, but took away their own personal light, leaving them in the darkness of their preference (verse 17). In rejecting the truth, they were actually refusing to use the faculties of hearing, speech and sight. Allah (swt), therefore, took away the profound benefits of these faculties from them, so that they became as one who cannot bear to hear the call of truth, cannot speak a good thing about it, and therefore, cannot return to it. (Verse 18)

(To be continued)

Jesus (asws)’ Teachings about Greed

A man once accompanied Jesus, saying to him, “I want to be with you and be your companion.” They set forth and reached the bank of a river; where they sat down to eat. They had with them three loaves. They ate two loaves, and a third remained.

Jesus then rose and went to the river to drink. When he returned, he did not find the third loaf, so he asked the man: “Who took the loaf?”

“I do not know,” the man replied.

Jesus set forth once more with the man, and he saw a doe [a female deer] with two of her young. Jesus called one of the two, and it came to him. Jesus then slaughtered it, roasted some of it; and ate with his companion.

Then he said to the young deer, “Rise, by God’s leave.”

The deer rose and left.

Jesus then turned to his companion and said, “I ask you in the name of Him who showed you this miracle, who took the loaf?”

“I do not know,” the man replied.

The two of them then came to a body of water in a valley. Jesus took the man by the hand and they walked upon the water.

When they had crossed over, Jesus said to him, “I ask you in the name of Him who showed you this miracle, who took the loaf?”

“I do not know,” the man replied.

They then came to a waterless desert and sat down upon the ground. Jesus began to gather some earth and sand, and then said, “Turn to gold, by God’s leave,” and it did so.

Jesus divided the gold into three portions and said, “A third for me, a third for you, and a third for whoever took the loaf.”

The man said, “It was I who took the loaf.”

Jesus said, “The gold is all yours.” Jesus then left him. Two men came upon him [Jesus’ companion] in the desert with the gold, and wanted to rob and kill him.

He said to them, “Let us divide it into three portions among us, and send one of you to town to buy us some food to eat.”

One of them was sent off, and then said to himself, “Why should I divide the gold with those two? Rather, I shall poison the food and have the gold to myself.”

He went off and did so.

Meanwhile, the two who stayed behind said to each other, “Why should we give him a third of the gold? Instead, let us kill him when he returns and divide the money between the two of us.”

When he returned, they killed him, ate the food, and died. The gold remained in the desert with the three men dead beside it.

Jesus passed by, found them in that condition, and said to his Companions, “This is the world. Beware of it!”

[This story is excerpted from the book “The Muslim Jesus” by Tarif Khalidi. The book presents in English the largest collection of the sayings and stories of Jesus in Islamic literature.]

A Parenting Issue Never to be Overlooked
One young academically excellent person went to apply for a managerial position in a big company. He passed the first interview; the Director did the last interview. The Director discovered from the CV that the youth’s academic achievements were excellent all the way, from the secondary school until the postgraduate research, never had a year when he did not score.

The Director asked, “Did you obtain any scholarships in school?”

The youth answered, “None.”

The Director asked, “Was it your father who paid for your school fees?”

The youth answered, “My father passed away when I was one year old, it was my mother who paid for my school fees.”

The Director asked, “Where did your mother work?”

The youth answered, “My mother worked as laundry woman.”

The Director requested the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect.

The Director asked, “Have you ever helped your mother wash the clothes before?”

The youth answered, “Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books. Furthermore, my mother can wash clothes faster than me.”

The Director said, “I have a request. When you go back today, go and clean your mother’s hands, and then see me tomorrow morning.”

The youth felt that his chance of landing the job was high. When he went back, he happily requested his mother to let him clean her hands. His mother felt strange. Happy but with mixed feelings, she showed her hands to the young man.

The youth cleaned his mother’s hands slowly. His tear fell as he did that. It was the first time he noticed that his mother’s hands were so wrinkled, and there were so many bruises in her hands. Some bruises were so painful that his mother shivered when they were cleaned with water.

This was the first time the youth realized that it was this pair of hands that washed the clothes every day to enable him to pay the school fee. The bruises in the mother’s hands were the price that the mother had to pay for his graduation, academic excellence and his future.

After finishing the cleaning of his mother’s hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for his mother.

That night, mother and son talked for a very long time.

Next morning, the youth went to the Director’s office.

The Director noticed the tears in the youth’s eyes, asked: “Can you tell me what have you done and learned yesterday in your house?”

The youth answered, “I cleaned my mother’s hands and also finished cleaning all the remaining clothes.”

The Director asked, “Please tell me your feelings.”

The youth said: “I know now what appreciation is. Without my mother, there would not have been the successful me today. By working together and helping my mother, only now I realize how difficult and tough it is to get something done. I have come to appreciate the importance and value of family relationships.”

The Director said, “This is what I am looking for to be in my Manager. I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life. You are hired.”

Later on, this young person worked very hard and received the respect of his subordinates. Every employee worked diligently and as a team. The company’s performance improved tremendously.

Something to Think About

A child, who has been protected and habitually given whatever he wanted, will develop an ‘entitlement mentality’ and will always put himself first. He will be ignorant of his parent’s efforts. When he starts work, he will assume that every person must listen to him, and when he becomes a manager, he will never know the sufferings of his employees and will always blame others.

You can let your children live in a big house, eat a good meal, learn piano, watch a big screen TV. But when you are cutting grass, please let them do it also.

After a meal, let them wash their plates and bowls together with their brothers and sisters. It is not because you do not have money to hire a maid. You want them to understand, no matter how rich their parents are, one day their hair will grow gray, same as the mother of that young person.

The most important things are that your children learn how to appreciate the effort and experience the difficulty and learn how to work with others to get things done.

The Prophet (saws) said, ‘Cursed be the one whose both parents are alive and he does not assure himself of Paradise, (by not serving them).’


 Quran Quiz

In the Quran Which is…

  1. The Longest chapter (Surah)?
  1. The Best drink?
  1. The Best Food?
  1. The Greatest Verse (Ayah)?
  1. The Longest Verse (Ayah)?
  1. The Shortest Verse (Ayah)?
  1. The Longest Word?
  1. The Smallest Animal?
  1. The Largest Number Mentioned?
  1. The Least Letter Used? [need to give it in Arabic]

Answers: 1. Baqarah, 2. Milk, 3. Honey, 4. Ayat al-Kursi (Baqara: 255), 5. Ayat ad-Dayn (Baqarah: 282), 6. Thumma Nazar (Mudassir: 21), 7. Fayasyakfeekahum (Baqarah: 137), 8. Mosquito, 9. Hundred Thousand, 10. Letter ‘Zaa’ as in ‘Zulm’

[Show the answers upside down]


Tales of Hodja

The Exotic Song

Hodja was once walking past a fruit orchard and was tempted by the juicy apricots. He couldn’t resist them so climbed into the orchard and started to pick the apricots. Suddenly the gardener saw him. Hodja immediately climbed the nearest tree he could lay his hands upon.

“What are you doing there?” The gardener asked.

“Singing! I am a nightingale,” came the reply.

“Alright, nightingale – Let me hear you sing!’

Hodja warbled a few harmonious notes so unlike a bird that the gardener laughed.

“I have never heard that kind of nightingale before,” he said.

“You evidently have not travelled,” said Hodja. “I chose the song of a rare exotic nightingale.”

Did You Know That…?

  • Roadrunners are large (about two feet long) crested birds that prefer to run rather than fly. They eat rattlesnakes whole, and they can sprint 15 miles per hour.
  • A purple finch is really crimson in colour.
  • You’re 20 times more likely to get struck by lightning than to be bitten by a rattlesnake.
  • A male Angler fish attaches itself to a female and never lets go. Their vascular systems unite and the male becomes entirely dependent on the female’s blood for nutrition.
  • Bengal tigers are the most water loving of the big cats. They will even chase prey into the water.
  • The 1860 city records of Cardiff (UK) show a masjid in operation in a converted building at 2 Glynrhondda St. Yemani sea men on their trips between Aden (in Yemen) and Cardiff founded this masjid.
  • Adelard of Bath (a city in the UK) is named after a leading scholar of the Middle Ages. What made him famous was translating the word of Muslim scientists from Arabic to Latin!

No Money for Eid (A play based on a true incident)

Actors:

  • Emperor of three Continents,
  • Emperor’s Wife,
  • Emperor’s Eldest Son,
  • Children,
  • State Treasurer

[At the Emperor’s home in Damascus]

Children: Dear mother, Eid is almost here, when will you get our clothes?

Emperor’s Wife: Okay, I’ll talk to your father today, inshallah.

[Later when the Emperor had returned from his duties].

Emperor’s Wife:  Eid is approaching and the children have no clothes

Emperor: Well, I’m sorry but I have used up this month’s salary, I have no money left to buy clothes for them.

Emperor’s Wife: Well, in that case, go and ask the state treasurer for next month’s salary in advance.

Emperor: Okay, I can do that inshallah.

[At State Treasurer’s Residence]

Emperor: May the peace of Allah be upon you.

State Treasurer: And may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you also. What brings you here, Oh Leader of the Faithful?

Emperor: Well, it’s a little embarrassing but, I was wondering if I could take my next month’s allowance in advance as I need to do a bit of shopping for Eid?

State Treasurer: Ya Ameer (Leader)!  I would be willing to oblige but I’m afraid there is a tough condition on taking salaries in advance.

Emperor(Surprised) Oh, what might that be?

State Treasurer: Can you guarantee me that you would be alive next month to repay the borrowed amount?

Emperor: Who can give such a guarantee? I think I’ll give the Eid shopping a miss this year. May Allah reward you and peace be upon you.

[Back at the Emperor’s Home]

Emperor’s Wife: Did you manage to get the money?

Emperor: No.

Emperor’s Wife: Why not?

Emperor: I couldn’t provide a solid enough guarantee. (Emperor then goes on to explain the reason). Please tell the children that their father can’t buy them clothes this Eid.

Emperor’s Wife: Praise be to Allah for such treasurers. I’ll tell them.

[Eid Day]

Emperor: (To children) My sons, I apologise for not being able to buy you new clothes this Eid. I know it might be embarrassing for you to face your cousins in your old clothes but it’s not my fault.

Eldest Son: Dear father, we feel proud of the fact that our father did not break the trust with which he is entrusted and not ashamed. Inshallah, Allah will clothe us in much finer garments on the day it matters most.

Emperor: (With tears in eyes) Your patience will not go unrewarded my children! Your patience will not go unrewarded my children!

[The End]

Identities Revealed:

Emperor: Caliph Umar bin Abdal Aziz (b.682 AD d.720 AD)

Emperor’s Wife: Fatima bint Abdal Malik

Emperor’s Son: Abdal Malik ibn Umar bin Abdal Aziz