Children’s Column

The Qur’an for Young Hearts – 44

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

[158] Surely, (the hills) Safa and Marwah are among the Symbols of Allah. There is no sin upon a man, therefore, who, when he visits the House for Hajj or for `Umrah, to walk around them. Whosoever does a good (deed) on his own, (will) surely (find) Allah Appreciative and Aware (of what people do).

[159] Surely, those who hide what We have sent down of the clear proofs and guidance ‑ after We have mentioned them in the Scriptures ‑ it is these people who are cursed by Allah and cursed by all those who curse.

[160] Except for those who repent, make corrections, and bring to light (the hidden guidance). It is these to whom I turn (in mercy). Surely, I turn (in mercy) often, (because) I am the Most Merciful.

[161] (But) those who insisted on rejection and died in the state of unbelief, it is these on whom is Allah’s curse, that of the angels and of the mankind combined.

[162] They shall live in it forever. The punishment shall not be reduced for them, and they shall have no break.

Understanding the above Verses

These were the two hills, quite near the Ka`bah, but considered out of the Haram boundary. Hajar (asws), Prophet Ibrahim’s (asws) wife, who had run in search of water for her infant son Isma`il. Allah liked her act of running, sometimes to this hill, sometimes to the other hill, to go up and see if she could find some water, He liked it so much that he ordered Muslims to do the same during Hajj and `Umrah.

But, with the passage of time, the pagan Arabs placed mud idols on top of these two hills – Safa and Marwah. After Makkah fell, the Prophet got them removed. But his Companions wondered whether they should walk at all between the two hills, seeing that once there were idols sitting there. Would it not be sin?

But Allah sent down these verses to say that no sin was involved. Sin is on those who hide Allah’s guidance. Such as, the Jews and Christians, who knew at heart that a Prophet had to appear in Arabia, and that Muhammad was most likely that Prophet. But they concealed it. It is because of that original rejection, that the Jews and Christians who came after them remained unbelievers.

Therefore, they received Allah’s curse, those of the angels, and the common people. And what is the meaning of Allah’s curse? Well, the meaning is, they are kept away from Allah’s mercy. That is a great loss. And the meaning of curse by other than Him is that they wish that the cursed person is kept away from Allah’s mercy.

The only way they can come out of the curse, and come close to Allah, is to stop hiding the facts. The quicker they do this, the better for them. If they do it, they will find that Allah turn to them in Mercy. Why? Because, Allah is full of mercy.

But those who rejected Allah’s mercy, and died as unbelievers, will keep carrying Allah’s mercy on themselves. Not only Allah’s curse will be upon them, but even the curse of all mankind and angels put together. The punishment they will receive will never be removed from them, nor will they receive any break. The punishment will remain permanent and continuous.

Of course, this will apply to those Muslims also who hide Allah’s guidance, such as shying away from non-Muslims, not telling them anything about Allah, His Messenger, the Message He sent through the Messenger, etc. It is feared they will receive Allah’s curse, that of his angels and of all mankind.

Summary:

That Safa and Marwa hills are Allah’s signs on this earth, is enough of a reason that we should hold them in high regard. Remembering that Hajar ran between them in panic to save the life of a future Prophet, Isma`il, gives spirit to our act of walking around them during Sa`ee. It also gives immense pleasure to realize that we are re-playing history.

Exercise:

  1. What is the meaning of Allah’s curse?
  2. Why did some people earn Allah’s curse?
  3. How does one under the curse get out of it?
  4. What will happen if a person remains in Allah’s curse?
  5. Can Muslims also receive Allah’s curse?
  6. Why should Muslims walk between the two Hills Safa and Marwah?
  7. Where are these two hills?
  8. Why was Hajar running between the two hills?

(To be continued)

Maqsud and the Kitten

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here was a big surprise waiting for Maqsud when he came home from school. His father had bought him a little kitten. Maqsud would spend the time left over after doing his homework playing with his cute little kitten. One night, when he was in bed, he was surprised to see the kitten leave the bedroom and find the milk dish in the pitch-dark living room.

“How did you find your milk dish so easily in this darkness?” Maqsud asked, astonished.

“We don’t need a lot of light to see, Maqsud,” the kitten purred. “Our eyes have been made different from those of humans. The pupils of our eyes grow very big so that they can take in as much light in the dark as possible. And we cats have a layer in our eyes that humans don’t have; it is right behind the retina and reflects light back. So, light passes through our retinas twice. That is why we can see so well in the dark and also why our eyes are so shiny. Allah has created us with all the abilities we need to survive in all kinds of conditions. It is certainly impossible, as the theory of evolution claims, that we could have evolved these abilities by chance over the course of time. Allah has created cats and all other living things perfectly all at once.”

[Moses] said, “[He of Whom I speak is] the Lord of the East and the West and everything between them [as you would know] if you used your intellect.” (Surat ash-Shu’ara’: 28)

Maqsud thought for a moment: “We human beings know that even if you fall from a high place you always land on your four feet. How do you manage that?”

“You’re right,” said the kitten. “We cats love to climb around in high trees. Allah has given us this special ability to protect us from getting hurt in a fall. When we fall, we use our tail for balance, change the center of gravity of our body and land on our feet. This protective ability shows the endless compassion and mercy of Allah.”

Maqsud gently picked the little kitten up and put it on his lap. Every day, when he saw one of these cute little creatures, he thought what wonderful proofs they were of Allah’s superior creative power. And so, the love and tenderness he felt towards cats grew even more. And the kitten showed that it loved Maqsud by purring whenever he stroked its fur.

Amazing Facts about Cats

  • There are more than 500 million domestic cats in the world, with 33 different breeds.
  • Cats “paw” or “knead” (repeatedly treading on a spot – sometimes its owner) to mark their territory. Cats sweat through the bottom of their paws and rub off the sweat as a marking mechanism.
  • Cat urine glows in the dark when a black light shines on it. If you think your cat or kitten has had an accident in your home, use a black light to find the mishap.
  • The print on a cat’s nose has a unique ridged pattern, like a human fingerprint.
  • If your cat is near you, and her tail is quivering, this is the greatest expression of love your cat can give you.
  • If your cat is thrashing its tail, she is in a bad mood – time for you to keep your distance!
  • During her productive life, one female cat could have more than 100 kittens. A single pair of cats and their kittens can produce as many as 420,000 kittens in just 7 years.
  • Sir Isaac Newton, discoverer of the principles of gravity, also invented the cat door.
  • The more you talk to your cat, the more it will speak to you.
  • A group of kittens is called a “kindle.” A group of grown cats is called a “clowder.” A male cat is called a “tom,” a female cat is called a “molly” or “queen”, and young cats are called “kittens.”
  • Cats spend 30% of their waking hours grooming themselves.
  • Each year Americans spend four billion dollars on cat food. That’s one billion dollars more than they spend on baby food!
  • Cats can make over 100 vocal sounds, while dogs can only make 10.
  • Cats conserve energy by sleeping for an average of 13 to14 hours a day.
  • Cats have been used to deliver mail: In Belgium in 1879, 37 cats were used to deliver mail to villages. However they found that the cats were not disciplined enough to keep it up.
  • Cats see so well in the dark because their eyes actually reflect light. Light goes in their eyes, and is reflected back out. This means that their eyes actually work almost like built-in flashlights. This allows them to see at light levels six times lower than what a human needs in order to see.

The Tiger’s Whisker

Once upon a time, a young wife named Yun Ok was at her wit’s end. Her husband had always been a tender and loving soul-mate before he had left for the wars but, ever since he returned home, he was cross, angry, and unpredictable. She was almost afraid to live with her own husband. Only in glancing moments did she catch a shadow of the husband she used to know and love.

When one ailment or another bothered people in her village, they would often rush for a cure to a hermit who lived deep in the mountains. Not Yun Ok. She always prided herself that she could heal her own troubles. But this time was different. She was desperate.

As Yun Ok approached the hermit’s hut, she saw the door was open. The old man said without turning around: “I hear you. What’s your problem?”

She explained the situation. His back still to her, he said, “Ah yes, it’s often that way when soldiers return from the war. What do you expect me to do about it?”

“Make me a potion!” cried the young wife. “Or an amulet, a drink, whatever it takes to get my husband back the way he used to be.”

The old man turned around. “Young woman, your request doesn’t exactly fall into the same category as a broken bone or ear infection.”

“I know”, said she.

“It will take three days before I can even look into it. Come back then.”

Three days later, Yun Ok returned to the hermit’s hut. “Yun Ok”, he greeted her with a smile, “I have good news. There is a potion that will restore your husband to the way he used to be, but you should know that it requires an unusual ingredient. You must bring me a whisker from a live tiger.”

“What?” she gasped. “Such a thing is impossible!”

“I cannot make the potion without it!” he shouted, startling her. He turned his back. “There is nothing more to say. As you can see, I’m very busy.”

That night Yun Ok tossed and turned. How could she get a whisker from a live tiger?

The next day before dawn, she crept out of the house with a bowl of rice covered with meat sauce. She went to a cave on the mountainside where a tiger was known to live. She clicked her tongue very softly as she crept up, her heart pounding, and carefully set the bowl on the grass. Then, trying to make as little noise as she could, she backed away.

The next day before dawn, she took another bowl of rice covered with meat sauce to the cave. She approached the same spot, clicking softly with her tongue. She saw that the bowl was empty, replaced the empty one with a fresh one, and again left, clicking softly and trying not to break twigs or rustle leaves, or do anything else to startle and unsettle the wild beast.

So it went, day after day, for several months. She never saw the tiger (thank goodness for that! she thought) though she knew from footprints on the ground that the tiger – and not a smaller mountain creature – had been eating her food. Then one day as she approached, she noticed the tiger’s head poking out of its cave. Glancing downward, she stepped very carefully to the same spot and with as little noise as she could, set down the fresh bowl and, her heart pounding, picked up the one that was empty.

After a few weeks, she noticed the tiger would come out of its cave as it heard her footsteps, though it stayed a distance away (again, thank goodness! she thought, though she knew that someday, in order to get the whisker, she’d have to come closer to it).

Another month went by. Then the tiger would wait by the empty food bowl as it heard her approaching. As she picked up the old bowl and replaced it with a fresh one, she could smell its scent, as it could surely smell hers.

“Actually”, she thought, remembering its almost kittenish look as she set down a fresh bowl, “it is a rather friendly creature, when you get to know it.” The next time she visited, she glanced up at the tiger briefly and noticed what a lovely downturn of reddish fur it had from over one of its eyebrows to the next. Not a week later, the tiger allowed her to gently rub its head, and it purred and stretched like a house cat.

Then she knew the time had come. The next morning, very early, she brought with her a small knife. After she set down the fresh bowl and the tiger allowed her to pet its head, she said in a low voice: “Oh, my tiger, may I please have just one of your whiskers?” While petting the tiger with one hand, she held one whisker at its base and, with the other hand, in one quick stroke, she carved the whisker off. She stood up, speaking softly her thanks, and left, for the last time.

The next morning seemed endless. At last her husband left for the rice fields. She ran to the hermit’s hut, clutching the precious whisker in her fist. Bursting in, she cried to the hermit: “I have it! I have the tiger’s whisker!”

“You don’t say?” he said, turning around. “From a live tiger?”

“Yes!” she said.

“Tell me”, said the hermit, interested. “How did you do it?”

Yun Ok told the hermit how, for the last six months, she had earned the trust of the creature and it had finally permitted her to cut off one of its whiskers. With pride she handed him the whisker. The hermit examined it, satisfied himself that it was indeed a whisker from a live tiger, then flicked it into the fire where it sizzled and burned in an instant.

“Yun Ok”, the hermit said softly, “you no longer need the whisker. Tell me, is a man more vicious than a tiger? If a dangerous wild beast will respond to your gradual and patient care, do you think a man will respond any less willingly?”

Yun Ok stood speechless. Then she turned and stepped down the trail, turning over in her mind images of the tiger and of her husband, back and forth. She knew what she could do.

‘…And if you (Oh Muhammad) had been rude and harsh they would have run far away from you…’ (The Qur’an 3:159)

‘The best Muslim is the one who is kindest to his wife and I am the kindest of people to my wives.’ ~ Prophet Muhammad (saws)

Source: Korean fable Taken from: http://www.rogerdarlington.me.uk

Bangladesh Rickshaw Puller Starts Clinic for the Poor

By Anbarasan Ethirajan | BBC News

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is village in the northern Mymensingh district of Bangladesh did not have any medical facility at that time, and the nearest hospital was about 20km (12 miles) away. The death of his father, about 30 years ago, changed the life of Mr Abedin, who was working as a farm labourer then. He could not console himself and vowed to establish a basic medical centre in his village of Tanashadia, about 100km (60 miles) north of the capital Dhaka, so that lives of poor villagers could be saved. Though he had the ambition, he had no money, so he set out for the capital Dhaka with his wife. Mr Abedin vowed to start a clinic to help villagers after his father’s death

“When I landed in Dhaka it was a new experience for us. We were amazed by the size and energy of the city. Initially, we were not sure how we could survive there,” Mr Abedin, 61, remembers.

Like many other migrants, he started pulling a rickshaw. But it was not easy in the city’s busy traffic. Gradually, he learnt how to negotiate swerving cars and trucks. For two decades, Mr Abedin pulled rickshaws, carrying passengers and goods from one point of the city to another. His wife, Lal Banu, managed to find a job as an assistant in a local clinic. But Mr Abedin always kept a secret from his wife. He opened a bank account to save money and start a health clinic in his village. His wife did not know about it.

“Sometimes my wife used to argue with me for not bringing enough money to run the family. But I always saved some money. Even during difficult times, I never touched my savings,” Mr Abedin recalls.

After he had saved more than $4,000 (£2,550) Mr. Abedin decided to return to his village. It was a surprise move as villagers who come to Dhaka seeking livelihoods normally prefer to stay in the capital – given its better hospital and school facilities – and better basic services.

Mr. Abedin bought a small plot of land with his savings. He built a tin roof house for himself and then built another shed for the clinic. With the remaining money he bought a few tables and beds for the clinic. When he shared his idea of starting a clinic with his fellow villagers, they did not take him seriously.

“People were making fun. They did not believe that a rickshaw puller could start a clinic. Even doctors were not willing to come to this centre,” reminisces Mr. Abedin.

Mr Abedin named his clinic as Mumtaz Hospital. He initially requested a paramedic to give first-aid treatment. As the news went out, more villagers came to the clinic to get basic treatment. Those with serious conditions were referred to a hospital in the town of Mymensingh. Every day, the medical centre treats around 100 patients. A local paramedic treats patients in the clinic and a doctor pays a weekly visit. With the help of some individuals and companies, Mr. Abedin has also set up a basic pharmacy, which distributes medicines for free to the patients. The health centre treats minor ailments like fever, diarrhoea and simple injuries and helps those who suffer from asthma. It also has a small maternity ward, but those with complications are immediately referred to a hospital. The staff members also talk to rural women on maternal health and child care.

Hospital Dream

Villagers from neighbouring areas speak highly of Mr. Abedin’s work. They commend the former rickshaw puller’s determination and courage.

“This hospital helps poor people like us in this area. The government hospital is far away and I cannot afford private clinics. So, I come here whenever I require treatment and it’s free,” said Abdul Malik, a farmer living in a nearby village.

When the local media reported on his work and his clinic, some individuals donated money to him, which he used to build a couple of more tin roof sheds and started a coaching centre for primary school students. The coaching centre caters to the children of day labourers and farmers. More than 150 students are studying Bengali, Arabic and basic Maths and English. The clinic is popular with locals, and has received praise from local media

“Though it is not a proper hospital, Mr Abedin’s clinic offers vital support to the villagers. He has become a role model in our country,” Lokman Hossain Miah, a senior government official in Mymensingh district, told the BBC.

“We have given free books to the students there and are also trying to arrange donations from individuals for the clinic.”

It is unusual in a country like Bangladesh for a rickshaw puller to invest his entire savings to start a clinic for others. Rickshaw pullers are among the bottom rung of society and earn less than a dollar a day. Mr. Abedin stopped being a rickshaw puller late last year because of ill-health. He spends his time looking after his clinic.

“Previously, when I was a rickshaw puller, people use to ignore me and I faced lots of abuse. Now people are showing respect, they are inviting me to their houses to have tea with them. This would have never happened if I had been a normal rickshaw puller,” said Mr Abedin.

“My dream is to convert this clinic into a full-fledged hospital with the help of the government and other donors.”

‘Allah Will Not Change The Situation of A People Until They Change Themselves.’ (The Qur’an)

The Question is: What are we willing to do for our communities?