Children’s Column – YMD April 2016
The Qur’an for Young Hearts – 70
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
 Have you not heard of him, who disputed with Ibrahim concerning His Lord, (simply) because Allah gave him kingship?! When Ibrahim said to him, ‘My Lord is He who gives life and delivers death,’ he replied, ‘I (too can) give life and deliver death.’ Ibrahim said, ‘Allah brings the sun from the east, you bring it from the west.’The disbeliever was confused (and went quiet). And Allah does not guide a wrongdoing people.
Understanding this verse:
This is the story of Nimrod verses Prophet Ibrahim. Nimrod ruled over most of Mesopotamian lands (present day Iraq, and areas above in the north) during Ibrahim’s time. That is, about 4500 years ago. The capital was Babil (Babylon).
Ibrahim (asws) was a strong, bold, level-headed and fearless man from his childhood. He was son of a man called Aazar who held an important post in the king’s court.
As he grew up, he became a critic of the idols and finally abandoned them. His father Aazar persuaded him to give up his revolutionary ideas and abandon his call to one God, Lord of the worlds. He threatened to send him out of house if he did not stop condemning the idols that his forefathers had been worshipping.
The threat to throw out of the home has been a time-tried idea. Even in our times, hundreds of new Muslims are thrown out of their homes by their parents. Maryam Jameela was thrown out of the house by her Jewish parents, when she was 16, in New York, when she announced that she had embraced Islam. This happens all the time in our times, in every country where the mouths of the leaders are going dry claiming that there is religious freedom in their country.
However, instead of coming back to idol-worship, Ibrahim began to preach among the common people.
Then he went a step further and on a day of religious celebration, he broke those that were kept in the main temple. Obviously, that upset everyone: his father, his folks, the priests and the King. It appears that he was arrested and presented to the King, Nimrod. Ibrahim faced the King boldly and, of several conversations that must have taken place, the ayah we are studying shows only one scene. Ibrahim remained faithful to his Lord, and insisted on uselessness of stone gods.
A little later, (or maybe earlier), he was appointed a Messenger by Allah. Its people were idol-worshippers. Idol-worship is the oldest, most popular, and beloved religion. Why is it so? Simple. Idols can neither speak nor hear. So, they do not command: do this, don’t do that, etc. This gives full freedom to their worshippers to do as much evil in their lives as the society will allow, and enjoy their lives, drinking, gambling, sexing, and oppressing the poor people, as much as they can. When the situation suits, some temple-keepers and priests appear. They claim that they personally know God and have contacts with those who are around Him in the heavens. They work out a religion of rituals for the idol-worshippers. Now, since the idols cannot speak, they can say whatever they want, claiming that God says this, He says that, and so on.
But since many money-making priests appear, and their teachings contradict with other priests, each one of them invents a new god, and thus, many idols appear.
This is what the grave-worshippers do in Islam. They replace gods with saints. The same tricks work as above. Since the saints are dead, the priest in charge, speaks for them and says, ‘do this, don’t do that, etc.’ And since there are many Islamic priests, each one has his own saint. The same game goes on.
This is the reason a Prophet from Allah is outright rejected. He starts with saying, ‘Don’t lie, don’t cheat, do no wrong to the poor, take care of the orphans, the widows, the old, etc.’ When the people hear this, they begin to compare this new religion with that of idol-worship, they immediately feel that the religion of idol-worship is much better. It places no responsibility and gives full freedom.
In any case, Ibrahim’s father Aazarwas an important court official, in service of the king Nimrod. The king could not allow Ibrahim to preach the religion he had brought. He got Ibrahim to his court and tried to argue him out. So, when Ibrahimsaid that Allah gives life and takes it away, he thought he would play a little trick. He ordered that two criminals who were waiting in the jail to be hanged for their crimes to be brought before him. When they were brought, he ordered one to be killed, right there. He was beheaded. Nimrod turned to Ibrahim (and his own courtiers) and said, “See, I too can kill.” The courtiers must have cheered. Then he would have turned to the other jail-bird and asked, “Have the judges announced that you should be killed, for so many murdered you have committed?” The criminal could only have said, “Yes.” Then Nimrod said to him, “I set you free. Go in peace.” The courtiers would have cheered harder; and the King turned to Ibrahim and said, “See. I too can give life.” (More would have been the cheers).
Ibrahim understood the trickster’s mind. He knew that he must challenge him in another way and leave him speechless. He said, “Allah brings the sun from the east, you bring it from the west.”The man was stunned, and remained quiet. He simply didn’t know how to answer.
As such the question by Ibrahim (asws) was a brilliant one. It shut the disbeliever’s big mouth. If the King had said, “I don’t know,” his false greatness would melt. If he had said, “It is not God,” then the question would be, “then who?” And he would have no answer.
He couldn’t have said, “I bring the sun out from the east,” because then he would be asked to bring it out from the West, which he couldn’t. If he had said, “It happens by itself,” the men in the court would have had a hard time trying not to laugh, while clapping their hands.
The same thing happened sometime back in Britain, in a hall filled with admirers of a famous scientist. He said in his scientific talk that the universe had come out of nothing. Nobody laughed, though there was no cheering, because if anyone had laughed, he would have been removed from his job.
(To be continued)
The Biggest Fool in the World
There was once a king who ordered his ministers to find the most foolish person in his kingdom. The ministers were perplexed, but kings are kings, and it was an order so they had to obey it. Messengers were sent to make the announcement all over the land.
Soon after the announcement, hundreds of foolish men from all parts of the country started to arrive at his palace. After testing all of them, he selected one as the winner… He called him near to himself and he removed a precious necklace from his own neck and put it on the foolish man’s neck. With this gift, the foolish man went home happily.
After some time, the foolish man heard the news that the king was very sick. So he decided to visit the king.
At the palace, he found that the king was lying in his bed.
“Your majesty, why are you lying in your bed?”asked the fool.
The King replied, “Now I cannot get up. I am going on a journey from which I will not return and to go on that journey lying down is compulsory.”
The foolish man asked, “Oh, you mean you will never return? You are going to remain there forever?”
The King replied with a sigh, “That is true; I will remain there forever and will not return.”
“Then,” said the foolish man, “You must have arranged for a great palace, with as much or more luxury than this one as well as gardens, servants and queens to keep you company?”
As soon as the foolish man had said these words, the king started wailing loudly.
The foolish man looked at the king in bewildered fashion. He didn’t understand why the king was crying.
“No, I haven’t. I haven’t even arranged for a tent.”
“How could that be?” The foolish man asked, “You are supposed to be the most intelligent and clever of men. When you knew that you are going to a place where you will stay forever you surely should have made preparations accordingly.”
“Woe to me!woe to me! I have made no arrangements for this journey nor for that place.”
At that, the foolish man got up, took off the precious necklace the king had given him, and carefully placed on the neck of the king and said, “Your majesty you are surely more deserving of this necklace than me.”
‘Oh people!Verily, the promise of Allah is true; so let not the life of this world deceive you nor let the chief deceiver deceive you.’(The Qur’an, Surah al-Fatir :5)
Did You Know…?
- Acupuncture was first used as a medical treatment in 2700 BC by Chinese emperor, Shen-Nung.
- Armored knights raised their visors to identify themselves when they rode past their king. This custom has become the modern military salute.
- At the height of its power, in 400 BC, the Greek city of Sparta had 25,000 citizens and 500,000 slaves.
- Bock’s Car was the name of the B-29 Bomber that dropped the Atom Bomb on Nagasaki.
- Canada declared national beauty contests canceled as of 1992, claiming they were degrading to women.
- Christmas became a national holiday in the US in 1890.
- During the US Civil war, 200,000 blacks served in the Union Army; 38,000 gave their lives; 22 won the Medal of Honor.