YMD Children’s Column
The Qur’an for Young Hearts – 39
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.
Verses from Surah no. 2, Al-Baqarah
 Soon the fools among the people will say, ‘What has turned these (Muslims) away from the Qiblah (direction) they were facing earlier?’ Tell them, ‘To Allah belong the East and the West. He guides whom He will to a straight path.’
Understanding the above Verses
Earlier, in verse 130 Allah had called those people who turned away from the religion of Ibrahim as fools. That is because Ibrahim’s religion was belief in Allah’s oneness, and obedience to him. He who refuses such a simple religion can only be a fool.
Similarly, this present verse says that only fools can ask, ‘Why the Qiblah has been changed from Jerusalem to Makkah?’ This is a question only a fool can ask; because Islam is Allah’s religion, Prophet Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger, the Qur’an is Allah’s message, the East and the West belong to Allah, so, if Allah decides to change the Qiblah, then, how can anyone but a fool ask why?
This leads us to another truth. A fool is someone who cannot understand the religion sent by Allah. It is not someone who is not good in studies, or who cannot make profit in business, or who does not know the difference between a good man and a cunning man who is a fool. Someone who is a great inventor, who is a great scientist, who is a great poet, who is great at speeches, is still a fool if he does not know simple religious truths such as: God can only be one, Muhammad could not have been anything but a Messenger, the Qur’an cannot be Muhammad’s own writing, there have to be Heaven and Hell to reward and punish the good and the bad, etc. Someone who does not know these basic truths is a fool, no matter how many degrees he has.
If somebody has studied in Oxford or Harvard, but does not understand why the Qiblah has changed from Jerusalem to Makkah, he is not intelligent but quite a fool. If he was intelligent, he could have thought it out this way: ‘Now that after sending many Messengers among the Jews over several centuries, Allah abandoned them but sent a Messenger among the non-Jews, and after cancelling Judaism and Christianity He gave a new religion called ‘Islam,’ it is a matter of time that the old Qiblah, Jerusalem, has to be cancelled and a new Qiblah has to be appointed for this new religion. So, why wonder? But if somebody still wonders then, surely, he is not intelligent, but a fool.
If someone has a big degree but he cannot think that after all, directions do not matter, since God does not reside in the East or West, then he is not intelligent enough. The true direction (Qiblah in Arabic), to which the heart should turn is the path which leads to God. That path is called Siraat al-Mustaqeem – the Straight Path; and Allah guides to this path whom He will; but He guides not the corrupt, nor those who like to remain fools, although very clever in worldly matters.
- Fools are those who do not know religious truths.
- To know basic religious truths is everyone’s own responsibility.
- If someone cannot think that after cancelling Judaism and Christianity, their Qiblah should also be cancelled, then, he is not intelligent at all.
- The Lord in which the Muslims believe, is the Lord of all directions.
- The direction which leads a man to God, is not east or west, it is the Straight Path.
- Cleverness of worldly matters will remain in the world with a man’s death. It will not go with him to the Next world.
- A successful life of this world is the one that follows Allah’s guidance.
- Who are the people called fools by the Qur’an?
- Are Judaism and Christianity still valid?
- Why do you think the Qiblah had to be changed?
- Could Islam share the Qiblah with others? If not, why?
- Define true intelligence.
- Define true fools.
- If God is not in the east or west, how to reach Him?
(To be continued)
Did You Know?
- Over 80% of professional boxers have suffered brain damage.
- Women shoplift more often than men; the statistics are 4 to 1.
- You share your birthday with at least nine million other people around the world.
- More people are killed annually by donkeys than die in air crashes.
- The first toothbrush with bristles was developed in China in 1498. Bristles were taken from hogs at first, later from horses. The nylon bristles were developed in 1938 by DuPont.
- Men commit suicide three times more frequently than women do. But women attempt suicide two to three times more often than men.
- Midgets and dwarfs almost always have normal-sized children, even if both parents are midgets or dwarfs.
Amazing Facts about Sparrows
- Their killing was legally banned in Texas in the year 1883.
- House Sparrow is a symbol of loyalty in Japan owing to its friendly nature and ability to live in groups.
- It symbolizes insignificance in the New Testament of the Bible and is associated with loneliness in the Old Testament.
- House Sparrows have the capability of swimming underwater! Yes, its true. Even though these birds are not water birds, it is observed that they can actually swim underwater to move from one place to the other.
- They are philopatric i.e., they have the tendency to get back to their birthplace after migration
- These birds have a mate for every breeding season and live in the same group for life.
- Both the male and female sparrow incubate the eggs for 10-14 days, after which the eggs hatch and the young ones are taken care of
- Sparrows raise three nests of 3-5 eggs. Both male and female helps to incubate the eggs for 12-15 days. The fledglings usually fly out after 15 days.
Anwar and the Sparrow
While Anwar was walking home from school, it started to rain very hard. After lunch, before starting his homework, he asked his mother if he could watch the rain for a while. She said he could watch it for a short while. Anwar went to the window and started to watch the rain pouring down outside. There were people walking in the street with umbrellas, and others without umbrellas pressing themselves against the buildings.
Anwar thought how nice it was to be in the house and that he should thank Allah more for giving him food and a warm house to live in. Right at that moment, a sparrow landed on the window sill. Anwar thought that the poor bird must be looking for shelter from the rain and he immediately opened the window.
“Hi, my name is Anwar,” he said. “You can come in if you want.”
“Thank you, Anwar,” said the little bird. “I would like to wait inside until the rain stops.”
“You must be very cold outside,” Anwar sympathized. “I’ve never seen a bird up this close before. Look how thin your legs are! How can they hold your body up?”
“You are right, Anwar,” the sparrow agreed. “We birds have thin legs compared to our bodies. But, in spite of that, they can hold our bodies up quite easily. There are many muscles, veins and nerves inside them. If our legs were any thinner or thicker it would be harder for us to fly.”
“Flying must be a wonderful feeling,” mused Anwar. “Your wings are thin, too, but you can still fly with them. So, how is it that you can fly such long distances without getting tired?”
“When we first take flight we use a lot of energy because we have to support the weight of our whole body on our thin wings,” began the sparrow. “But once we are in the air, we relax by letting ourselves be carried along by the wind. So, because we expend less energy this way, we don’t get tired. When the wind dies down, we start to flap our wings again. Because of this advantage that Allah has created for us, we can fly very long distances.”
Anwar then asked, “How can you see around you when you are flying?”
The sparrow explained: “Our best sense organs are our eyes. Besides giving us the ability to fly, Allah has also given us a superior sense of sight. If we didn’t have this superior sense of sight along with our miraculous ability to fly, it would be very dangerous for us. We can see far away objects more clearly than human beings can, and we have a wide field of vision. So, when we see a danger ahead, we can adjust the direction and speed of our flight. We can’t move our eyes around like humans can because our eyes are set in their sockets. But we can move our heads and necks around quickly to increase our field of vision.”
Anwar understood: “So, that’s why birds are always moving their heads: to see around them. Are all birds’ eyes like that?”
“Owls and other night birds have very large eyes,” the sparrow continued. “By means of some special cells in their eyes, they can see in dim light. Because of this, owls can see very well to hunt at night. There are also kinds of birds called water birds; Allah has created them so that they can see very well in the water. They dip their heads under the water and catch bugs and fish. Allah created the ability in these birds so that they could see clearly under water and catch their prey.”
“Not all birds’ beaks are the same, though. Why is that?” Anwar asked.
“Allah created different kinds of beaks for different kinds of birds to do very different jobs,” came the reply. “Our beaks are perfectly suited to the environment in which we live. Caterpillars and worms are very delicious for us bug-eating birds. With our thin, sharp beaks we can easily pick up caterpillars and worms from under tree leaves. Fish-eating birds usually have long bills with a scoop-like shape on the end to catch fish easily. And birds that feed on plants have beaks that let them easily eat the kind of plants they like. Our Lord has provided perfectly for every creature on the Earth by giving it the abilities it needs.”
Anwar had another question for the sparrow: “You don’t have ears like I have, but you can still hear me very well. How is that?”
“The sense of hearing is very important for us birds. We use it to hunt and warn one another about any potential danger so that we can protect ourselves. Some birds have hearing membranes that allow them to hear the slightest sounds. An owl’s ears are very sensitive to sounds. It can hear levels of sound that human beings can’t,” the sparrow told him.
Anwar then enquired: “You birds sing very nicely. I like listening to you. What do you use your voices for?”
The bird nodded: “Some of us have different songs to put our enemies off the track. Sometimes we make our nests in holes in tree trunks, and when an enemy tries to get in, we hiss like snakes. The invader thinks there is a snake in the nest, which allows us to protect our nests.” “What else do you do to protect your nests from enemies?” wondered Anwar.
“We build many decoy nests to mislead our enemies,” said the bird. “In this way we put invaders off the track and protect our nests and eggs that we have hidden in the area. To protect our nests from poisonous snakes, we hide the entrances and make them very complicated. Another precaution is building our nests in trees that have thorns on their branches.”
“How is it that some birds can swim in water? And why can’t all birds swim?” Anwar asked his friend.
The sparrow replied: “Allah has created some of us with the ability to swim. He has given them webbed feet to enable them to swim when they go into the water. Others of us have thin toes with no webs. So, apart from water-birds, birds can’t swim.”
“Just like flippers!” Anwar exclaimed. “When I swim with flippers on, I can go much faster.”
“There are some kinds of birds that have these flippers from birth,” said the bird.
While Anwar and the bird were having this conversation, his mother told him to go to his room and do his homework. At the same time, the rain stopped, too.
Anwar told his friend: “Now I have to go to my room and do my homework. Tomorrow I will tell my friends about your special abilities, and how Allah has created you and all other creatures with such perfect creative artistry.”
“The rain has stopped, so I can go back to my nest,” the sparrow answered. “Thank you for taking me in, Anwar. When you tell your friends about us, will you also tell them to care about us and not throw stones at us or at any other creature?”
“Yes, I will tell them for sure,” agreed Anwar. “May Allah protect you.”
Anwar opened the window and the bird flew away immediately, flitting through the air. Anwar thought about the perfection in Allah’s creation and sat down to do his homework.
|Do they not see the birds suspended in mid-air up in the sky? Nothing holds them there except Allah. There are certainly Signs in that for people who believe.
(Surat an-Nahl: 79)