Children’s Column – YMD May 2016
The Qur’an for Young Hearts – 73
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
Or, the like of him who passed over a town that had fallen upon its roofs. He wondered, ‘How will Allah bring this back to life after its (present) decay?’ So Allah put him to death for a hundred years and then brought him back to life and asked: ‘How long did you remain (in that state)?’ He replied: ‘I remained a day or a part of it.’ He said: ‘You remained (in that state) a hundred years. Look then at your food and drink, it is unspoiled. But look at your donkey; so that We may make a sign of you for the people. And look at the bones (of the donkey) how We set them up and then clothe them with flesh.’ Thereupon, when it became clear to him, he cried out: ‘I realize that Allah has power over all things.’
 And (recall) when Ibrahim said: ‘My Lord. Show me how You will bring alive the dead.’ He said: ‘Have you not believed?’ He replied: ‘Indeed (I have). But in order that my heart may be at rest’. He said: ‘Then take four birds and tame them to yourself. Then (cut them to pieces and) place their parts on every hill, then call them, they shall come to you in speed. And know that Allah is All‑Mighty, All‑wise.’
Understanding these verses:
The previous verse had the story of a stupid ruler – and most rulers are stupid – who claimed that he could give life and take it away. In the present verse Allah gives us the story of a Prophet of the times of the Israelites, whom Allah gave death.
Actually, some 2600 years ago, Israelites lived under the government of Babylon. They used to rebel every now and then. So the King called Nebuchadnezzar (pronounced as: Nebu-khed-nezer) brought his army to punish them. His army entered Jerusalem, destroyed their main Temple, burned every copy of the Torah, and killed great many of the Jews. The rest of them he drove back to Mesopotamia. They remained there as slaves for some 50-60 years. Jerusalem was left in complete ruin.
If you want to see a ruined town now, look at the Sunni towns in Syria. There is no building, small or big, but has not been bombed by the Nusayris [a branch of the Shi`ah], in later joined by the Americans, Russians, and others, merrily bombing them.There is no building but whose roof is not fallen. That was how Jerusalem was after the raid of the Babylonians.
Then Allah raised a Prophet in some other town, called `Uzayr. He passed by Jerusalem and was much saddened at the sight. He wondered, “Can this town come alive again? Will the Jews ever enter it again? Will the Jews regain their lost glory?”
So, Allah gave him and his donkey death. After 100 years, he raised him up and asked him to guess how long had he lay there. `Uzayr thought it was a day or two. Allah informed him that he lay there dead for a hundred years. His donkey’s bones were still lay there. Allah told him to look at the donkey, how He will raise it up, alive. On the other hand, Allah had preserved the food and drink he was carrying. It lay as it was a hundred years ago. Thus Allah demonstrated His power. He could not only bring alive those who are dead for a hundred years, but can also preserve from rotting after a hundred years.
This is how Allah gives life to dead holy cultures.
It is said about `Uzayr that when he went back to his people after 100 years, they failed to recognize him. So he asked them to bring a copy of the Torah. He read it out from memory while they were checking it in the Torah. When they found that he made no error, they began to say, “This must be God’s son.”
Mujahideen of Afghan narrate how their colleagues were killed by enemy firing on top of a hill, and as the battle continued and the Mujahideen ran short of manpower, the dead came to life, brought them arms and bombs from the valley until the enemy withdrew. When the enemy withdrew, lo, they lay down and became lifeless again.
Here, another story is given to us by Allah. Prophet Ibrahim actually wanted the miracle of life happen, right before his eyes. So, Allah demonstrated it. In place of the donkey’s bones assembled, muscles arriving, then flesh, and finally the skin wrapping the donkey, right as `Uzayr watched the scene, we have now birds brought back to life while Ibrahim (asws) watched in amazement.
Ibrahim (asws) was not in any doubt. But his heart was wondering how it would happen. So he was told to take four different homely birds, slaughter them, make pieces of them, and then place their parts on different hills: maybe a chicken, another parrot, a duck, or whatever. He placed, say a head on one hill, wings on another, feet on yet another and so forth. He was to distribute the parts of all the four on four different hills. Then he beckoned them (perhaps saying: ‘come-on’) and lo, all the parts came to him flying to appear before him as whole birds.
The lesson is, beliefs (Eemaan) is of various levels; and these kind of miracles, always benefit the believers, and that the believers should never despair at the condition of the Muslims. There are time and times. When their time comes, the unbelievers loses upper hand, then, Muslims must not forget to be just and kind.
(To be continued)
By Abid Mohammed
“Daddy!” I said.
“Yes, son?” my father replied.
“Why do people only work five days a week and not seven?” I asked.
“Well, because most people need a break from all the hard work that they…”
“But why?” I asked again.
“If you’ll just let me finish, I’ll tell you wh..”
“But why?” I pressed.
“Abid!” my father exclaimed.
“But why daddy? Why? Why? WHY?!”
“That’s why son. Feel free to ask any more questions and I’ll be happy to explain why again.”
Somewhere in my metamorphosis from child to awkward teenager and eventually incredibly handsome young man, I stopped asking why. Like the vast majority of us, I had resigned myself to make do with the relatively more mundane words of who, what, where and when. There are a few that I have seen that do continue to ask why, but soon you realize they are merely questioning for the sake of questioning.
On the other hand, questioning for the sake of learning and understanding is something that the Qur’an highlights as being an essential prerequisite for deriving benefit from it [Qur’an 4:82].
Therefore, it is with great pleasure that in this article, I decided to choose a verse from the Qur’an and see where the journey of asking why takes me.
“And ‘O Adam, dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise and eat from wherever you will but do not approach this tree, lest you be among the wrongdoers.’” [Qur’an 7:19]
Interesting, why did Allahsubhanahuwata’ala (exalted is He) say “this tree” and not “that tree” in the verse above? Also, why is there no mention of any unique qualities concerning this tree in the verse or in the Qur’an for that matter?
Whenever I think of the location of the tree, I imagine it being far away from Adam and Eve, peace be upon them—maybe in the middle of nowhere or some obscure part of Paradise that they rarely, if ever, visited. I definitely did not imagine it to be in their immediate presence. That is exactly what the verse implies by using “this” instead of “that.” In fact, it goes so far as to give the impression that tree is literally right next to Adam and Eve.
The same goes for the description of the tree. Personally, the image that comes to my mind is one of a howling banshee tree, guarded by the Naazgul from the Lord of the Rings, wreathed in flames, its branches twisting uncontrollably and its roots devouring all those that lie in its path. After all, this was the tree right? The tree with which Allah (swt) tested Adam and Eve, that resulted in their removal from Paradise and subsequent placement here on earth.
Of all the trees, this tree should have been the most fear-inducing, awe-inspiring, blood-curdling tree that had ever been created. Yet, there is no description of the tree in the Qur’an, other than the fact that, well, it’s just a tree.
Then it hit me, in just one verse, Allah (swt) is teaching us two important lessons about the nature of the tests we will face in this world.
Firstly, the majority of trials and tribulations Allah (swt) will test us with will be using the trees that are right next to us and to which we have easy access. These trees can take any form: items, people, or even situations – be they YouTube videos, pornography, the guy in your class, the girl next door, the way in which many of us behave with our friends or even the manner in which we take care of our parents at home.
Secondly, these trees will not appear like fire-breathing dragons in the night sky—they will look entirely normal and perfectly harmless.
Why are these two facts important? It is a result of this combination, that we get lured into a false sense of security. As a consequence of their disarming appearance and their proximity, most of us become oblivious to the fact that these trees are tests sent by Him, for us, taking place in real time. Like the tree mentioned in the verse above, they don’t look or feel like tests, at least the kind of tests that we have in mind. And even if they did look like tests initially, because we’re exposed to them on a daily basis, eventually we become desensitized.
Incidentally, it is this same mentality that is behind the alarming statistic that we are much more likely to have a road traffic accident within a five mile radius of our home, then driving in a narrow country lane in the darkness of the night. And yet for most of us, it is these very trees that will be our undoing.
For those of us desiring the Garden, let us therefore strive to look for the trees in our lives, to stay away from anything that brings us close to them, and if in our weakness or ignorance we do go near them, let us immediately turn back to Allah (swt) as our parents did.
“They said, ‘Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers.’” [Qur’an 7:23].
Or else we find ourselves asking why for all the wrong reasons on the Day of Judgment.
- According to Surah Luqman, this animal has the worst sound or voice.
- Daughter of Umar (ra) who was a wife of the Prophet (saws).
- The best language to gain knowledge
- Very, very, rich person who was swallowed by earth with his wealth, according to the Holy Qur’an.
- The Prophet (asws) who has to spend a short time in a very, very, dark place until he prayed. (Arabic name)
- Islamic Term for worship and obedience of Allah T’ala.
- Religion of all prophets of Allah.
1. The Way of Life
2. According to a Hadith, a person takes up the religion of ?
4. One of the two prayers when angels change shift
8. The most learned woman of Islam ever.
10. King who was punished and drowned