Children’s Column for YMD August 2014
The Qur’an for Young Hearts – 52
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
 And when My slaves ask you about Me, (tell them): surely I am close (to them). I answer the call of the caller when he calls to Me. Therefore, let them answer Me, and have trust in Me, so that they are led aright.
 It has been made lawful to you to go into your women in the nights of Ramadan: they are your covers and you are their covers. Allah was aware that you were not honest to yourselves but He softened towards you and pardoned you. So you may go into them now, and seek what Allah has decided for you. And eat and drink until the white line of dawn becomes distinguishable from the black line (of night); then keep the fasts until nightfall; but do not go near them while you are in I`tikaf in the mosques. These are the boundaries set by Allah, so stay well within them. Thus Allah makes clear His commandments for the people so that they may hold back (from sins).
 And, do not eat off one another’s property by unjust means (nor) present (your cases about) them to the officials, so that you may sinfully eat off a part of people’s property, while you are aware.
Understanding the above Verses
The first ayah (no. 186) was sent down when some of the Prophet’s Companions asked him whether Allah was far away in the heavens, so that they could pray in a loud voice, like Christians sing loudly in chorus in the Churches, or was He near so that they could whisper to Him. Allah informed that He is near – by knowledge. That is, He is not sitting next to them, but is aware of what they do and what they say, as if He is next to them. And He answers the calls of those who pray to Him by giving them what they ask, if He knows that it will not be harmful to them to give them what they ask. If He does not give now, He will give on the Day of Judgment.
But, there is a condition. His slaves must obey His commands; and have trust in Him that He can give, if He decides to give.
Verse 187 may be a little difficult for the young minds to understand. But the part which says that husbands are covers of their wives, and wives are covers of their husbands means, that each hides the defects of the other.
As for the part which speaks of when to start the fast and end it, should be easy to understand.
Suppose you are in a desert, or in a village, or in a forest like place, and you do not have a Ramadan table to know when exactly should you stop eating and drinking, then, what do you do? Well, it is easy. Look at the sky. When you see a white line appearing in the horizon then, that is the time to stop eating and drinking.
The Qur’an then reminds that after you have fasted, do not break your fast with a food that you stole from somebody. One of the ways in which food theft happens is by taking away by some trick the property of another person. For example, while building a house they steal a part of the land of the neighbor. And when the case goes to the officials, they bribe the officials to cooperate with them.
There can be so many other ways by which people can cheat each other and make money. But the food they buy from such money is haram to them. What’s the point in fasting during the day, and then eating haram by the evening?
- In what sense is Allah near everyone?
- Does Allah give everyone everything he asks?
- On what basis He gives or withholds (that is, holds back)?
- Is there any condition for Allah to answer the call of His creations?
- What happens if Allah does not answer a Prayer in this world?
- What is the meaning of the words, “they are your covers, and you are their covers?”
- Have you ever seen the white streak of dawn in the sky?
- Do you think it is a good idea to cheat people and then break the fast on the food bought with cheated money?
- Is the food of a man who offers bribes neat and clean?
- When have you planned your first I`tikaf, of say, of three days?
(To be continued)
Did You Know That…?
- 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.
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.”
|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)
“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.