21. Chicken Soup

Hanifa entered the kitchen and sniffed at the wonderful aroma of chicken soup. She saw the huge pot of soup simmering on the stove and wondered whether they were expecting guests. “Are we expecting visitors today?” she asked her mother. Her mother smiled and replied that they were not. She was however making extra soup because she wanted to send some to the neighbours. Hanifa’s mother always stressed that neighbours were important and that a good Muslim should always be kind and considerate to one’s neighbours.

Soon the soup was ready. Hanifa’s mother dished out a bowl of soup for Hanifa and also filled up two pots with chicken soup. She then asked her daughter to take it to the neighbour’s homes, after she ate her soup. Hanifa sat down to eat the delicious soup but found it very hot. She was tempted to blow on the soup to cool it down faster but refrained from doing so as Nabi (s.a.w) has prohibited us from blowing on food. She decided instead to half cover the bowl of soup with a saucer and leave it to cool down. She would go deliver the pots of soup first. Her neighbours were so pleased to see her. They were fond of her as she was very polite and sweet. They were delighted to receive the soup and asked her to thank her mother on their behalf.

When Hanifa returned home, she washed her hands and went to eat her soup. She removed the saucer over her bowl and was dismayed to find a fly in her soup. She had not covered her soup properly and a fly had fallen in. She showed it to her mother and asked her what she should do. She then learnt an amazing thing. Her mother told her that our Nabi (s.a.w) had taught us that when a fly falls into our food, we should dip the fly in completely and then remove it and cast it away. “Why should we do that?” asked Hanifa.

Her mother then explained that our Nabi (s.a.w) had informed us that flies carry disease in one wing and the cure in the other wing. By dipping the fly in completely, the disease is cured. Hanifa was astonished to learn all of this. She dipped the fly in completely, scooped it out and threw it away, thinking what a wonderful lesson she had learnt. Her mother then told her that the soup was now cured. If she did not want to eat it, she was not to waste it. She could leave it outside for the stray cats instead.


Ridwaan was busy with a project for school. He asked his older sister Raeesa if he could borrow her encyclopaedia. She was on her way out with their father but she told him where he could find it. “It’s in the drawer next to my bed,” she said.

Ridwaan went into her room and looked in her drawer. He found the encyclopaedia immediately but as he slid it out, he noticed something else in the corner of the drawer. It was a large box of his favourite chocolates. Ridwaan’s mouth began to water. He reached out to grab a chocolate but then pulled his hand back. Raeesa would be very angry with him if he took one without permission. 

Ridwaan went back to working on his project but found that he couldn’t concentrate. All he could think of was the chocolates. He could just imagine how creamy and rich they would taste. He imagined putting one of those chocolates in his mouth and how delicious it would taste on his tongue.

Ridwaan found himself going back towards his sister’s room. When he was halfway there, he suddenly stopped. “No!” he said to himself. “I will not take a chocolate without her permission.” Next he thought to himself: If I take one chocolate, Raeesa will never know. She has so many chocolates, she wouldn’t even miss it. So he continued walking towards his sister’s room, ensuring that his mother was nowhere in sight.

He slipped into the room, opened the drawer and pulled out a chocolate from the box. He was about to unwrap it when he realized something very important. ‘Even though my mother and sister can’t see me,’ he thought to himself, ‘Allah can can see me. In the sight of Allah, I will be a thief, if I eat the chocolate.’ 

He could just imagine being called a thief, in front of everyone on the day of Qiyamah. Ridwaan was suddenly filled with shame. He recited Ta’awuz (Aa’oozu billahi minash shaitaanir rajeem- I seek protection in Allah from Shaitaan the accursed.) He then dropped the chocolate back into the box and ran out of the room.

He was sitting sadly in a corner when Raeesa returned home. “What’s wrong?” she asked. “I almost became a thief today,” Ridwaan confessed. He then told her what had happened. Raeesa told him that she was glad that he had not stolen a chocolate. “I wouldn’t like my brother to be a thief,” she said. “As a reward for being so honest, you have my permission to have as many chocolates from the box as you like.” Ridwaan was ecstatic. He and Raeesa then went off to enjoy the chocolate feast.


Maseeha awoke one morning, rubbed her eyes, recited the dua for waking up (Alhamdu lillahillazi ahyaana ba’da ma amaatana wa ilaihin nushoor – All praise is due to Allah who gave us life, after having given us death and to Him is our return) and went straight to the kitchen in search of her mother. Her mother always reminded her that when she woke up, she was to wash her hands, go to the toilet, neaten herself and then come to the kitchen. As her mother watched her sleepy dishevelled daughter walk towards her once again, she decided to tease her. She said to her:





Maseeha’s eyes opened wide as she listened to what her mother had to say.

Her mother then said:







When Maseeha heard this she covered her face in shame. She then ran to the bathroom to neaten herself. She re-appeared five minutes later looking clean and fresh. Her mother smiled at her, hugged and kissed her and said:



Now, when Maseeha wakes up in the morning, she still remembers how her mother had teased her. She makes sure that she is neat and clean, before she goes to the kitchen.

What do you do when you wake up?


Mateena and Sumayya lived next door to each other. They were of the same age and they spent a lot of time together. They generally played with a ball or played games like ‘hide and seek’. Sometimes, they drew and coloured together.

One day, Mateena’s father brought home a great surprise for her. It was a shiny new bicycle. Mateena was thrilled. She immediately called Sumayya to show it to her. Sumayya was happy for her friend but she was also a little envious. She wanted a bicycle too. She decided to ask her parents if they could buy her one. She rushed home and found her parents in the kitchen.

“Mateena’s father bought her a bicycle,” she said. “Can I have a bicycle too? Will you buy one for me?” “I’m sorry, my dear,” her father said, “but it’s not possible right now. We don’t have the extra money for a bicycle.” Sumayya was upset. “That’s not fair,” she cried. “I want a bicycle too.”

Her mother tried to comfort her. I know you’re unhappy Sumayya,” she said, “but we can’t always have everything what we want. Sometimes we just have to have sabr.” “What’s sabr?” asked Sumayya.

“It means having patience and not fussing and complaining,” her mother explained. “Whenever you can’t have what you want or when something bad happens, you should have sabr and make dua to Allah. If you have sabr, Insha Allah, one day you will either get what you want or Allah will grant you something better in Jannah.” Sumayya bravely wiped the tears off her face. “I’m going to have sabr,” she said. “I’m not going to fuss and complain.”

It was not easy for Sumayya to have sabr. She felt sad whenever she watched Mateena playing with her bicycle. Sometimes Mateena would allow her to ride the bicycle and though she would enjoy it, it wasn’t the same as having her own. She remembered what her mother had told her and she didn’t fuss or complain. 

Months went by and one day, Sumayya’s grandparents came to visit. They didn’t visit very often, as they lived far away. As soon as she saw the car turning into the driveway, Sumayya ran to greet them. She made salaam to her grandparents and hugged them. Her grandfather, with a very big smile said, “We’ve brought you a present. It’s in the trunk of the car.”

Sumayya ran excitedly to see what it was. She couldn’t believe her eyes. In the trunk was a beautiful, blue bicycle. “Is it really for me?” she asked joyfully. “Yes, it really is,” everyone told her. Sumayya had made sabr for all those months and now she finally had what she wanted. She ran excitedly next door to tell Mateena about her bicycle. Mateena was very happy for her. Now Sumayya and Mateena ride their bicycles everyday. They have lots of fun riding together.


Ali and Shuaib were walking to school one morning. They were early, so they didn’t hurry. They walked slowly and talked as they walked. Ali was relating an incident to Shuaib when he suddenly paused. “Wait a moment,” he said, seeing something lying between the grass. He parted the grass and lifted up a small black wallet. “What is it?” asked Shuaib, walking up to him. Ali replied, “It’s a wallet. I wonder who could have dropped it. Shall I open it and check for some identity?”  “Yes,” answered his friend.

Ali carefully opened the wallet and his eyes bulged at the stack of hundred rand notes within. He checked for the owner’s identity, but found nothing. Ali then looked around and seeing no one else in sight besides Shuaib, quietly slipped the wallet into his pocket. Shuaib stared at his friend, not believing his eyes. “What are you going to do?” he asked Ali. “Since we don’t know who it belongs to, I’m going to keep it,” Ali answered.

“You cannot keep it,” said Shuaib. “It does not belong to you! Someone must have accidently dropped it.” “Well,” said Ali, “he should learn to take better care of his things. Haven’t you heard of: ‘Finders Keepers, Losers Weepers’?”

” I don’t believe in that kind of nonsence,” said Shuaib. “That is not what Islam teaches us. As Muslims it is our duty to try and locate the owner of the lost article and return it  back to him. If you keep it you will be a thief. You cannot take what does not belong to you! Fear Allah and do not do something that you will forever regret.”

Ali became flushed with shame. “You are right,” he said to Shuaib. “I will never be able to justify taking this, when it does not belong to me. How am I going to find the owner when there is no identity inside this wallet?” Shuaib answered by saying, “We will take it to our teacher and ask her to help us.”

When they arrived at school, they went straight to their teacher. They handed her the wallet, telling her how they had found it. She praised them for their honesty and shortly thereafter sent them to place a notice, on the school notice board. The notice read that a wallet had been found. The owner could claim it from Room 64,  by correctly describing the wallet and contents. 

Not long thereafter, one of the teachers entered with a red nose and eyes that were puffy from crying. “Is it true that a wallet had been found?” she asked their teacher. “Yes,” replied their teacher. “Did you lose a wallet?”  “Yes,” replied the other teacher. “I dropped and lost my wallet somewhere this morning. I was praying an honest, truthful person would find it and return it. Is it my wallet that you have found?” The teacher asked her to describe the wallet and she did so perfectly. She also told them the exact amount of money that was inside.

The boy’s teacher handed over the wallet to her, telling her how Ali and Shuaib had found it in their way to school. She thanked them profusely telling them she had carried extra money that morning, to buy her ailing mother’s medication. The boys were very pleased to restore the wallet to its owner and were overjoyed when she insisted on handing them each a small reward, as a token of her gratitude.


The First Day

It was Zakariya’s first day at madrassah. He was very nervous as he didn’t know what to expect. His mother held his hand as she led him to his classroom. There were many other children sitting there with a muallimah (teacher).

Zakariya held on tightly to his mothers hand. “I don’t want to go to madrassah. Please let me come home with you!” he cried.

“Don’t be foolish,” his mother replied. “Of course you have to go madrassah. There is so much that you you need to learn. You want to be a good Muslim, don’t you?”

“Yes” replied Zakariya, “But I’m so scared. I don’t know anyone here. Can’t we go home just for today and come back tomorrow?”

“No,” his mother said firmly. “Waiting will not make it easier. You need to be brave and face the things that frighten you. Don’t worry, you will soon come to love Madrassah and you will learn so much.” His mother hugged him and promised to reward him for being brave by making his favourite dish for supper. She introduced him to his muallimah and thereafter she left for home. His Muallimah greeted him and showed him where to sit. Zakariya did his best to be brave and tried not to cry.

Another boy Bilaal, had also come in with his mother. Bilaal cried and refuse to let go of his mothers hand. He insisted on going home. His mother and the muallimah tried to talk him into staying at madrassah but Bilaal wouldn’t listen to anything they said. Eventually his mother told the muallimah that she would bring him back another day and she took him home. Zakariya watched Bilaal going home. He thought to himself, ‘Bilaal is so lucky. He gets to go home while I have to say here.’

The muallimah soon began to read them a lovely story. Then she taught them the Kalima Tayyibah (the first Kalimah). All the children had to read it aloud, after the muallimah. The time then seemed to pass very quickly. Soon, it was time for his mother to pick him up. He had so much to tell her about his first day and all the things he had learnt.

Over the next few days, Zakariyyah made many friends and grew quite fond of his muallimah. He really enjoyed madrassah and he learnt so much too. The following week Billal came back to madrassah and guess what? He was still holding his mothers hand and crying.

Zakariyyah smiled to himself and realised that on the first day, he had been the lucky one because he had stayed and faced his fears. Now he knew there was nothing frightening about madrassah. Hopefully, Bilaal would soon realise that too.


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