15.

MONKEY BUSINESS

Aunty Saajida had just finished making a huge batch of rotis. She placed three on a plate and covered them lightly with a clean cloth. The rest of the rotis were covered well and kept away. She then left the kitchen and went to go tidy up her bedroom.

Outside the house three monkeys were swinging from the trees, when the tantalising scent of rotis attracted them. They noticed the open kitchen window and jumped onto the windowsill. Seeing that no one was in the kitchen, they climbed in through the window. Gazing around the kitchen, one monkey saw a fruit platter and helped himself to a ripe banana. The other two followed suit. They all just loved bananas.

Meanwhile Aunty Saajida heard some strange sounds coming from her kitchen. Frightened, her heart began beating faster and she quickly recited the dua which is recited at the time of distress: (Husbiyallahu Wa Ni’ Mal Wakeel – Allah is enough for me and is the Best Helper).

She decided to bravely go peep into the kitchen to investigate, before she called for help. Doing so she couldn’t believe the sight that met her eyes. Her intruders were monkeys!!! Each of the monkeys sat on her kitchen table eating a peeled banana. She made a harsh sound and all three turned to look at her boldly.

Aunty Saajida now decided she had to get rid of the monkeys from her house. She opened the passage cupboard and pulled out a broom. Holding it bravely in front of her, she waved it to and fro, yelling at the monkeys to go from her house. One of the monkeys picked up her rolling pin that was lying nearby and copied her actions. Then as she advanced into the kitchen, it realised she  meant business and the monkey headed for the window.

On its way, it passed the plate of rotis and helped itself to a roti first before climbing out of the window. The second and third monkey also did the same. An astonished Aunty Saajida just watched in amazement. She was relieved however that the monkeys had left and quickly closed her kitchen window. She then proceeded to clean up all the mess.

A short while later her neighbour telephoned saying,  “There are monkeys sitting on our boundary wall! Can you guess what they’re doing? Aunty Saajida answered, “I’m sure they are having a roti party.” “How did you guess?” asked her neighbour.

Aunty Saajida told her the story and then went to look at the monkeys. She hoped they wouldn’t come back to make pests of themselves. She smiled as she watched them eat, thinking how amused her children would be when she told them about the intruders.

14.

THE TWIG

Moosa was very excited. His uncle had just recently returned from Hajj and had sent a lovely box of presents for Moosa’s family. Everyone’s gift was individually wrapped and labelled. His mother’s and sister’s packages contained scarves. His father unwrapped his gift and found a bottle of attar inside. Moosa’s gift was in an oblong shaped box. He amused himself trying to guess what was inside. When he finally opened the box, he was confused and very disappointed. There was only a twig inside.

“What did you get, Moosa?”  his mother asked. “Oh, nothing special. Just a twig,” he replied, trying hard not to let the disappointment sound in his voice. “I think perhaps uncle forgot to buy me a gift, so he wrapped a twig for me in a nice box. He probably got it from one of the trees in his backyard!” He held it up to show his mother. His mother laughed. “That’s not just a twig, Moosa. That’s a miswaak!”

“It’s a what? ” Moosa asked.

“A miswaak,”  his mother replied. “It’s used to brush the teeth.”

Moosa was bewildered. “But I use a toothbrush to brush my teeth,” he said.

“Well, a toothbrush is man-made and not as special as a miswaak,” his mother said. “Using a miswaak is a Sunnah of Nabi (s.a.w). Allah Ta’ala becomes very pleased with that person who uses a miswaak.”

“When is it used?” asked Moosa.

“A miswaak is used throughout the day,” his mother replied. “We should use it before and after eating, before sleeping and upon awakening and also use it at the time of wudhu. The reward for reading salaah after using a miswaak, is also much greater than a salaah read without using a miswaak.”

His mother then took out a book from the bookshelf and handed it to Moosa, so he could read more about the miswaak. Moosa was amazed at the benefits and sawaab that Allah SWT had placed in using a miswaak. He learnt that the miswaak helps to strengthen the eyesight, removes phlegm and helps to keep the stomach in order. He realized what great power Allah Ta’ala had placed in the ‘twig’ his uncle had given him. When he learnt how often Nabi (saw) used a miswaak, he decided to make this sunnah part of his life.

He was thereafter no longer disappointed with his gift. In fact, he later commented to his mother that this was one of the best and most beneficial gifts that he had ever received. He began to use his miswaak from that day and it is a habit that he has never broken.

13.

THE BAT

It was time for Esha Salaah. Daadi (granny) realized that the males were back from the musjid and she had not yet performed her salaah. She left whatever she was doing and hastened to perform her salaah. As she entered her bedroom, she switched on the light. She saw that her little grand-daughter was still fast asleep, on her bed.

Suddenly there was a movement above her head  and she looked up and saw a creature, flying in circles around her room. She screamed in fright and Zaid her grandson, came running to see what had happened. Pointing to the ceiling, she showed him the creature and told him there was a ‘flying rat’ in her room. Zaid laughed and explained that it was just a ‘bat’ that had probably entered through the open room window.

“Well,” said Daadi, “don’t just stand there! Get rid of it before falls on my sleeping grandchild. I want it out of my room, right now!” Zaid watched it flying around in circles and marvelled at how bats are blind yet can fly around so well, without constantly knocking into the walls. ‘How was he to get rid of it, without harming it?’ he wondered to himself.

Just then he had an idea. He went and fetched his father’s tennis racket and a house spade. As the bat flew overhead in circles, he waved the racket to and fro above his head, until the bat knocked into it and fell down on the carpet. Before he could do anything however, the bat soared to the ceiling and began to fly, round and round again.

He repeated his action with the racket again and this time when it fell, he swiftly but gently, pushed it onto the house spade and held it there with the racket. He then went and threw it out of the window, where it soared off into the night. His granny closed the window quickly and thanked him profusely. She said that she would now be able to perform her salaah peacefully, without having the bat flying above her and distracting her.

Have you ever seen a bat flying?

12.

MUSLIMAH OR NOT?

Amina and Zainab were cousins of about the same age, who were very close to each other. In dressing however, they had completely different choices. Zainab enjoyed wearing all the latest western fashions and couldn’t be bothered that they were so immodest. Amina though was very conscious of how she dressed. All her dresses were long and covered her completely. She also always wore her scarf when going out anywhere. “You look like an old granny!”  Zainab would often say to her. “Take that awful scarf off your head!”

Amina would just ignore her. She knew that by dressing in an Islamic manner, she was showing respect for the body that Allah had given her and she was also pleasing Allah.

One day, Zainab’s father took the two girls to buy ice cream. As he stood in the line to buy the ice cream, the girls found two vacant chairs on the side nearby and decided to sit on them. A Muslim lady soon passed by. She looked at Amina and made salaam to her. Amina softly returned the salaam. The lady however then saw Zainab but didn’t greet her and walked away.

Zainab felt hurt at the fact that the lady had only made salaam to Amina. A few minutes later, a girl of about their age, passed by and made salaam to only Amina, who returned her greeting. By this time, Zainab was quite upset. “Why do people only make salaam to you?” she wanted to know. “Can’t they see me? I’m not invisible!”

Amina, who could see how upset Zainab was, gently explained the reason for the people’s behaviour. She said to Zainab, “When they looked at me and saw my dressing, they immediately realized that I am a Muslimah, which is why they made salaam. They didn’t know whether you are really a Muslimah or not, which is why they did not greet you.”

Zainab looked down at her clothing and felt disgusted with herself. Her fashionable clothing didn’t seem so great anymore. She realized that as long as she dressed this way, strangers would never know that she was a Muslim and they would not respect her, as they respected Amina. She also realized that she would not gain Allah’s pleasure. She made up her mind that never again would people be confused as to which relegion she belonged to. She was a Muslim girl and proud to be one. In future she would show it in her dressing also.

11.

DO NOT TRESPASS!

Uwais was walking home one afternoon and had reached the street behind his home. ‘How nice it would be,’ he thought to himself, ‘if I could enter the neighbour’s yard and scale the wall, straight into my own backyard. It would really save me having to walk past another seven houses to get to my own house.’

Uwais knew it wasn’t right to enter someone’s property without permission but he decided to do so anyway. He was feeling tired and his feet were so sore. He was wearing the new shoes his mother had recently bought for him. His feet ached a lot, as they were still getting used to these shoes.

He unlatched the neighbour’s gate and saw a sign that said: ‘DO NOT TRESPASS! BEWARE OF THE DOG!’ He didn’t worry though as he knew that the dog was kept chained during the day. As he reached the wall separating his neighbour’s yard from his own, he heard a dog barking. He immediately recited the dua for when a dog barks: “Aa’oozu billahi minash shaitaanir rajeem.” (I SEEK PROTECTION IN ALLAH, FROM SHAITAAN THE CURSED ONE).

He then turned and saw to his horror that his neighbour’s dog was not chained, as he expected it to be. It was racing straight towards him. As quick as lightening, he scaled the wall but before he could get both legs over, the dog caught hold of his left shoe. Uwais kicked his shoe off, quickly jumping to safety. The dog barked for a few minutes and was then silent.

A little while later, Uwais climbed onto a crate and peeped over the wall to see if he could retrieve his shoe. He saw it lying a few metres away from the wall. He was relieved to see the dog was gone. On seeing the coast was clear, he brought his father’s fishing rod and fished out his shoe from his neighbour’s yard. To his dismay, he saw that the dog had chewed a small hole in his shoe. He slipped it on and saw that his big toe was peeping through.

‘What will my mother say?’ he thought to himself. As expected, his mother was really very annoyed to see the hole in his shoe. He had to explain how a new, good quality shoe had developed a hole in it. She warned him that his explanation had better be good and that she expected to hear the truth.

Uwais told his mother, “You are going to find this hard to believe but actually a dog chewed a hole in it!”

“What? How did a dog get hold of a shoe you were supposed to be wearing?” demanded his mother crossly. Uwais then related the entire incident.

When he finished he saw his mother was not pleased with him. She scolded him for trespassing through the neighbour’s yard. She then warned him to  never take short cuts and risk his life and belongings.

She later got his shoe mended by a cobbler and poor Uwais had to continue to wear the shoe until it became tight for him. After the encounter with the dog, he now knows better than to trespass and take unnecessary risks.

10.

THE MISSING PENCIL CASE

One Monday morning, Asma sat behind her desk in school and searched her schoolbag for her pencil case. She couldn’t find it, so she emptied out her bag and searched again but to no avail. Her pencil case was really missing. “Someone must have stolen it,” she said to herself.

Asma had come early to school that morning. She had left her bag in the classroom and then went out to play with her friends, until the school bell rang. The only person in the classroom at that time had been Radhiyah. Radhiyah was poor and did not have a fancy pencil case and bag. She always admired Asma’s things as her parents could not afford such luxuries. Asma thought to herself, ‘It must have been Radhiyah. She’s the one who stole it.’

While the teacher wrote on the chalkboard, Asma confronted Radhiyah who was sitting in front of her. She tapped Radhiyah on the shoulder and hissed, “Where’s my pencil case? Give it back to me now!” Radhiyah had no idea what Asma was talking about. “How should I know where your pencil case is?” she asked. “You know because you stole it!” accused Asma. “You were the only one in the classroom this morning and now my pencil case is missing, from my bag. I want it back now!”

“I didn’t take it,” Radhiyah protested but Asma wouldn’t listen. The teacher overheard the girls and enquired into the matter. Though Radhiyah willingly emptied her school bag to show everyone that the pencil case was not in there, all the children looked at her suspiciously. The teacher told them that since there was absolutely no proof that Radhiyah had taken it, she shouldn’t be accused or held responsible. The children however, blamed Radhiyah for the missing pencil case and kept on calling her a thief.

Asma kept telling her that if she didn’t return back the pencil case, she would have to buy her a new one. Radhiyah was so miserable and in tears but nothing that she said would convince the children that she hadn’t stolen it.

Asma went home angry that afternoon. She still hadn’t gotten back her pencil case and had needed to borrow her friend’s pencil and pen. She was eager to tell her mother about the pencil case as soon as she got home. She greeted her mother but before she could tell her anything, her mother remarked, “You forgot your pencil case at home today!”

“What? Are you sure?” she asked, suddenly feeling sick in her stomach. “Yes,” her mother answered, “I found it in your room this morning.” Asma felt terrible. She and her friends had been so nasty to Radhiyah all day, yet she hadn’t done anything wrong. They had accused her without a reason or any proof. Now Asma would have to let everyone know that Radhiyah was innocent. It would be very embarrassing to admit to everyone that she had actually been the one at fault.

The next day, Asma announced to the class that her pencil case had been found at home. Asma and her friends apologised to Radhiyah for blaming her and asked her to forgive them. Radhiyah forgave them and accepted the apology. The children though, felt very foolish for the previous day’s behaviour. Each one of them imagined how they would have felt had it been them wrongly accused. All of them had indeed learnt an important lesson from this.