The Whale Attack

boat[An old, old story I found in my files, written as a homework in 8th grade. Enjoy!]

“Nine citizens of Baghdad died and over 50 people were badly injured, more bombing on Iraq “this was the headline of today’s paper which Mr. Abdullah was reading.

Mr. Abdullah was a farmer. He had an enormous, rich, green farm with lots and lots of trees laden with juicy, ripe and mouth watering fruits; this farm was also the home of many animals. Camels, goats, sheep, cows, horses, monkeys, ducks, hens and many different kinds of birds and animals lived here.

The hardworking and intelligent farmer had a family of 12 children, his wife and parents, and they all lived by the sea. It was a large family, which he had to feed by working day and night but the whole family, worked with him too, this made it easier for him. The children fed the animals and took care of them, his wife and mother prepared appetizing and delicious food, while the farmer and his father worked on the enormous gardens. It was a happy family, but recently the war on Iraq was making them sorrowful. They wanted to do something for the Iraqi people.

In the evenings after a long, tiring day the family would gather round and listen to a story while gulping and sipping the fresh milk. Today grandpa was relating a story about war. After listening to the interesting story everyone began to talk about the ongoing war, but Mr. Abdullah was quiet. He was thinking about how he could help to liberate Iraq. He finally came up with an idea and discussed it with his father.

“Father, I think it is time to the ark gifted to you by great-great grandfather, we can load all our animals and some weapons and then we can all go to Iraq and fight “, he suggested to his father.

“I think it is a fabulous idea “, grandpa said and later everyone agreed too.

So the very next day they set to work. They boarded all their animals on the 4 level ship, with 399 rooms. After doing so they gathered their provisions and any weapons that they could find. When everything was ready they all climbed the wooden, rackety staircase and their perilous journey began that led them to a most entertaining adventure. The first two days passed by peacefully and everything was calm; the family was enjoying the wind and the waves. They were fishing on the deck when suddenly & unexpectedly they heard a strange noise and then saw a school of whales shooting towards them.

“Get the guns and arrows “, Mr. Abdullah shouted and Saad his eldest son fetched them without wasting a second.

The whales were approaching closer & closer and the arrows and bullets were not effective against their thick skin. Abruptly the ship began to rock. It was the whales hitting the ship. Everyone held on to the poles and railings, but Sadia losing control of her Sadia the youngest slipped and began to rock here and there. Ma’az who was holding onto a doorknob near her grabbed her hand and saved her. All of them were relieved but they still had to fight off the whales.

All of a sudden there was a terrific roar, and a huge hole was seen in the ship. Asma quickly jammed two chairs and some cushions on it, which stemmed the water from entering “chivalrous” (the name of their ark). Fortunately the whales’ heads were not strong enough to make another hole, however they still kept rocking the ship. Saadia slipped again but this time she caught hold of the edge of the ark. Her eyes closed for a minute and then suddenly she heard an eerie voice.

“Hit hard mates maybe one of those beens (what whales call humans) will fall out and we can eat him”

Sadia was surprised. She looked and saw the whales talking to each other.

“Wow, they can talk!” she whispered to herself.

Maybe the whales had sharp ears for they heard her and looked up.

“Look, a beeny. I’ll jump up and catch her,” the leader said

“Oh please uncle whale, don’t eat me”, pleaded Sadia.

“We will, we will beeny, we’re hungry and there is no fish for us left in the ocean”

Sadia was smart & clever even though she was only four years old. An idea struck her.

“Hey, listen whales let’s be friends, we’re going to a place where there are lots of people we’d like you to kill. You can accompany us. We won’t be enough to feed you all but they will be” she tried to cheer them up.

The whales discussed the matter among themselves for sometime and finally they agreed to accompany them.

“Father these whales can talk and I have talked to them and now they are friends and they will accompany us and …………” she told them the whole story.

“Now silly girl you are only imagining things but I wish it was true”, said father

“Father it is true, try for yourself”

“Ok”

“Whales can you really talk?” shouted Mr. Abdullah.

“Yes sir and your girl said that we can eat your enemies,” replied the whales.

“Yes, yes there are hundreds of them, can you push the ship so we can go faster”

“Yes sir”, they chorused, “hold on tight!”

Everybody held on to something near him or her. They had an enjoyable journey and soon, they reached Iraq ahead of schedule. The whales were hungry and immediately ate all the American ships, while the courageous family was fighting on land. All the animals were very angry for not getting food and began to attack and eat the opposition.

The goats rushed into the tanks and destroyed them with the help of their horns; the horses kicked the American troops, the hens and birds pecked on their heads. The monkeys threw coconuts on them and giraffes ate all the planes and helicopters. This is how Iraq was won and liberated.

Accidentally, the whales also ate “chivalrous” so they carried the family on their back, back to Pakistan. They narrated their story of this great adventure to me.

(I am Mr. Abdullah’s second cousin’s mother’s sister’s niece’s grand- daughter’s cousin)

 

Story: Was I Being Ungrateful?

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Streaks of sunlight streamed in through the red velvet curtains. Lost in her thoughts, Sameera was busy scribbling away in a diary.

“The lonely rose,
Jolted in misery and gloom,
Darkness all around,
My fate is never to bloom…”

She loosely constructed some verses of poetry to empty out the cries of her aching heart. She could no longer bear it. “Why are my prayers not answered? Why am I destined to never achieve what I desire? Why?” There were so many unanswered questions circling inside her mind. She had racked her brain on the monthly budget this time to manage saving for a few extra things she wanted. Three new sweaters and a pair of sandals for Bilal, a new dress and handbag for herself, a cutlery set and a few other accessories; the list of things she had made will have to be postponed for yet another month. Bilal, her two year old son was down with fever and all her savings ended up with some clerk in the medical stores.

Sameera could picture her sister in law, Raheela, boasting about her tableware. She could imagine her friends swaggering about the attire of their children. “Oh! I choose the best for my chipmunks! Sadaf so wanted this frock and I didn’t have the heart to refuse.” She recalled one her friend’s remarks. Anger, frustration and self-pity stewed inside her heart. The poor soul thought about how she would feel out of water among all the other fishes as they discussed their shopping sprees. Sameera would just have her lips tightly closed. She had nothing to tell. At times, the others would quip about the number of times they had seen their comrade in the same clothes, carrying the same handbag and wearing the same shoes. Their memories were sharp enough to remember what she wore months back in the wedding of a distant cousin.

“Why??” she mumbled aloud. “Life is terrible!” Sleeping on the bed beside, her husband could now hear the sound of muffled cries. He knew his wife too well to wonder what must have gone wrong. He, with the caring nature he had, tried his utmost to provide the best for his family. However, the winds were bitter and despite all his efforts the needs in such a society never end.

A tiny finger tugged at the end of her shirt. “Kids will never let you sit in peace”, Sameera sighed and turned to the darling face. It was Bilal wanting to cuddle in the heavenly spot that heals and comforts; his mother’s lap. Overcoming her previous feelings she started ruffling his curls and rummaged for the thermometer. Alhumdulillah, after copious wakeful nights, Bilal was now recovering.

“I am going to meet an old friend of mine, Sameera. It has been a long time since I met him. Do you want to come along?” Asim asked as he was getting ready to leave the following day.

“I don’t want to ruin another evening with a snooty woman boasting around me. I’ll just stay home I guess.”

“She won’t be that way I hope. I’ve heard her to be very simple.” He assured.

After a quiet twenty minute drive, the three of them arrived at the gate of a fairly old but well-kept house. Brother Ismael welcomed them inside. His two sons whom she assumed were identical twins jumped up and down in excitement, they wanted to shake hands with a sleepy Bilal. Sameera was lead inside as the men settled themselves in the guestroom. All the while the woman in her was doing the same job she detested. Those eagle eyes scanned everything in the house from top to bottom; the furniture and their polish, the curtains and their rods, the carpet and upholsters. Nothing was as grand, as new or as perfect. However, the house-keeper deserved an extra mark for neatness. A plump little lady greeted her as she entered the lounge. She was holding a baby in the other hand. “Whoa!” Sameera exclaimed instinctively. The sofa had sunk as she tried to sit down. “Oh I’m sorry! You may take this chair over here; the kids have broken the sofa springs!” Asiya smiled and offered an arm chair. Sameera noticed that the baby did not appear normal. He was a mentally disabled child.

The table had been set for tea beforehand. Spicy egg sandwiches, biscuits and a delicious looking cake were waiting to be tried over. The host poured out tea as the two of them introduced. A vigorous tête-à-tête followed; it was all about children, food, family and the town. All the while the woman was patiently tending to the child, as well as her two naughty twins who kept interrupting from time to time for a biscuit, or to tell that daddy needed something.

“How old is your daughter Asiya?” Sameera asked inquisitively.

“Five years.” She replied with a smile. That warm smile looked as if it was fastened to her face.

“Hmm…I feel so sorry for you Asiya. I see you are having a real tough time.” said Sameera.

“Sorry? There’s nothing to be sorry for. Ahumdulillah! I am so blessed. I have food in my fridge that can last for more than a week, I’ve a ceiling over me to safeguard and I have a loving family. There’s everything I can ask for. And this dear little daughter over here, she is the greatest blessing of all. She reminds me of Allah! What if in her absence I never turned to Him, never prayed to Him and just cascaded away in the luxuries of this world?

I know what you mean though; at first I felt the same. But then, it was a small incident that changed the whole perspective. It was as if someone took my dust covered glasses and rubbed them sparkling clean.”

Asiya paused to take a lavish sip of tea. Sameera was listening intently. “I was waiting for the bus one evening.” She continued. “My eyes fell on a shabbily dressed lad probing through the garbage bins. His face and hands were covered in dirt. Wash his face, change his clothes and he was as charming as a prince, with the beautiful blue eyes that he had. He was stunningly handsome, I repeat. All of a sudden the boy shrieked with joy. I kept looking on; he had found some rotten fruit to eat. I most unconsciously followed him to his so called home. I don’t know what to call it; it wasn’t even a proper tent, just a few tattered pieces of cloth tied together. More than fifteen people were living there. All of them dressed in rags, eating leftovers thrown in the garbage and fighting like chickens over stale bread. Obviously they had no beds, no kitchen ware, there was nothing at all! I’ve seen poor people all my life but that instance just crept inside my heart and decided to stay. Being a teenager, I was in those days craving for a new cell phone, but seeing them made me forget all about it. For days these people stayed hooked on my mind. I thanked Allah for all that He blessed me with. It is true; sometimes in life we are so busy looking uphill that we forget the view below us….”

Sameera listened quietly as she reflected on her own state. The forlorn heart that lied inside her was in such dire need of this reminder. “Yes”, she thought to herself, “the sweaters can wait; the older ones are still as good as new. The new cutlery set I wanted was just a luxury. The dress Mama gave me last month will suffice for the upcoming wedding…” she was reviewing her list. This was not a list of needs; it was a list of wants. She reminded herself of all the bounties she had been blessed with, they were immeasurable! Contentment and bliss engulfed her heart.

“Alhumdulillah, indeed you are right.” She replied with a nod.

Sameera blinked away a tear that had crept up silently. Do I really not have enough? Or was I being ungrateful?

[This story won in the Islamic Writer’s Alliance Islamic Fiction Story Competition 2013. http://islamicwritersalliance.net/ifwnr_adult_2013.html%5D

The Best Days

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Do you know what days are better than all other days of the year? The days of Ramadan? No! (The last ten nights of Ramadan are higher in status though, as they comprise Laylatul Qadr) It’s the first ten days of Dhil Hajj as narrated by Ibn Abbas (ra)

 Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: “There is no deed that is better before Allah or more greatly rewarded than a good deed done in the (first) ten days of al-Adha(sacrifice).” It was said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah?” He said: “Not even jihad for the sake of Allah, unless a man goes out himself for jihad taking his wealth with him and does not come back with anything.” [Bukhari,Darimi]

 Surprisingly, the masses are unaware of these virtuous days and miss the opportunity to gain rewards and Allah’s pleasure in these blessed days. According to the Sunnah these are some of the important actions done in the first ten days of Dhil Hajj:

  1. Hajj: Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam. Those who get the opportunity of Hajj should make the most of this opportunity as an accepted Hajj eradicates all past sins. Hajj is not just a ritual that needs to be finished; it is a spiritual cleansing, a treasure chest of lessons that need to be learnt and safe kept for life long.
  2. Sacrifice: Eid ul Adha, the second Muslim festival, also comes in the blessed month. The price of the animal purchased for slaughter and quality of the barbeque served at Eid parties is not just it. What matters is the intention and Taqwa behind our actions. Allah says:                                                                                                 “Their meat will not reach Allah, nor will their blood, but what reaches Him is piety from you.” [Surah Hajj 22:37]
  3. Fasting: Fasting on the first nine days of Dhil Hajj (The tenth day is Eid!) is an established sunnah of the Prophet (saw). [Nasai, Abu Dawood]
  4. Remembering Allah: The rememberance of Allah is one of the most beloved of deeds to Him, especially during these days. Prophet Muhammad (saw) has said: “There are no days that are greater before Allaah or in which good deeds are more beloved to Him than these ten days, so recite a great deal of tahleel (La ilaha illallah), takbeer (Allahu Akbar) and tahmeed ( Alhumdulillah) during them.” [Narrated by Ahmad]

So, there is something for everyone. If you’re not going for Hajj, you may sacrifice. If you cannot afford an animal, you can still fast. If you’re incapable of fasting you can always remember Allah! Moreover, we must race after every virtue that we can lay our hands on. Life is too short and every passing second is an asset. Don’t miss the deal!

fasting_on_the_day_of_arafat_by_abukhashiyah-d5ipyr0Published on HibaBlog

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My Family on Fire!

Imagine waking up one morning to the horror of finding your loved ones brutally killed. All of them, one by one, were killed like carrots. In every room that you peek, your brothers’, your sisters’, your parents’, your children’s, you find they’ve been tortured, cruelly massacred and mutilated. What will your reaction be? Will you sit still? Or stay utterly optimistic that you will be spared? Or you won’t have time to think about them and you’ll just have breakfast and go to college like you always do? Or will you be cowardly and evasive giving excuses that you can’t do anything…..

If you think it’s just a fictitious scenario that I’m talking about, you’re wrong! Step out of this shell covering yourself;’my life and my world’, and look around! A sister in Iraq, a brother in Palestine,a father in Philippines, a mother in Syria, a brother in Afghanistan, a son in Burma, a cousin in Xinjiang (China), another in North Pakistan, a brother in Yemen, sisters in Somalia, friends in Algeria, an aunt in Egypt……and so many others in many of the ‘Muslim’ lands being persecuted. My family, Your family is on fire! Yes, they are our family!

Prophet Muhammad (sallallahy alayhi wasallam) has said:

“The Believers, in their mutual love, mercy and compassion, are like one body: if one organ complained, the rest of the body develops a fever.” [Bukhari & Muslim]

Do you feel for them, pray for them and shed tears for them like you would have for a family member? Have you done anything practical to aid and support them?

Do give this a thought and draft an action plan, for on the day of judgement, you will be answerable  before Allah Almighty, The Judge. Do prepare an answer! Today is all you have…….

[There are plenty of articles and books out there about Muslim Unity. This tiny piece or anything I write can do no justice to the topic. It is just a reminder for me and everyone else Insha Allah.]

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Unmatched Love….!

keep-calm-because-allah-loves-you-2Yesterday, just as we began  taraweeh behind Salih’s youngest Chacha and he began reciting verses from Surah Kahf, Salih came up to me and started asking for ‘sharbat‘. In his innocent and tired voice he continued his chant, on verge of tears: ‘ammi sharbat dai dain…ammi sharbat dai dain‘ throughout the lengthy two raka’ahs – not even stopping once! I knew he was tired running around and playing all day, and must be thirsty not having drunk anything in a while.

None can appreciate a mother’s feeling but a mother, and this very special bond can only be understood when you’ve stepped into the world of motherhood! My heart was liquefying as I stood there, waiting for the prayer to end. Those few minutes seemed to go by so sluggishly. The only thing on my mind at that time was to give him a drink!

In the morning I related this to Salih’s father and  he said: “You, as a mother, really wanted to answer him and fulfill his desire, then think about Allah who loves us more than seventy mothers, He surely listens to us and will answer our prayers….Insha Allah!”

SubhanAllah! This realisation is so soothing….Allah the All Hearing(Al Samee’), The Most Near (Al- Qareeb), The Most Loving (Al-Wadood), The One aware of all our fears and concerns, our weaknesses and trials, won’t He answer our prayers? Be assured! He sure will, for His love for us is more than that of seventy mothers combined. His love for us is……love unmatched!

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And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” [Surah Ghafir 40:60]

“Any muslim who supplicates to Allah in a Du’a which contains no sin, breaking of kinship, Allah will give him one of three things: either his Du`a will be immediately answered or, it will be saved for him in the hereafter, or it will turn away an equivalent amount of evil (from him)” The companions said “so we will ask for more”   [Tirmidhi, Ahmad]


[Part 2] The Gates of Mercy….Now Open!!

[…continued from here.]

2. Patience = Allah’s mercy!

Mentioning His Sunnah about trials and tribulations Allah (swt) says in Surah Baqarah:

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Who, when disaster strikes them, say, “Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return.” Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided. [2:156-157]

Patience during trials is another source of Allah’s mercy. Whether it is the loss of a loved one or loss of a beloved possession, whether it is a trivial test of everyday life or a greater affliction comes upon you, endurance and patient perseverance is what Allah wants; it is the key to His mercy.

Ramadan too is the month of patience, as our Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has said:”This is indeed the month of patience, and the reward for true patience is Jannah.”{Nasai-Bayhaqi} In Ramadan we go through a training program for patience, restricting ourselves and controlling our desires itself entails patience. This endurance does not only require us to keep away from food and drink but also to restrain our eye from watching whatever displeases our Beneficent Rabb, restrain our mouth from blurting out Haram, our ears from hearing that which Allah forbids and our feet to drive us to places that are displeasing to Allah.

The Prophet said, “Whoever does not give up forged speech and evil actions, Allah is not in need of his leaving his food and drink (i.e. Allah will not accept his fasting.)” [Sahih Bukhari]

Sulaymân b. Mûsâ [d119H]  said:

When you fast, your hearing and sight should also fast, and your tongue should fast by keeping away from lies; and do not harm your servant. Don’t let the day you fast be the same as the day you don’t fast. [Tarikh Damishq]

3. Repentence:

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And when those come to you who believe in Our verses, say, “Peace be upon you. Your Lord has decreed upon Himself mercy: that any of you who does wrong out of ignorance and then repents after that and corrects himself – indeed, He is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Surah An’aam 6:54]

The ayah mentioned above relates that” whoever repents from the sins he has committed, intending not to repeat them again and turns towards a rightful life, Allah out of his compassion and beneficence will forgive him. Allah loves that His slaves turn back to him and He has obliged His Most Honored Self to grant mercy.”[Tafsir Ibn Kathir]

The Messenger of Allah said: “When Allah finished with the creation, He wrote in a Book that He has with Him above the Throne, `My mercy prevails over My anger‘.” [Musnad Ahmad]

If we’re tracking on the path of Allah’s wrath, now is the time, and Ramadan is the prime time to turn back to Allah. The mercy of the Merciful is flourishing in Ramadan and performing righteous deeds is relatively easier, why not then return to Allah?

4. Ihsan

Allah Almighty says in Surah A’raaf:

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Indeed, the mercy of Allah is near to the doers of good.[7:56]

The characteristic specified here for availing Allah’s mercy is Ihsan. This, like many others, is a special terminology of the Quran which is used for a higher level of Imaan. According to a Hadith, Ihsan is worshiping Allah as if you can see Him and keeping in mind that He is watching you. This way a person stops himself from doing everything that displeases Allah and races towards good deeds, searching and seeking them wherever they can. This is Ihsan, doing what is best and in the best possible way.

In Ramadan, when the gates of Jannah are open;i.e, the opportunities of righteousness are abundant, we must aim to collect as many rewards as we can from the showering blessings of Allah. When rewards are multiplied and fasting is singled out for an even greater reward.

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Every deed of the son of Adam will be rewarded between ten and seven hundred fold. Allaah said: ‘Except fasting, for it is for Me and I shall reward for it’” – i.e., I shall reward it greatly, without specifying how much.[Muslim]

This greater reward depends on the quality of our fast! The Husn (beauty, goodness) of it. So let us struggle and work hard to make this Ramadan meaningful….a Ramadan with the power to keep us charged for the whole year to come! A Ramadan of Transformation!

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