For My Kids · Ramadan

For my Kids: The Story of Mousa (Moses – Part 1)

For today’s story, we will first go back to Yousif’s (Joseph’s) story. Remember how he became a powerful man in Egypt and called his father, Yaqoub (Jacob) and his entire family from Palestine to come live with him? Remember that Yaqoub had 12 sons, one of them Yousif?

Yaqoub and his kids and his grandkids and their grandkids all stayed in egypt for many years. Yaqoub is also called Israel. And Yaqoub’s descendants are called Bani Israel (the children of Israel).

So Bani Israel lived in Egypt. They were righteous people who believed in Allah (God).

Egypy at that time, was ruled by a very cruel hearted Pharoah. He told people that he was god and that his people are better than the rest. Unfortunately they treated Bani Israel very badly.

One day, Pharaoh woke up startled from a nightmare. He dreamt that a huge fire came out of Palestine and came to Egypt, burning everything except Bani Israel.

He asked what his dream meant and they told him: “Your end will be by the hands of a man from Bani Israel.”

Pharaoh was beside himself and ordered his guards to kill all the boys from Bani Israil. His people then asked: “But if you do that, who will be our servants?” So he decided to kill all the newborn boys from Bani Israel one year, and let them live the other.

In the year that the Pharaoh would kill all the newborn boys, the messenger we are talking about today, Mousa (Moses) was born.

Mousa’s mother was very worried. She didn’t want her son to be killed. Allah (God) told her to place her newborn son in a wooden box and put it in the river, and that Allah (God) will protect him.

Mousa’s mother was still very worried, but Allah (God) promised her that she will see him again soon and not to worry.

So Mousa’s mother placed her newborn baby in a wooden box, and the box in the river. The river, by Allah’s (God’s) command took the box straight into the Pharaoh’s castle.

When they saw that the box had a baby boy inside, the Pharaoh ordered the baby to be killed as he knew it was from Bani Israel. But the Pharaoh’s wife was a good lady. She asked for the baby to be given to her, that she will take care of it and maybe he will grow and be like a child to her.

The Pharaoh didn’t realize who was sent to him, it is the boy he was looking for, the boy who he killed all the rest for, it is his demise, Mousa (peace be upon him).

Mousa’s mom was very worried about her newborn son. She asked her oldest daughter to go and look what happened to him. Mousa’s sister found him in Pharaoh’s castle, refusing to drink milk from anyone.

Pharaoh’s wife was distressed, the baby was hungry and crying but wouldn’t drink milk. She couldn’t let him die. So she asked all the lactating ladies in the land to come, and whoever can feed the baby will get a big reward.

Mousa’s sister ran back home to tell her mother. Mousa’s mother stood in line with all the other lactating ladies. He heart wrenched when she saw her son crying and almost ran to him to pick him up. When her turn came, Mousa finally latched to his mother’s breast and drank a full tummy full.

Pharaoh’s wife asked her to stay in the castle too to help take care of the boy.

After some years, Mousa grew into a very strong young man. One day, he went out in the city.

He saw two men fighting, an Egyptian from Pharaoh’s men and a man from Bani Israel. The Egyptian was beating up the other man really badly, and he was calling out for help.

Mousa went to help out. He wanted to stop the fight and hit the other guy by mistake. With one hit, the Egyptian fell down .. dead.

The other guy from Bani Israel ran away scared. Mousa sat down asking Allah (God) for forgiveness as it was by mistake and he didnt mean to. All he wanted to do was stop the fight. Allah (God) accepted his apology and forgave him.

Everybody was looking for the culprit. This was a first. A man from Bani Israel to be killed is ok, it happens daily. But an Egyptian from the Pharaoh’s, how dare anyone! The culprit must be found.

The next day, Mousa was walking around town again. He saw the same Bani Israel guy that was being beaten up the day before, in another fight. This time, there was alot of people around. He asked Mousa for help.

Mousa told him: “Looks like you are a trouble maker.” He came closer to them. The guy thought that Mousa was coming for him, and knowing Mousa’s strength, he panicked.

He said: “Are you coming to kill me just like you killed that man yesterday?!”

Mousa froze. Now everyone knew it was him who killed the Egyptian the day before. What will they do to him?

To be continued  …

For My Kids · Ramadan

For my Kids: The Story of Younis (Jonah)

Today we have another story that revolves around the patience theme, the story of Younis (Jonah) peace be upon him.

Younis lived in a city that we still have till this day, al mosul in Iraq. Even back then it was a big city with around 100,000 people living in it.

Younis started calling the people to the righteous way and teaching them about Allah (God). But no one believed. They all made fun of him.

Younis kept on trying to teach them for years and years, but no one believed, not one single person.

Allah (God) then told Younis that his people only have 3 days left to live, then judgment will come down on them.

Younis went quickly back to his people to warn them about the deadline and the 3 days they had left. But once again they jeered at him and made fun of him and laughed.

Younis got angry and left. He decided to leave the country by boat and go to another maybe then he can find other people that will believe. He let his anger and emotions get the better of him and he left without waiting till the end of these 3 days.

The boat Younis went on was very full. And at night time, waves came crashing around them. People started to cry: the boat will sink!

They threw all their things overboard, but still the boat was too heavy. They came to the realisation that people will have to sacrifice themselves and throw theirselves overboard and save the rest. But who?

So they decided to draw straws. The first time they drew it fell on Younis. Everybody agreed that he is a righteous man and shouldn’t be thrown overboard.

They went again and it again fell on younis. They decided to do it for the 3rd time. And again, for the 3rd time the draw fell on Younis.

Younis knew then that he was the chosen one. So he took off his clothes amd jumped in the cold dark waters. As soon as Younis jumped into the water, the waves ceased and the ship saved.

A whale then came and, by Allah’s (God’s) command, swallowed him whole. The whale didnt scratch him, brake his bone, or hurt him.

Younis thought he was dead but realized that he can walk around inside the whale’s tummy. The first thing he did was bow done to Allah (God) and said: I bow down to You in a place that no other human did.

Younis then heard a weird sound. Allah (God) told him that it is the sound of the whales thanking and praising Allah (God).

Everything around us prays and praises Allah .. we just dont understand what they are saying. Sobhan Allah

Younis realized that he was wrong in leaving and he should’ve been patient with his people and tried harder in these 3 days left. Younis asked Allah (God) for forgiveness, and of course, if you ask Allah (God) for forgiveness He will forgive you.

So Allah (God) ordered the whale to spit Younis out on an island. Younis’ skin was stuck to his bones and almost translucent from staying in the whales tummy for so long.

Allah (God) planted a big pumkin tree to shade him with its big leaves and protect him from the sun. He also ordered Younis to eat from the pumkin for its nutrients, and had a gazelle come up to Younis daily to drink from its milk.

After Younis got his strength back, Allah (God) ordered him to go back to his home country. Younis was surprised because of the 3 day deadline, he thought they were all dead by now.

Younis went back to his country and you know what he found? Every single person in this country now believes and worships Allah (God). All 100,000 of them.

Younis was angry and left hastily. He didnt realize that in just one day, people will get scared from the idea of judgment coming down on them, and that their hearts will become softer and will ask for Allah’s (God) forgiveness, and they all believed.

Lessons we take from this is:

Always have patience. Dont be too hasty. You will be rewarded for your patience and get what you waited for and believed in at the end.

And always remember, Allah (God) loves and cherishes you .. no matter what!

For My Kids · Ramadan

For my Kids: The Stories of Ayoub (Job)

Been a while since I last posted .. between fasting and kids online classes and everything didnt find the time to type them up. But ilhimdila (thanks to God) I have kept up the kids storytelling every night before they sleep.

Todays and tomorrows stories are about patience.

Every story of messengers and prophets from Allah (God) have very important lessons and things we can learn from. Today we will hear a story where a prophet had so much patience, Ayoub (Job).

Ayoub is the epitome of patience and perseverance. In Arabic we have a saying whenever things get tough, we say “May Allah (God) grant me Ayoub’s patience.”

Ayoub is Is-haq (Isaac’s) grandson. He was a very rich man. He had large gardens and a lot of money. He had 14 children and his house were full of servants.

Then Ayoub got sick. He was bedridden and couldn’t move. Because of that he couldnt tend to his affairs and started losing his money.

Not only that but he lost his kids .. one by one all of them died.

Till he lost all his money, all the servants and his big house.

All he had left was his faithful wife and they lived in a small house.

Did he complain? Did he give up on life? No not at all .. he kept on praying and praising Allah (God) for what he has.

His wife asked him one day: “Why don’t you ask Allah (God) to lift this sickness from you?”

He said: “I was strong and healthy for 70 years, I can wait and be patient with this sickness for 70 more years.”

His wife stayed right by his side bringing food and helping him out. She became a servant herself so she can pay for the food.

Can you imagine? From owning land and a big house full of servants .. to being a servant yourself.

One day, she didnt have any money to buy food. All the houses she used to work for wouldnt let her in. They were worried she would infect them with what Ayoub has.

Without hesitation, she cut off her long hair and sold it to get some food back to her sick husband.

She went back to her husband with the food they needed. He asked her: “Where did you get this food from? I know that no one would let you inside their house to work.”

She replied: “Eat first then I will tell you.”

He said: “No walla (I swear) I won’t eat. First tell me what happened. How did you get this food?”

She said: “Please eat first. You are hungry and sick. Please eat so you can get your strength back.”

He replied: “No .. I won’t eat one bite till you tell me.”

She finally said: “I cut my hair and sold it” and she took off the cloth she was wearing on top of her head.

Here Ayoub turned to Allah (God) and said: Oh Allah (God) harm has come to me and you are the most merciful.

Look at that. With all respect. He wasn’t angry or blamed anyone. He didn’t even ask Allah anything. All he said was “you are the most merciful”. He knows how big and far Allah’s mercy is .. he didn’t have to say much.

Then one day, Ayoub’s two brothers came to visit him. Of course they stayed very far away and didnt come close. One brother said to the other, whispering: “Ayoub surely must’ve done something really bad for Allah (God) to punish him this way.”

Ayoub heard and felt really bad. He said, talking to Allah (God): “Oh Allah (God) I never slept with a full tummy if I knew that there was anyone hungry out there. And I never slept with two shirts on and knowing that there was someone in this world without clothes.”

Allah (God) believed him for he already knows, as he can see and hear everything.

One day, Allah (God) told him: “move your legs Ayoub.”

He tried and to his astonishment, they moved. His feet fell to the ground with a thud, and there was water coming out from under his feet where they hit the ground.

He washed his body with this water, and all the sickness went away. He drank from the water, and he became strong again. Not only that, but he turned into a strong young man again.

His wife came into his room looking for him in his bed and couldn’t find him. She panicked and went around looking for him.

She saw a young man and she asked him: “Did you see Ayoub Allah’s prophet?”

He laughed and said: “It’s me, I am Ayoub.”

She said: “Are you making fun of me?”

He said: “No wallah (I swear) it’s me. I am Ayoub.”

She saw the resemblance with the young man she married and she started crying, asking him how and what happened.

He said: “It is Allah (God) Almighty.”

Ayoub asked Allah to grant his wife too and she too turned into her beautiful young self again.

Allah (God) gave them kids who look just like their previous kids, and more.

Not only that, but he got his garden back, his house and all the servants again.

Not only that …

But it is said that gold used to fall around Ayoub’s garden just like locusts.

Ayoub was rewarded generously from the Almighty for his unravelling patience.

For My Kids · Ramadan

For my Kids: The Story of Yousif (part 2)

Yousif (Joseph), running away from Aziz’s (Potiphar’s) wife, finally found a locked door, opened it and saw Aziz himself facing him. Yousif was shirtless, Aziz’s wife behind him, alone in a room.

When Aziz’s wife knew that she was caught, she flipped the story around. She told her husband: “He tried to rape me! He followed me into the room and tried to take me by force! What will you do now to a person who wanted harm unto your family?! Jail and punish him!”

Yousif was trying to tell Aziz that this wasn’t what happened, that he was innocent, but Aziz’s wife’s screams were louder than him.

Aziz didn’t know who to believe: his wife or Yousif, who was loyal and trustworthy for as long as he knew him.

Then a close relative of the wife stepped up. He said: “I can determine who was at fault. Bring me Yousif’s shirt. If it was torn from the front, then it was Yousif’s fault as she was defending herself. But if the shirt was torn from the back then it’s your wife’s fault, for she was trying to pull Yousif back.” He examined the shirt and saw that it was torn from the back. He told Aziz: “Unfortunately, it is your wife’s fault.”

Aziz was in a tough position. He knew it was his wife’s fault but couldn’t do anything. He didn’t want the entire country to talk about his family. He wanted to save face, save his reputation. Yousif now realized that he is going to prison, without committing a crime. The word got out that Yousif tried to rape Aziz’s wife, and that he is going to jail.

Jail at that time was like a dungeon, dark and scary. There were two other prisoners in jail with Yousif. Yousif never lost faith. He kept on trying to cheer the prisoners with him up and reminding them of Allah (God) and to never give up hope.

The two prisoners one day came up to Yousif telling him that they had this dream and asking him if he can tell them what it means. The first said: “I dreamt that I was squeezing grapes and making wine.” The other said: “I dreamt that I was carrying bread on top of my head and birds came and ate from it.”

Yousif said: “One of you will survive and leave prison and go back to his lord and serve them food and wine again. The other will be killed and his body thrown outside where birds will eat from his head.”

Then Yousif told the one who he believed will survive, he asked him to talk on his behalf when he leaves prison, maybe they might look into Yousif’s case again. But when the man did leave prison, he forgot all about Yousif and the promise he made him.

Yousif stayed many years more in jail, some say 7 years some say 10 years .. without ever committing a crime.

Then one day, the King of Egypt woke up startled from a dream. He called all his ministers and lords and everyone and asked them: “I had a frightful dream. I saw 7 fat cows and 7 thin cows. The 7 thin cows were eating the 7 fat cows. Who can tell me what that means?”

No one knew what it meant. The kings servant, while pouring wine, heard what the king said. He remembered Yousif and told the king: “I know a man who can tell you what it means.”

The king asked: “Who?”

The servant replied: “He is a prisoner and his name is Yousif. He is an honest man. He told me the meaning of a dream I had and what he said was all correct.”

The king said: “Go to him and ask him about the dream I had.”

The servant went back to the prison after years. He went in calling for Yousif and asked him what the kings dream meant.

Yousif said: “The dream means that there will be 7 years coming that will be very good to the country and everyone in it. The land will give great crops and food enough for everyone and more. The country will be very rich. Then after these 7 years, there will  be 7 years that are really tough. These years will be full of drought and hunger. The land will be dead and will not grow anything. You need to be careful to save a lot in the first 7 years from the crops and goods to be ready for the next 7 years.”

When the king heard this, he realized this wasn’t a normal person who said it. The king then ordered: “Bring me this prisoner now.”

But Yousif didn’t agree to leave prison until his name was cleared. He didn’t want to leave as a pardoned guilty man when he didn’t do anything. He wanted everyone to know that he was innocent.

Yousif said: “Go back to the king and tell him I wont leave this prison until he asks the ladies who accused me to say the truth.”

The king went back and asked all the ladies who knew Yousif, Aziz’s wife among them. He asked them: “What really happened? Did Yousif really try to overtake you all and rape you?”

All the ladies said: “No by God, we never heard or saw Yousif doing anything bad.”

Then the king asked Aziz’s wife specifically: “You were the one who accused Yousif and put him in jail. What really happened?”

She finally said, after Yousif stayed in jail for many years for a crime he didn’t commit, she said: “I will now tell the truth. I was the one who called him in and wanted him. He didn’t do anything and was always telling the truth.”

The king brought Yousif to his castle, and word got out to everyone in the country that Yousif was innocent and was always truthful and that he was wrongfully improsined.

The king, seeing Yousif’s intelligence and honesty, made Yousif the country’s treasurer, in charge of all the money, food, and crops.

And just like Yousif said, they had 7 very prosperous years. Yousif being the head of treasury kept everything in order and was saving for what is to come. Then came the 7 drought years. But Egypt was ready for them under Yousif’s close leadership. The drought was devastating. It was everywhere, far around Egypt and beyond, till it reached Palestine.

Yaqoob, Yousif’s father in Palestine, heard of a just and generous man in Egypt trading with people for food, not knowing that it was his son Yousif. Yaqoob sent his 10 older kids to Egypt to trade. He kept his youngest son Benyamin with him.

The 10 reached Egypt and went to see Yousif. They didn’t recognize him but he knew them right away. He asked them about their family, and who they left behind to feed.

They said: “Our father and our younger brother Benyamin.”

He asked: “And why didn’t you come with your brother Benyamin?”

They said: “Our father doesn’t allow us to take him away from him.”

He said: “I will trade with you today. But if you come again I wont give you anything unless you come with your younger brother as well.”

He traded the things that they brought in for food. But he secretly told his servants to put back the goods they brought with them between the food sacks they took.

The boys went back to their father. They told him that the Minister in Egypt gave them food this time but said that if they came again asking to trade, they had to bring their younger brother Benyamin with them.

They told their father: “Let him come with us and we promise we will take care of him.”

Yaqoob their father said: “You want me to trust you with him? Just like I trusted you with his brother Yousif before?”

The boys then went to take out the food and found their things that they thought they traded hidden there within. They went and told their father: “This is a very generous man. He gave us food and our things back. We must go back to him again with our younger brother Benyamin so he can give us more.”

The boys kept on trying to convince their father to take their younger brother with them. He said they can take him under one condition, They had to swear in Allah’s (God’s) name, swear to Allah and their father both, that they will take care of him and bring him back safely.

They promised him and were all set to leave. Yaqoob asked his sons one last thing before they left. He told them not to enter the doors in Egypt all 11 of them at once, they should divide themselves up and go in as you never know what might happen.

The boys reached Egypt and went to the palace to see Yousif. Yousif recognized his brother Benyamin and went up tp him and hugged him.

He asked him, without the others hearing: “Do you know who I am?”

Benyamin said: “No, who are you?”

Yousif replied: “It’s me, Yousif.”

Benyamin was shocked and exclaimed: “Yousif?? My brother??”

Yousif said: “Yes!”

Benyamin asked Yousif what happened and Yousif quickly told him.

Yousif, wanting to keep his brother Benyamin with him, put some of the palace’s belongings in Benyamin’s sack. While they were leaving, a guard stopped them and accused them of stealing.

They checked their sacks one by one in front of Yousif and kept Benyamin’s one till the last. When the guards looked through it, they found the palace’s belongings in it.

The older brothers said: “This Benyamin, he always steals, just like his brother Yousif before him.”

Yousif was very hurt when he heard that accusation by his brothers against him. He said: “As the law goes, we have to keep him here now with us as he is now ours.”

The brothers tried to convince Yousif saying: “We have a very old father who wouldn’t bear it if you took Benyamin away from him. Please take any of us in his place.”

Yousif declined. The law at that time said whoever was the one who stole is the one who should stay as a servant to the person he stole from.

The older boy said: “I can’t go back and face our father without Benyamin with us. I promised I will bring him back with me. I will stay here with him till I can. Go back to our father and tell him what happened.” He told the others.

The other boys went back to their father and said: “Father, your son has stolen.”

Their father Yaqoob didn’t believe them. He asked about his oldest son, they told him he stayed behind with Benyamin.

Their father cried and said: “Inshalah Allah (God) will bring them all to me.”

He told them: “Go back to Egypt and look for my sons. Look for Yousif too, you might find him there.”

They replied: “Oh my God, you still remember Yousif?! You will kill yourself over him!”

From grief and from crying so much over his sons, Yaqoob went blind.

Then the 9 boys went back to Egypt and went to the palace again. They went back to Yousif, with their heads hanging and said: “We need your help. Our family is not doing well. We are hungry and only have some meager things to trade. Our father is now blind and we don’t know where else to go.”

Yousif said: “Do you remember what you did to your brother Yousif?”

They were all shocked and surprised. Then they looked up and saw his face clearly.

They asked: “Are you Yousif?”

He replied: “Yes and this is my brother Benyamin.”

The brothers then cried. What will happen to them now?

Yousif said: “I forgive you. I wont do anything to you. Allah (God) will judge you in the end.”

Then he took off his shirt and gave it to them and said: “Take my shirt to my father and wipe his face with it. Then by Allah’s (God’s) grace he will be able to see again. Then come back here with all your family, to my palace.

The brothers took the shirt and headed back to Palestine. Their caravan still didn’t reach home when Yaqoob their father exclaimed to the people around him: “I can smell Yousif’s smell.”

The people around him told him he was going mad.

Then the boys came in with Yousif’s shirt, wiped it on their fathers face and he could see again. Their father said: “I told you I could smell Yousif,” hugging the shirt.

All the boys cried asking Allah (God) and their father for forgiveness.

Imagine how happy Yaqoob, their father was, while traveling from Palestine to Egypt. He will finally be reunited with his son whom he lost many years ago and didn’t see grow up.

When they reached, Yousif ran and hugged both his mother and father. After that, his brothers and parents all bowed down to Yousif. Yousif then told his father: “Do you remember when I was young and I told you about my dream? That 11 planets and the sun and the moon bowed down to me? Here is my dream happening now.”

Yousif and his family all lived in comfort, happily in Yousif’s palace.

When Yousif became older and his time came, his only wish was to die a loyal servant to Allah (God), and that Allah (God) will grant him a place in Heaven with the righteous people.

Lessons we take from this is:

  1. Jealousy can blind people. Yousif’s own brothers wanted to kill him and get rid of him because of jealousy. Be careful of people who are jealous from you. Excelling in something and being a good person loved by many can make people jealous of you. Never underestimate what people can do because of jealousy.
  2.  Life is not fair. Life can and will sometimes be unjust towards you. Yousif spent many years in jail for a crime he did not commit. You must have patience and wait and always ask Allah (God) to support you in the difficult times.
  3.  Truth will prevail. Yousif waited 10 years (more or less) for the truth to come out. Never give up or lose hope. Even if you feel betrayed or sad that something is unjust. Allah (God) will help the truth to come out in the end.
  4.  Never give up. Yousif went from being sold at a slave market to being improsined to being the head of all the treasury and money of the country. In a second, things might flip as Allah (God) can order: “Be! And there will Be.” For nothing is impossible to Allah (God).
  5.  Forgive. Yousif forgave his brothers even after they wanted him dead and threw him inside a well. Never hold a grudge for something for it will only hurt you more than it will hurt the person who did bad unto you. Forgive, let go, and move on. Leave it to Allah (God) to judge them in judgement day. Forgive and you will feel so much better.

And always remember, Allah (God) loves you and cherishes you .. no matter what.

 

 

For My Kids · Ramadan

For my Kids: The Story of Yousif (Part 1)

Today, we will go over one of my favorite prophet stories, the story of Yousif (Joseph), peace be upon him.

Remember Ibrahim (Abraham) and his wife Sara, they had a son called Is-haq (Isaac), who had twin boys, one of them called Yaqoob (Jacob), who had 12 sons. The youngest two of these 12 sons were Yousef (Joseph) and Benyamin. They were the two closest out of the 12 brothers, and they were the most liked by their father.

Yousef was a beautiful boy. They say that half of all the beauty in this world was given to Yousef, and the other half was divided between all the rest of the humans. Not only that, he was beautiful inside and out. He was the most well behaved and his father had a soft spot for him. His father loved Yousif the most.

One day, when Yousef was still a young boy, he told his father: “Father, I had an interesting dream last night. I dreamt that 11 planets and a sun and a moon were all bowing down to me.”

His father told him: “Don’t tell your dream to anyone, especially your brothers for I am worried they will be jealous and AlShaitan (Satan) will help them do something bad.”

All Yousef’s brothers, except Benyamin, were so jealous of him. They said that their father favors Yousif and Benyamin over the rest. They started scheming of how to get rid of him, maybe then if he is out of the picture their father will notice them and love them more. They were thinking to either kill him or take him somewhere very far away.

The oldest said: “Why kill him and carry that sin? Just throw him in a well and some travelers will pass by and take him far away with them.” They all agreed that was the best thing to do.

(Don’t underestimate when people are jealous. Jealousy can blind people and some can do very harmful and hurtful things just because they are jealous of you. Be careful of people who you feel are jealous of you, Yousif’s brothers wanted to kill him just because they were jealous. You never know what jealousy plus AlShaitan (Satan) can do.)

They hatched a plan. They told their father that they wanted to take Yousif out to play. Yaqoob always kept his son Yousif close by him and never let him far away from his sight. Yousif never went out far to play like his older brothers.

Their father said: “I can’t bear having him away from me not even for one hour. I am worried that if he goes with you, you will get distracted and the wolf will come and eat him.” His older sons said: “Why don’t you trust us with him? We will take care of him and bring him back . Their father reluctantly said ok.

Yousif was so happy that he will go out far with his older brothers for he never went with them before. They went far from their place and reached a well. They lifted Yousif up to throw him in. Yousif still thought they were just playing with him. He hanged on to the edge of the well, calling out to his brothers: “What are you doing? Help me out I will fall in!” But they were all just laughing at him.

They then pushed him in the dark well. All alone. He kept on calling his older brothers: “What are you guys doing? I will die here! It’s so dark here. Please help me out.” But all he heard was laughter. He sat there, all alone, scared, crying.

Allah (God) reassured his heart saying: “Don’t be scared, and don’t worry. A day will come where you will remind your brothers what they did to you .. Don’t worry.”

Yousif’s brothers, before throwing him in the well, took off his shirt. They killed an animal and smeared blood all over his shirt. Then they went back home. Their father was waiting anxiously for them. They came to him all crying.

Their father asked: “Yousif? Where is Yousif?” The older boys showed their father the shirt full of blood. “What happened?” Their father asked.

They said: “We went for a race. Us older kids. We asked Yousif to sit next to our things to protect them while we ran. And when we came back, we saw that the wolf has eaten him. We are telling the truth father, that is what happened.”

But the older boys forgot to do one thing, they forgot to tear the shirt up. How is there blood on the shirt and the shirt is still in tact .. not even one tear? Their father knew then, that they were all lying.

Yaqoob, their father, started crying. He said: “No .. your minds have tempted you to do something very bad. May Allah (God) give me patience and bring him back to me.”

Yousif stayed in the well for many nights, all alone in the darkness. Until one day he heard voices at the top of the well. He was so happy to hear someone, he will be rescued!

The men dropped the bucket inside the well to bring up water. Yousif grabbed onto the bucket and the man pulled him up. He was so surprised to see a boy inside the bucket. He said: “We found a pretty young boy. Let’s take him to the market in Egypt and sell him.”

They made him a commodity. A thing for sale. His father Yaqoob was crying for him at home. He didn’t know that at that moment, his son was being rescued from death inside a well but being sold in a market. A prophet, son of a prophet, son of a prophet, son of a prophet is being sold in a market just like a slave.

Aziz of Egypt (Potiphar) bought him. Aziz was a captain of the Pharaoh’s guards and lived in a castle. He took Yousif in as a servant. As Yousif got older, Aziz was impressed by his intelligence and honesty and liked him very much.

But as Yousif became older, he grew into a very handsome young man. All the ladies were mesmerized with him. It is said that servants cut their fingers off while chopping vegetables because they were staring at Yousif instead of what they were doing. Everyone was infatuated with him, and so was Aziz’s wife.

She followed Yousif around everywhere. Then one day, she locked all the doors and told everyone to leave. It was just her and Yousif .. with the doors locked. She got all dressed up and put on makeup and told him: “I am yours. You can do with me what you like.”

Yousif said: “God forbid, I wont do such a thing.”

She then went for him. He ran away looking for an open door. She ran behind him and grabbed him from the back and tore his shirt off. He finally reached a door that wasn’t locked .. opened the door and found none but her husband .. Aziz himself.

To be continued …

For My Kids · Ramadan

For my Kids: The Story of Ibrahim (part 3)

Today we will continue Ibrahim’s (peace be upon him) story.

So remember Ibrahim has two wives, one living in Palestine (Sara) and one living in Mecca (Hajar) with her son (Ismail). Ibrahim moves between these two countries spreading the righteous word of Allah (God).

One day, while he was in Palestine with his first wife Sara, 3 strangers passed by his house. Ibrahim was known to be very hospitable. He invited three of them in though he thought it was surprising that there was no sign of traveling on them, as he never saw them in the country before. He killed one of his sheep for them and grilled it. After offering it to them, and after none of them ate even one bite, he took one step backwards, scared.

When they saw Ibrahim was scared, they told him: “Don’t be scared. We are not humans. We are Allah’s (God’s) angels. I am Jibreel (Gabriel) and this is Mikae’el (Michael) and this is Israfeel.”

Ibrahim replied: “Welcome. What brought you here?” They said he have come to punish Lut’s people (we will learn about Lut’s people later), but we came here to let you know the good news. Your wife Sara will be having a son soon.”

Sara was shy and said: “How can I have a baby when I am already an old lady?”

The angels told her that nothing is surprising if Allah (God) wants it to happen. They told her she will have a son called Is-haq (Isaac) and she will even see her grandson Yaqoub (Jacob).

Ibrahim then tried to convince the angels not to punish Lut’s people and asked them to give them some time maybe they will come around. The angels replied what is done is done. And left.

As years passed by, Ismail turned into a strong young man in Mecca.

His father came to him one day and told him that Allah (God) has asked him to build a house so people can come from all over the world and worship Allah (God) here. But as Ibrahim was getting older, he needs his help.

So they started. Ismail bringing rocks and bricks from all over the place and putting them next to his father, Ibrahim, while Ibrahim was setting the bricks one on top of the other, and building the most important place for any Muslim, the Ka’aba.

After almost finishing the entire thing, and there was only one brick left, Ismail was too tired and couldn’t lift even one more rock. His father told him to go rest. Then Jibreel (Gabriel), the head of the angels, came and asked Ibrahim if he needs anything. Ibrahim told him that he needs just one more rock to finish the Ka’aba. Jibreel (Gabriel) then said: “Here, take this rock. It is from jenna (heaven).” (they say the rock was white but turned black because of all the people’s sins.”

الكعبةالحجر الاسود

When they were done, Allah (God) asked Ibrahim to “athen” (call to the people). Ibrahim asked: “What should I call the people to?” Allah (God) told him to call the people to Hajj. So Ibrahim stood on top of a mountain and said: “People of the world, Allah (God) orders you to go to Hajj.”

(And until this day, people answer Ibrahim’s call once every year. People come from all over the world to Mecca for Hajj saying:

لبيك اللهم لبيك (translation: Here I come God responding to your call.)

People go running between the two hills, AlSafa and AlMarwa, just like Hajar did when she was looking for water for her infant son. And after they finish Hajj, they kill sheep just like Ibrahim did instead of his son.)

Ibrahim kept moving between Palestine and Mecca spreading the teachings of Allah (God). Then one day, Ibrahim asked Allah (God): “Can you show me how you bring the dead to life?”

Allah (God) replied: “Why? Don’t you believe?”

Ibrahim said: “I do, but just so my heart can be assured even more.”

Allah (God) told him to take four birds, kill them and cut them up. He told him to mix their parts up and place a bunch on the top of each mountain. Then Allah (god) told Ibrahim to stand far and call the birds to him.

Ibrahim called them and they came flying back to him, all four of the birds. All the different pieces came together from all the different mountains and the birds came to life right in front of Ibrahim’s eyes.

Ibrahim got old .. and his time came. Ibrahim died. He has a very special place in heaven as he is one of the most important prophets, the father of all Godly religions. It is said that all kids who pass away before their time stay with Ibrahim (peace be upon him) in heaven because of his big heart.

Lessons we take from this:

  1. Never worry if Allah is with you. Just like Allah rescued Ibrahim from the huge fire, and Sara from the evil king, and Hajar and Ismail in the middle of the desert, Allah will help you and see you though everything if you ask him. (وان سألك عبادي عني فاني قريب استجيب للداعي اذا دعاني) translation: (if people ask you about me i am close i give people their wishs if they ask me)
  2.  We have to go to Hajj once in our lifetime to answer Ibrahim’s call. When we go there we will do the same as Hajar did and we will kill a sheep and give the pieces to the poor just like Ibrahim did. 
  3. Allah is capable of doing everything and anything. Always believe that nothing is impossible to Allah. So never give up. Anything is possible with Allah by our side.

And above all else, Allah loves and cherishes you .. no matter what.

 

For My Kids · Ramadan

For my Kids: The Story of Ibrahim (part 2)

Today we will continue Ibrahim’s, peace be upon him, story. Did you know that all 3 religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are called the Abrahamic religions, as in descending from Ibrahim (peace be upon him). Ibrahim is the forefather of most prophet’s and is a very important figure in our religion.

So after settling in Palestine, Ibrahim and his wife Sara decided to try to teach others about Allah (God). Lut stayed in Palestine while Ibrahim and his wife went to Egypt to try spread the righteous ways. Egypt, unfortunately, had a tyrant king.

This king used to take all the ladies in the land and force them to be with him for a while before releasing them to their husbands. He heard that a husband and wife newly came to their land so he ordered his guards to bring him this man’s wife by force.

The king’s guards came to Ibrahim’s house and took his wife Sara away by force. He stayed praying at home to Allah (God) to save his wife from the tyrant king. The guards took Sara into the King’s castle. She started praying to Allah (God) to save her.

She kept on praying while the King got closer and closer to her.. then the King fell down in his place paralyzed. He couldn’t move! He called out to her asking her: “Please ask your God to save me and I promise I will not come close to you ever again.” Sara asked Allah (god) to forgive him.

But as soon as the king could move again, he came close and jump on her. She prayed to Allah (god) again to help her out and again, the king got paralyzed in his place. Again the king asked Sara to ask her god to help him out and now he really promises that he wont touch her ever. Sara asked Allah (God) to forgive the king. And guess what happened? As soon as he could move again he pounced on her.

For the third time, Sara prayed to Allah (God) to save her. The king, for the third time, got paralyzed in his place. He, again, asked Sara to ask her god to help him and he promises he will let her go. Sara asked Allah (God) to forgive the king.

Then after the third time, when the king got his movement back, he asked the guards to take her out of his castle for she is crazy. The king did something else too. He gave Sara a gift. He gave her one of his lady servants called Hajar as a parting gift.

When Sara reached home, Ibrahim ran to her asking what happened. She said: “Allah (God) saved me” and told Ibrahim exactly what happened. After that, Ibrahim, Sara, and Hajar left Egypt and went back to Palestine.

After many years, Sara saw that Ibrahim is becoming older and he has no son. She suggested that Ibrahim takes Hajar as a wife, maybe she can bring him a son. Ibrahim married her and indeed she got pregnant and had his first son, Ismail.

After a bit, and after Sara saw how happy her husband was with his first son, she got jealous. Allah (God) then told Ibrahim that he should take his second wife, Hajar, and his newborn son and migrate to somewhere else.

The place Allah (God) ordered them to migrate to was in the middle of the desert, Mecca. Back then, no one lived there. There was no water no food no people not even animals around. It was an empty droughted land. When Ibrahim and Hajar and Ismail reached there, Ibrahim left them there, in the middle of the desert, turned around and walked away.

Hajar asked her husband, “Ibrahim, why are you leaving us here?”

He didn’t reply.

She asked again, “Ibrahim, why are you leaving us like this?”

He didn’t reply.

Then she asked him, “Did Allah (God) ask you to leave us here?”

He said yes.

She said, “then Allah (god) will take care of us.”

Ibrahim left his wife and newborn child alone in the middle of the desert and stood on top of a mountain and prayed to Allah (God) to take care of them. He went on his way to Palestine.

Hajar just had a bit of water and a bit of dates left from travelling. They both ran out quickly. Then her infant son started to cry from hunger. She didn’t know what to do. She ran on top of one hill (AlSafa) calling for help and looking around, then came back running to the next hill (AlMarwa) calling for help and looking around for something.. anything to help her out. She ran back and forth between these two hills seven times.

Then she heard a sound next to her baby son, she turned around and saw a shadow next to him. She ran to her son and saw Jibreel (Gabriel). He hit the earth with his wings and water started bubbling from the ground. Zamam water came pouring out.

Hajar gave the water to Ismail then drank some herself. Then Jibreel (Gabriel) asked her: “Who did Ibrahim leave you to?” She replied: “to Allah (God).”

He said: “Then Allah (God) will not leave you. He will take care of you. In this place, there will be a house that everyone will come to for praying to Allah (God). And this baby and his father will be the ones who will build it. So do not worry. Allah (God) will take care of you.”

Later, a caravan with Arab travelers from the south were passing close by. They saw birds hovering in the sky and knew there was water close by. They came to the spot and saw zamzam water and all things Hajar has. They asked her permission to stay there and she said yes. Mecca became an Arab city from then on.

After some years, Ismail grew up to be a young boy. His father Ibrahim came to him one day and told him: “Son, Allah (God) has ordered me to do something.”

Ismail asked: “What did Allah (God) ask you to do father?”

Ibrahim said: “To kill you.”

Ismail said: “Father, do what you are ordered and I will be right there with you.”

Ibrahim then put a stone on the ground and began sharpening the knife. Ismail said: “Father, please place my face to the ground away from you.” His father asked him why? Ismail said: “So you wont see my face and feel bad and back down.”

Ibrahim struck the knife to Ismail’s neck .. but it didn’t cut.

Ismail said: “Father, do it stronger.”

Ibrahim strikes his son’s neck again, but again the knife doesn’t cut.

Ibrahim passed the test. Allah (God) sent him a huge sheep from the sky to kill instead of his son.

To be continued …

For My Kids · Ramadan

For my Kids: The Story of Ibrahim (Part 1)

After Saleh, there was a young man called Ibrahim (Abraham) peace be upon him in Babel (Iraq). He found the people around him worshipping statues, the planets .. everything but Allah (God).

His father used to order him to bow down to the statues. Ibrahim replied, talking logically and respectfully to his father:

“Father, why do you worship something that can’t hear or see .. or help you with anything.”

His father still ordered him to bow down to the statues. Ibrahim said:

“Father, I realize that I am very young. But Allah (God) taught me many things and I hope I can show you the right way too. Father please don’t follow AlShaitan (Satan) for he will only take you with him to hell.”

His father said if you don’t stop saying these things then leave my house and you are not a son to me anymore.

Ibrahim replied: “I wish on you all the peace and I will ask Allah (God) to forgive you for all your sins.”

(Note how respectful Ibrahim was to his father. He didn’t accuse him or talk to him harshly. And even after he kicked him out he said that he will pray for his forgiveness.)

Then Ibrahim saw all the people worshiping statues outside. He asked them: “What are these statues you are bowing down to?”

They replied: “We found our fathers and our fathers fathers doing so .. so we are doing the same.”

Ibrahim told them: “But your real God is the God of the skies and the earth. And by God, I will ruin these statues that you bow to.”

Then one day, he passed by the statues alone. He saw all the sacrifices from food to other things that people left at the legs of these statues. He asked them: “Why don’t you eat? Why don’t you reply?”

Then he had an idea. He took an ax and hit and broke down all the statues but one, the largest statue. He placed the ax next to it and left.

When all the people came and saw their statues broken, they cried and wailed: “Who did this to our gods?!” They screamed.

They all went angrily to question Ibrahim because they all heard him threaten the statues. They brought him and questioned him in front of everyone: “Did you do it?!”

He said: “There is an ax next to the biggest statue that is still standing .. go ask him if he did it. You can’t .. can you? Then how can you say this is a god capable of doing everything while he can’t even defend himself.”

Then they all started to chant: “Burn him and take revenge for our gods!!”

They built a huge wooden tower and set fire to it. The fire was so big and fierce that if a bird flew over it, the bird fell dead from the heat of the fire.

Everyone gathered around on that day. They couldn’t push Ibrahim in because the fire was too hot to get close to. So they tied him up and put him in a lever like machine to catapult him inside the fire.

Just then, Jebreel (Gabriel), the head of the angels, came down and asked Ibrahim: “Ibrahim, do you need anything from me?”

Ibrahim replied: “From you no thank you. But from Allah (God) yes I do.”

حسبي الله ونعم الوكيل (translation: God is enough for us and how excellent a guardian He is)

(Remember what I told you before in Hud’s story? If your safety net is the King of Kings Allah, why be scared? Ibrahim is faced with a huge fire and he has full faith that Allah will protect him.)

They catapulted him in the fire. Everyone saw him falling in. Then Allah (God) ordered the fire:

يا نار كوني برداً وسلاماً على ابراهيم

ordered the fire to be “cold” and “safe” around Ibrahim. Nothing got burnt except the rope that tied him up.

Ibrahim stood in the middle of the blazing fire, unharmed, and bowed down to Allah (God) thanking Him for saving him.

Ibrahim’s own father, standing with all the rest of the people and watching said: “Oh what a God you have Ibrahim!”

Ibrahim then walked out of the huge fire unharmed. You’d think people would believe in Allah (God) after witnessing this miracle. But no, they were only scared of him and ran away from him. The only two people who believed were his wife Sara and his nephew Lut.

Babel’s powerful king, Nimrod, heard of Ibrahim’s story and called him. He asked Ibrahim: “I heard what happened. Do you really claim you have a god?”

Ibrahim replied: “Yes, my God is Allah (God). He created me and you and everything around. Allah (God) gives life and takes it away. He created everything.”

Nimrod replied: “I too give life and take it away.” He then called a prisoner and ordered his guards to kill him.

“See?” he said. “I took away life.”

Then he called someone on death row and let him go.

“See?” he said. “I gave him life.”

Ibrahim then said: “Do you see the sun? Everyday it comes from the east and sets in the west. Allah (God) is the one who brings it from the east. Bring it from the west if you can.”

Nimrod was shocked and stumped and couldn’t reply. As resentment and anger started to increase in Babel towards Ibrahim, Allah (God) ordered Ibrahim to leave and relocate for his safety.

So Ibrahim left .. with his wife Sara and his nephew Lut and headed to Palestine.

To be continued …

For My Kids · Ramadan

For my Kids: The Story of Saleh

Today’s story is another short one, but an interesting one because you can still see the land that Saleh (peace be upon him) lived in and the people’s houses still standing till this day.

Again, Iblees (Satan) and the sheyateen succeeded in steering people off track. People started forgetting Allah (God) and started worshipping other things.

So Allah (God) sent Saleh to remind them and bring them back to the right direction.

Like all prophet’s and messengers before and after him, he asked his people to first and foremost believe and worship Allah (God), the only god there is.

And like all prophets and messengers before him and after him, they laughed at him and called him crazy.

They said: What happened to you? You used to be such a wise and trustworthy man and now you are talking nonsense. Just like all the messengers before him, only the poor believed in him.

So one day all the powerful people asked the people who believed Saleh: Why did you believe? Did you see any proof?

Then they told Saleh: We need proof. We need to see something with our own eyes so we can believe.

They said: Ask your God to bring out a camel from this huge rock over there. And not any camel, but a camel who is pregnant with a baby in the 10th month.

Saleh then asked them: And if that happened, will you believe?

They said that they need to see the miracle with their own eyes then they will believe.

After Saleh prayed and asked Allah (God) for numerous days, the miracle finally came.

The big rock moved and shivered, and out of it came a magnificent camel. And just like they asked for, the camel was pregnant with a baby 10 months old.

Saleh said: There you go. This is the miracle you asked for. Do not let any harm come to this camel or its baby. Take care of it as it is a miracle from Allah (God).

Did they believe after seeing the very miracle they asked for? No.

(Just wanted to take a sec her to point out that you will meet a lot of people like these in your life. People who you would like to be sold on a certain idea for example, or people who you wish will accept you, or love you back. There are some people in life that even if you bring upon a miracle, it won’t move them.

There’s a saying in Arabic that says: Even if you give them the sun in one hand and the moon in the other, it won’t work. What I want you to remember is: don’t waste your time with these types of people. You are much better than that and deserve much more.)

So Allah (God) put them through a test to see if they really believed or no.

Saleh told his people: Look at this well we drink from. There has to be one day dedicated for only the camel to drink, and the next day we can drink, alternatively.

They said: How about the day dedicated for the camel, where we drink from then?

He said: From the milk of the camel. It will be satisfying and enough for all.

The people got angry. How dare he tell us what we can and can’t do? How dare he stop us from drinking from our own well?

Two women came forward, one with a lot of money and one who has beautiful girls. They said that they prepared a prize, plenty of money and beautiful girls to anyone who would kill the camel.

Two men stepped up and said that they will do it. Seven more said that they will help them. Now remember that they were the ones who asked for this miracle, they were the ones who asked for the camel and now they wanted to kill it.

They cornered the camel in between mountains and killed it with a bow to her neck. The camel made a deafening sound. Then they went to Saleh laughing and saying: we killed your precious camel. Now what? Show us what you can do or the consequences for our actions that you claim.

Saleh started to cry because he knew what will happen and what will become of them. He then told them: you have 3 days, at then end of each day the colors of your faces will change and darken, then “it’ will start.

True to his word, after each passing day, the colors of the people’s faces began to change. They became scared. Then the same 9 men got together and decided to kill Saleh and get rid of him once and for all.

They decided to kill him and his family in the middle of the night so no one will be able to see them. So they got together in front of his house while he was inside praying.

Just then, stones came down from the sky and striked them all and killed the 9 men.

The next morning, Allah (God) saved Saleh and all those who believed, and all the rest perished.

Lessons we take from this:

  1.  Allah (God) can do any miracle you can think of.
  2. There are people in this world that no matter what you do, even if you bring upon a miracle, they will never change their mind. Don’t waste your time on them.

And above all, always remember, Allah (God) loves you and cherishes you .. no matter what.

For My Kids · Ramadan

For my Kids: The Story of Hud

Today’s story is a short one but has a very powerful and important lesson. It is about Prophet Hud (pronounced Hoood), who was sent to the people of a clan called Aad (believed to be between today’s Yemen and Oman).

Aad were said to be very rich and powerful people. They had a very strong army and were feared from everyone around them. And they are a tribe who have, sadly, forgotten about Allah (God) and created statues as their gods instead.

Hud came from a good family within Aad that everyone respected. Everyone knew him really well. But when he asked his relatives and people to believe in Allah (God) and to remember what happened to Noah and his people .. they all laughed at him.

At first, just like they did to Noah, they asked him if he is doing this only to get money and tried to buy him off. Then they called him crazy, like almost every messenger and prophet after him.

After a while of Hud trying with them, they were bothered with him and threatened him. (Now remember these people were very powerful people. They were feared by the strongest army all around them. But was Hud scared? Not at all. Why?)

اني توكلت على الله

(This is the most important lesson in Hud’s story, to believe. When you truly believe and leave your fate within Allah’s (God’s) hands, what do you have to worry about? You did not leave your fate up to a human king or a prince or any other person, you are fully depending on the Greatest and most Merciful, the most powerful Allah (God), then why worry?

There is no despair with a true believer, because we know without a doubt that Allah (God) is with us. He will help us if we stumble, protect us if we are scared, and do what is best for us.

Imagine someone who is in the protection of a king or president,  he/she feels like nothing can touch them. When you fully believe that you are in the protection of the King of kings, why worry?

This is the secret ingredient, and the most powerful: faith .. belief. When you believe, when you have faith that you will get through, when you really believe, miracles can happen and you can do anything. When you know that Allah (God) and his angels are carrying you, taking care of you, how can you ever be afraid? Have faith, believe, and Allah (God) will see you through.)

And just like the people asked Noah before to bring on the “bad consequences”, so did Hud’s clan. They said: show us what you’ve been threatening us with if you are really saying the truth.

It all started with a drought. The drought lasted for 3 years. For a place that was so dependent on agriculture, it was devastating. They all went asking their gods and statues to send them rain and save them. They kept sacrificing things for their gods until one day, a booming voice came from the sky.

The voice asked them: Which type of cloud would you like? A white one, a red one, or a black one? They all said black because they knew a black cloud is full of rain.

Then they all rejoiced. They thought that their gods finally answered their pleas and they will finally be saved. Little did they know …

The big black cloud came and covered the sky. It came with strong freezing wind and none were spared, except for Hud and the people who believed. They all perished and there was nothing their gods could do for them now. As being mere statues, they too flew in the wind and crashed with all the rest.

Lessons to Remember:

  • Always believe, Allah (God) is your safety net. No matter what, always have faith and believe that Allah (God) will see you through. Leave everything in Allah’s (God’s) hands, for what better security do you need than the creator of the world, walking side by side with you. If you truly believe, you will never be lost.

And always remember, Allah (God) cherishes and loves you .. no matter what!