Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Boy and the Baby (A Story of the Steadfast)

HE RACE OF life is difficult. At times you run, charging forward. Other times you slow to a walk. Sometimes the road is so steep and stony that you crawl, falling and crying, your goal a ever-distance mirage. Some never get up. Some even turn around. But there are those few who do rise up. They remind themselves that each step means success, each gasp a call of triumph. They believe in the unseen finish line. Against all odds they cross that seemingly elusive line. The joy of their victory wipes away the agonies of their journey.


That is the story of the true believer. Perseverance flows in his blood. Allah says in the Quran: "O you who believe! Persevere in patience and constancy; vie in such perseverance; strengthen each other; and fear Allah, so that you may prosper." (3:200).

We cannot be successful in attaining our ultimate goal-the pleasure of Allah-without this character trait. We will encounter hardship and heartache over and again in life. The only way to maintain strong faith is through our willingness to continue, to not give up-no matter the desperation of our situation.

To attain and maintain a persevering personality we ought to remember that the roadblocks and potholes will act in our favor in the long run. The Prophet (PBUH), said: "No fatigue, illness, anxiety, sorrow, harm or sadness afflict any Muslim, even to the extent of a thorn pricking him, without Allah wiping out his mistakes by it" (Agreed upon).

The pathway to perseverance is through prayer. We do so by simply turning to our Lord and asking Him to aid and strengthen us, to help us not give up. The All-Merciful says to His servants: "Seek help in steadfastness and salah. And Allah is with the steadfast" (2:152).


In a land faraway, there lived a king in a castle. This king, whose heart grew black over time with arrogance and disbelief, employed into his services a powerful and wicked sorcerer. For many years the king and his sorcerer worked together, ruling over the kingdom with harshness. Everyone lived in fear. No one dared stand up to the king or his sorcerer for they knew they would suffer greatly at their hands. But the sorcerer was getting old. He knew his end was nearing and could not despite all the dark magic he used-outwit death. He sent for a servant of his.

"I am old," he told him, "find for me a lad that I might teach him of what I know and that he may take my place as sorcerer."

The servant did as he was told. He found, among the townspeople, a young boy. The boy was bright and eager to learn and accepted the invitation of the sorcerer. However, as he walked through the city to the palace he chanced upon a monk's cell.

Curious and intrigued by the monk, he stopped and listened to his words. He liked very much what he heard. Making up his mind to return to the monk, he continued along to meet the sorcerer.

And so it happened that every morning the boy would stop at the monk's cell and listen to his beautiful and wise words. The boy would then go on to the sorcerer and listen to his words, which were not beautiful or wise, but powerful nonetheless. The boy did not know who was in the right and who was not. He waited for a chance to test from who's tongue came the truth.

His chance came soon, for one day he saw a great beast barring the roads, preventing the people from passing. The boy said to himself, "Today I will find out who is better, the sorcerer or the monk."

And with that he picked up a stone and prayed, "Oh God, if what the monk does is more preferable to You than what the sorcerer does, turn this beast aside so that the people can pass."

And he threw stone at the beast. The beast fell, dying by the single strike. The boy then ran to the monk and told him what happened. The monk then said, "Oh my boy, today you have surpassed me. I see what your purpose must be. You will be tested and when you are tested, do not give my name away."

So the boy continued to visit the sorcerer, but he only gained knowledge from the monk, his true teacher. Soon, he learned to heal the blind and cure people of any ailment. What a companion of the king, who was a blind man, heard of this he went to the boy, bringing with him many gifts. He said to him, "All that I have gathered for you here is yours if you heal me."

"I do not heal anyone," the boy replied. "It is Allah the Almighty who heals. If you believe in Allah the Almighty, I will pray to heal you."

So, the blind man believed. And Allah, the All Powerful, did indeed heal him. With his newfound sight he went eagerly to his friend, the king.

"Who has returned to you your sight?" the king asked.

"My Lord," the friend replied.

"Have you a Lord other than I?" asked the king, growing angry.

"Yes," said the old friend, bravely, for he knew the consequences of his words. "Rather my Lord and your Lord is Allah."

With that, the king seized him and tortured him, asking him who taught him such blasphemous words. Unable to endure any more pain, the friend confessed that it was the boy.

The boy was immediately brought before the king.

"Oh boy," the kind said grandly, "your sorcery has reached the point where you heal the blind."

"No, indeed," the boy softly replied, "I do not heal anyone. It is Allah the Almighty who heals."

Enraged, the king seized the boy and tortured him as well, demanding to know the name of the one who taught him such blasphemous words. Finally, when the boy's agony passed his limit, he have away the name of the monk.

The monk was thereby brought before the king.

"Renounce your religion! The king commanded.

The monk refused. The king, irate, called for a saw to be brought forth.

Placing the saw in the center of the monk's head, the king sawed him into twohalves. The former friend of the king was then brought forward again and told to renounce his religion. But he too refused. And he too was sawed in half.

The king called then for the boy. He too refused to renounce his religion. The king handed the boy over to some servants.

"Take gun to a mountain," he ordered. "When you reach its summit, if he still refuses to obey me, through him off!"

So they brought him to the mountaintop. The boy prayed, "Oh Allah, save me from them in whatever way You will.."

Just as they were about to throw him over, a great tremor shook the mountain with such force that all the servants fell over the cliff. All except the boy. He then returned to the king alone.

"What happened to the others? He demanded.

"The Almighty saved me from them," the boy said.

Undeterred, the king gave him over to another group of servants and ordered that he be taken out to the middle of the sea and thrown in. So they took him. And again the boy prayed, "Oh Allah, save me from them in whatever way You will."

At that point the waves grew fierce and the ship capsized, drowning all the servants. Once again the boy walked back to the king alone. Again the king demanded the whereabouts of his men. And again the boy replied that the Almighty saved him from them. The king grew angrier and angrier at his inability to kill the boy.

"You will not kill me," the boy told him, "unless you do as I command." "What would that be?" demanded the king.

"Gather the people together on the plain and crucify me on a palm trunk," instructed the boy. "Then take an arrow from your quiver, put it in the center of your bow and say, 'In the name of Allah, the Lord of the boy, so that the people may hear, and then shoot. If you do as I say, you will kill me."

The king, so eager to rid himself of this troublesome boy, did as he was told. He gathered the people in the plain and had the boy crucified to a palm tree. He then strung his bow saying out loud, "In the name of Allah, the Lord of the boy," and shot the arrow.

It struck the boy. The boy placed his hand on his temple and died. Before the king could feel the triumph of his kill, the people raised their voices in unison, "We believe in the Lord of the boy!". For they knew that the boy who never died when he asked his Lord for protection, only died by the will of his Lord. The enraged king was then told, "Do you not see that, by Allah, your fear has brought about the very thing you were afraid of! The people have believed!".

The king then commanded that a great trench be dug and filled with fire. He then ordered that all the believers who did not renounce their faith be thrown into the pit. Knowing that they would return to their Lord and knowing that He would reward them for their striving, they chose the more difficult road of the king's punishment over the easier road of renouncing their beliefs. So, one by one, the believers were thrown into the fire. Only one person hesitated.

She was a mother and in her hands was her newborn baby. She did not fear for herself, but rather for her child. So she stood, uncertain as to what the better choice would be. At that moment a small voice came from arms.

"Mother," the newborn baby said, inspired by his Creator and hers, "be steadfast! You have the truth" (Muslim). With that, she leapt in.

Thus ends the story of the boy and the baby. And, dear readers, they all really do live happily ever after.

So be steadfast. You too have the truth.

Khansa Padri

Courtesy: Al Jumuah Magazine)


Khansa said...

Asalaamu Alaykum,

I was searching the internet for something and came across your page. I was sincerely touched to see this posting because I am the writer of the article! Subhan'Allah I never thought people actually read my work and would even post it on their blogs. Jazak'Allah Khair! I pray people find it beneficial to them. May Allah *swt* reward you for each person who reads this article and takes away something positive from it. Ameen!

Ammar said...

Mashallah! MAshallah! its great sister! you are great Islamic Writer & this is one of best story i never read. Keep up your good works sister! Ameen for your Duas! May Almighty keep us steadfast in our Emaan till the day of Judgement. Ameen.

Ammar said...

As well as i have read the same story in the Riyadus Saliheen.( i cant remind exactly what it was)