Alhamdhulillah. I am glad to share with you a story written for kids. :-D.
I am a Star
Sabir got ready for school in record time today. In a brightly sunlit room, decorated with Lego mechanical cars and a space shuttle, we hear timid Sabir trying out his speech. It is an important day from him. The 9 year old science wiz wants to present his school in a science exhibition. But first he has to do a presentation on ‘Light’ in order to be selected for the big day. His speech is flawless in front of his only audience – his dearest soccer ball proudly wearing his swimming goggles. But, due to his shy nature giving a speech in front of a panel of judges was a nightmare for Sabir. While he is worrying about this, his elder sister Salma comes into the room.
Sabir is glad to see her. Traditionally elder sisters are called Aap-pa in their culture, but Salma has always been able to make Sabir happy with her presence, so he started calling her Appy. Noticing the band in her hand he says, “So you were finally able to loom the band, it’s very colourful?” Salma’s eyes twinkle with the complement, “Yes Sabir. I got the hang of it in my 4th attempt. I am glad I tried. I hope your presentation is equally colorful.” Then she says, “Abba (Father) and Amme (Mother) have sent me to listen to your speech once before we leave for school. I am all ears, please start.” But just as Sabir stood up to present his speech Saba, Sabir’s 5 year old sister, enters the room. Cute and active Saba is a mini storm packed inside a sweet girl with ever gleaming eyes. She is always eager to learn and looking at her now Sabir is worried she was going to make him lose track of his speech with her interruptions.
“Assalam o alikum Appy and Bhai (That’s Sabir)”, shouts Saba as she runs in. Sabir waits for her to sit down. Instead, she turns to Salma and exclaims, “You have just two ears, yet you say you are all ears!” Salma smiles and replies, “Walikumassalam Saba, It meant I am eager to listen.” Saba raises her hand to Sabir’s ear and adds, “I am also all ears.” Sabir catches her hand in mid air, leads her to a chair and gets her more or less seated.
Sabir deliberately starts with, “Lend me your ears.” Saba covers her ears in shock. Sabir and Salma have a hearty laugh. Sabir removes Saba’s hand from her ears and says, “It means – Listen to me attentively” and he continues with his speech, “Light is a form of energy. It travels in form of waves. Speed of light is 2.9*108 meters per second. A Light Year is 9.4 *1015 meters. That’s 6 million miles.” Using a transparent, translucent and opaque glass pieces he explains different phenomena of light. Finally, with a prism in hand Sabir explains about Dispersion – Separation of light. Saba looks at dispersed light from prism and exclaims, “Rainbow!” Sabir happily explains, “Yes Saba, rainbow is splitting of light by water droplets.” Saba hugs him cajolingly and requests, “Can I have this rainbow maker. Pleeeeease” Sabir replies, “You may have it after the presentation. Just lend it to me when I need it later.”
Salma applauds Sabir, “Allah o Akbar.” Being still nervous, Sabir confesses, “I am scarred of presenting anything in front of judges. So, I’ve teamed up with Abid. He has agreed to help me when I’m tongue tied. I just hope he doesn’t forget the points.” Salma consoles, “In sha Allah, you both will do fine. Keep trying, someday you’ll overcome your fear.” They hear Ammee call, “Hurry up children. You don’t want to be late to school.”
Salma and Saba had returned from school before Sabir. The home is filled with smells of freshly baked chocolate cake. Ammee has baked it especially as a reward for Sabir. Salma tries to decorate the cake as they wait for Sabir in their cozy living room decorated in shades of pastels. Shortly Sabir arrives with a long face. As Ammee helps Salma with the frosting, she greets Sabir with a warm smile, “Assalamalikum.” Saba descends from the table, where she had been admiring the cake, and pounces on Sabir questioning eagerly, “Bhai, did you speak about all ears in your school? Did you bring back that triangle rainbow maker?” Sabir said in a broken voice, “Walikum Salam.” Sensing the pain in his voice Ammee comes closer to Sabir and asks gently, “Dear, was the presentation not good enough?” Sabir broke into tears as he replied, “It was great but…” Ammee hugs sobbing Sabir and signals Salma to fetch a glass of water. Everybody waits patiently for Sabir to calm down. A couple of minutes later, Ammee gets Sabir seated down and hands him a glass of water. Sabir sips from the glass and finally the whole story pours out of him, “Presentation was in the last period. I didn’t say a word. Abid did the whole presentation himself with my notes and samples. He was applauded and praised.” Everybody was stunned. Even Saba was silent.
Saba kneels down next to Sabir. She raises her head and stares at Sabir with big eyes ready to cry. Then she slowly utters in a heavy voice, “Does this mean I won’t get the rainbow maker ?” Sabir just could not prevent himself from laughing. Salma hands Saba her knitted bracelet saying, “This rainbow bracelet doesn’t need light for colours. It is better than that rainbow maker.” Saba is delighted. Ammee kisses Sabir and says, “Oh dear! Abid is a good boy too, I don’t know what happened.” Sabir sighs; “Now the opportunity to represent my school in the exhibition is lost.” Ammee tries to cheer him up, “You took effort to learn about light. Knowledge is valuable.” Sabir smiles halfheartedly.
That day, after magrib prayer, Amme took them to terrace. It was quite and very dark outside, except for the sky. It grabbed everybody’s attention. Though there was no moon, thousands of stars were gleaming down at them. Few minutes later, Ammee asked them, “What do you guys see?”
Saba draws patterns in sky connecting stars and says, “I see a donut and an ice cream!”. Everyone smiles. Salma teases her, “Wasn’t that messy cake good enough for your sweet tooth?” Saba grins.
Salma then looks at sky and proclaims: “Allah is The Perfectionist. The Splendid”
Sabir recollects: “I have just learnt that these stars are massive fire balls. Most are bigger than our Sun too and are far far away. Yet, now they appear to be here just for me.”
Ammee complimented, “Well said kids. Yes Sabir, stars are there for a reason. Like Saba, people have made patterns out of group of stars and remembered their position. They saw a little more than a donut though.” They all giggle.
Ammee continues, “For centuries these constellates – group of stars, served as a guide for travelers by night. Kids, can you name a star?”
Saba points finger at one of them and proclaims: “I name this one Saba.”
As Sabir laughs he names another star: “Sun”.
Saba: “Sun is also a star!”
Salma: “It’s our closest star.”
Ammee looks at surprised Saba and says “Most of the stars are not even named. They are too many to be named.”
Then she turns towards Sabir and asks, “Sabir, How long does it take for sunlight to reach earth?”
Sabir says in a jiffy- “8.4 minutes”
Well pleased Ammee continues “Very good. Some of the stars here are hundreds of light years away. This means, what we see now is what they had been hundreds of years ago. Some are already dead. Yet we see them shine from here!”
Sabir: “Still their light serves a purpose. Allah-o-Akbar!”
Ammee comes close to Sabir and says softly, “Likewise, even if you are not selected for a contest you served your purpose.”
Surprised, Sabir quickly asks: “How?”
Ammee “Allah knows, you taught Abid about light. In sha Allah every time Abid speaks about light you will be rewarded too. For this reason, winning shouldn’t be your first priority. ‘Spreading knowledge’ which Allah has blessed you with should be your goal. You may not be recognized now, but your work would speak for itself later.”
Sabir felt the weight of failure lift from his heart slowly. He felt like a star shinning high in the sky. Now he was glad that Abid managed to do well and sincerely hoped that he would do even better in his next presentation.
Salma: “Subahan Allah. This vast sky and shining stars show greatness of its Creator – Allah.”
They hear the phone ring and rush down stairs. Sabir picks the phone; it was Abid, “Assalam Alaikum.” “Walikumsalam”. “Sabir, it was great presenting before judges. I just couldn’t stop myself. I was stunned by the applause. Then I remembered you. I told everyone you did the entire research. We searched for you. But, you had already left. I think I offended you. I’m sorry. I should have let you present too.” Unable to control his excitement Abid continues, not giving Sabir a chance to speak, “Here is the great news for you. We are both selected for the exhibition” Sabir utters Alhamdhullillah under his breath, he is smiling now. Abid tells him excitedly “Our next topic is – Stars. I insist you start the speech next time. Start with the dua, ‘Rabb-ishrah-li-sadri, wayassir-li ‘amri, Wah-lul ‘uqdatam-min-li-saani, Yaf-qahuuqawlii’. This will make it easy for you. You will do great in sha Allah” Sabir replies with a big smile, “Sure Abid, we will shine like stars.”
It was printed in Muslimaat magazine, Issue 5. This edition had much to ponder upon. The glossy pages had enough to occupy our thoughts and prevent us from slipping into sins. I would have to admit each and every page of the magazine was written with passion and touched the the heart. I am humbled to see my article amidst such outstanding articles. I hope the magazine continues to spread the light of Islam. Aameen.