“Mmm.. The food is just wonderful, Auntie Asma,” Ahmed said taking his first bite of the Chicken Tikka. “And, thanks for inviting me over, Abdullah.”
“Ahhmmeed, you are like my brother, you’re free to pop in anytime…”
“Brother from another mother!”, Abdullah joked and said it in such a tone, it sounded like he was rapping.
“…Or a brother in Islam,” Ahmed grinned.
“See, that’s what I mean when I say Islam is a beautiful religion.” exclaimed Abdullah.
“What do you mean, Abdullah?” Ahmed asked curiously.
“It even makes your best friend your brother!” He said gleefully.
“True, SubhanAllah.” Ahmed replied whilst nodding his head in agreement.
It was sunny Sunday afternoon. Abdullah had invited his best friend Ahmed over to his house, so they could play cricket together, pray together and then visit Uncle Ali to help him out in his grocery store.
“Abdullah, will you be going to the store?” Ummi asked.
“Could you please get these things for me?”
“Jazakallahu Khayran, boys. I’ll just get back to work.”
“But, just make sure to look right and left before crossing the roads, okay?” Ummi continued. “Fee Amaanillah, children!”
Abdullah and Ahmed walked to Uncle Ali’s grocery store. Abdullah made sure to look left and right before he crossed the roads – just as Ummi had told him to do.
“Assalamu Alaykum, Uncle Ali!” they greeted cheerfully.
“Walaykum Salaam, kids! How are you doing?”
“Alhamdulillah! We are doing good, Uncle Ali. How are you?”
“Alhamdulilah, I’m good in the hood!”
The shop looked a bit crowded. Uncle Ali was quite old and active yet needed assistance to manage a busy shop.
“Uncle Ali, yesterday we had a basketball tournament at school, and my team won the game alhamdulillah!” Ahmed exclaimed.
“That’s wonderful, maa sha Allah! Mabrook.”
Meanwhile, Abdullah noticed a little girl picking up a chocolate and placing it in her pocket. He remembered the saying of Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) mentioned in the Qur’an about enjoining good and forbidding evil. Yes! That was the verse the teacher at the weekend school had explained to them about, he thought.
“Hello, little girl.” Abdullah said smiling.
“Hellloooooo!” the little girl giggled as she replied.
“I’m Abdullah! What’s your name?”
“I’m Alia, the princess,” the little girl, who looked around 5 years old, replied.
“Okay princess Alia, is it good to take the chocolates from the rack and keep it with you?”
The girl looked shocked.
“How did you know?” the little girl asked curiously.
“My name is pwincess Aliaa”,screamed out the little girl.
“Well princess Alia, even if I don’t know or I didn’t see you taking it, Allah is always watching you, the angels are recording as well.” Abdullah explained.
“Oh!” the little girl said wide-eyed. “Is Allah everywhere?”
“No little princess, Allah is above His Throne.”
“Okay, but is He watching me always?” asked the little girl curiously.
“Yes, he is”, Abdullah replied.
“Oh no! So He knows that I took the chocolate?!” the little girl asked in astonishment.
“Yes, Princess Alia!”
“I’m sowwy, Allah.. Please do not punish me, please forgive me.” The little girl held her two tiny hands together as she earnestly prayed to Allah with a sad face.
“Don’t worry, Allah is the Most Forgiving!” Abdullah said.
Abdullah smiled and stood there wondering how innocent and cute little kids were, how much they feared Allah and His punishments.
“Who is this little girl over here, and why is she so sad?” asked Ahmed interrupting Abdullah’s thoughts.
“That’s a long story. Perhaps, I could share it with you at home!” Abdullah said.
“Let’s clean up the mess at the corner and then leave home.” Ahmed told Abdullah as he noticed lots of papers and boxes lying on the floor at the corner of the shop.
“Ah, yes. Let’s go.”
Ahmed and Abdullah cleaned up the mess. Uncle Ali watched them cleaning up the entire mess and felt so happy. No one in the city would bother to volunteer other these two boys.
“Thanks boys, It means alot to me.” cried out Uncle Ali.
“Its our pleasure to help you, Uncle Ali.” Abdullah said.
“By the way, Ummi wanted a few things from the store!” continued Abdullah as he handed over the list of grocery to Uncle Ali.
“Just a minute boys. I’ll get you the grocery.”
“Here is the grocery, boys” Uncle Ali said handing the bag to Abdullah and Ahmed.
“And there is a gift for both of you in one of the bags. Please open it once you reach home.” Uncle Ali continued.
“Ahh thanks, Uncle Ali. Jazakallahu Khayran!”
“Barakallahu Feekum boys!”
“See you soon, take care Uncle Ali! Assalamu Alaykum” the two friends shouted out to Mr Ali as they happily hopped out of the shop.
“Walaykum Salaam. Take care boys.”
As the twins walked out of the shop, they noticed an old man standing at the edge of the road waiting to cross the road with two large bags.
“Why don’t we help him?!” whispered Ahmed into Abdullah’s ears.
“Yess! Let’s go and grab this opportunity to earn rewards.” cried out Abdullah as he ran behind Ahmed as fast as he could.
Ahmed was the first one to reach the old man.
“Uncle! We could help you.” Abdullah said.
“Wait a second. Do you know me kids?” asked the old man.
Ahmed shot a glance at Abdullah. They just wanted to help, Ahmed did not know what to reply. Abdullah saw the confused look on Ahmed’s face and decided to reply for him.
“We just wanted to help you, Uncle.” Abdullah said with a smile.
“That’s so kind of you,” asked the old man. “May I know your names, children?”
“And I’m Ahmed.”
Ahmed and Abdullah helped the old man cross the busy roads.
“Thanks boys. Usually it’s quite difficult for me to cross roads. ” said the old man. “ Well.. This is my home. Please come in and have a snack!”
“We will visit you soon, Uncle. Mummy would be wanting us at home.” Abdullah replied. Remebering his mum’s reminder about how not to enter the houses of strangers. Maybe they could visit Uncle with Ummi and Abi instead.
“You kids are so well-mannered! I wish you could meet my naughty grandsons and teach them to behave well as you boys…” the old man said thoughtfully. “Your parents must be amazing people to teach you guys to behave so well.”
“Thanks, Uncle!” Ahmed said.
“Our religion tells us to help people whenever they are in need of it!” Abdullah continued.
“That’s fantastic!” cried out the old man amazed by what Abdullah has said.
“By the way children, next time if we ever meet, I would love to know more about your religion!” continued the old man.
“Sure.Insha Allah” Ahmed said.
The old man looked confused. “What’s Sha-Allah”
“Well, it means if God wills.” replied Abdullah.
“That’s interesting. I got to be going. Take care kids. And don’t forget to visit me sometime.” the old man said waving his hand joyfully.
“Take care, Uncle! See you around sometime inshaAllah!” Ahmed waved back.
At night, Abdullah sat thinking of what happened previously. He had taught the little girl about Islam and also helped the old man. He jumped into his bed, closed his eyes and just hoped for Allah’s reward.