Thursday, March 26, 2015

Fly my children, fly like a bird...

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.


The Declining Day (Al-'Asr)
1. By the declining day,
2. Lo! Man is in a state of loss,
3. Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort 
one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance.

RECENTLY my eldest son who is 26, approached me saying that he has found a suitable girl...well he pleaded to me and his mother (my wife-lah) to 'merisik' (to send a match-maker) to his 'sweetheart' home which is in an another state.

My wife and I took the responsibility ourselves; one 'fine weekend' the whole family except for a boy who was working temporary while waiting for his SPM results, were off in our Avanza to 'perform our mission'.

During the journey, for the first 10 minutes in the car, I gave a short 'lecture' - I kept on reminding myself to make it short in case my talk would be a boring one - yes the young Y generation of today would not like it; they were more absorbed to their electronic gadgets.

Among others I told my two boys and two girls: "Remember when we were born into this world we brought nothing with us. In short we were empty handed. We too knew nothing except for crying...and as we grew up our worldly possessions increased in value from our milk bottles to walkers, toys, school bags and books, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, houses, lands and so on.

"Then at  a certain age just like your eldest brother, we would get married and then have our own children. 'Insya-Allah' (God Willing) your brother and his would be-wife would be 'starting a new life' in their own house; but believe me, your father and mother would always be there to give both of you our support and blessing.

"'Insya-Allah' during your married life, you would discover that your properties would increased by time - you started from scratch but would soon found out that 'you own this and that' which might worth hundred thousands or millions of ringgit...this is called 'barakah'  (blessing) if you gathered them in a 'halal' (permissible) way.

"But always remember my dear children, the day would come when each and everyone of us would leave or 'forced to leave' everything 'we owned', not only regarding our properties but also our loved ones - our wives, husbands and children - when we die, we would take nothing to our graves that is the same situation when we were born, we were empty handed."

I ended my talk but as I drove the car, my mind raced back to some talks on family matters that I had attended or heard and on what my mother had advised me regarding the hardships in bringing up her children.

I have seven siblings; all of them except one went to residential schools for their secondary education and then one by one left home to further their studies including in the United States and United Kingdom. 

Imagine a sister of mine at the age of 18 left for the United States. My mother have this to say: "Fly my children, fly like a young bird to a new world" but unlike the bird, her children were always welcome home.

She said like all mothers she was very worried about her very young children especially the girls going away to faraway lands but "I have faith in Allah SWT after giving them the best I could in Islamic education especially regarding 'iman' (faith), 'amal' (practicing of the religion especially 'solat'/ prayers) and 'akhlak' (moral values)."

Scholars had advised us to be prepared for the time when our children would leave our homes. A 12 year old child would leave home for the first time to enter a boarding school; an 18 year old child would leave us to purse his/her studies in a university either locally or abroad and then they would be getting married and started their own lives.

The children - one by one - would leave the house leaving the father and mother behind in 'their big but now almost empty abode'.  Regarding this matter, recently I found out that my youngest child who was starting her 'new life' as a First Former was chosen to recite this story in an English story telling competition of her school.

The boy and the apple tree

A long time ago, there was a huge apple tree. A little boy loved to come and play around it everyday. He climbed to the treetop, ate the apples, and took a nap under the shadow. He loved the tree and the tree loved to play with him. Time went by, the little boy had grown up and he no
longer played around the tree every day.

One day, the boy came back to the tree and he looked sad.

“Come and play with me”, the tree asked the boy.

“I am no longer a kid, I do not play around trees any more,” the boy replied.

“I want toys. I need money to buy them.”

“Sorry, but I do not have money, but you can pick all my apples and sell them. So, you will have money.”

The boy was so excited. He grabbed all the apples on the tree and left happily. The boy never came back after he picked the apples. The tree was sad.

One day, the boy who now turned into a man returned and the tree was excited.

“Come and play with me” the tree said.
“I do not have time to play. I have to work for my family. We need a house for shelter. Can you help me?”

“Sorry, but I do not have any house. But you can chop off my branches to build your house.” So the man cut all the branches of the tree and left happily. The tree was glad to see him happy but the man never came back since then. The tree was again lonely and sad.

One hot summer day, the man returned and the tree was delighted.
“Come and play with me!” the tree said.

“I am getting old. I want to go sailing to relax myself. Can you give me a boat?” said the man.

“Use my trunk to build your boat. You can sail far away and be happy.”

So the man cut the tree trunk to make a boat. He went sailing and never showed up for a long time.

Finally, the man returned after many years. “Sorry, my boy. But I do not have anything for you anymore. No more apples for you”, the tree said. “No problem, I do not have any teeth to bite,” the man replied.

“No more trunk for you to climb on.” “I am too old for that now” the man said. “I really cannot give you anything, the only thing left is my dying roots,” the tree said with tears.

“I do not need much now, just a place to rest. I am tired after all these years,” the man replied.

“Good! Old tree roots are the best place to lean on and rest, come sit down with me and rest.” The man sat down and the tree was glad and smiled with tears.

This is a story of everyone. The tree is like our parents. When we were young, we loved to play with our Mum and Dad. When we grow up, we leave them; only come to them when we need something or when we are in trouble. No matter what, parents will always be there and give everything they could just to make you happy.

You may think the boy is cruel to the tree, but that is how all of us treat our parents. We take them for granted; we don’t appreciate all they do for us, until it’s too late. May Allah forgives us of our shortcomings and may He guide us. 

Yes, to my dear children and boys and girls out and fly like a bird but please do often return home for your aging parents are longing to hold you in their arms..

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