I have been talking to people about Allah and the hereafter on an informal level these past ten years, since I started doing the Quran Tafseer course, and have witnessed various types of reactions and responses from people… but never have I been so moved to tears of pleasure as I did a few days back when I talked to a young child of about seven years old.
As it happened I had guests staying with me and another family turned up to visit us so the ladies and children were all sitting together… At first I remained busy in serving them tea and finally when I sat down, I noticed that all the talk was revolving around the same old topics… gas and electricity load-shedding and bills… the cold weather… the clothes etc. I wished I could make them think of Allah… and our relationship with Him. But how could I do that without spoiling their fun of gossiping about relatives and their pursuits? Suddenly I felt too tired to think of any interesting way to divert their attention… and prayed to Allah to give me some good idea. As I was thinking on these lines, I noticed Emaan, a cute little seven year old girl, sitting so neatly in front of me and at once I remembered the small tip I had learned that very day to teach zikr to young children.
And so I asked her what was her favourite hobby…
She said she loved drawings.
And I asked what did she like to draw?
And she said flowers.
And so I asked her had she ever drawn a tree?
She said yes but it is a little difficult.
I asked her if she had ever planted a real tree?
She looked surprised and said no she had never done so.
And then I asked her the “real” question which I wanted her to think about forever…
“Emaan, do you know how to plant a tree in Paradise?”
She responded with eyes wide with amazement… “Plant a tree in paradise? No I don’t know how to do that!”
I said: “Should I tell you how? Come sit with me and I will tell you!!”
She came running and I turned to face her and told her like sharing a BIG secret recipe… “You say SubhanAllah and a tree is planted in your house in Jannah… you say Alhamdulillah and another tree is planted… you say Allahu Akbar and another tree… See how easy it is?!!! Come on let’s plant some trees together…”
And so both of us counted on our fingers and planted some trees:)
I explained to her that this was told to us by our Prophet (S.A.W) who heard it from Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) when they met in the heavens on the night when Allah took our Prophet (S.A.W) on the journey of Mairaaj.
I told her that next time when she is travelling or sitting alone or feeling bored she could start adding on to her trees so that her house in Jannah will become so very green and beautiful…
Her eyes were shining and she looked so happy as if she had received a gift… and then she stunned me with a most beautiful smile and said “Thank you” in such a heart warming tone that my heart seemed to overflow with happiness and I thought to myself: “have I ever given such spontaneous thanks to Allah when He teaches me something new?”
And so I thanked Allah that He has made these innocent children who receive His message with so much clarity and ease… and also teach us in return so much that we are not aware of… They don’t react negatively because they have no prejudice yet and so their inner nature is so pure and ready to be given the pure knowledge. But how many times we have this opportunity to teach a small act of goodness to a child but we waste it because we don’t recognize them as individuals…
May Allah always help us to make use of these opportunities because to teach a child is to plant a tree in itself… a tree whose fruits will give seeds to countless other trees in-sha-Allah…