The Islamic Garden
A Call for Help
“Nothing much. Just can’t believe we’re finally here.”
“Yes, it was a long journey. Did you like the train or would you rather go by bus next time?”
“No! I like the train better. There is more space to stretch out and the seats are far more comfortable.”
“Yes, I agree,” said Mum.
al-hamdu lillah, we’re here. I haven’t swum in the sea for years,” said
too late, dear. It's better to sleep now. We’re all tired from the three-hour
trip. We’ll get up early in the morning, in sha’ Allah, and make for the
you ready yet?” asked her sister. Sara stood there with her swimming costume
on, her towel over her shoulder and sandals on her feet. “We have to eat first,
“This is the best time to go! There’s nobody there,” said Sara, smiling widely.
“Mum!” called Sara. “Can Fatima and I go to the beach now for a quick swim?”
“I guess it’s all right,” said mother, who was not quite sure what to do. “But one thing. Be sure to stay close to shore. There are dangerous tides.”
“What’s that?” asked Sara.
where the water can just push you out to sea,” said
Mother nodded her head in agreement. “OK, girls, but be back in about half an hour. Dad will be back by then and we can all have breakfast together. I’ll come over and wave to you from time to time from the window.”
“Great, Mum, I’ll keep looking for you at the window,” said Sara as she hurried toward the door.
water tripped over the girls’ feet in tiny white bubbles. Seagulls stood at a
careful distance, sometimes hopping on one foot with small black eyes that saw
the shadow of a fish for an early morning treat. “Are you going to jump in,
the best way,” said
“I like to do things more slowly,” commented Sara as she jumped a little every time a wave tipped over near her legs.
“I must have swum out farther than I thought,” she said to herself. She looked behind and waited for the next wave to ride it in to shore. She waited until she was just at the top of the wave, then she started swimming. She closed her eyes and swam hard. After swimming for a few minutes, she stopped and looked up but to her amazement, she found herself farther away from the shore.
float for a while so I won’t get too tired,” she Fatima, but when she floated
on her back, a wave broke over her and pushed her under the water.
thoughts darted around inside
is that you?” asked
“No, dear. A wave carried you in to shore. Al-hamdu lillah, you’re OK,” said her mother quietly.
“I’m right here,” said her sister as she patted her on the back trying to comfort her. “I’m so glad you’re safe. I saw you swimming but you didn’t get any closer to shore.”
“I saw you, too,” said her mother with tears in her eyes. “I was watching you both from the window and I saw you. Sometimes you were under the water and sometimes on top. I was so afraid.” Her mother hugged her close and gently pulled her up by the arm and led both girls to the house.
As they were all drinking hot tea, Fatima’s father and brothers came in. “As-salam `alaykum,” said her father smiling.
`alaykum as-salam, Dad,” said Sara with wide frightened eyes. “
happened?” he asked, feeling quite startled as he bent down next to
lillah you are safe,” said her father quietly. His face was filled with
concern and his soft brown eyes peered into
“Tell me,” he said, “what did you do?”
“I told you everything, Dad,” she replied.
“But when did you ask Allah to help you?”
“You didn’t ask Allah?” said her father gently. “Why?”
well, just didn’t think of it at the time,” said
is a lesson in this, Fatima. If it's your habit to ask Allah for whatever you
need, when something like this happens you'll turn to Him automatically.”
“Well, Dad, to be honest, I kind of gave up making du`aa’. I asked for some things before and I never got them.”
If you do that you will miss out on so many things, including inner peace and
strength. You know
“Only Allah knows that, my dear. In this life we’re surrounded by all kinds of dangers. Some things are dangerous for our bodies, some for our feelings, and some for our faith. If we don’t turn to Allah for help, then we must face all these things alone and we are not strong. I think you realize that now, don't you?”
“I know that. I felt so tired out there today. Not just my body but my spirit felt tired. I felt like giving up.”
“What kept you going, dear?” asked her mother.
“You know, Mum, I thought that I’d never see you all again and it made me struggle harder.”
I said, I asked for some things and I didn’t get them,”
“Do I give you everything you want?” asked Mum.
“Does it mean I don’t love you?”
“Of course not. Maybe I asked for something that’s not good for me.”
“So you understand, dear, that Allah doesn’t give us everything we want,” said her father.
“It’s like this, dear,” said her father as he leaned back in his chair. “Our knowledge of what’s going on around us is limited. But Allah knows what people are planning and doing. Imagine there is a man and there are some people who don’t like him. These people sit together and plan how they will get him and hurt him. They know he leaves for work at a certain time every day and that he leaves his car in a certain place. They decide to sit and wait for him and when he gets out of his car they will pounce on him.”
what did he do then?” asked
said, ‘Al-hamdu lillah and khair, in sha’ Allah.’ It means
that he acknowledged the fact that there is good in every single thing that
happens. I want to ask you something,
“What are the two ways that man could have reacted?”
“Well, he could have got angry and banged the car door and felt frustrated or he could have done like you said and … ”
“… and trusted in Allah,” continued her father.
“Did those bad men get him, Dad?”
“No, dear, they didn’t.”
“Is this a real story, Dad?”
“Yes, dear. It happened to me. And those men never got the chance to do what they were planning, thanks to Allah. Because the car didn't start!”
“Can’t you think of the answer, dear?” asked her mother. “You got to appreciate your life a whole lot more.”
of good came of this,
“And never giving up,” added Sara.
“It makes us appreciate the fact we have you,” added her mother.
“Allah saved me and I never made du`aa’.” She felt confused.
“But I did,” said her mother.
“So did I,” smiled Sara. “I prayed and prayed when I saw you like that and I ran and called Mum.”
was already there,” said
Allahu khairan,” said
Fatima and her family stayed at the beach for a few more days. The next day they were all sitting on the sand.
feel like it,” said
“You can swim, dear,” said her mother. “Just keep close to shore and trust in Allah.”
“Confront your fear, dear. I’ll come with you if you like,” said her father gently.
many pretty shells, colorful rocks, a jar full of crisp, white sand, and a new
sense of wisdom,
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