Eternal Success Syllabus

If you are grateful

It had eight legs and eight eyes and it was standing incredibly still. Muhammad was also trying very hard not to move. Even though his nose was so itchy. He just wanted to scratch it so much and then…”ah ah achoo!”

“Alhammdulillah!” said Muhammad quietly, before looking back to where the spider (ankabut) had been. But in that split second when he had shut his eyes to sneeze, it had disappeared.

He couldn’t help feeling disappointed. He had been so close to getting a photograph of the spider to prove to his sisters Ruqayyah and Khadijah that the spiders in their garden have eight eyes, and not just the spiders he had showed them in his collection of insect books.

He was tempted to sigh. He was tempted to roughly shove the camera back into its case and stomp angrily into the house…but he stopped himself. 

He took a deep breath, said “audhubillahi min ashaytaanira jeem” looked once again at the spot where the spider had been,  and remembered the verse in the Qur’an:

وَإِذ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُم لَئِن شَكَرتُم لَأَزيدَنَّكُم ۖ وَلَئِن كَفَرتُم إِنَّ عَذابي لَشَديدٌ

“And remember when you Lord proclaimed, if you are grateful I will certainly give you more. But if you are ungrateful, sure My punishment is severe.” (14:7)

“Alhammdulillah I got to see the spider,” he said calmly.

لَئِن شَكَرتُم لَأَزيدَنَّكُم

If you are grateful I will certainly give you more

At that moment he heard rapid footsteps and saw his sister Ruqayyah skipping happily into the garden, a plastic tub in one hand.

“Assalaamo’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu Muhammad. I’ve come to collect some mint and strawberries.”

Muhammad bent down next to the herb patch to help his sister pick the mint leaves and put them into her tub. They then walked together over to the strawberry patch where each of them devoured a juicy red strawberry before picking more to add to the tub.

“I can’t believe how much beautiful fruit and herbs we have grown this year mashaAllah!” said Ruqayyah happily.

“Alhammdulilah,” responded Muhammad. “We should keep saying thank you to Allah and share what we have because you know Allah says”

وَإِذ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُم لَئِن شَكَرتُم لَأَزيدَنَّكُم ۖ وَلَئِن كَفَرتُم إِنَّ عَذابي لَشَديدٌ

“And remember when you Lord proclaimed, if you are grateful I will certainly give you more. But if you are ungrateful, sure My punishment is severe.” (14:7)

He explained to her what he had been doing. “I was trying to get my spider photo for you. Alhammdulillah I got really close. I saw this beautiful zebra spider. They’re the black and white stripey ones and they’re so fascinating because they can jump up to 10cm which is fourteen times their own size! Can you imagine fourteen times higher than you are subhanAllah!”

“I wonder how high I can jump…” murmured Ruqayyah quietly. 

“Let’s find out!” replied Muhammad,  racing to his bag to get out his chalk and tape measure. 

Ruqayyah stood in front of the wall, bent her knees, said “bismillah” and then jumped as high as she could. Muhammad watched carefully and marked the spot on the wall with chalk. He then took out his tape measure and measured from the ground to the chalk mark. “103cm! Not bad mashaAllah. Now measure me please.”

“Say alhammdulillah first and then Allah might allow you to jump higher because Allah says

لَئِن شَكَرتُم لَأَزيدَنَّكُم

If you are grateful I will certainly give you more

Just as Muhammad was about to start jumping he spotted something moving on the water pipe. “Ankabut! Ankabut!” he cried, pulling his camera out of his pocket. This time he managed to get several close up and great quality photos of the patient spider.

He kept saying alhammdulillah because he was thinking about how Allah says

لَئِن شَكَرتُم لَأَزيدَنَّكُم

If you are grateful I will certainly give you more

Together, Muhammad and Ruqayyah ran inside, placing the strawberries and mint in the kitchen and then going to find their sister Khadijah. She was organising a box of different colouring pencils.

“Khadijah!” exclaimed Muhammad. “Look! Here it is! A zebra spider in our garden with eight legs and eight eyes!”

Khadijah put down her colouring pencils and walked over to look at the photo. They zoomed in together and gasped. For a moment the room was silent as the children absorbed this incredible sight and reflected on how amazing Allah Al Khaaliq’s creation is.

“You’ve given me an idea for my drawing as well Muhammad,” sad Khadijah thoughtfully. “I’m going to do a stripey design like the stripes on this zebra spider. But my stripes will be purple aaaand….yellow!”

She hurriedly gathered her colours, choosing three shades of purple and two shades of yellow and laid out a large sheet of paper to draw on. As she began drawing her outline in pencil, Ruqayyah went began into the kitchen to wash the strawberries and mint.

Muhammad returned outside to check on his bug hotel. He noticed a beetle that had fallen over and was struggling to turn itself round again. Gently he used a leaf to turn the beetle over. It scurried off to collect some food and as Muhammad watched he thought about all the wonderful creatures in the world and how Allah provides enough food for all of them when we respect nature’s balance.

“Is it because you are always worshipping Allah and always grateful?” he whispered to beetle, remembering the ayah:

وَإِذ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُم لَئِن شَكَرتُم لَأَزيدَنَّكُم ۖ وَلَئِن كَفَرتُم إِنَّ عَذابي لَشَديدٌ

“And remember when you Lord proclaimed, if you are grateful I will certainly give you more. But if you are ungrateful, sure My punishment is severe.” (14:7)

Inside, Khadijah’s paper was becoming full of vibrant purple and yellow stripes and Ruqayyah was busy in the kitchen. With her mum’s help she heated up two cups of water and some raw honey in a pan. Then she chopped up the strawberries. When the honey had dissolved into the water she blended the strawberries in her smoothie maker, adding lemon juice and the honey water. She sucked on the peel of the lemon and made a face when she tasted the bitterness.

Finally, she blended everything together before adding her fresh mint leaves. She placed the jug in the fridge to stay cool and let the flavours come out.

“MashaAllah I didn’t expect you to be able to make so much,” said her mother.

“Alhammdulillah,” replied Ruqayyah. “You know Allah says

لَئِن شَكَرتُم لَأَزيدَنَّكُم

If you are grateful I will certainly give you more

Half an hour later Muhammad and Ruqayyah went to see how Khadijah’s drawing was going and she held it up to show them. It was a striking masterpiece of purple and yellow stripes and in the middle she had glued a yellow circle of paper on which she had written:

لَئِن شَكَرتُم لَأَزيدَنَّكُم

If you are grateful I will certainly give you more

Her father put it up on the wall as Ruqayyah got a set of cups and went outside where Muhammad was setting up a table. They poured out cups of the strawberry and mint lemonade before knocking on their neighbours’ doors to offer them some. When everyone had some they sat with their mother and father and all enjoyed the rest of the delicious refreshing drink together.

Muhammad watched a ladybird climbing up the side of his glass and gently guided it back onto a rose petal nearby. Khadijah was studying the mint leaves and thinking about how she could trace over them to make some interesting patterns with her colouring pencils.

“Alhammdulillah that was so tasty I could have it every day!“ said their Baba as he finished the last drop.

 “Well, if we’re grateful inshaAllah more will come our way!” said Ruqayyah.

Then all three children recited together

وَإِذ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُم لَئِن شَكَرتُم لَأَزيدَنَّكُم ۖ وَلَئِن كَفَرتُم إِنَّ عَذابي لَشَديدٌ

“And remember when you Lord proclaimed, if you are grateful I will certainly give you more. But if you are ungrateful, sure My punishment is severe.” (14:7)

لَئِن شَكَرتُم لَأَزيدَنَّكُم

If you are grateful I will certainly give you more