Eternal Success Syllabus

The Broken Barge

“Dates, yoghurt, mangoes…” read Umar. “Ok, we’ve got everything on the shopping list Mama gave us. The dates are £8, the yoghurt is £2 and the mangoes are £9. Eight, plus two, is….ten. And then ten plus nine is nineteen. Nineteen pounds. Alhammdulillah we have enough.”

“Umar Bhai?” asked Hamza, tentatively, “if we have some money left please could we take some food for the Barakah Barge?”

Umar agreed and soon the boys were walking home with two big rucksacks filled with food. They dropped off the dates, yoghurt and mangoes with their mother before walking down to the canal to look out for the Barakah Barge. Umar took the stone out of date before giving Abdullah a lick of it’s sweet fruit. He looked up and down the canal for any signs of the lights green and blue. They waited for ten minutes but it didn’t come into view.

“We’ll put this food in the fridge and come back tomorrow inshaAllah,” said Umar, standing up to go, when suddenly they heard the brrrring brrring of a bicycle bell. They looked down the canal to see someone pedalling rapidly towards them on a green bicycle.

“Yusuf Bhai!” cried Umar before hurriedly jumping back and pulling Abdullah’s wheelchair out of the way.

“Assalaam…Assalaamo’alaikum,” panted Yusuf, trying to catch his breath. “Guys, the Barakah Barge is broken. Please can you help us fix it? It will be iftar in only 3 hours and the children are relying on us for food to break their fasts otherwise they will only have some water for iftar.”

“La hawla wa la quwatta illah billah! There is no might or power except for Allah!” cried Umar. “Of course we will help you. But where is the barge?”

“You won’t believe it when you see it,” said Yusuf, picking up Hamza and putting him on the front bar of his bike before hopping on himself and setting off down the towpath with Umar jogging beside him, pushing Abdullah next to Yusuf’s bicycle.

Indeed, the boys all gasped with shock when they saw the lights green and blue.

Out of habit, Hamza began to say “Assalaamo’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu!”

But of course, it had no impact on the barge because it wasn’t moving at all.

“We think it’s the propellors,” said Yusuf, picking Hamza off his bike. “But if it is it we will need to get to the boat yard as soon as possible and we also need enough money for the job.”

The boys walked round the barge, which seemed so still and quiet, as they tried to think of a solution. They thought about all the fun times they’d had on the barge. Painting, reading books, playing board games and enjoying food with other children.

They raised their hands and made duaa to Allah to help them fix the barge so they could get food to the children in time for iftar.

Suddenly Hamza had an idea. “Quick Umar Bhai,” he explained excitedly. “We need to make a phone call! We’ll be back Yusuf Bhai!” The three brothers rushed home as fast as they could and when they explained the situation to their mother, she allowed them to use the phone.

Half an hour later, they had prayed Asr and were waiting outside their house on the pavement. “Just two hours left,” muttered Umar, checking his watch. “Alhammdulillah the boat yard is close by.”

Then they heard the sound of a loud rumbling engine come down the road. They waved at their Baba who was driving a very long truck with a special grabber attached to it. He opened the door and helped the three boys inside. Once they had their seatbelts on they drove towards the canal. The truck slowly edged towards the towpath before parking up and their Baba used the controls to operate the grabbing system. They had to use several chains to attach to the barge before being able to lift it up onto the truck and securing it. Eventually, they were ready to go, and they waved at a smiling Yusuf before driving to the boat yard.

However, when they arrived at the boat yard the gates were locked and no one was in sight.

They all raised their hands and made duaa again. Then, their Baba called the owner of the boat yard.

“Sorry boys,” he said. “He is looking after his mother who isn’t well. He cannot come at all this week to fix the barge but he said his son will come open the gate so we can put the barge inside for when he is ready to fix it.”

The boys were silent as they waited for the gates to be opened and helped their Baba to unchain the barge then watch it be lowered into the boat yard. They climbed back into the truck, exchanging worried glances with one another. But then Umar pulled out his notebook and all the way back to the canal, he was busy writing and drawing.

When they arrived at the canal, Yusuf was sat alone on the deck of the barge, reading Qur’an. They stopped for a minute to listen to what he was reading.

ن يَنصُرْكُمُ ٱللَّهُ فَلَا غَالِبَ لَكُمْ ۖ وَإِن يَخْذُلْكُمْ فَمَن ذَا ٱلَّذِى يَنصُرُكُم مِّنۢ بَعْدِهِۦ ۗ وَعَلَى ٱللَّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ

If Allah should aid you, no one can overcome you; but if He should forsake you, who is there that can aid you after Him? And upon Allah let the believers rely. (3:160)

“We trust in Allah. Mama said that means that whatever Allah plans is perfect even if we don’t understand it,” said Hamza, a huge smile lighting up his previously forlorn face.

Umar held up his notebook and exclaimed, “I’ve got it!! It’s one hour till iftar! Yusuf, where is all the food?”

“Some is at my house, but because the barge couldn’t move we didn’t manage to collect enough…Why?”

“Go home. Call everyone and tell them to bring their bicycles. We will meet you there inshaAllah!”

The streets were becoming quieter and the aroma of food drifted down the roads as the sun prepared itself to set and the Ramadaan moon was getting ready to shine. But there was a different business and bustle in some houses as many of the children were packing away samosay and pakoray, spring rolls and cheese and onion pasties, cut up mangoes and melons and huge servings of rice, salad and chicken.

Tubs were being tied on the back of bikes, baskets were being filled and fastened shut and anyone who had a trailer was attaching it to the back of their bicycle seat. Abdullah’s wheelchair basket was loaded to the brim and several baby brothers and sisters watched confused as their older siblings loaded their pushchairs with food.

As Yusuf’s Mama opened the window to let some of the cooking smells out of the house, she was greeted with the sound of a dozen bicycle bells and she watched in amazed as a group of children cycled and ran down the pavement ahead of her.

Not far away, a group  of children were sat quietly. Their tummies were rumbling after a long day‘s fast and they tried to smile at one another even though they were feeling a little apprehensive that there were no lights green and blue, approaching them down the canal.

The adhaan from the closest masjid ran out loud and clear, and the children read their duaa for opening the fast and passed round some bottles of water.

  اللَّهُمَّ اِنِّى لَكَ صُمْتُ وَبِكَ امنْتُ وَعَليْكَ تَوَكّلتُ وَ عَلى رِزْقِكَ اَفْطَرْتُ

O Allah! I fasted for You and I believe in You and I put my trust in You and I break my fast with Your sustenance

One young girl started to cry as she ran further down the path looking for any sign of the barge. But then she heard the bells brrring brrring and she looked up at the pavement to see a group of children approach with the most delicious smells as their bicycles, backpacks, pushchairs and wheelchair were laden with the most exciting array of food.

They cheered in excitement and cried out “Assalaamo’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu!”