Eternal Success Syllabus

The cloud that would not move

There was once a cloud that would not move. All the other clouds would come and go, moving all the time. Sometimes wispy and thin, sometimes large and grey. But this cloud was always dull and thick, and it just would not move. 

The wind would blow so hard that the autumn leaves would fly off the trees and keep flying until they met one another on the other side of the forest, creating a mosaic of colours. But still, the cloud would not move. 

Even when the forest was alive in the spring with bright green leaves and fresh shoots of bluebells, the tree under the cloud had no leaves because the sun never shone on it. It was always dark and cold under the cloud. 

However, even though it was dark and cold, somebody lived under that cloud, on the tree with no leaves above the bare ground. He remembered that there was a time before the cloud, but it seemed so long ago and even though it was cold and dark he was so used to living there that he didn’t want to go anywhere new, anywhere that he didn’t know.

But, because it was so cold and dark, he rarely had any visitors and he didn’t really have any friends so he felt very lonely indeed.

He was a squirrel and his name was Sinjaab. Now what Sinjaab didn’t know, but you and I know very well, is that he could make the cloud go away himself. But I’m sure he’ll figure that out. Aren’t you?

Sinjaab would spend a lot of time thinking about things he did not like and thinking about the things he wanted and did not have. He spent a lot of time having angry thoughts about the rabbits burying holes on the hill or worrying about whether a bird might come make a nest near his home. He spent so much time with these bad thoughts he often forgot to clean his home or to check what was happening in the forest around him.

Shall we see what he’s up to now?

Ah, there he is, sat in his hole in the trunk of the tree, trying to read a page of a magazine that has blown into a branch. Of course, it was too dark to read so Sinjaab was holding a special torch to help him. 

All of a sudden he heard a crash and the whole tree shook. It was such a powerful shake that Sinjaab fell over, dropping his torch and the light suddenly went out.

Sinjaab grumbled and mumbled but then he decided he would climb down the tree to see what on earth had caused such a crash. 

There, at the bottom of the tree, was a little boy sat rubbing his head and next to him was a bicycle whose front wheel looked a bit bent. 

“Assalaamo’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu,” said the boy, when he noticed Sinjaab. “I was riding too fast through the forest and I hit your tree. I’m ever so sorry. Are you alright?”

Sinjaab huffed and puffed and thought lots of terrible thoughts about this boy who he didn’t know. He turned to go back up the tree when he heard the boy start to recite something which sounded so beautiful, Sinjaab had to stop to listen.

He turned back to look at the boy who was smiling at him…..the boy explained that when he got hurt he would always recite Surah al Fatiha because it is a surah of healing, or shifaa. 

“Can you teach me that?” Sinjaab asked. “I want to hear it again.”

“Of course!” Replied the boy excitedly.

“I’m Umar by the way. What is your name?”

“I’m Sinjaab.“

“Let’s start now, look at this line in the mud I’ve drawn. It is an alif. Why don’t you try draw one?” said the boy kindly.

Sinjaab had a lot of fun learning alif, baa and taa from Umar and he found himself scampering up the tree with a different energy. He was just about to go into his home in the trunk, when he noticed something quite extraordinary. The tip of a branch, just the tip, was shining. He crept closer and realised that light was shining on it from above. It was the light of the sun! The cloud have moved just a little. 

That night as Sinjaab lay in his bed ready to sleep, instead of thinking just about the things he didn’t have and the things that made him feel sad, he found himself thinking about Alif, baa and taa and all the things he wanted to learn. 

He dreamt that the three letters were sat drinking tea in his home. Alif who was tall and thin sipped tea quietly while Baa was lying down with his arms and legs up in the air and had balanced himself on top of one cushion. And taa, who was also lying with his arms and legs up kept saying “two sugars please, two sugars!” 

The next day Sinjaab learnt more letters with Umar, and the next, and the next. Until finally he knew the whole alphabet. He would wake up, excited to practice what he had learnt and eager to find out what new letters he would discover that day. He woke up so easily he would jump up and fold his bed sheets nicely which was something he had never done before. He had always been too busy lying there with his bad thoughts. He even found himself cleaning his home as he practised the letters over and over in a little rhyme he had made up. 

But what was most remarkable of all was that there was now half a branch of the tree, basking in sunlight because the cloud had moved so much and Sinjaab loved to sit there and feel the warmth of the sun on his fur as he repeated his rhyme. 

Umar then taught him how to join the letters and how to make the aa, oo and ee sounds. Before he knew it he was teaching him the Qur’an.

The first day he taught him the first verse of surah al Fatiha, Umar turned to Sinjaab and said firmly, “if you are going to read and memorise the Qur’an you also need to try to understand, reflect and act upon it. So, when we say alhammdulillah that means we are always grateful to Allah who has given us everything because Allah is always worthy of our Praise and Gratitude.

Can you think of something you are grateful for?”

Sinjaab stared at the boy in disbelief. He was so used to thinking about what he didn’t have, he hadn’t spent any time being grateful to Allah for what he did have. 

“My home. It keeps me safe from the foxes and it’s easy to search for nuts from up high,” he said thoughtfully.

“Alhammdulillah,” responded Umar with a smile.

“Alhammdulillah!” cried Sinjaab.

Once Sinjaab had memorised “Alhammdulillahi rabbil ‘aalameen,” they spent some time on the names of Allah, Ar Rahmaan and Ar Raheem.

“Allah is The Entirely Merciful, The Especially Merciful,” Umar explained. “So, if we make a mistake, we just need to say sorry, try to learn from it and do better next time. Ar Rahmaan is Merciful to all of creation. If we want Allah’s Mercy and if we are grateful for Allah’s Mercy then we should be kind to others, show them mercy and try to help them however we can.”

Sinjaab spent a long time thinking about this that night as he lay in his bed in the tree. He had always been so unhappy with his own life, that he hadn’t really thought about making other people happy.

It was when the sun was just trying to peek out, as dawn whispered through the forest, that Sinjaab heard a new voice down below.

At first, he couldn’t understand what the voice was saying but as he made his way down the tree he heard the first verse of Surah al Fatiha. When the surah was finished he heard lots of things he had never heard before and when he reached the ground he saw a different boy, younger than Umar, with his head on the forest floor.

“Oh no!” cried Sinjaab. “Are you ok?! What happened?”

But the boy didn’t reply and a few seconds later he sat up and then he was sat for a while, saying something so quietly Sinjaab couldn’t hear him. Eventually, he looked to his right and his left and then smiled across at Sinjaab.

“Sorry I worried you. I was just praying my Fajr prayer. My name is Hamza, you must be Sinjaab. My brother Umar told me you might want to learn how to pray, is that correct?”

Sinjaab nodded eagerly and for the next hour, he copied Hamza again and again until he felt he might be able to pray.

Then something so remarkable happened, the squirrel felt lost for words. Sun hit the ground next to him. Sun coming from above his tree. The cloud had almost moved away, just a small fraction of it was left!

“Hamza, I have been thinking about the Mercy of Ar Rahmaan and Ar Raheem and I wanted to see if there is anyone I can help today. Do you have any ideas?”

“I’m here for that too,” smiled Hamza, and together they walked between the trees until they reached a fast-flowing river. On the bank of the river sat a group of rabbits who were arguing amongst themselves.

“Is everything ok?” asked Hamza.

“We can’t get across the river,” one of them responded bitterly. “We wanted to go see my cousin on the other side because she had some baby bunnies but we can’t jump across, it is far too wide.”

“I have an idea!” exclaimed Sinjaab excitedly.  He then worked quickly with Hamza, telling him to collect large rocks, until they had built a bridge across the river. The rabbits hopped across happily.

“Jazahkallahu kheiran!” they called back to Sinjaab and Hamza.

“Now we have some water,” said Hamza, “I can teach you how to make wudhu. We must have wudhu every time we pray.”

He then taught Sinjaab how to wash himself as the warm sun warmed their backs.

A few minutes later, Sinjaab and Hamza continue walking through the forest until they saw a bird sat on the ground looking mournful.

“Are you alright?” asked Sinjaab.

“I need to build my nest but I hurt my wing, I’m getting tired flying back and forth,” replied the bird sadly.

“No problem!” cried Sinjaab. “We’ll help you build it!”

Together he and Hamza gathered dry sticks, leaves, grass and mud and within an hour the bird had a beautiful strong nest.

“Jazahkallahu kheiran,” she said, as they waved goodbye.

It was time for the Dhuhr prayer, so Hamza found a good spot and used the location of the sun to work out the direction of prayer. Then Sinjaab prayed his first Dhuhr salaah together with Hamza.

When he got home it was starting to get dull, but something seemed brighter about his tree and his home. Before he looked up, he knew in his heart, that the cloud that would not move, had moved.

“Alhammdulillah!” he whispered in gratitude.

I believed he could do it mashaAllah. Didn’t you?