Eternal Success Syllabus

The Mountain Train

At the foot of a mountain where the grass grew long and free, sat a girl with a bird resting quietly on her knee. She had flowers on her wrists and flowers in her hair and her favourite thing to do was share. She was waiting for something that’s hard to imagine because something incredible was about to happen.

It started with a rumbling across the ground, louder and louder grew the sound. Bright lights shone from far away as Haajar began to pray.

“O my Allah, ar Rahmaan, ar Raheem, O Ar Razzaaq who has given everything to me. Let today be the day where the train comes into the mountain once again.”

Just as she said “Ameen” and lowered her hands, the front of a train emerged from behind the plants. As it came closer, her excitement grew too. “Choo!” It called out to her. “Choo Choo Choo!”

She watched with a smile as carriage after carriage rumbled past her. Was it slowing down or was it going faster? Only once a month the train would stop in the mountain, every other day it would just shoot straight out like a fountain.

“Qitaar stoooooop!” called out Haajar.

The Qitaar, the train, as if it had heard it’s own name, slowed and screeched until all was silent, all was the same. As though no such vehicle ever came.

The bird fluttered onto Haajar’s shoulder as she pulled back a curtain of leaves from the mountainside to reveal a hidden door. As she pushed it open and stepped inside, a delicious aroma of freshly spiced chai and baking biscuits reached her nostrils. At first it felt darker that outside, although there was some light from somewhere further along the tunnel. So, she did what she always did when it was dark – she recited her favourite verse from Surah An Nur about the light of Allah.

Then as she got further in, bright purple lights shone from the walls as she walked along a tunnel to a large wooden chair with a purple velvet cushion.

She said down comfortably then ran her fingers under the smooth arms of the chair until she felt a large button. She pressed it and the chair began to move. Haajar picked up her feet onto the cushion as the chair travelled along some tracks in the ground and the smell of tea and food grew stronger and more tempting.

“Alhammdulillah,” she said to herself as she travelled. “Ar Razzaaq always provides what He knows we need. “

Eventually the chair swivelled right and entered a huge round hall which was filled with round tables surrounded by chairs. It stopped just as it entered, and Haajar jumped off and ran across the hall, her bird flying besides her. On the far side of the hall there was a window and through it Haajar could see the Qitaar and all the people who were getting off it. She then ran around the side of the hall where there was a gigantic pot of chaii boiling away and two large hot ovens filled with a variety of biscuits. Stood besides them was a girl in a beautiful, frilled apron. “Assalaamo’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu Haajar!” she called out in delight, rushing to hug her little sister.

Her name was Sumayyah, and she was the Head Chef in charge of the food for all the travellers. “We will serve tea and biscuits to warm everyone up and then while they get their rooms sorted, the team will organise dinner for everyone,” she said with a smile.

Haajar nodded happily before rushing to welcome the people who were entering the hall from the train. They seemed relieved to feel the rush of warm air in the hall and excited by this new adventure. A boy wearing a smart grey thobe and holding a clipboard came over to her, his name was Aadam and he was there to help organise everyone and make sure they got what they needed.

“Where have today’s refugees come from?” asked Haajar eagerly.

“They’ve just left the floods in Pakistan. Their homes were destroyed and they don’t have any money or support to live safely or feed their families through the winter. Last month we had the group from Syria and do you remember the month before that, the refugees from Somalia?”

He showed Haajar his clipboard which was littered with names and numbers. “We’ve got 12 families. There’s 33 children altogether mashaAllah. Here they come now.”

Haajar looked across to see the children who looked exhausted and bewildered. This was her role. This was her favourite part. While Sumayyah made sure everyone was fed and Aadam made sure everything was organised, Haajar was in charge of providing fun for the children. She walked across to her part of the hall as the families settled down to drink their smooth hot tea and nibble on the delicious pistachio biscuits.

In Haajar’s part of the hall, they were shelves of books in English, Arabic, Urdu, French and Mandarin. There were drawers and boxes filled with toys, lights, games and craft resources.

After the children had eaten their biscuits they started coming over to look at the beautiful bird on Haajar’s shoulder and point at the toys and books. Some were excited and grabbed the first thing they could see; others were more nervous and hesitant. Haajar smiled and welcomed them all and as their parents were shown their rooms in different parts of the mountain, the children read and played together happily. After travelling for so long… After having to get used to be brave and strong, they were happy to just be children and to feel safe and hopeful.

“Assalaamo’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu,” said another girl called Arwa, as she pushed a long clothes rack past Haajar. “I’m just going to ask Aadam about the children’s ages so I can start giving out clean warm clothes to them all.” Arwa was an expert at finding the right clothes for everyone and families appreciated her attention to detail as they prepared themselves for life in a new country.

“No!!”came a shout from behind her. “No! No! No!” Haajar turned to see Bilal who had found her paints. The two year old had piled them into a tower and was sat on top of them while two of the newly arrived children tried to get him to stop. It was too late. With a crash and some hysterical laughter, Bilal’s paint towered collapsed and Aadam grabbed him just in time as the other children rushed to help tidy everything up. Their nerves were melting away into peals of laughter.

“Bilal always knows how to make everyone smile doesn’t he mashaAllah?” said Arwa to Haajar. “He does indeed!” she replied.

The girls looked around the hall at all the new faces, thinking about how soon they would be settled here in the mountain and the volunteers would have helped them all find homes and support so they could travel to them once again on the train.

All of a sudden the lights went out. Everyone single one. The ovens switched off. The cooker started to go cold. The electricity in the mountain wasn’t worked properly.

What would they do?

Haajar made duaa again, “O my Allah, ar Rahmaan, ar Raheem, O Ar Razzaaq who has given everything to us. Help us find a way to look after everyone, feed them and keep them comfortable and safe.”

Haajar felt someone nudge her back and she screamed in delight to hear Abdullah behind her. She felt around and realise that he was sat in his chair with a box at his feet. She felt the lid of the box and took it off. Inside she realised, were all of Abdullah’s lights, which were battery powered. She got to work turning each of them on as the children giggled in delight and gathered around Abdullah, trying to find his hand to kiss as the different coloured lights started to illuminate the room. Abdullah giggled too as he watched the lights dancing off the ceiling and he opened his hand to try and catch them.

“Alhammdulillah you’re here!” called Aadam from the other side of the hall. Haajar was curious to know who he was talking to, so she picked up one of the lights to help guide her back towards him. He was waving at two people who were entering the hall. As she looked closer, she realised that they were both carrying toolboxes and they had helmets with lights shining out of them.

It was the plumber and electrician – Umar and Hamza! They were coming to make sure that everything was working and that everyone would have a warm room and hot water during their stay. “Assalaamo’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatu! ” everyone called out to them as they got to work figuring out what the problem with the electricity was.

But the lights still didn’t switch back on and the mountain started to feel very cold, so Arwa got busy handing out warm coats and hats to everyone.

“There is no problem with the electricity in this mountain,” announced Hamza finally. “It is a blackout. We will just have to wait until it all comes back on.”

Everyone crowded together for warmth and they decided to recite the verses from Surah An Nur where Allah reminds us that His guidance is a light.

Then, they took it in turns to tell stories. One child would start a story, then another would carry it on, and then another, until the stories became the most colourful tapestries of ideas, adventures and emotions and the darkness and cold of the mountain was no longer scary. They also played some games, they played the Shopping game, where they had to make a shopping list in Urdu and each child had to remember what the children before them had said. They played 21 where they had to take it in turns to count up and try not to say the number 21. Then, they did a quiz and the children took it in turn to think of questions while the others would call out their answers. Finally, they decided to go on a walk all around the outside of the hall together. They went slowly so everyone could keep up and they felt the wall as they went and helped each other when there was an obstacle. By the end of this there were a lot of giggles.

Sure enough, the electricity switched back on after a couple of hours alhammdulillah and everyone got to work getting dinner ready and making sure everyone had what they needed.

Just then, two wonderful girls arrived in bright white abayas and they were the doctors there to help anyone who wasn’t feeling well. Their names were Hafsah and Ruqayyah and they were very helpful checking anyone with an injury or who was feeling unwell.

As steaming plates of food were laid upon the tables, the tired travellers and hardworking volunteers sat together to eat before spreading out to make wudhu. When they returned to the hall the tables had all been cleared away and replaced with salaah mats for everyone to pray together on.

The imam read the verses from Surah an Nur:

“We experience light in our lives by following Allah’s guidance,” the imam told them all after the prayer. “We must try to be a light to others by showing them the beauty of Islam and doing whatever we can to help those around us. If we only think about ourselves, we cannot ever know true light.” 

As they finished their salaah and everyone got ready to sleep, Haajar gave salaam to everyone and climbed aboard the train where the volunteers would sleep for the night. Her bird flew up to the one of the baggage carriers to settle down for the night while she took out a blanket and pillow and lay down on the soft seats and closed her eyes.

[1] Recitation Salman al Utaybi