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4 powerful stories to share with children

Ahmad-e Harb had a little son whom he was training to trust in God.

“Whenever you want food or anything,” he told him, go to this window and say, “Lord God, I need bread.”

Each time the child went to that place, the parents had arranged to place in the window what the child desired.

One day, they were out of the house when the child was overcome by pangs of hunger. As usual he came under the window and prayed, “Lord God, I need bread.”

Immediately, food was sent down to him by the window. The parents returned to find him sitting down and eating.

“Where did you get this from?” they asked.

“From the one who gives me every day,” he replied.

So, they realised their boy was well established in his way.

This was one way people of the past connected their children to Allah ﷻ. The love for the religion and the little habits and routines that we set will help shape their character. The saying, “Children are like clay. The way you mould them is the way they become,” holds some truth.

Children are like clay. The way you mould them is the way they become

Whenever I hear the quotes related to the moulding of children, it both scares me and gives me hope. What scares me is not knowing if I am moulding them right. I do not want the clay to turn out ugly due to my inexperience. At the same time, I do not know what result to expect. Whatever it is, as I am reminded again and again, inshaAllah with good sincere intentions and with constant du’a to Allah, He will help us raise our children with the best of characters inshaAllah and pure clean hearts. Storytelling is a tool we could use to mould our children. It’s beautiful and subtle. What kind of stories should we pick?

We have highlighted four different types of stories that you can share with your children and included a story under each category. Through these stories, you can mention the good qualities of the people spoken of. Hopefully, our children will remember these stories and fall back on them whenever they need inspiration and a push to continue on their path towards Allah.

1) A Story on Rasulullah

Rasulullah ﷺ was having his usual gathering. His Companions would sit around him to hear the words of wisdom and guidance from Rasulullah ﷺ. On this particular gathering, a poor man in rags appeared and greeted everyone present with salam. He found a vacant place and comfortably sat down. Rasulullah ﷺ had taught them that all Muslims were brothers and, in an assembly, one should sit wherever one finds a place, regardless of one’s status. It so happened that this poor man was seated next to a very wealthy man.

The wealthy man was not pleased and tried to collect the edges of his garment around himself so that it didn’t touch the poor man. Rasulullah ﷺ noticed this and addressed him.

“Perhaps you are afraid that his poverty would affect you?”

“No, O Messenger of Allah,” he said.

“Then perhaps you were apprehensive about some of your wealth flying away to him?”

“No, O Messenger of Allah,” he said.

“Or you feared that your clothes would become dirty if he touched them?”

“No, O Messenger of Allah,” he said.

“Then why did you draw yourself and your clothes away from him?”

The rich man said, “I admit that was the most undesirable thing to do. It was an error and I confess my guilt. To make amends, I will give away half of my wealth to this Muslim brother so that I may be forgiven.”

Just as he said this, the poor man rose and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I do not accept this offer.” The people present in the assembly were taken by surprise. They thought that the poor man was a fool for refusing such an offer.

The poor man explained, “O Messenger of Allah, I refuse to accept this offer because I fear that I might then become arrogant and ill-treat my Muslim brothers the way he did to me.”

Possible takeaways when discussing this story with your children:

  • Importance of not judging others based on looks and status

  • How poverty may not always be a bad thing

  • Arrogance as a disease of the heart

2) A Story on a Sahabah (Abdurrahman bin Auf)

Abdurrahman ibn Auf r.a. was the richest friend of Rasulullah ﷺ. He was also among the first eight people to convert to Islam and was also guaranteed to go to Heaven.

Abdurrahman ibn Auf r.a. was a successful merchant. His hard work in trading made Abdurrahman well known with his abundant wealth in the time of Rasulullah ﷺ.

The poor Muslims will enter Paradise before the rich by half of a day, the length of which is five hundred years.

The secret to Abdurrahman ibn Auf's r.a. success in trading was that he avoided the haram and shubhat (where permissibility was in question, he would stay clear of it).

In addition, he always shared his wealth with his family, and with his brothers and sisters in religion. Abdurrahman was generous in his charitable acts since receiving advice from Rasulullah ﷺ. He knew the hadith about how the wealthy would take longer to enter Paradise compared to the poor. According to the hadith, “The poor Muslims will enter Paradise before the rich by half of a day, the length of which is five hundred years.”

As a result, he was extremely charitable. Abdurrahman r.a. once sold his land for 1000 dinars and distributed all the money to the family of Bani Zuhrah, the wives of the Prophet, and the poor. He also gave 500 horses to the Muslim army that was going to war and donated 1500 camels.

Wealth did not make Abdurrahman r.a. greedy or entitled. He was very generous not only with his wealth, but he was also willing to risk his life in war.

In the Battle of Uhud, Abdurrahman r.a. received 20 wounds, one of which left his leg permanently disabled. He even had difficulty speaking because his teeth were broken in the Battle of Uhud.

Abdurrahman ibn Auf r.a. also refused to become Caliph (leader of Muslims) after the death of Umar ibn Khattab r.a. At that time six friends were negotiating to determine a new Caliph. All agreed to appoint Abdurrahman r.a. However, he refused and asked Uthman ibn Affan r.a. to become the next Caliph.

Shortly before he died, Abdurrahman r.a. was afraid that his wealth would become a barrier for him to enter Paradise.

"I was afraid that I would not be able to meet my friends because of the amount of wealth I had," Abdurrahman r.a. said.

Abdurrahman ibn Auf r.a. was one of the lucky few who was guaranteed Paradise. Before his death, he bequeathed 500,000 dinars to fund Allah’s cause and 400 dinars for everyone involved in the Battle of Badr. What a truly admirable and generous Sahabah!

Possible discussion topics when sharing this story with your children:

  • The importance of charity

  • Compare to the 1st story and discuss, is poverty or wealth better?

  • Why do you think he refused to become a Caliph?

  • If Allah gave you wealth, what would you spend it on?

3) A Story of the Pious (Abu Hanifa r.a.)

Imam Abu Hanifa r.a. regularly performed his tahajjud (night) prayers. He would spend his night reciting the Quran. He had a drunk neighbour who would return home at the end of the night totally drunk and would start to sing out loud. This used to bother the Imam.

One day, the Imam did not hear this man's revelry, so he went and asked about him. They said, "Oh, so-and-so. They took him to jail."

So, the very well-respected Imam went to the jail. When the ruler found out the Imam went to the jail, he asked for the reason and was told that the Imam was concerned about his neighbour who had been arrested. As he was a well-respected Imam, his request to release his neighbour was approved by the ruler.

The neighbour then asked Abu Hanifa r.a. why he did that, and he replied, "Because you have a right upon me as a neighbour, and I have not been neglectful of that." The neighbour promised the Imam the he would never drink again. The Imam also gave him ten dinars to help him start a new life.

From that day, the neighbour started learning from the Imam until he finally became one of the famous scholars in Kufa, Iraq.

Possible discussion topics when sharing this story with your children:

  • What would you do if you had a drunkard as a neighbour? Would you have done the same as Imam Abu Hanifa?

  • The high status of one’s neighbour in Islam. Do you know your neighbours? How do you treat them?

  • Different ways of da’wa (calling others to Islam). It’s not always preaching that works.

4) A Story of ‘Everyday people’

Tarim is full of amazing people whom, at first glance, seem like any other person. There was an old man who used to come out every day at Asar and sat by the streets. Whenever he saw students of knowledge from Indonesia, Singapore or Malaysia, he would happily interact with them. He would try his best to make these students happy and would even attempt to use the little Malay he knew in his conversations with them.

This man was so humble that he would always ask the students he meet to du’a for him. They would of course ask him to du’a for them instead, but he’d reply, “Ana kosong,” (ana means “I” in Arabic and kosong means “empty in Malay) meaning he had nothing to give or that his du’a won't be as good as theirs.

One day, one of the students anticipating his usual reply said “Ana kosong” first when he was asked to make du’a by the old man. His reply made everyone laugh.

He said, “Ana DUA kosong!” (dua means “two” in Malay). He was trying to say that he was ‘emptier’ than they were.

Possible discussion topics when sharing this story with your children:

  • The adab of interacting with students of knowledge and interacting with older people

  • Why would an old man ask du’a from younger people?

  • The importance of making others happy.

  • Making the effort to learn another person’s culture/language.

Sometimes as parents, we struggle to model good behaviour, so storytelling is one very subtle way of showing our children examplary behaviour. Reading such stories with them helps not only our children, but they are also good reminders for ourselves to take heed.

1 Comment

Kirynn Mahmood
Kirynn Mahmood
Mar 29, 2023

Thank you for your advices sis. So informative alhamdulillah

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