Stories for Thinking Children

 



KAMAL AND THE GLOW-WORM

On summer evenings Kamal and his family used to eat their evening meals in the garden. One summer evening, as they were getting up from the table, Kamal saw a light going on and off amongst the trees at the edge of the garden. He went over to the trees to see what was going on, and he noticed an insect flitting about. But this insect was very different from those he was used to seeing in the daytime. It was giving off light as it flew.

The insect stopped flying for a moment, and came up to Kamal. "Hello," it said. "You look very surprised. You've been watching me for a long time. My name's Glow-Worm, what's yours?"

"My name's Kamal. You're right, I've never seen an insect that flickered with light in the way you do before. Yellowish green rays are coming from your body. I remember that once when I touched a light bulb it burned my hand. Doesn't having this light coming from your body hurt you?"

The glow-worm nodded. "You're right, Kamal, when you say that lamps are really very hot while giving off light. Light bulbs use electrical energy to produce light, and some of that energy turns into heat. That causes the bulb to become hot. But we do not take energy from outside for the light that our bodies give off."

Kamal thought he understood. "So does that mean you don't get hot?" he asked.

"That's right," agreed the glow-worm. "We produce energy ourselves and we use this energy very carefully. That means that none of our energy is wasted and it doesn't produce heat which would damage our bodies."

Kamal considered for a moment, "That's a really well thought out system."

"Yes, it is," agreed his friend. "When Allah created us He planned everything we need in the best possible way. When we're flying we beat our wings very quickly. Of course, that's a job which needs a lot of energy. But because our light doesn't use up much of our energy we have no problem with it."

Kamal had something else he wanted to ask, "What do you use the light you give off for?"

His friend explained: "We use it both to pass messages amongst ourselves and to defend ourselves. When we want to say something to one another we talk by flickering our lights. At other times we use it to frighten our enemies and keep them away from us."

Kamal was very impressed by what his friend had been telling him: "So everything you need is inside your own bodies, and there's no need to tire yourselves out!"

"That's right," the glow-worm agreed. "Despite all their best efforts, scientists have been unable to develop a system quite like ours. As I said before, Allah created us in the most beautiful way and in the way most suited to our needs, just like all other living things."

Kamal smiled. "Thank you. What you have told me is very interesting. I now realize what the verse I read yesterday means, 'Is He Who creates like him who does not create? So will you not pay heed?' (Surat an-Nahl: 17) When you think of all the living things Allah created and ourselves, there are plenty of examples to take heed of!!"

"Yes Kamal, every living thing is a proof of the superior creative art of Allah. Now, whenever you look at anything, you will be able to see this. Now I should go. But don't forget what we have been talking about!"

Kamal waved his friend goodbye: "It was nice to have met you. Hope to see you again..."

On the way to home, reflecting on the amazing design in the glow-worm, Kamal was eager to tell his family about his conversation with his little friend.

He is Allah-the Creator, the Maker, the Giver of Form. To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Everything in the heavens and earth glorifies Him. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. (Surat al-Hashr: 24)

The Red Sea lies between two deserts. No rivers or other running fresh water drain into it. In other words, there is no transfer of oxygen or nitrogen. Normally this sea would be a barren desert like the lands which surround it, yet it contains corals of all kinds. The corals which manage to live here in spite of the difficult conditions are able to do so because of the symbiosis (the way they live together with other living things) they have established with other creatures resembling plants, called algae. The algae hide themselves from their enemies within the coral reefs and use sunlight to perform photosynthesis. The harmonious lifestyle of these two creatures is yet another proof of Allah's wondrous creation.

AHMAD AND THE GREEN FROG

At the weekend Ahmad went fishing on a lake with his father. While his father was preparing the rods, Ahmad asked him for permission to wander round a little. His father allowed him to do this on condition that he did not go too far away.

Ahmad began walking amongst the thickets at the edge of the water. A frog jumped out suddenly from between two bushes and landed on a stone right in front of him.

"You nearly trod on me!" complained the frog.

"I'm sorry," said Ahmad. "You are exactly the same color as the leaves, so I didn't notice you, little frog. My name's Ahmad and I'm taking a walk."

The frog smiled: "Pleased to meet you, Ahmad. It's quite normal that you didn't notice me. I live among these bushes and my color matches the leaves. That way my enemies can't spot me any more than you could. I can hide from them very easily."

Ahmad thought for a moment: "Yes, but what if they do see you? Then what do you do?"

"If you look carefully," said the frog, holding up a foot, "You'll see there are webs between my toes. When I'm jumping I open my toes out and that way I can glide in the air. Sometimes I can fly as much as 40 feet (12 meters) in a single bound."

"What about when you want to land?" wondered Ahmad.

"I use my legs when I fly. I use the webs on my feet like a parachute to slow myself down when I land," the frog explained.

"That's very interesting," mused Ahmad. "It never occurred to me before that frogs can fly."

The frog grinned: "Some species of frog can fly as far as they can swim. This is a blessing our Lord gave us. Allah created our colors to camouflage us in the surroundings we live in. That allows us to survive. If Allah hadn't created us like this, we'd soon have been killed off by other animals."

Ahmad saw the point: "The webs between your toes are necessary for you to be able to jump long distances. I don't have webs on my feet because I don't need them. The needs of every living creature are different, aren't they?"

"Yes, you're right, you put it very well."

Ahmad answered: "Allah created us in the best way to make our lives easier. We should be very grateful to Him for that."

"Right again, Ahmad," agreed his friend. "Our Lord created all living things according to the environment they live in. He gave us everything we need when we were born."

"Yes," said Ahmad. "Now, little frog, I have to go, otherwise my father will be wondering what's happened to me. It was great talking to you. If I come here another time, I'll visit you again."

"I shall look forward to that. Nice to have met you. Goodbye, Ahmad..." croaked the frog as it hopped back into the bushes and disappeared from sight.

The Webbed Feet of Frogs

One of the striking creatures which Allah has created is a kind of frog that lives in virgin forests. The most interesting characteristic of this little tree frog, which has thin legs and webs between its toes, is that it can use its legs to fly by gliding. When it flies from trees it uses its legs like parachutes when it wants to soften its landing. By opening the webs between its toes it doubles the surface area of its body. Flying frogs can glide through the air for up to 40 feet (12 meters) before landing in a tree. By moving their legs and changing the shape of their webbed feet they can even control the direction they fly in.

HAMEED AN THE LONG-LEGGED STORK

Hameed was a very intelligent and cheerful boy. He was very interested in birds and wanted to get to know all of them well. He somtimes looked after birds in his house, but later let them go. He took great pleasure in their free lifestyles. One morning in spring, Hameed saw a flock of long-legged birds all flying together and right away he went out onto the terrace of his house to watch them more closely. When he got outside he saw that two of these birds had landed on the chimney and he was very happy to see them. He waved and called out to them:

"Hello, I'm Hameed. Who are you?"

"Hello, Hameed. I hope we're not giving you any trouble by landing here. We'd like very much to talk to you and get to know you," said one of the pair.

"By all means," said Hameed: "I love all birds very, very much. Can you tell me a bit about yourselves, please?"

"Of course," replied the first bird. "We are storks. We are migrating birds with big snow-white wings between 3.5-5 feet (one and one-and-a-half meters) long and long black tails. It is the red color of our beaks and our long legs that give us such an attractive appearance."

Hameed agreed. "You really do look lovely!"

"What people notice most about us is our flying style," continued the stork. "We fly with our beaks stretched forward and our legs stretched out behind. This makes us able to fly much faster by using the air."

Hameed was curious, "And where are you traveling now?"

"Every year we migrate in large flocks, Hameed, because we can't live in cold places. In doing this we also bring people the good news that warm summer days are on the way. During the summer we live right across a huge area that stretches from Europe to North Africa and from Turkey to Japan. When the weather starts to get cold we migrate to the southern hemisphere, to tropical Africa and India."

Hameed was puzzled, "But how do you know when the weather begins to get colder?"

The stork smiled: "That really is a very good question. Of course, the answer is that Allah taught us. All at the same time we feel a need to move to warm countries. Allah makes us feel that. It is Allah Who shows us the way to fly, and when fall comes again He makes sure we can return over a distance of thousands of miles and find our old homes again. It is Allah with His inspiration Who teaches us all these things."

"It really is very interesting that you can travel such long distances and return and find your old nests without making a mistake, as though you had a compass in your hands," said Hameed, impressed.

The stork went on, "Of course this kind of powerful memory and wonderful direction finding ability are the result of Allah's supreme creation, Who gave them to us."

Hameed had another question for his new friend, "You live close to human beings, don't you?"

"Yes," replied his friend. "We make our nests on the roofs of houses. And we build nests on the top of trees and chimneys..."

The other stork then stood up and said, "Sorry, Hameed, we have to be on our way again."

Hameed watched his new friends grow smaller and smaller as they flew on their way.

There is no creature crawling on the earth or flying creature, flying on its wings, who are not communities just like yourselves-We have not omitted anything from the Book-then they will be gathered to their Lord. (Surat al-An'am, 38)

NABEEL AND THE SEAL

Nabeel was watching television after returning home from school one day. There was a documentary program on one channel. Nabeel enjoyed watching documentaries about animals he had never seen in real life. This time the program was about seals. Nabeel sat forward and began watching with interest.

But suddenly he felt cold. He looked round and realized that he was now inside the TV picture. Right beside him was the seal he had just seen on the screen!

"Hello!" he said, shivering a little, to the seal. "It's very cold here, don't you feel it?"

"You must be new here!" answered the seal. "It's always cold. It's 23 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 5 degrees Celsius) at its warmest, even in spring. That suits me just fine because we seals love the cold. We never feel it. How come? Because of our fur, this wonderful coat that Allah has given us! Of course the fat in our bodies also helps protect us against the cold."

"Is that your mother over there?" Nabeel pointed to a much larger seal some distance away. "I think she's looking for you. Call her and let her know where you are if you like..."

The seal went on: "We seals live in big herds and, yes, we look very much like one another. But our mothers never confuse us with any other seal. This is an ability that Allah has given them. As soon as her baby is born, the mother gives him a welcome kiss. Because of this kiss, she recognizes his smell and never gets him mixed up with any other baby. This is one of Allah's countless blessings He has given us. We are grateful to our Almighty Lord because He gave our mothers this ability to recognize us amongst the crowds we live in."

Nabeel had something else he wanted to ask: "I remember reading that you spend most of your time in the water. So how did you learn to swim?"

His new friend explained: "Allah created all of us according to the conditions we live in and made us ready for them. Just as He created the camel according to the conditions of the desert, He created us according to these cold conditions. It is Allah's will that when we are born our bodies have a layer of fat called baby fat. Our little bodies stay warm thanks to this fat. And because the fat layer is lighter than water it acts as a kind of lifebelt when our mothers are teaching us to swim. After two weeks of swimming lessons we become really great swimmers and divers."

"So, Allah created a special lifebelt inside your bodies for you so you can learn to swim! How wonderful!"

"That's right," said the little seal. "Every living thing He created so perfectly is a proof that Allah has power over everything."

Just at that moment Nabeel was awakened by a warm kiss on the cheek from his mother. The documentary on the television was still going on. Nabeel remembered the dream he had just had and smiled at the little seal on the screen.

... If you tried to number Allah's blessings, you could never count them... (Surah Ibrahim: 34)

Among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and earth and all the creatures... (Surat ash-Shura: 29)

RESISTANT SEALS

The waters of the ocean are very cold, especially in the depths. For this reason Allah created seals, which live in cold water, with a thick layer of fat beneath their skin. This layer prevents the seals from losing their body heat quickly. Another interesting thing about seals is that the females produce the richest, the most nourishing milk known in nature. This milk makes the babies they raise under difficult conditions grow very quickly.