Stories for Thinking Children

 



AMIR AND THE CHAMELEON

On a school trip one day, Amir left his friends and began to wander about amongst the trees. As he was leaning against a tree and resting, a voice came from a log on the ground.

"Hello Amir," said the voice, "Are you tired out?"

Amir couldn't believe his ears. When he looked carefully at the log, he noticed a creature that was so close to it in color that he had difficulty in telling which was which.

"Who are you?" he asked. "I had real trouble spotting you-your color and the color of the log you're sitting on are exactly the same!"

"I'm a chameleon," said the creature, which rather resembled a lizard. "I change my color according to my surroundings to protect myself from danger."

"How do you manage such a wonderful thing?" asked Amir, intrigued.

"Let me explain," said his new friend. "I have special coloring substance called 'chromatophore' in my skin. This allows me to change my color to match my surroundings. This color change comes about through the distribution and collection of various substances and pigments in my nervous system. So even though I move very slowly, I can live unnoticed and safely wherever I may be. Of course, this ability was given to me by our Almighty Lord, Who provides us with everything we need."

Amir was not sure he quite understood, "Could you please tell me a bit more about how you change color?"

The chameleon took a deep breath and nodded: "When I'm sitting on a leafy branch in daylight I turn green with black and brown markings, like the shadows on the branches around me. When it's dark I'm completely black. I can carry out all these color changes within 15 minutes. When I'm angry though, I develop dark orange spots and dark red markings as a warning to other animals."

"That is really unbelievable!" cried Amir. "I wonder what else is special about you?"

His friend smiled happily. "My eyes move independently of one another. I can look backwards and downwards. Of course, I wouldn't have had any of these characteristics if Allah had not wanted me to. Allah created me and gave me everything I need to survive."

Amir looked a bit closer. "It's quite hard to make your eyes out."

"So that my eyes don't attract the attention of enemies, Allah covered them completely with scales so they look like the rest of my head. As you can see, when Allah created me, He designed me in the best possible way to deal with whatever might happen to me."

"From now on," said Amir, "I'll look more carefully at things around me. I won't forget to pray to our great and powerful Lord when I see the clear proofs of His existence in nature. Thank you."

"Bye bye, Amir!" said the chameleon as it disappeared back into its surroundings once more.

That is Allah, your Lord. There is no god but Him, the Creator of everything. So worship Him. He is responsible for everything. Eyesight cannot perceive Him but He perceives eyesight. He is the All-Penetrating, the All-Aware. (Surat al-An'am: 102-103)

Mankind! You are the poor in need of Allah whereas Allah is the Rich Beyond Need, the Praiseworthy. (Surah Fatir: 15)

TARIQ AND THE DOG

Tariq had gone to play at the house of his classmate, Kashif. When Kashif's mother called him downstairs for something, Tariq was left alone in the bedroom. At that moment Kashif's dog came into the room. It was such a lovable dog, and it was as though it was asking, "Don't you want to play with me?"

"Hey, come on then, let's have a game," said Tariq, jumping to his feet.

"Great, I'm very pleased!" said the dog, wagging its tail enthusiastically.

Tariq froze in astonishment. The dog was talking! This was an opportunity not to be missed. He began asking about the things he had always wondered about dogs.

"I've always wanted to know," he began, "How do you chew those hard bones we give you to eat?"

The dog smiled, revealing a row of sharp, white teeth. "Allah, Who has given all living things their own individual characteristics, has given us dogs different physical abilities from other animals. For example, we have more teeth than you do, 42 of them in fact, so we can chew our food, especially bones, very easily."

Tariq nodded: "You like running, jumping and playing as much as I do, don't you? How come you don't sweat?" he wondered.

Kashif's dog nodded in agreement: "We don't sweat like humans do to control our body heat because we have no pores in our skin. We have a respiratory system that controls our temperature instead. Our fur prevents heat from outside from reaching our skin. Of course, when the temperature rises our body heat rises too, and when we become too hot we get rid of the extra heat by hanging our tongues out and panting, so even on hot days we don't sweat, in spite of our thick fur."

"Allah has given us such a wonderful system that while humans break out in a sweat after half an hour's exercise, we can run non-stop for hours without sweating at all. From now on you'll understand that when you see dogs with their tongues hanging out in hot weather there's no need to feel sorry for them. Of course we dogs did not make this system for ourselves. This is one of the proofs of the supreme creative power of Allah, Who created everything in a totally original form."

"I believe your sense of smell is also very well developed," said Tariq as he stroked the dog's nose.

"You're right," the dog agreed. "We have a very strong sense of smell. The smell centers in our brains are 40 times more developed than human beings'."

"So when police dogs smell something just once they can go and find the owner!" exclaimed Tariq.

"Right again. You can see that the dogs you are used to seeing every day are proofs of Allah's creation, just like all other living things. Keep that in mind, and don't forget to remember Allah with thanks."

"Thanks a lot," said Tariq. "I won't forget. And I'll tell all my friends what you have told me about what Allah has given you, and ask them to thank Him too."

Just then Kashif came back into the room, and they all began to romp and play together.

OUR VERY DEAR FRIENDS

It is He Who created everything on the earth for you... (Surat al-Baqara: 29)

DOGS, THE EXPERT SNIFFERS

Dogs have an extraordinary sensitivity to smells. When roaming in the street they find the smells left by other dogs, and those which are peculiar to people, and they learn things about them. They can detect the slightest scent in the air without any difficulty at all. Bloodhounds, a breed of dog which has a particularly strong sense of smell, can track people from places where they have left no visible trace, follow a trail that is four days old and find the scent of people more than 80 kilometers away.

FARHAN AND THE HORSE

Farhan's sister wanted to learn horse riding. At the weekend the whole family went to a riding school. While his sister, his mother and his father were talking to the riding teacher, Farhan went to look at a horse which was eating grass.

"Hello!" said Farhan: "That grass you are eating looks very dirty and dusty. Doesn't it hurt your teeth?"

The horse looked up and whinnied happily. "No, my little friend. Our teeth help to break it down. Allah created very long teeth for us. These teeth have deep roots going right down into our jawbones. The root part of our teeth is much deeper than yours. When our teeth wear down the part inside the bone comes out. Every tooth can lose 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) without us losing the ability to eat."

Farhan considered a moment, "So thanks to that characteristic given to you by Allah, you're saved from losing your teeth in a short time and going hungry."

"You're dead right," agreed the horse. "Allah created every living thing according to the surroundings in which it lives. This is one of the proofs of His supreme creation. Every living thing on the face of the earth is in need of Him."

Farhan thought of the films he had seen about horses, "If I get on your back, you can carry me for miles, can't you?"

"Yes. No other animal has been as much help to human beings as we have. Nowadays, of course, there are streets and roads and moving vehicles on them. The truth is though that it is only in the past century that cars and other forms of transport have begun to serve people. When your great great grandfather was born, people didn't know there would be any such thing as a car. In those days, carrying people was the job of animals, especially we horses."

Farhan had a closer look at his new friend: "With those long legs, I'm not surprised you can travel long distances. Can you run fast as well?"

The horse gently raised a front leg: "Allah created my legs not just so that I could carry heavy loads but also so that I could run fast at the same time. We don't have collarbones like other animals. This means we can take longer strides."

Farhan thought it over, "So, Allah created you to carry heavy loads easily and to be able to run fast."

"Yes, Farhan," agreed his new friend. "Allah created us with these characteristics so we could be of use to people."

Farhan grinned back, "I'm sure what I have learned from you will be much more interesting for my sister than learning to ride, when I tell her about it!"

"Bye bye, little friend," said the horse through a mouthful of delicious hay.

It is He Who created all the species and gave you ships and livestock for you to ride. (Surat az-Zukhruf:12)

THE SPECIAL CARE TAKEN BY MOTHER PANDAS

Mother pandas look after their babies very well. Baby pandas need special protection because when they are born they cannot fend for themselves. If an enemy attacks a baby panda its mother will bite it with her powerful jaws and try to protect the baby that way. However, when mother pandas hold their babies in their mouths they can be extremely gentle. It is Allah Who teaches pandas how they need to behave, Who created them and Who knows best what they need.

ANTAR AND THE KANGAROO

When Antar learned from a storybook he was reading that kangaroos bring up their babies in special pouches on their stomachs, he asked himself in surprise, "Do any animals really have pouches?" The kangaroo in the book then suddenly started hopping around on the page, and answered: "You're right to be surprised, Antar. But, yes, we kangaroos really have a pouch on our tummies, and this is where we feed, protect and rear our babies."

Antar had a close look and saw a lovable baby kangaroo poking its head from its mother's pouch in the picture.

"How did your baby get into the pouch, I wonder?" he asked the mother, who replied:

"When a baby kangaroo is born it is only one centimeter long. That tiny baby, which is still undeveloped, reaches the pouch after a 3-minute journey."

"That's very interesting," mused Antar. "How do you feed it in there?"

The mother explained patiently: "There are four different milk teats in my pouch. In one of these teats there is a warm milk ready to feed the baby. In the other three teats is milk which is designed not to feed the newborn baby but babies which are a bit older. After a few weeks the baby will leave the teat it feeds from at the beginning and start feeding from one more suitable for its age. When it gets a little bigger it will move on to the next one."

"Unbelievable!" cried an excited Antar. "How does a baby kangaroo that is only one centimeter long know how which teat to choose from? And how do you, the mother kangaroo, manage to put such different kinds of milk into those four teats?"

The mother kangaroo went on to explain: "The milk that feeds a newborn baby is warmer than the other kinds. The nourishment it contains is different, too. How do you think we mother kangaroos heat the milk in our teats? Don't forget, dear Antar, that it really isn't the mother kangaroos who do all this. We don't even know about the differences in the milk in our teats. It isn't possible for us to calculate the temperature of the milk. Neither do we know that each type of milk has different characteristics, nor what food it contains. We just live the way Allah inspires us to. Allah, Who created us, thought out the needs of our babies. Our Lord, with His infinite compassion and mercy, gave our babies milk of the most suitable kind and placed them in the best place for them, in the pouches of their mothers."

Say:"If all the sea was ink to write down the Words of my Lord, it would run out long before the Words of my Lord ran out," even if We were to bring the same amount of ink again. (Surat al-Kahf: 109)