Pool of Paradise: The Blue Jay

This is the 28th part of our Pool of Paradise project for children in Ramadan.

 

BLUE JAY

 

The Blue Jay floated down like a slice of sky and lighted on the perch and asked, “What should I ask the Simourgh?

 

The Hoopoe then told them that Allah (s) once asked Daoud (a) if any would search for their Lord without fear of Hell or promise of Heaven.  It is in the stories of our guides that we find the most worthy questions.  How can you know the secret if you are in need of Paradise and fear Hell?  He was told that he should seek only his Lord.

 

Rabia (q) knew that to desire the gardens or to fear the fire makes us hypocrites so we shall leave this world behind and and carry the pitcher of water to put out the fires of hell and the torch to burn heaven so that it is our Lord alone we seek.

 

The Blue Jay lifted each wing as though she held the torch and bucket and turned to follow the Hoopoe.

 

LESSON PLAN

 

After reading the passage about the Blue Jay have your child add the Blue Jay medallion to the pool to the left of the Cuckoo.

 

Discussion questions:  What do you think the Blue Jay will ask the Simourgh?  Why is the presence of Allah (s) better than Paradise?  If you were a bird on this journey what would you ask?

 

 

 

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Pool of Paradise: The Cuckoo

This is the 27th part of our Pool of Paradise project for children in Ramadan.

 

CUCKOO

 

The Cuckoo bobbled slowly on the the perch and enumerated all of his many accomplishments and asked why after having already worked so hard he should join a harsh and dangerous journey.

 

The Hoopoe spoke and reprimanded that Cuckoo for his laziness.  He told the tale where Musa (a) was sent by Allah (s) to take the advice of Iblis.  Iblis cautioned Musa (a) to avoid saying “I” and to beware your dragons of pride or one day you will be like me, destroyed by my ego and a thief of my own soul.

 

The Cuckoo tilted his head in agreement and turned to follow the Hoopoe.

 

 

 

LESSON PLAN

 

After reading the passage about the Cuckoo have your child add the Cuckoo medallion to the pool to the left of the Swan.

 

Discussion questions:  What was the ego problem of the Cuckoo?  How did the Hoopoe help the Cuckoo to overcome this problem?  Have you ever refused to do something important because you thought you already did enough?  How did you overcome this problem?

 

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Please share your ideas for teaching children the rites of Ramadan.

Pool of Paradise: The Swan

This is the 26th part of our Pool of Paradise project for children in Ramadan.

 

SWAN

 

The swan glided forward upon a pond of glass and ripples spread by his wings.  The swan claimed to love the Simourgh of the Caucasus but it was himself that he loved and not his true king.

 

He said, “If the Simourgh loves me as I love the Simourgh then he cannot want me to be spoiled by this journey into a disheveled carcass.  If the Simourgh loves us truly he cannot want the hardships of the journey but only sweetness and ease.”

 

The Hoopoe said, “Do not have love of yourself or this world dear swan.  Any form you have here in dunya is a shadow the true form you will have at the shore of the Pool of Paradise.  Even if the journey burns away every feather you will be better for it.  Remember that the beauty of Zulaykha (r) and the beauty of Rahma (r) was restored after their trials.  Zulaykha (r) loved Yusef (a) and she was rewarded with marriage to him and her youth returned.  He found her old and living in the streets of Egypt but when her prayer was answered she became young and beautiful once more and bore Yusef (a) 11 sons.”

 

“Rahma (r) was restored by the fountain that healed Ayyoub (a).  She and her husband were cast out and lived in poverty for a time.  Rahma (r) stayed with her husband and did not abandon him.”

 

“Your beauty is of no value if you do not reach your goal and one day soon the fire of time will burn your plume away until there is nothing left and you will be hollow, not because you have lost your beauty but because you have wronged your soul.”

 

The Swan covered her beak with her wing to conceal her tears before turning to join the flock.

 

LESSON PLAN

 

After reading the passage about the Swan have your child add the Swan medallion to the pool to the left of the Crow.

 

Discussion questions:  What is the ego problem of the Swan?  When Allah (s) sends us challenges is that good or bad?  Have you ever wanted to look nice rather than to work hard?

 

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Please share your ideas for teaching children the rites of Ramadan.

Pool of Paradise: The Crow

This is the 25th part of our Pool of Paradise project for children in Ramadan.

 

CROW

 

The crow lighted with a clamorous flapping of wings nearly toppling the perch and asked if boldness was a crucial component of courage for the journey at hand.  “For I am full of boldness,” he said, “but less so of wisdom by some measure.”

 

The Hoopoe said, “A true sage is bold from certainty of purpose and the support of Allah (s).  Dhul-Qarnian (a) conquered the known world upon the shoulders of his certainty.  If he can reach to the ends of this earth than so can we.  He traveled and conquered even the great monsters Gog and Magog in lead and iron where they are imprisoned to this day.”

 

“Your courage may yet save you from the curse laid upon you by Nuh (a) for your faithless service after the flood.  You were sent abroad by the prophet to search for dry land became distracted by a carcass left by the flood.  Do not become distracted on our journey or no quantity of boldness or courage will right your intention again.”

 

The crow bowed his head in shame.

 

“It is so!” he said. “Keep me on the straight path and not the path of those who go astray.”

 

LESSON PLAN

 

After reading the passage about the Crow have your child add the Crow medallion to the pool to the left of the Falcon.

 

Discussion questions:  What is the fault of the Crow?  Do you think the Crow will stay on the path and not become distracted like he did after the flood?  Have you ever forgotten to do something important?  Have you ever had an experience where you had to be bold and brave?

 

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Please share your ideas for teaching the rites of Ramadan to children.

Pool of Paradise: The Falcon

This is the 24th part of our Pool of Paradise project for children in  Ramadan.

 

FALCON

 

The Noble Falcon folded his wings high above the company and dove sharply.  He lifted his wings before them and swooped down to the perch before the other birds.

 

“My Will chooses the path of justice and so I follow the Hoopoe.  I ask you dear Hoopoe to tell us how the just are informed by spiritual wisdom so that we may discern true justice from false when a judgment is used to oppress and not to protect the weak and innocent.”

 

The Hoopoe addressed the company, “True justice is with our Lord.  Some will see justice in this dunya (earth) and some only in akhira (heaven).  When Yusef (a) was separated from his father Yaqub (a) they grieved but they trusted in Allah’s (s) justice and they were reunited and the brothers of Yusef (a) were exposed for their jealousy and forgiven.  The cup of Yusef (a) spoke and reveled the crime of his brothers, but they had sinned against themselves.  Yusef (a) was in this life twice imprisoned, once in the well and once in Egypt and he was delivered twice and raised high for his trust in Allah’s (s) judgment.”

“Remember dear hawk that justice is better than vengeance and that to Allah (s) one that begs for his justice is better than a scholar that theorizes about justice.”

 

The Noble Falcon tilted his head in agreement with the Hoopoe and lifted his wing to point the way.

 

LESSON PLAN

 

After reading the passage about the Falcon have your child add the Falcon medallion to the pool to the left of the Wagtail.

 

Discussion questions:  The Falcon asked what is real justice, what do you think real justice is?  Why does the Falcon ask about real justice?  Why is justice important?

 

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Please share your ideas for teaching children the rites of Ramadan.

Pool of Paradise: The Wagtail

This is the 23rd part of our Pool of Paradise project for children in Ramadan.

 

WAGTAIL

 

The Wagtail perched and rolled, balancing its long tail and said, “This is a worthy cause and I direct my will to achieve our goal.  Please dear Hoopoe tell us how we can aspire to reach our goal.  What focus should we make?  On what should we meditate to achieve success?”

 

The Hoopoe said, “You must be like Musa (a) upon Mount Sanai.  You must see the fire in the desert.  You must remember he who went from slave to the Prince of Egypt was so blessed with a purpose.”

 

“We must all acquire wings and escape the locked chest of life so that when the lid is lifted upon our death we might escape.  We must have wings of the spirit like our dear Penguin and take flight.”

 

The Wagtail bowed low with a swish of his tail and followed.

 

LESSON PLAN

 

After reading the passage about the Wagtail have your child add the Wagtail medallion to the pool to the left of the Penguin.

 

Discussion questions: When the Wagtail asked the Hoopoe for inspiration what did he say?  What do you do when you want to be inspired to achieve a goal?

 

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Please share your ideas for teaching children the rites of Ramadan.

Pool of Paradise: The Penguin

This is the 22nd part of our Pool of Paradise project for children in  Ramadan.

 

 

PENGUIN

 

The penguin waddled forward slowly.

 

“I can walk the path but I cannot fly it.  I ask to be blessed with sincerity on this way as my own earthbound condition is comical even to me among this winged company.”

 

The Hoopoe addressed the Penguin, “Oh Penguin, you who stand for long cold months, holding your precious egg aloft take heart.  Just as the spring will come and the egg will hatch you will see the journey’s end on your long march to the Sea of Mercy.  This path will not appear to all who seek but will open to the ones who strong and do not waver in the winter wind.  You will be like the Magicians who followed Musa (a) and his second mother Asiya (r).  They stood firm upon the foundation of their faith despite horrible trials and suffering and you shall see when you arrive with us the reward they enjoy now that they are at peace.”

 

The Penguin bowed as elegantly as he could and turned to follow their company.

 

 

LESSON PLAN

 

After reading the passage about the Penguin have your child add the Penguin medallion to the pool to the left of the Raven.

 

Discussion questions:  How does the Penguin use his Will to overcome his physical limitations?  Have you ever had trouble doing something physical?  A long walk?  Lifting something heavy?  Swimming?  How did you solve this problem?

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Please share your ideas for teaching children the rites of Ramadan.

Pool of Paradise: The Raven

This sit the 21st part of our Pool of Paradise project for children in Ramadan.

 

RAVEN

 

The raven lighted, straight and sleek, folding his shiny black feathers tightly beside him.

 

“I am resigned to the journey yet suffrage is for a purpose but suffering is not.  I fear I will not be among those that survive this journey and so what will become of us who preserver yet fail to reach the end?”

 

The Hoopoe said, “We all end the same and leave the world in death.  Do not forget that each day we choose to follow our lord or we choose to listen to the whispers of Iblis.  Ayyub (a) suffered long and terribly yet did not despair, for his love of Allah (s) depended not upon his good fortune on this earth.  Iblis said that the love of Ayyub (a) would not withstand his trials but it did.  Ayyub (a) was blessed with prosperity and followers and good health.  When all these blessings disappeared he was struck down with a terrible affliction of the skin.  He lost everything but his wife Rahma (r) and was cast out by the people.  After a time of trial he was cured and he and his wife were restored to youth and health by a fountain of water.  Do not forget that he succeeded in resisting Iblis, that his prosperity was restored and his faith rewarded.  So it shall be with you all in life as well as death if you take the prophets as your guides and do not loose your way.”

 

“I have ever been the one to follow one step behind death, and so I shall follow the Hoopoe,” and the Raven turned to join their company.

 

LESSON PLAN

 

After reading the passage about the Raven have your child add the Raven medallion to the pool to the left of the Egret.

 

Discussion questions:  The Raven asked what was the fate of those who died on the quest; what do you think will happen to them?  How did the Hoopoe answer the Raven?

 

 

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Please share your ideas for teaching the rites of Ramadan to children.

Pool of Paradise: The Egret

This is the 20th part of our Pool of Paradise project for children in Ramadan.

 

EGRET

 

The Egret twirled before the company with wings outstretched like a dervish and then folded them and bowed.

 

“When I turn I am with the sun and travel the seven tracts through the sky in great company.  Why should one that journeys the sky as I do seek to travel farther?”

 

The Hoopoe said, “Dear Egret, you must learn humility if you are to succeed.  We must learn from the Prophet Muhammad (s).  One day he was offered a bunch of grapes by a poor and sincere man and the Prophet (s) ate every one.  When later asked why he did not share this gift he said that the grapes were sour and he did not want the man to be shy that his gift was not sweet.”

 

“You go round and round in circles like an ambitious bat with no direction.  Whirl dear dervish of the birds if you must, but you will not ascend if your heart is not still and steadfast in your chest.  You cannot seek the sun if you are blind.  While you whirl your heart must be still.”

The Egret twirled round and round toward their horizon and followed the Hoopoe.

 

LESSON PLAN

 

After reading the passage about the Egret have your child add the Egret medallion to the pool to the left of the Turtledove.

 

Discussion questions:  What is the ego of the Egret?  The Egret is known as the whirling dervish bird; what are we supposed to do when we whirl?

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Please share your ideas for teaching children the rites of Ramadan.

Pool of Paradise: The Turtledove

This is the 19th part of our Pool of Paradise series for children in Ramadan.

 

TURTLEDOVE

 

The Turtledove cooed and said, “In the early morning I sing my song with a sad heart.  I saw the flood of Nuh.  I brought the olive branch.  My feet were washed in the Sea of Wrath and I fear to be in peril again.  I will come with you.  I will obey but I fear death as I have seen it, as much death as can been seen.”

 

The Hoopoe said, “Have strength dear dove as you are worthy as your service to Nuh (a)!  Be like the phoenix and rise from your own ashes, the pyre of your rebirth.  We that are born will die and remember that it is the eternal life that we seek and our true safety is from our Lord.  When we arrive together in Jannah we will see that there is indeed the Sea of Wrath, but above it and still larger is the endless Sea of Mercy.  On its shore you will reside in a windblown tree, your feathers bleached white by the sun.  In your beak you shall hold the tiny black pebble holding all our sins and when your Lord bids you drop it to the water…’

 

‘The Lord shall say:

 

You are the nation of Muhammad (s).

Within the pebble are the errors of his nation,

and this sea is my mercy upon you all.’

 

You who have witnessed and survived the Sea of Wrath shall spend eternity on the shores of the Sea of Mercy dear dove, beyond the Lote Tree near to the presence of your Lord and you are so honored.”

 

The Hoopoe bowed low to honor the dove above the others of their company and all the others followed.

 

The dove shed a tear and cooed, “Nuh (a) had told me this was so and I had forgotten.  Let us follow the Hoopoe to the ends of this earth for all we do here is error and forget all that is worth remembering.”

 

LESSON PLAN

 

After reading the passage about the Turtledove have your child add the Turtledove medallion to the pool to the left of the Goldfinch.

 

Discussion questions:  Why did the dove fear death?  Why is the dove honored for his service to Nuh (a)?

 

 

 

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Please share your ideas for teaching the rites of Ramadan to children.

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