Pool of Paradise: The Valley of Hunger

This is the 31st part of our Pool of Paradise project for children in Ramadan.

This part is posted today for use on Eid which is today for some and tomorrow for others.

On Eid we have passed the Valley of Hunger and emerged with a will that can recognize the creator.   The valleys of hunger, quest, love, understanding, detatchment, awe, and death are passed before reaching Mount Qaf and the jouney’s end.

THE VALLEY OF HUNGER

 

The valley of hunger has many faces.  In English the morning meal is called the break-fast meaning that we have spent the night without food or drink.  In Ramadan this is reversed and we fast from morning to night rather than night to morning.  Some believe that when we sleep we leave our bodies and travel back to our Lord and during this journey we fast.  The birds that follow the Hoopoe in this tale pass through 7 valleys on their way to their Lord and their transport for the journey is their hunger for the divine.

 

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

Pool of Paradise: The Pigeon

This is the 30th part of our Pool of Paradise project for children in Ramadan.

 

PIGEON

 

The Pigeon bobbled forward and addressed the company.  “Some say that to find the Simourgh you must come as a beggar.  Myself and my flock are the beggar birds of this earth.  We come to the Simourgh with our begging bowl empty and ready to be filled with divine love and knowledge.  Tell us dear Hoopoe how the poor and stupid can come to the Simourgh or are we too low to make such a great journey.”

 

The Hoopoe said,  “Pigeon you have the faith to follow Khidr (a).  Not all the learned or high can follow this teacher.  Few understand his lessons or can bear his tests for long.  You who have lived low on this earth and have no love of dunya have naught to loose but your souls.  Khidr (a) leads both Prophets and Saints on this earth to a truer knowledge than most can bear.  You are indeed worthy and you may give your greetings to Khidr (a) on our way for he still walks the earth on the orders of his Lord.”

 

The Pigeon chortled with glee and bobbled quickly after the Hoopoe and his great company.

 

LESSON PLAN

 

After reading the passage about the Pigeon have your child add the Pigeon medallion to the pool to the left of the Goose.

 

Discussion questions:  What was the question of the Pigeon?  Have you ever felt that you were not smart enough or high enough to do something great?  Why is it difficult to follow Khidr (a)?

 

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

Pool of Paradise: The Goose

This is the 29th part of our Pool of Paradise project for children in Ramadan.

 

GOOSE

 

The Goose waddled forward and asked, “What gift shall I bring my king?”

 

The Goose thought to bring its golden eggs but the Hoopoe said that the Simourgh desires that which does not exist there upon Mount Qaf.    The Simourgh desires your ardent love not your blind obedience.  Come to the Simourgh as Zulaykha (r) came to Yusef (a).

 

The Goose then said, “I who have traveled far upon this earth do know that the road before us is far.  How can we hope to close such a long distance?”

 

The Hoopoe said, “There are 7 valleys.  Dear Goose your greatest strength is your greatest folly.  You have travelled farther on this earth than any other it is true but this journey is not only a question of distance but question of resolve.  When the Prophet Muhammad (s)and Abu Bakr (r) travelled for Mecca to Medina it was more than just distance they travelled.  They were leaving their home.  They were pursued by those who wanted to kill them.  Before their journey and after their journey is a marker for all time.”

 

The Goose nodded for it was so and swung to follow the Hoopoe.

 

LESSON PLAN

 

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

 

Discussion questions:  What is the ego problem of the Goose?  Have you ever been afraid to go somewhere because it was too far?  Were you surprised after that the road seemed shorter than you thought?

 

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

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

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.

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