This is the fourteenth sample of The Tree of Light: The Lives of the Prophets for Young Muslims available now on Amazon. This is the first volume of a three volume series with maps, pictures and paintings of important sites and Maqams related to the stories of the Prophets. This series would be an ideal source for the Tree of Prophets project featured here on our website. In this adaptation of Hajiah Amina Adil’s comprehensive history of the Prophets a sage grandfather tells the stories of the Prophets to his two adventurous grandsons who learn that the stories of the Prophets have come to life.
The Prophet Idris (a) was a shepherd like the prophets before him, but then he became an inventor. He learned to make fire, build houses, write words and read them.
Idris (a) learned to do sums, and to read the stars and to find his direction. He became a teacher for his people and wrote the books of Adam (a) and Seth(a). Before this time people would memorize stories but they could not write them down. Today we write the Quran but we still memorize it so that even if all the books in the world were lost the Quran would not be lost.
“Does that mean I don’t have to write Quran if I memorize it.”
“You can memorize without writing, but writing helps us to memorize as well. Writing has many uses though. One day you will see how important writing is for your life.”
Idris (a) knew the lore of healing plants and became the first doctor to his people. At that time people thought that ill health came from magic but Idris (a) taught his people that Allah (s) sends illness so that we might seek our cure from the remedies sent by our Lord. He also taught his people to dry and store food for the winter.
“What did they do if someone got sick?” asked Sulayman.
“Hmm, sometimes they thought that there was a witch or a sorcerer doing magic on them or something like this. They would look for the one who made them sick. This is very bad because even today no mind people look for the one who made them sick instead of asking their Lord for help and looking for their remedy. When people believe like this they hurt many innocent people and they cannot cure themselves. We are very fortunate ones that learned the truth from Idris (a).
At this time, human beings did not wear clothes as we wear today. They wore smelly animal skins because they had nothing else to wear. One day Idris (a) saw a spider weaving its web and said that Allah (s) had taught him to make cloth. He understood that Allah (s) was teaching him all the time and he should listen to the lessons.
Grandfather looked sideways at Sulayman who was fidgeting and annoying his brother.
Idris (a) had learned to spin yarn from his grandmother Eve and he took that yarn and wove cloth on a loom that he made. He had been blessed with a clever wife – Hadama. She liked his invention and helped him to make the cloth. When the cloth was ready they prayed to Allah (s) to show them what to do with it. When that inspiration came Idris (a) asked Hadama to lie down on the cloth as a pattern that he drew in coal. Idris (a) used stones to cut the cloth and thorns to sew it. Idris (a) found his wife to be very beautiful in this gown and Idris became the first tailor. Hadama made a gown for Idris and they shared their invention with the people and taught them about the uses of cloth.
“What did they do with the animal skins?” asked Sulayman.
“I have shirt!” squeaked Yusuf trying to show Grandfather his clean shirt.
Grandfather looked down at the boys and yawned. “They used the animal skins to make shoes and boots and other useful things.”
We are called by our Lord to strive beyond the circumstances of our birth and to reach higher in ability and understanding, but the people of this time were of low understanding and feared the knowledge and innovation that Idris (a) brought. The people were like the no mind people you find today saying “shirk!” and “biddah!” Some people cannot see the difference between something that is a good invention and something that is bad for them. At first, they were afraid of all these new inventions and wanted Idris (a) to go away. When they thought about it though they realized that all the things that Idris (a) brought them had improved their lives and they decided to follow him. People then did not know many things but they could think. People now know many things but they cannot think.
“Is writing a good invention? It hurts me hand,” said Sulayman.
“Hmm,” Grandfather opened his eyes. “Writing some things is good. Writing Quran is good. You can write letters also. One day you will be very happy you learned. Now you are frustrated because today people want children to learn things before they understand how to use them. Tomorrow I will help you write a letter to your Baba. He will receive it before he returns from Hajj. Would you like that?”
“Will Baba write me a letter?” asked Sulayman.
“Yes. And you can ask him about all the things he is seeing there.”
Yusuf started crying. “I want letter!” Grandfather patted his tummy.
“Yusuf can write a letter too. I will help you.”
Idris (a) was warned that unbelievers were coming to destroy him and that he must defend himself. He was inspired to make a bow and arrows. He saw veins of metal in the stones of cooking fires and heated the stones to extract the metal to make swords and spears and then he taught the people to defend themselves. The sons of Cain had been preparing as well with their own instruments of war but they were easily defeated by the small army of believers.
“Can I have a bow and arrow,” asked Sulayman.
Grandfather stared at Sulayman for a moment. “Bow and arrow are dangerous for boys who cannot write. The bow and arrow need much strength in the hands and if writing hurts you a bow and arrow will be too difficult.”
Sulayman looked down at his hands. He scowled.
“Sulayman if you are keeping that face all the time it will get stuck that way and then even when you are happy you will look like you ate a lemon.”
Sulayman looked scared and ran to look in the mirror.
Idris (a) was then inspired to tame and ride camels and later horses. Horses are far more delicate than camels and not as well adapted to a hot and dry climate, but they were very fast. Before Prophet Idris (a) people had to walk everywhere and carry everything, but now they had helpers.
“Can I have a camel Grandfather?” asked Sulayman “Mama said no but I rode one with Baba in the desert. It wasn’t dangerous.”
“Yusuf no like camel!” Yusuf hid under his blanket.
“Your mother doesn’t think the camel was dangerous. She just doesn’t have a place to put a camel.”
“We can put the camel on the terrace and he can take me to school. But not Yusuf. He didn’t like the camel. He was afraid because the camel was so high.”
“Your mother has no place for a camel on the terrace.” Grandfather started laughing and patting the lump that was Yusuf under the blanket.