Tag Archives: attar

Pool of Paradise: The Duck

This is the 5th part of our series on the Pool of Paradise for Ramadan where our birds make a long and difficult journey to find their true leader just as we make our long and difficult fast to come closer to Allah (s).

DUCK

The Duck swept up from the pond and claimed that it was clean and pure as the water dripping from its feathers.  She said, “I cannot leave the water for it is my home and I am well suited to it and not at all suited to this journey before you.  Leave me in my little pond and I will be content.”

The Hoopoe replied, “This pond is not your home dear Duck for your home is the Pool of Paradise.  If you join us in our quest you will find truer water than this and will arrive cleaner than if you remain here.  All life comes from the true water in the Pool of Paradise and not the shadow of water here in this life.  You cannot be clean and pure by denying our quest. And Remember that the Sea of Wrath sent in the time of Nuh (a) is there, but above it is the Sea of Mercy.  From which sea do you wish to take your part?”

The duck lowered her head, submitted and followed the Hoopoe on the journey.

LESSON PLAN

After reading the passage about the Duck have your child attach the Duck medallion to the pool to the left of the Peacock.

Discussion questions:  Are we supposed to stay where things are easy and comfortable all our lives or are we supposed to challenge ourselves with things that are difficult?  In which body of water in Jenna do you think the Duck would like to live?

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

Please see out new book for this project:  The Pool of Paradise: A 30 Day Curriculum.

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Pool of Paradise: The Peacock

The peacock is the 4th bird of our Pool of Paradise project for Ramadan.

 

PEACOCK

 

The Peacock came and laid his carpet of feathers before the company.

 

“Do not envy my beauty for I am cursed by my own action.  I am not worthy to reach to the Simourgh but I wish to return to his paradise because it is I that carried Iblis into Paradise.”

 

The Hoopoe spoke to the Peacock, “Your True Home is beyond even the paradise you know and is more blessed and more beautiful if you can reach it. Adam (a) was not exiled for a simple sin but because Our Creator does not wish us to love His Paradise, His Creation, or any other thing he has created more than Him.  We must all guard against this error and seek only the Simourgh and not the comforts of Paradise.”

 

“The Lady Rabia knew this well and she carried a vessel of water to extinguish the fires of Hell and a torch to burn Paradise to teach us that our goal is the pleasure of our Lord and not to avoid the discomfort of Hell or seek the pleasures of Paradise.”

 

The peacock lowered his head folded his tail and followed the Hoopoe on the journey.

 

 

LESSON PLAN

 

After you review the story of the Peacock your child will attach the Peacock medallion to the pool to the left of the Parrot.

 

Discussion Questions:  Why does the Peacock want to return to Paradise?  Why is it better to desire the presence of Allah (s) than Paradise?

 

 

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

Please see out new book for this project:  The Pool of Paradise: A 30 Day Curriculum.

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Pool of Paradise: The Hoopoe

This is the second episode of our Pool of Paradise project for Ramadan.  Today we add the Hoopoe to the pool next to the Nightingale.

 

HOOPOE

 

The Hoopoe addressed the Nightingale, pleading with him to not be deceived by the illusions of this world no matter how lovely and enchanting they may be.  He begged the Nightingale to perceive the thorns and the wilting petals.

 

“If you lose your rose one day you will know that all that is beautiful comes from Our Lord and all that is false comes from ourselves.  If you love only that which is mortal and fleeting you will always be disappointed and desolate, dear Nightingale, so follow me to the source of all that is beautiful and all that your heart can desire because there is but One Vessel that can contain the Creator: the heart that lies in your breast.”

 

The nightingale lowered her head, submitted and followed the Hoopoe on the journey.

 

LESSON PLAN

 

After reading the passage add the Hoopoe medallion to the pool to the left of the Nightingale.

 

Discussion question: How is the Hoopoe different than the Nightingale?  Why is the Hoopoe leading the other birds on their journey?

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

Please see out new book for this project:  The Pool of Paradise: A 30 Day Curriculum.

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Pool of Paradise: The Nightingale

This is the first episode of our Pool of Paradise project.  The story for the Nightingale is below and the lesson plan that goes with it.

 

NIGHTINGALE

 

The Nightingale sings each night the songs of Daoud,

 

But the nightingale thought only of its rose and not its thorns or the plant or the leaves or the roots or the earth, air and water.

 

The nightingale sang,

 

“Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You.

I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your Name I will lift up my hands.

I think of you through the watches of the night.

Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your Wings.

My soul clings to You; Your Right Hand upholds me.

 

“I will sing of Your Strength, in the morning I will sing of Your Love;

for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.

From the ends of the earth I call to You, I call as my heart grows faint;

lead me to the rock that is higher than I,

For You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.”

 

Behind the face of his beloved rose was the face of the One Who Created All.  The nightingale said, “I am weak and cannot leave my illusions and seek the Creator of My Beloved.”

 

 

LESSON PLAN

 

After reading the passage about the Nightingale your child will place the Nightingale medallion on the pool at the top and the birds that will follow will go the left so that they are moving counter clockwise around the pool.

 

Discussion questions:  Why is the bird having difficulty to make the journey?  What do you think the Hoopoe bird will say to convince the Nightingale to go on the journey?

 

 

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When we discussed the story my son asked why the Rose had thorns.  When I asked him how the Hoopoe could convince the Nightingale to come he said the Nightingale should bring 2 roses on the journey, one for itself and one for the Simourgh.
Please share your ideas for teaching children the rites of Ramadan.

Please see out new book for this project:  The Pool of Paradise: A 30 Day Curriculum.

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Pool of Paradise: The Hoopoe Addresses the Assembly

Before the first bird approaches the Hoopoe bird with his struggle on the path the Hoopoe addresses the assembly as a whole and describes the journey before them and its purpose.

The next post will be for the Nightingale – the first bird that will be placed on the top of the pool canvas, the others will follow counterclockwise to the left of the Nightingale all around the pool.

 

THE HOOPOE ADDRESSES THE ASSEMBLY

 

“I have even been a faithful servant to my master Sulayman (a) and it is his master that we must seek.  Leave your egos, leave your fears and come with me to find our True Master.  It is the Simourgh that we seek yet when we find him you will see that only your soul can perceive him.”

 

So one by one each bird took heart but once they heard of the trials before them they paused and doubted and so the Hoopoe said,

 

“When the creator regarded the Well of Souls before him and sent them out each to fulfill their quest He gave them a secret.  This secret was given to help each defeat their greatest enemy and return victorious to the Creator.  Now all of you who gather here have forgotten the Day of Promises and your secrets, know not your quest and follow your enemy like a tethered animal.  When the creator made your souls he gave each soul its Will.  The Will to do good or the Will to turn to evil.  This Will is precious and it is what sets you apart from the Angels made before you.  Your creator used many means to guide this Will and all but one failed.  When your creator cast the Will into the Valley of Hunger it said “You are the One and True Lord and Creator and to You alone we turn.”  For thirty days we will travel on our journey.  We will fight our fear, our anger and our hunger so that we may recognize the creator once more and leave the Valley of Hunger again.  Our Creator has given us the gift of Ramadan so that each year we can remember Our Quest, Our Origin and Our Home.

 

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The next post will be for our first bird on the pool, the Nightingale that is superimposed on the first slice of the Ramadan moon.

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

Please see out new book for this project:  The Pool of Paradise: A 30 Day Curriculum.

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Pool of Paradise: Invocation

This section is my adaptation of the invocation in the original poem: The Conference of the Birds by Farid ud-Din Attar.  I have included an overview of each bird for the project below the invocation because this was partly done in the original poem but I have listed each of the 30 birds in order and by number with a short synopsis of their motivation in the story.  Some of these birds were not mentioned in the original poem so I have added a bird to those stories and characters that were not clearly identified during the journey to Mount Qaf.  I have done this because we needed a bird for each of the 30 medallions and a story to go with each bird for each day of fasting in Ramadan.  

 

INVOCATION

In the name of Allah (s), creator of the heavens and the earth.

We search for the Lord in skies where we fly, the waters that we swim, the perches where we light.

The Prophets of Allah (s) have come to teach us and all the other beings that light on this earth.

Gather my flock together and hear of the journey we will make to find our creator, our leader, our home.

Leave behind your comfort and fear and understanding to find what is real and true.

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ASSEMBLY OF BIRDS

  1. Nightingale sing of Daoud (a) and soften your heart.
  2. Hoopoe tie Iblis and come to Sulayman (a).
  3. Parrot leave the fire of Ibrahim (a).
  4. Peacock cast out the serpent and go with Adam (a) to paradise.
  5. Duck do not forget the Sea of Wrath in the time in Prophet Nuh (a).
  6. Partrich loose the camel and depart with Salih (a).
  7. Humay come and find your true king and follow in the footsteps of the Prophet kings like Daoud (a) and Sulayman (a).
  8. Hawk loose your talons and fly with Iskander (a).
  9. Heron come with us to the Pool of Kawthar.
  10. Owl soar with us and we will find real treasures if you follow us.
  11. Sparrow fly out of the well of Yusef and ascend to his heights.
  12. Eagle leave Nimrod and Pharaoh and find a truer king.
  13. Ostrich come with us and slay the giant of cowardice.
  14. Lovebird ascend with us and find the love for which you will forever burn.
  15. Seagull become the thief that steals nothing of value and seeks the soul.
  16. Flamingo leave your plume in a pile of dust like the Phoenix and join us on our quest to seek the real beauty that does not time diminish.
  17. Woodpecker hoard your ajar leave your ithm in dunya.
  18. Goldfinch scorch this dunya till all you desire is the Lord of Ayyub (a).
  19. Turtledove leave this prison and follow Yunus (a) out of the whale.
  20. Egret come and whirl with us beyond the stars to the Pool of Paradise.
  21. Raven find the strength of Ayyub (a) and preserver with us.
  22. Penguin stand firm and tall upon your faith and you shall not fail.
  23. Wagtail hear the message of Musa (a).
  24. Falcon leave this dunya and seek refuge with Muhammad (s).
  25. Crow show the courage of Dhul-Qarnain (a) and show us the way through the 7 valleys.
  26. Swan you must love your Lord and seek him more than you love yourself. Love as Zulaykha (r) loved Yusef (a) to your own undoing.
  27. Cuckoo slay your dragons of pride and join us in humility.
  28. Blue Jay come and ask the Simourgh for a worthy goal.
  29. Goose join us on the Miraj and travel farther than you have ever gone before.
  30. Pigeon you have the faith to follow Khidr (a) and that is indeed rare and you have the envy of the Prophets.

The next post will be for the Hoopoe bird’s address to the assembly of birds but the series for the medallions will not begin until we have the story for the Nightingale which I will post on June the 6th most probably.

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

Please see out new book for this project:  The Pool of Paradise: A 30 Day Curriculum.

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Ramadan: Pool of Paradise Introduction

 

With Ramadan on the way many parents and Muslim educators are searching for ways to include children in the fasting tradition.  Some parents select numbered calendars and place a treat for each day.  Some parents reward their children for completing one day of fasting as a new and exciting accomplishment.  Some parents prepare elaborate goodie bags to keep the children occupied at taraweh prayer. All are lovely ways to include children but these ideas do not address the purpose and meaning of the fasting tradition for Muslims which can be described as a struggle against the nafs or ego in order to develop our spirituality as Muslims.  Some may be familiar with the fasting of Ramadan.   They may be aware that those who practice this fast are hungry and thirsty and grumpy but they may not know why they choose to engage in this challenging practice.

In order to address the meaning and practice of fasting I have designed a curriculum for children based on The Conference of the Birds written in the 12thcentury by Farid ud-Din Attar.  It can be used as a teaching tool for the Holy Month of Ramadan.  When Allah (s) created the Will, it was found to defiant and disobedient. After many failed trials, at last, the Will was placed in the Valley of Hunger and after 1,000 years of exile the Will recognized the Creator of All Things.[1]  The will gives many excuses for its disobedience but there are times when the will can choose the right path and harness the energy of courage to represent the struggle of the ego.

The curriculum is called The Pool of Paradise: A 30 Day Curriculum and this text is written to accompany a project for Ramadan where the student adds a bird to the Pool of Paradise each day.  Each bird is assigned a distinguishing character or aspect of the will. Each bird is also assigned a phase of the moon in its progression.  At the end of this project the student will have a greater appreciation of the purpose of fasting and the Will that can be tamed and guided to a goal greater than its own satisfaction.

When the birds reach the Pool of Paradise on Mount Qaf they look into the silver pool at their mirror image.  They have lost themselves along the way and are annihilated in their cause to reach the Simourgh.  In the pool they see their True King and not themselves as their reflection.  With this image we wish to describe the concept of fannah or annihilation.

The language of the episodes is at times above the comprehension level of younger children so this calendar project can illustrate the lesson.   Students can add to the calendar without listening to the story if they are too young to follow.   The overall goal is for the student to have a sense that each bird is facing a challenge just as we are challenged by the fast each day of Ramadan.  Wherever possible in the narrative the stories of the Prophets are used as examples because these stories are already familiar to most Muslim children.

Parents have participated in this project for the past several years and I hope that this is the first of many ideas for sharing the meaning of Ramadan with children in a creative and exciting new format.  In the future I also plan to write a play about this story that children can participate in by playing the particular birds and dramatizing their struggle.  As these projects are repeated more ideas and applications have occurred to parents and educators and I very much welcome their feedback.  Ramadan Mubarak to you and your family.

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

Please see out new book for this project:  The Pool of Paradise: A 30 Day Curriculum.

[1]Lore of Light by Hajjah Amina Adil

 

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Pool of Paradise: Mount Qaf

This is the conclusion of our Pool of Paradise project for children in Ramadan.

 

THE POOL OF PARADISE

 

On this day when the 6 days of Shawal have ended we have reached the Pool of Paradise.  The birds looked into the pool and they did not find their reflection but the longer they looked the more clearly they saw a golden light take form.  The form was that of the Simourgh their king and leader who slowly vanished before their eyes and there were no more birds and no more Simourgh and no more pool and only the light of Allah (s) remained.

 

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

Please see our new curricula book for this project The Pool of Paradise: A 30 Day Curriculum

Pool of Paradise: The Valley of Understanding

This is the 34th part of our Pool of Paradise project for children in Ramadan.  Today we pass the Valley of Understanding.

 

VALLEY OF UNDERSTANDING

 

The Prophet Muhammad (s) said “Seek knowledge even if you must travel to China.”  Today we see the Valley of Understanding below us and we seek that knowledge.

 

After the believers made the Exodus out of Egypt Sayyidina Musa sought greater knowledge with Khidr (a) at the place where the river and the fish were joined again.  Khidr (a) told Musa (a) that his knowledge was not for Musa (a) but they travelled together for a time.  Khidr (a) drilled holes in the boat that carried them, struck a young boy dead, and rebuilt a falling wall, but Musa (a) was not able to understand why.  Khidr (a) tried to share his knowledge with Musa (a) but he did not see until he was told that the boat was to be stolen and was saved by the minor damage; the boy was to be a tyrant and his believing parents were saved from misery; the wall concealed a treasure belonging to orphans that would have been stolen if Khidr (a) had left the wall in ruin.  Khidr (a) still walks the earth.  He bids us salaam and asks us to greet Musa (a) when we reach the Pool of Paradise.

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

Please see out new book for this project:  The Pool of Paradise: A 30 Day Curriculum.

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Pool of Paradise: The Valley of the Quest

This is the 32nd part of our Pool of Paradise series for children in Ramadan.  This episode is for the 2nd day of the 6 days of Shawal.

 

VALLEY OF THE QUEST

 

If you want to reach the Pool of Paradise you must be brave and bold and quick as the one who conquered Goliath.  He shed his armor and relied on his Lord.  When Daoud (a) faced the giant he defeated him with three pebbles and a sling shot.  The three pebbles found their mark and struck Goliath in the head killing him.  The army of believers were victorious because of the swiftness and bravery of Daoud (a).  Allah (s) blessed Daoud (a) with a beautiful voice filled with divine love.  The wild creatures bellow are his followers and they give us salaam and bid us give their salaam to Daoud (a) in Paradise.

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

Please see out new book for this project:  The Pool of Paradise: A 30 Day Curriculum.

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