Tag Archives: simourgh

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.




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.”





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?




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.


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.




“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.




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.



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.



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






Pool of Paradise: Mount Qaf

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




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