Khadijah Saleem Ahmed (Hyderabad)
In a small town lived a family of three: six-year-old Uzma and her parents. Whenever Uzma went out with her parents, they would perform small acts of kindness and tell her that Allah would reward them for every good deed. Uzma felt inspired by them and would help her parents too. Sometimes, they fed all the cats. On other days, they placed small water containers in trees for thirsty birds. Uzma prayed to Allah to keep all the animals safe and happy.
One day, Uzma was waiting in the park for her friend, Sara. She sat on a bench and was looking around when she saw something moving on a branch in a bush.
‘A butterfly’s cocoon!’ she thought. She had never seen one so close. As she watched it, the cocoon moved a little again, and a small hole appeared. When Sara came, she started watching the cocoon too, hoping they could see the butterfly come out.
After two hours, Sara said, ‘I don’t think the butterfly can come out, and it is too weak!’ The butterfly had stopped moving. Uzma wondered how she could help; she had never seen her parents help a butterfly. But she had an idea! She asked Sara to wait and ran back to her house. Opening a drawer, she took a pair of scissors out and ran back to the park.
When Sara asked what she would do, Uzma replied, ‘My parents tell me that Allah rewards those who do good deeds! So I will help the butterfly.’ She cut the cocoon slowly, and the butterfly came out, but it couldn’t fly, and Uzma realized that it was still weak.
‘I’ll take care of it at home so it can grow strong,’ Sara said. She had other pets, too, so Uzma knew she would take care of the butterfly well.
But even after a few weeks, the butterfly stayed weak. Finally, Uzma told her parents to help the butterfly. That’s when her parents hugged her gently and said that indeed, Allah would reward her for she had good intentions. But when they asked what she learned from this, Uzma could not answer.
Then, Uzma’s mother explained, ‘A butterfly sometimes needs more time to grow. So it’s okay for it to stay inside. We are all created by Allah, and Allah gives little tests to all of us. Maybe the test for the butterfly was to stay inside and grow strong.’
Uzma’s father smiled at Uzma. He said, ‘We also have our tests in life. If others help us, we will not learn well or grow strong. Sometimes, we need to be patient and work hard to get the right result, just like the butterfly needs to stay inside and grow its wings. We should thank Allah for our tests too because they make us stronger.’
Uzma finally understood that Allah’s tests come in different ways. ‘Does this mean I did a bad deed instead of a good one?’ she asked, feeling a little sad.
‘Of course not! Allah knows you meant well, and you made sure that the butterfly has a good home now. He will reward you for all of that!’ Uzma’s parents smiled and hugged their child, knowing she would be an excellent example for other Muslims as she grew up.