May 23, 2017

Amal and Aladdin (Part 2)

Amal and Lisa are neighbors, trying to escape the boredom of a rainy day by reading through a fairy tale storybook. They are now at the story of Aladdin. Amal is still in the story…

Published Feb 19, 2006
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Amal and Jasmine
Illustration by Aisha

Amal peeked around the corner, and she saw Jasmine, the princess. Jasmine was running along the street with Aladdin.

When Amal got closer to the building they ran into, she could hear Jasmine talking.

“I ran away and I am not going back!” she told Aladdin. Amal stopped moving, shocked. “Another of these girls is disobeying her father”, she thought to herself. Amal waited until Aladdin ran back outside, then stepped out of the shadows and knocked on the door.

“Hello?” Jasmine said in a scared voice.

“Hello, my name is Amal. Can I come in and talk to you?” Amal answered.

“Okay,” Jasmine said, moving over on the bench on which she had been sitting.

“I overheard you were running away from home. Would you tell me why?” Amal asked.

Jasmine frowned and said, “Too many rules. I want to be free to do what I want.”

“Sometimes what I want isn’t good for me.” Amal said.

“Well, my father’s rules are ridiculous. He treats me like a baby.” Jasmine said.

“Well, my father’s rules are ridiculous. He treats me like a baby.” Jasmine said.

“What kind of rules does he make?”

“Well, I have to eat with only my right hand. I can’t sleep on my stomach. I have to pray, five times every day. And one whole month, I have to wake up before the sun comes up, eat, then have nothing to eat or drink all day until the sun is gone again, and now,” Jasmine said as she showed Amal a cloth she had wrapped around her neck, “he’s telling me to wear this.”

Amal exclaimed, “Oh! So your father is a Muslim!” “So am I!” Jasmine said.

“Would a Muslim think that Allah’s rules are ridiculous?” Amal asked. Jasmine was going to reply, but then kept quiet.

“My father didn’t do these things before, or tell me to do them. We used to just eat, and sleep the way we liked to. All of a sudden, well, he just changed everything.” Jasmine said, shaking her head.

“He changed for the better! Before he was living as if he had just this life. Now he’s sure there’s a life after this, and he’s helping you prepare for it.” Amal said thoughtfully.

“But he’s picking men for me to marry.” Jasmine complained.

“You can choose the one you like.” Amal answered. “I don’t want to,” replied Jasmine.

“But you want to hang around Aladdin, who you’re not married to. That doesn’t make sense.”

Jasmine looked out the window.

“You have to follow your father and start thinking about the next life. Do you know what there is after this life, Jasmine?”

Jasmine shook her head. “Paradise is for the people who are afraid of Allah. Even if you wore hijaab, prayed, and fasted your whole life, that wouldn’t get you to Paradise, unless you did it for the sake of Allah. Paradise is the greatest reward for that work.”

“What is Paradise like?” Jasmine asked, curious. “Beautiful green dresses with gold trimming to wear. Rich fancy carpets to lie on and rows of comfy pillows to rest on… fruits that come to your hands whenever you like, but you never get tired or full. You just have everything, and it gets better and better forever.” Amal explained.

“Forever?” Jasmine said, smiling wide.

“But then there’s also hellfire.” Amal added, and Jasmine’s smile went away.

“A reward for a person who filled his life with ignoring what Allah said to do and doing what he felt like doing… fire all around… a tree at the bottom whose fruits are like the heads of devils. It’s so hot in there that the people will beg for water or something to eat, and they’ll even eat those fruits. They’ll drink a yucky drink that so hot it cuts their insides...forever.” Jasmine gulped.

“Easy to pick which one to go to, but it’s a lifetime away.” Jasmine remarked.

“If you always ask Allah to make it easy for you, He will.” Amal told her.

Jasmine was quiet for a little while, then said, “It’s not really that hard, even the fasting part.” Amal nodded, “I know! And Allah makes it easier for you when you learn about the rewards for doing it.”

They heard a creak on the stairs. Jasmine and Amal looked at each other. Aladdin then came in with some fruit. Before Amal could think of what to say, Aladdin spoke.

“I never heard anything like what you’ve just been saying,” Aladdin told Amal.

“Then you’ve never heard the truth,” said Amal.

“I want to live like that, hoping for Allah’s rewards, and fearing His punishment.” Aladdin said, adding, “It is such a noble way to live. How can I start?”

“Well, you should probably go to the masjid to learn how to pray.”

“I will. Thank you.” Aladdin said.

Amal had a surprised look on her face as she took the food from Aladdin. He ran back down the stairs, and down the street towards the masjid. When she looked back at Jasmine, she saw that Jasmine had her hijaab on.

“Masha Allah. Maybe your father will meet Aladdin at the masjid.” Amal said, grinning. Jasmine smiled shyly.

“Do you want to walk back to the palace with me?” Jasmine offered.

“Actually, I’m kind of tired.” Amal answered.

“Yeah, we’ve been sitting here for a while. Do you want me to go home?” Lisa asked, closing the book. Amal shook her head.

“No, let’s finish it first. I think I need to lie down, though.” Amal said, swinging her legs onto the couch to rest.

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Story (c) Sakina bint Erik Marx. See sister Sakina's website at: www.altilmeedh.com

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