Story Time: Zara at crossroads

July 13, 2019


Zara was looking closely at the titles of the two issues of the same magazine. She had just picked them from the terrace. The newspaper hawker had tossed them there in the morning. One title was fine and shinning, the other was a bit rough and scratched. She had never had two issues of the same magazine delivered before.

It happened that a new family had moved into the neighbourhood quite recently, and their 12-year-old daughter, Fariha, became Zara’s friend. When they met each other for the first time, Zara was holding her favourite magazine in her hand.

Fariha had never read any magazine before. Her reading had remained limited to her course books. The colourful layout, appealing pictures, stories, jokes, puzzles, articles, riddles, in fact, the whole magazine impressed her a lot. She requested Zara to lend her some old issues of the magazine. Zara happily gave them to her, thinking that it would strengthen their friendship bond.

Fariha enjoyed reading them and the next time they met, Fariha requested Zara to order a copy of the upcoming issue of the magazine for her, too.

This was the reason Zara got two copies today: one with a fine and shinning cover, the other with a rough and scratched one. She felt as though she was standing at crossroads. She was in two minds. On the one hand, she wanted to keep the better one for herself, while, on the other hand, she thought it unethical to give a defected thing to her friend.

Mother peeped into Zara’s room to call her for the breakfast. She noticed Zara engrossed in her thoughts. Mother came inside, patted her shoulder and asked what made her so thoughtful? Zara told about her confusion.

Mother’s reply was prompt, “The answer is simple, sweetie! The one with better title will go to Fariha.”

“But mother, I want to keep the better one myself. You know I always keep my things neat, clean and tidy,” she expressed what she wanted.

“This is the very reason that it should go to Fariha!” mamma smiled. “The rule is simple! Our Prophet Muhammad SAW said in an authentic Hadith: ‘None of you will believe (have true iman) until you love for your brother what you love for yourself’.”

Zara listened to the Hadith attentively. It cleared the clouds of confusion and the decision became easy to make. With a smile on her face and a sparkle in her eyes, she put the issue with the fine cover page aside for Fariha, and scribbled her name on the one with rough pages. Doing so gave her immense inner peace. The decision made her conscience totally satisfied!

Published in Dawn, Young World, July 13th, 2019