Yusra looked out from her room window. It was Saturday, her favorite day of the week. Even though it was the weekend she could almost never sleep in. She had just finished praying Fajr, when she heard the birds singing outside. There was no way Yusra could go back to sleep now! Sometimes she would pretend to make conversation with the birds. Her brother and sister thought she was being silly and weren’t interested in the stories she made up, but Yusra didn’t mind. She really loved birds, animals too but mostly birds.
Just then she heard her dad call out her name. This Saturday morning, like most others, her dad was taking her out for their walk. ‘It’s our special bonding time Yusi ‘, he said. She loved these strolls with her dad.
‘What are you thinking about Yusi?’, he asked when he found her looking out the window. ‘My birds’ , she answered smiling, Her dad did not think her stories were silly. ‘I used to make up stories about our pet fish all the time’, he confided. ‘But don’t remind your uncle, he still teases me about it to this very day’. Yusra laughed, she loved her Uncle Sameh, he was so funny and she could imagine how he and her dad must have been as children.
Yusra and her father put on their coats and walked out onto the street. ‘See those birds Yusi?’, her dad pointed, ‘the little bird with a crest on its head? That reminds me of the hoopoe, or the hud hud, as its called in arabic. Do you know the story about the hud hud bird from the Quran?’
Yusra knew the story but she loved listening to her dad . ‘Tell me daddy’, she said.
‘There once lived a king called Prophet Sulayman (alayhis salam). Allah had given Prophet Sulayman the ability to talk with animals!Can you imagine! I bet you’d love that! Actually I think I would too. Hehehe.
Anyhow getting back to the story. So, every day there was a special time when all the animals used to come and report the day’s news to the king. One day the hoopoe didn’t show up in time! Prophet Sulayman wasn’t happy. Every creature knew not to miss the daily briefings! He asked about the hud hud but nobody knew where he was.
After a while the hoopoe returned. And he came with some very interesting news – there was a Queen ruling in a land called Sheba. And her people worshiped the sun! Everyone was very surprised with the hoopoe’s news.
When Prophet Sulayman (alayhissalam) heard this he asked the hud hud to deliver a letter to the Queen. He also asked the bird to stay behind and watch the queen’s reaction while she read it. The letter invited the Queen to believe in Allah and His prophet and give up worshipping the sun. So off the bird went to deliver the kind’s letter.
The Queen was a wise woman – she did not get offended after reading the letter. She wanted to keep peace in her kingdom, and decided to respond to the letter by sending gifts as a sign of friendship. Her courtiers traveled with the gifts to Prophet Sulayman’s kingdom. But when they got there, they were amazed when the king did not accept them! Prophet Sulayman (alayhis salam) said Allah had already blessed him with a lot of worldly gifts and prophethood. He only asked that the people of Sheba stop worshiping the sun and recognize that there is only one God.
When the queen saw her courtiers return with all the beautiful gifts she was stunned. She decided to visit Prophet Sulayman’s kingdom for herself. Once there, she was amazed by the beauty and magnificence of what she saw. Prophet Sulayman invited her into his palace and preached to her about Allah and His religion. She recognized her errors and saw the truth of what was being preached to her. She then repented to Allah and became muslim.’
By the time her dad finished the story they had made the entire round of the neighborhood. ‘I like that story – so much so that I’m going to name one of my birds hud-hud. Are there more stories about animals in the Quran daddy?’, asked Yusra. ‘Many many, replied her father smiling , and also some in the hadith. Insha Allah let’s find some stories and learn about them soon.’
‘ I can hardly wait’, said Yusra.
Story inspiration: http://www.islamawareness.net/Prophets/sulaiman.html