The J word

Yaseen’s dad had a surprise for him!. He had taken half the day off from work so they could both go bowling. Yaseen was getting so good at it  – last time he almost beat both his parents at the game .

The doorbell rang and daddy opened the door. ‘Salam alaikum, buddy!’, said his dad loudly, surprising him. Yaseen looked up at his dad. ‘Walaikum salam Daddy. What are you doing home?’

‘I thought we’d spend some time together. Mama and Aisha have gone out to meet some friends so its just the two of us!’, his father replied excitedly.

‘Oh okay.’ Yaseen didn’t seem very enthusiastic.

‘What’s wrong buddy? Everything alright at school? Wait, you’re not feeling sick, are you?, his dad sounded worried now.

‘No Daddy. It’s just that the J word happened again’, replied Yaseen.

‘Oh boy. Alright, let me grab you some milk and cookies. Then you can tell me what made you feel that way.’ His father got Yaseen the snack and sat in front of him at the kitchen table.

‘Well, it’s Bilal. He won the Spelling Bee. And he’s made it to the school soccer team. It’s like everything goes his way but not mine. It isn’t fair Dad!’, complained Yaseen.

‘But buddy, you didn’t even want to participate in either of those activities. I thought you’re in the Math program. And you play basketball. Why would Bilal doing well in other things make you feel jealous?’, his dad wondered.

‘Because I never win anything! And I don’t think he even needs to study. Things just seem to fall in place magically for him’, Yaseen whined.

Daddy thought for a moment. ‘ You know son, every time I have that feeling creep up on me, the first thing I do is get rid of Shaitan and his whispers. So I say Aaudhu billahi minash shaitanir rajeem. And after that I…’, daddy continued.

‘Wait a second. Shaitan has whiskers?!’, Yaseen asked intrigued.

His father laughed. ‘Whispers silly. Not whiskers. Anyhow, so the next step is to think why I feel this way. Is it because I want the same thing that the other person has? Or do I wish harm on the other person? So go ahead, first say audhu billah. Then think about why you feel the way that you’re feeling’, suggested his dad.

Yaseen took a deep breath. First he seeked refuge from the shaitan. Then he sat quietly and thought for a while . ‘No daddy. I don’t want anything bad to happen to him. I just wish that I win at things too. Bilal is a nice kid, everyone likes him. I guess I want people to like me also.’

His father thought that over. ‘There’s nothing wrong with wanting what other people have, son. Especially if its something good. All you have to do is make duaa and work hard for it. But we always have to wish well for others – just like we learned in that hadith, how does it go? Oh yes:

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said :

“None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.”

(Related by Bukhari & Muslim)

What do you think that means?’, quizzed his dad.

‘Hmm, I guess I have to be happy for him. And try to work hard. And want for him, what I want for myself’, finished Yaseen.

‘You got it buddy! It’s not easy – but I’m sure you’ll get great at loving your brother what you love for yourself pretty fast’, encouraged his father.

‘You know Dad, if I had a real brother it would be easier to practice this saying’, said Yaseen earnestly.

That made his father laugh. ‘Nice try there buddy, but you’re stuck with your sister. And the hadith works for both brothers and sisters, Daddy replied and squished Yaseen in a big hug. And …wait for it….are you ready to go bowling?!’

‘We’re going bowling? Yaaayyy!! Dad you’re the best! I hope I make the high score! But don’t worry, I’ll remind you to be happy for me if I win’, Yaseen laughed teasing his dad, and they both raced to the car.