Zainab opened her eyes. She had fallen asleep after the busy morning with her family. They had all gone out hiking to see a beautiful waterfall, followed by a picnic lunch. She stretched out her arms, and chuckled to herself remembering the funny dream she had seen during her nap.
She got out of her bed and went down to see what everybody was up to. She peeked in at her mother rocking baby Zahra to sleep. Her mom looked up and blew her a kiss. Zainab blew her mother a kiss back and headed downstairs to find her dad.
She found her father asleep on the couch, with a book strewn across his lap. She grinned and snuggled in next to him. Her dad shifted and smiled sleepily at her.
‘Hey there zamzam’, he said covering his yawn. He scooted over and made room for her on the couch.
‘Were you dreaming Papa?’, Zainab asked.
‘Hmm, I don’t know really. I almost never remember my dreams. How about you?’, wondered Papa.
‘I had a funny dream – I saw that I turned into an owl and was flying all around the forest!’,
‘An owl?! That sounds fascinating! What else happened in your dream?’, exclaimed her father sitting up straight.
‘I can’t remember’, said Zainab trying to think about her dream. ‘But I think I spotted an owl earlier, during our hike. It was perched high up on a tree, and I was thinking about how peaceful it looked up there, as I fell asleep. Papa, do you sometimes wish that you were an animal? Or a bird? It must be so exciting to live in the jungle or fly above tall trees!’
Zainab’s father chuckled. ‘You know Zamzam, I used to wish I was a dolphin when I was younger. But that was before I found out that being human is really the coolest.’
‘What makes you say that, Papa?’, Zainab asked
‘Well Zainab, a few years ago I read a verse from the Quran. When I learned its meaning, I memorized that line because I loved it so much. From that moment on, I always thank Allah for making me a human. The translation of that verse goes like this :
“And surely we have honored the children of Adam, and carried them on the land and at the sea, and provided them with good things, and we have made them to excel by an appropriate excellence over many of those we created.” (17:70)’
‘What does that mean?’, asked Zainab.
‘It kinda means that it’s a big honor being human! We’ve been given more capabilities than any other creature. Allah gave us a mind, the ability to talk and the potential to keep getting better. And the more effort we make to do good, the more beloved we become to Allah.’
‘Hmm’, Zainab thought out loud, ‘that makes sense. I’m not sure how much help I’d be to others as an owl.’
‘You’re much cuter than any owl I’ve seen that’s for sure’, her father joked as he started tickling her.
Zainab laughed. ‘And you could never tickle me if you were a dolphin Papa!’, she grinned and tried to tickle him back.
Papa started to run as Zainab began chasing him around the living room. Being human was definitely pretty awesome.