In this Eid-Ul-Adha short story for children, you will get to appreciate the act of sacrifice, Amina’s own sacrifice, adventure atop a mountain with swooping eagles, and the priceless power of books. As always for Amina, in being a seeker of knowledge, knowledge seeks her.
On the great Mount Arafat
Allah tested loyalty and faith
A setting for a miracle divine
Twas indeed a blessed sign
Allah’s command to Ibrahim
to sacrifice his beloved son Ismael
A ram appears in Ismael’s place!
tears of gratitude fall from Ibrahim’s face!
(May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon all of the Prophets, including Ibrahim and Ismael)
Eid-Ul-Adha, a very important date in the Islamic calendar, was when the whole muslim world celebrated Ibrahim’s sacrifice, faith and loyalty. With Eid-Ul-Adha approaching, Amina had been reading Surah As-Saffat.
She had also been reading about Ibrahim’s story at school; of how Ibrahim intended to sacrifice his beloved son Ismail atop Mount Arafat in order to follow what he thought was Almighty Allah’s command.
Allah however had taken mercy on them both and performed a miracle, presenting a ram in his son Ismail’s place! This was the belief in Islam to perform this activity of sacrifice every year to commemorate what happened at Mount Arafat.
Amina would soon be visiting a mountain to help her own reflections of this journey.
Amina also read to her beloved camel and faithful companion, Ruhail, saying how cows, sheep and goats, even camels, were sacrificed every year during Eid-ul-Adha, and given to families and the poor (the practise was called qurbaani). Ruhail would listen very closely, though his eyes became wider when Amina mentioned camels!
Not so long ago during Ramadan, brave Amina fought scary Hunger Bugs and defeated the formidable Noonday Dragon. With the guidance of Allah, she was victorious in retrieving a precious book called “The Month of Magnificence” from the Garden of Knowledge.
Similarly, Amina knew what sacrifice she needed to do for Eid-Ul-Adha, even though it may be a small gesture but priceless was the weight of words.
Amina looked over to her bedside table where an invitation sat; her name was written in golden calligraphy with painted ornate Arabic symbols in turquoise and pink. Her friend Sitara was having a celebration at the very same time as her village library was having a charity afternoon. Amina needed to be there at the charity afternoon as she had been invited to be their guest of honour.
Amina had promised to give “The Month of Magnificence” to the library. Although she felt deeply disappointed that she could not attend Sitara’s celebration, she knew it was the right thing to do to be there at the library and give the book to Khabir Baqir, a very knowledgeable librarian who had the shiniest of eyes and wore the finest spectacles on his face.
Amina couldn’t go to sleep that night thinking of the reflective journey she would undertake for her own appreciation and understanding. When she finally drifted off to sleep, Amina dreamt of a large mountain.
Amina could see the sun glistening in the sky, she could feel its warmth. Though Amina moved closer to the mountain, it blocked the sunlight. Suddenly, out the corner of her eye, Amina saw something swoop towards her! She ducked and nearly fell!
Amina woke in a sweat.
Maybe reading and thinking about mountains, especially the great Mount Arafat, had manifested themselves magically in her dreams…
Because her successful journey during Ramadan gave her much encouragement and confidence to take up a reflective journey like this, with Allah’s blessings and protection, she would take strong steps forward…and up…
The day of the mountain journey arrived.
The sun shone bright and golden.
Although Amina was only visiting the nearby mountain for reflection, she would not travel so far up and would be careful as she did not know if she would confront any obstacles. Her dream a few nights before of something swooping at her had led her to believe that she might.
Her beloved mother spoke wise words, gave her a kiss and some dates; her beloved father gave her a warm embrace and lasting advice.
“Amina darling, you must understand that in sacrificing something, you will always gain something else”
Amina thought about these words for a moment; she knew the lesson would come at the right time.
Her father always encouraged her to be strong, to see the world and all its riches. As an obedient muslim, she had no doubt that reliance upon Allah’s blessings would make her journey a success.
“Be safe and be vigilant, my brave Amina. If you encounter obstacles, always believe that Allah’s protection and blessings will be with you. Allah Hafiz”.
Amina set off with Ruhail, the journey had begun!
As Amina reached the desert, Ruhail trod on proudly. He made giant prints in the sand and even bigger noises that filled the dessert.
“When we climb the mountain, try not to be giddy Ruhail! You must focus”.
Amina loved Ruhail for his faithfulness and simple servitude but she was sure this sounded like a protest.
As Amina and Ruhail neared the mountain and ascended, she thought of Mount Arafat itself, where Ibrahim’s and Ismael’s journey happened, a miraculous event showing great sacrifice.
As she finally reached a spot on the mountain to sit, Amina reflected on the meaning of Eid-Ul-Adha. She prayed, ate some dates and nuts, and gave Ruhail some water. She took out the flyer from her bag from the village library ‘Muslim Books Donation’, and held the precious book that would be given, “The Month of Magnificence”; she then placed it into her bag for precious safe keeping.
She started to talk to Ruhail.
Ruhail started to look very worried, his eyes widening.
‘My dear Ruhail, do not worry, we will not sacrifice you!’
A little later, a sharp sound pierced the sky.
Amina could see eagles circling beyond – perhaps this was the obstacle she needed to be ready for.
The ominous eagles began to traverse tufts of wind, stretching their giant wingspan of shiny black feathers. Ruhail started to do a nervous dance of his own, prancing on his hooves.
Getting closer, the eagles’ shadows cast over Amina’s face as she stood up. Amina’s hazel-brown eyes darted straight in their direction.
Suddenly, one of the eagles flew past, clipping Amina from behind. One of the gold and pearl brooches she had pinned to her hijab fell off.
As Amina regained her composure, she saw another brazen eagle with ice blue eyes had outstretched its claws to claim her bag, catching its handle. Amina entered a tug of war with the great bird! She fought with all her might to release the eagle’s grip.
Ruhail continued to dance nervously and make loud yelps every few seconds. He was like a golden, fluffy alarm clock!
Finally, Amina pulled so hard, she released the eagle’s grip and landed back a step or two. The eagle however saw the book come undone from Amina’s bag and swooped to hook its claws around it.
“Nooooooooooo!”, cried Amina of her precious book flying away.
With the quickest thinking, she dived into her bag to find a rope.
She lassoed the rope towards the ascending eagle, using her arm to expertly swivel the long rope towards the eagles claws.
Amina missed the first time but she would not give up.
The eagle landed on a nearby mountain tree, and nestled for a moment into one of the branched nooks.
As Amina started to lasso the rope again, the eagle then started to fly off.
“O’Allah, help me!”, she shouted using all her might.
This time, Amina’s lasso stretched farther and the eagle made a screeching sound as the rope caught one of its claws.
While the eagle managed to escape unharmed, the book landed precariously near the edge of the mountain.
Amina walked over very carefully and was extremely delicate to scoop the book back to safety, stepping back from the edge of the mountain within no time.
“That was so close, Ruhail!”
Ruhail let out a huge sigh.
Amina gave Ruhail a kiss on his nose, thanking him for being such a devoted companion who would never leave her side, though he was dancing nervously!
Amina held one of the eagle’s shiny black feathers. It tickled Ruhail all the way down the mountain.
Amina attended the village library the following day and Khabir Baqir, the wise librarian, commended and thanked Amina for her sacrifice.
“May you be blessed my dear child in your quest to enlighten others’ knowledge of Islam, may every muslim child aspire to have the same intentions to gather and share knowledge”.
As she left the library, Amina walked through the village market and saw her friend Sabrah and her brother Adnan who were walking with their mother.
“O’ Amina, you didn’t make it to the celebration”, Sabrah said. “Here, have some cake, and here is a little carry bag that Sitara gave to everyone”.
Inside the bag was a beautiful prayer book of the Surah Yaseen. It may have been small in size but it was so grand in meaning, and filled Amina’s heart with so much joy.
It was then that Amina remembered her father’s words.
“Amina darling, you must understand that in sacrificing something, you will always gain something else”
On her return back home, Amina’s proud parents listened to Amina talk about giving the precious book away to charity, and she recounted how her recent adventure atop the local mountain took place. They said she must always believe in the power of Allah’s blessings to be successful in whatever she did in life, but that one had to help themselves too.
They then discussed how they would celebrate the joyous occasion of Eid-Ul-Adha. Amina said she would invite Sitara, Sabrah, Adnan, and some of her other friends as she ate the delicious semolina cake from Sitara’s celebration. She got some icing sugar on her nose, and her mother and father laughed. Amina would wear her finest clothes, devour meat given as part of celebrations, and eat sweets – and remember that devotion to Allah is what makes life sweetest.
As she cast her mind back to the day of the mountain, she remembered the faith, devotion and obedience of both Ibrahim and his son Ismael, passing the hard test of Allah’s command. She touched the eagle’s feather – she had passed her own test! That something could take away the measure of a good deed but it was always witnessed by Almighty Allah, Al-Basir, and one will always remain victorious with Allah’s blessings and protection. She would keep the feather as a reminder of her bravery and sacrifice.
Finally, for accomplishing her successful journey she thanked Allah again and knew she would exhaust from thanking Allah many times over and over as if all the grains of sand in the desert would not be enough.
Amina made dua to Allah for all of humankind and all the world’s children, and for all muslims, young and old, in their pledge to acquire knowledge and goodness in this world.
“Ameen”, she humbly said, lifting her palms to her face, passing the unique black half moon upon her upper lip.
That night, she dreamt of Eid-Ul-Adha; of a happy Ruhail wearing his finest velvet robe and leather muzzle; of white eagles with yellow beaks flying across an inky sky full of sitar, then landing atop a beautiful mountain; and the librarian giving the precious book from his hands to the hands of another…which would pass to another… and again, to another…
Amina knew the story of surrendering to the will of Allah, of sacrifice and of gaining knowledge would be an eternally lit candle, burning bright and strong in muslims’ hearts and minds forever…
Read about Amina’s first journey “Amina, the Hunger Bugs and the Noonday Dragon”.
Maureen Farah Usman is a children’s & young adult’s writer and poet of general & religious poetry.
lllustration by Ziyaad at Ziy Art @ziy_art. Ziyaad is a photorealistic, comic and cartoon artist and produces both hand drawn and digital art.