Ask your children:

1. Is it safe for children to be climbing up tall trees all alone?

2. Can we break fruit from a tree without the owner’s permission?

Now tell them the story:

Zaheer was a little boy who loved cherries. His parents, however, were quite poor and could not afford to buy those delicious-looking cherries when they were in season as cherries are pretty expensive. Despite it being almost impossible for Zaheer’s parents to buy even a small bunch of cherries, he still longed for them and wished to have them. Adding to his longing was the fact that his next door neighbour, Aqeel, had a huge cherry tree with plump, juicy bunches hanging from the branches.

Zaheer could not hold back his desire any longer. One afternoon, without informing anyone, he quietly sneaked into the neighbour’s yard. There was no one around, so he quickly climbed up the cherry tree. With cherries hanging all around him, he felt as though he was in cherry land! His eyes were wide with fascination and his heart felt as if it would burst with joy. He suddenly spotted a particular bunch and was captivated by what he saw. It seemed to be the biggest, reddest and juiciest bunch on the tree! However, this particular bunch of cherries hung on the thinnest branch which was the furthest away from him.

At this point, Zaheer had come so far in his mission that there was absolutely nothing that could stop him from attaining his goal. With his little feet he stepped forward to grab that particular bunch of cherries – and just then heard the sound of a branch snapping beneath him. He quickly tried holding onto one branch, then another branch and yet another branch – until he came falling all the way to the ground. Fortunate for him, grabbing all those branches as he fell slowed him down and he landed on a heap of soft sand which Aqeel was using for some construction work.

Zaheer was shocked from the fall and could not move from the pain of his injuries. The gardener who was working nearby saw all that had taken place. He rushed over and gently lifted and carried Zaheer to his home. Zaheer’s parents were very worried. They were eventually put at ease when the local clinic told them that Zaheer had only suffered two minor fractures which required a bit of bed rest.

The following day, as Zaheer lay in his bed, there was a loud knock at the front door. It was Zaheer’s very first visitor after his cherry fall. The visitor was none other than Aqeel, the next door neighbour. He walked in holding a big bowl in his hands. It was full of those very cherries that caught the eye of Zaheer, the biggest, reddest and juiciest bunch from the tree. With tears rolling down Zaheer’s cheeks, he begged, “Please do forgive me, I’ll never do it again!” Aqeel ran forward, placed the bowl down, hugged little Zaheer and said, “No my dear son. I need to ask you to forgive me for the delay. I always knew you loved cherries and I already wanted to pick the best for you. I was just waiting for my gardener to arrive and that happened to be only yesterday.”

Lesson: If something is meant to come our way we will definitely get it. Instead of rushing and trying to get it in a haraam way, we should be patient and wait for Allah Ta‘ala to give it to us in a halaal way, which we will receive with happiness and no regrets.