One sunny morning Salman woke up, very excited. Today he was going to a hike in the mountains! Salman’s father had planned for a family picnic today, because of Salman, their only son, was fond of hiking and had been insisting on going to the hills.
After the breakfast, Salman helped his mother pack up the food for the picnic. They set out and soon they were surrounded by beautiful green hills and mountains. “How beautiful it is!” said Salman, looking at the majestic hills. The whole place was such a sight that Salman didn’t realize the time had passed so quickly. It was the start of winter, so they were feeling cold.
Salman was so excited to begin hiking that he insisted on starting immediately.
His parents agreed and started their journey on the trail. Getting tired after a while, they decided to have some snacks on a nice spot overlooking the tall mountains. But even after about one hour of climbing, Salman was fresh and enjoying the cold weather, so he argued that they finish the hike and then have the snack.
“Okay,” his mother shrugged. “I am tired and want to have a rest before we start our climb downwards.” Salman’s eyes were glued to the mountain’s peak, and he asked his mother, Mommy, can I go all the way to the top? It “looks so near.” His mother gave him a stern look, “No, Salman. We are getting tired and need to head back before it gets dark because it seems like it will rain. You cannot go alone as it could be dangerous. You might get lost. Or worse…”
His mother knew that Salman loved an adventure, and always wanted to have one. Salman protested but his father only allowed him to go up about hundred yards while his parents rested there.
Time passed. Salman’s parents were expecting that he would join them soon. But he was nowhere to be seen. His father used his binoculars to locate him, then shouted his name several times but there was no reply. More than half an hour passed; their worries about Salman increased. Soon it would become dark and chillier.
They did not know what to do. Meanwhile, what had happened to Salman when his parents were resting? Salman quietly climbed up in a hurry, trying to make his way to the peak of the hill. He thought he would do that in a few minutes and then return to his parents, surprising them with his achievement. And it would be so nice to tell his friends about his adventure! Although he heard a few of his parents’ calls, he took no notice, thinking that he would finish soon, as the peak seemed to be so near.
Little did he know that the peak only appeared to be getting close; it was still about 3 km away from him.He continued to climb swiftly for about half an hour but the peak seemed to be as far (or as close) as it was before. Soon, thick clouds and mist swirled around him, making it hard to see, especially since it was getting dark.
For the first time, Salman was losing his confidence. The thought that he might get lost crossed his mind. Cold and frightened, he felt exhausted, and his throat became dry. His mind was not working, and he badly wanted to be with his parents. He decided to quit his journey to the top and head back to them.
The problem was that he could not be sure about the way back. This was not a well-defined trail. What if he took a wrong route? What if he met a wild animal on the way? Suddenly he saw a dark shadow loom towards him. His mind was filled with creepy thoughts. Is it a wolf or a fox? He was too scared to run and too shocked to scream. As the shadow came nearer he saw to his relief that it was only a stray dog. Guessing correctly that it was hungry Salman gave it a half-eaten sandwich from his backpack. The dog wagged its tail in appreciation, and Salman felt comforted by it.
He then remembered that mommy had told him something while narrating the
story of Prophet Yunus (AS), “Remember, Salman, whenever you are in a difficult situation, call Allah by reciting the prayer of Prophet Yunus which he prayed in the stomach of the whale, and then In Sha Allah help will come to you.” Salman decided to do that. He started praying to Allah so that he might get help. He also sought Allah’s forgiveness that he did not listen to his parents who advised him not to climb up alone.
Just then, he noticed that the dog was growling and barking. Then it started running downwards. Salman followed him uncertainly. After about 15 minutes he started to hear some muffled voices from where they were heading. Suddenly, he saw his mother’s worried face.
“Mommy!” he said and ran to hug her. His father was also standing behind his mother, looking relieved. Then, after drinking some water, he told them what had happened. “Salman, I told you never to go by yourself. Allah has been so kind; He sent this dog to guide you. When we decided to come after you, we were not sure if we will find you on the same route or elsewhere. God only knows what would have happened if…” his mother did not complete the sentence, but Salman got the point. So many things could have gone wrong. He looked ashamed, “I promise, I will never go on such adventures against your advice. I have learned my lesson.” “Can I have my meal now?” he said in a small voice. Soon he was tucked up in bed.
And from then on, Salman always kept up with his family, and never went on his own. What’s more, he made it a habit of reciting the dua of Prophet Yunus every now and then. Do you know this dua by heart? Here it is:
“There is no god but You; glorified are You; surely I am from among the wrongdoers.”