The 1st trial

2nd part of the series “Three days; Three trials”

Khalid woke up to the smell of….of something good. He couldn’t exactly place it.

By the time he made it to the kitchen, his parents were already seated at the table, waiting for Sa’ad and Maria to join them. Ahh. So it had been his mother’s homemade halwa poori and channey that he had sensed earlier. By the time, his siblings arrived; he was already half way through with breakfast.

After breakfast, Khalid headed towards the living room. Summer had begun, and so had X Box season. He pulled open the drawer that contained his ginormous collection of games, and picked out Halo 5 – his favorite one. Upon opening the case, however, he was met with a surprise. A folded piece of paper was placed neatly right on top of the disc. He picked it up and unfolded it. It read:

CLUE # 1

First turn left, then look to your right

Then, keep going till you see the light

Khalid sighed. He knew his father was ambitious and always worked to the best of his ability, but this? This was too much- even for him. He knew for sure who had written the ‘clue’ though. Maria. She was always engrossed in those books of hers, and though she was just an amateur now, she aspired to become a writer one day. Great, his father had recruited Khalid’s sister too, and if Maria was on board, Sa’ad was sure to be too.

Back to the clue, Khalid did what came first to his mind. He turned left and started walking. He assumed the clue required for him to walk to the hallway and then turn right. He did as was instructed. Turning into the hallway he kept walking too engaged in the paper he was holding to notice the wall in front of him until he ran SMACK into it. Rubbing his forehead, Khalid frowned. There was nothing here but a dead end. Where was the note? Perhaps, he had followed the instructions incorrectly. But there wasn’t much to it, how could he have not followed them correctly? And what was the ‘light’ the clue talked about? His mind boggled, he decided to trace his steps back to square one.

Back in the living room, he stood in front of the TV. Wherever he had placed the note, his father must have counted on him standing directly in front of the TV when he would find the clue. That meant that the directions given on the clue were probably meant to be followed from an exact position. Okay, then. He would try again. Khalid breathed heavily. Then, he looked down at the clue again. ‘First, turn left’. He turned left, but instead of walking all the way to the hallway he took just a couple of steps and stopped. ‘Then look to your right’. It said ‘look’, not walk…so he looked. Nothing out of the ordinary. ‘Then keep going till you see the light’. Okay…he started walking in the direction indicated, only to be met with another wall. Now what? There was nothing there. Well, except for his mother’s old grandfather clock. Wait, a minute! The grandfather clock! It was a little to his left, its pendulum swinging rapidly. And on the pendulum, a little blur of white could be spotted. There, it was!

Khalid then proceeded to open its window and reached out for the paper attached to the pendulum. He unfolded the note.

NOTE # 1

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “A person’s feet will not move on the Day of Resurrection, until he is asked about four things: his life and how he spent it, his body and how he used it, his wealth; from where he acquired it and on what he spent it, and his knowledge and what he did with it.”

“This is a Hadith” Khalid mused out loud.

“It is”, called out a voice behind his shoulder.

Khalid jolted, turning around to find none but his brother behind him.

“So, I’m supposed to fix my habits keeping this Hadith in mind?” Khalid inquired.

“I suppose so.”

“But how do I know which one of these I’m supposed to start changing?”

That, is for you to decide.”

Khalid sat in his bedroom, brainstorming. He had made a list on a piece of paper.

  1. Time
  2. Body
  3. Wealth
  4. Knowledge

He crossed out wealth right away. He didn’t earn a living so it evidently wasn’t for him. Knowledge, perhaps? All the knowledge he possessed was what the fourth-grade syllabus entailed….that wasn’t much, was it? Suddenly, he felt so small…like a child who didn’t really know anything about the world yet. But, he was ten. He wasn’t a child anymore. Wasn’t proving that the whole point of this? Now, he wasn’t so sure. What if his parents had been right and he really wasn’t as mature as he thought he was? What if he couldn’t change his bad habits in time and wasn’t able to prove himself?

No. His resolve hardened as he thought of failing. No, if there was one thing Khalid didn’t do, it was giving up. Besides, this wasn’t just about proving himself anymore. By following this Hadith, he would be obeying his Prophet (SAW), and Allah, and that was much more important to him than fulfilling his own challenge.

Turning back to his list, he crossed out Knowledge too. Time seemed to be the most probable out of the two left. Wasting his time was what his mother chastised him about most, and it was that very habit that had gotten him into trouble in the first place. With that thought, he crossed out Body too. He finally knew what he had to do. With a huge smile on his face, Khalid got to work.

At the dinner table that night, Khalil Rashid noticed his youngest son eating with a very pleased expression on his face.

“Well, Khalid, what do you have to share with us?” he asked.

“I found the clue, and the note.”

“And?”

“And, I think I was successful in changing my behavior for the day.”

“Please, do elaborate.”

“Well, the Hadith in the note warned about people being asked about four things on the Day of Judgement; wealth, time, the use of their body, and their knowledge. Given how much Ammi and you are always telling me to be mindful of how I spend my time, I figured that is probably the aspect I should concentrate on most. So I did. Today, after solving the note, I told myself that I wasn’t going to waste my time at all.”

“And how did you manage to do that?” Sadia piped in.

“I made a timetable, first. I divided my day into several sections. In the morning, after Fajr prayer, I am going to recite the Quran InshaAllah. After breakfast, I’ll shower, tidy up my room, and then spend some time doing my summer vacation homework. My teachers have given me a lot of that! I figured a short break is due then, perhaps a quick nap? After Zuhr and lunch, I plan on playing cricket with Saleem and Ammar or maybe playing on the X Box. Then in the evenings, I can finish up on my homework, or read one of the many books you’ve gotten me. What do you think?”

“I think it’s perfect. The real question, though, is whether you actually followed this timetable of yours today or not?” Khalid’s father replied.

“I did” Khalid answered proudly.

“Alhamdullilah! You have passed the first test then, Khalid! Congratulations!” his father announced, beaming at him.

Khalid grinned as he looked around at his family, Maria and Sa’ad grinned back-sincerely for once, not a trace of the usual mischief in their eyes, Sadia rolled her eyes and ruffled Khalid’s hair affectionately. “I still can’t believe you guys are doing this, though” she said.

“You’d better believe it, now!” Sa’ad and Maria chorused in unison, and they all laughed.

Click on the link to Read the next part : The 2nd trial

Written by: Ramla Zaid Malik

Click here to get the printable document.

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