The last part of the series “Three days; Three trials”
When morning came, Khalid was ready to begin searching for the next and last, clue. But try as he might, he couldn’t find it anywhere! Where could they have hidden it? Hmm. Both of the previous clues had been ‘hidden’ in not so hidden spots. They were in places where he was bound to find them, in his X-Box game’s case and on his brush. Perhaps, he was going the wrong way about it. He was looking too hard for the clue, but what if the key was to not look at all?
Khalid thought of all the places he visited as he got up in the morning. He went to the bathroom, showered, came out and brushed his hair and there was his clue. Hidden in plain sight, it had been taped to the mirror of his dressing table. Khalid shook his head, he had looked in all the complicated hiding spots and the clue had been right in front of him all along. He unfolded the paper. This time, it was a crossword puzzle. Khalid rejoiced as he loved crosswords! And he was pretty good at them too.
CLUE # 3
It took him a minute to solve the puzzle, and by the time he was done, it looked something like this:
A number of words had been formed; any of them could be the hiding place of the next note. Carefully, he crossed out the ones that were completely impossible. He was left with a relatively shorter list: book, pen, table, vase, and cabinet. He ruled out ‘book’ because there were simply too many books in the household. His family wouldn’t expect him to go through each and every one. So he hurried downstairs to check the tables. He doubted they would just leave the note lying around on a table, but still, it was in the puzzle. He checked the kitchen table, the console table and the central table, when he got to the dining table, there was still no note. But there was a vase. He reached into the vase, and…there it was! He unfolded the last note:
NOTE # 3
The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “Two things do not fit in a faithful person; miserliness and bad temper.”
Just like with the second note, Khalid was well aware of what part of the Hadith was being aimed at him. His tendency to flare out in anger had gotten him into trouble at school several times. At home too, his parents had frequently pointed out this bad habit of his.
Khalid knew that out of all three of the Ahadith he had been given till now, following this one would be the most difficult. He also knew, however, that his short temper was something that had to be controlled, and it was about time he started working on it.
Later that afternoon, Khalid’s father came home early from work. Khalid, upon seeing him sprung up from the couch he was sitting on and went to greet him. After the niceties had been exchanged, Khalid got to the topic.
“I have to report, Abu!”
“What do you have to report, young man?” Khalil replied with a friendly smile.
“I have completed the last test! It was about controlling my anger, right? Well, I tried my best today. I kept myself calm when Sa’ad dropped his biryani all over me at lunch. I didn’t say anything to Maria when she forgot to return my Nintendo, and I even kept quiet with Saleem and Ammar when they skipped my batting turn during cricket!”
Khalil laughed good-naturedly. “You could have asked for your turn, you know. The point was to not get angry! Still, you have done a great job, and I can’t tell you how pleased I am, Alhamdulillah. Now, run along to your room. I have to speak to your mother.”
Khalid was sitting in his room doing his summer vacation homework when Maria popped into his room.
“Hey, Khalid! It’s time for dinner.”
“Yeah, okay. I’ll be there in a minute.” He replied absentmindedly.
“Khalid, come on!” she insisted dragging him by the arm and leading him outside.
When they got to the living room, it was empty.
“Where is everyone?” Khalid asked, confused.
Maria had a weird smile on her face. Suddenly there was a loud chorus of ‘SURPRISE!’ people popping out from behind the couches. Khalid blinked, unable to take in all the ruckus. His parents were there, smiling at him, so were Auntie Naima and her twins. Sa’ad and Maria were beside him in an instant, and he spotted Saleem and Ammar talking to each other to one side. “Come on Khalid. We’ve set up the dining room for you” his mother led him to the dining room. The room was decorated with balloons and streamers, with an array of dishes laid across the table. It was perfect. Khalid’s face lit up into a huge smile.
As the celebrations continued, Khalil pulled his son to a side. “Khalid”, he said warmly “I want you to know that we are all very proud of you. You really have proved that you aren’t as young as we all made you out to be. You are a mature and sensible boy, and I have faith that Allah will always keep you this way. What you need to understand, though, is that you have only gotten this far by adhering to the word of Allah and His prophet, and that is the way you will succeed for the rest of your life InshaAllah. Now, since you have passed the test, what sort of independence do you want?”
“Abu, I’ve been thinking about that…and I’ve realized, you and Ammi were right. I may not be as young as you thought, but I am also not as old I thought. I think the way you two are parenting us is perfect, and I wouldn’t want you to make any changes to it.”
Khalil beamed at his son and hugged him tightly.
“That’s my boy”.