Standing in front of the mirror with a comb in hand was usually the way Shahid spent his mornings. As he stood in front of the mirror today, he was suddenly startled by a voice that seemed to be coming from nowhere. “Who are you?” the voice bellowed.
Shahid nearly jumped out of his skin and quickly turned around to see who had spoken but no one could be seen. Everyone was downstairs; he was quite sure of that.
“Who are you?” Again the voice spoke.
Shahid looked to his right and left but there was no one in sight.
“Come on! Why don’t you answer me?” boomed the voice.
Shahid looked carefully. It seemed as if the voice was coming from the mirror!
Shahid was really scared now. Softly he whispered, “My name is Shahid.”
“Yes, Yes! Of course, you are Shahid. Everybody calls you that.”
Shahid was now annoyed. “If you know my name, why are you asking me who I am?”
“So that you also start to think who you really are.”
“I don’t need to think. I know who I am. I’m a human being!”
“Alright!” said the voice. “Tell me then, what is a human being?”
Shahid rolled up his eyes at the thought of having to answer a question that was so obvious. “A human being is someone who has hands, feet, eyes, nose, ears, and a tongue. He can eat, drink, walk and move around, and sleep at night.”
“Then tell me, what is an animal?” Asked the mirror.
“Do you think I don’t even know that?” said Shahid shaking his head in surprise. “An animal is a creature that has hands, feet, eyes, nose, ears and a tongue. It eats and drinks. It can walk and move around and it sleeps.”
“So tell me then,” asked the mirror. “What is the difference between a human being and an animal?”
Shahid thought about it and then said, “I don’t know. Hmm…oh yes, of course! A human being has a brain and can think for himself.”
“And he uses his brain to do his hair for hours on end?” exclaimed the mirror.
Shahid did not have anything to say.
“Why have you become so quiet, Shahid?” asked the mirror.
“What are you trying to tell me?” asked Shahid.
“Alhamdulillah! Finally, you ask the right question.” said the mirror.
“A human being is the best of Allah SWT’s creation. Along with human beings, animals have also been given a body and even a little sense. But the human being is the only creation of Allah that has been given a brain so that he knows who Allah is, to obey Allah’s commands and to stay away from what Allah has forbidden for him.
Shahid was now curious. “Please tell me then, what is the point of having a body?”
“Hands, feet, legs, eyes… all parts of our body, actually belong to Allah and they have been given to us as a trust. If we use them the way Allah wants us to, then they will be happy too. If we don’t, then they will be angry with us and complain.”
“Complain? To whom?”
“They will complain to Allah on the day of Judgment. They will say, “O Allah, You created us to do good things and to obey You. Look what useless things this person has used us for.”
“For example what kinds of useless things?” asked Shahid.
“Like standing in front of the mirror all day long, to do your hair.” Said the mirror.
“So do you think I should stay dirty all day long?” asked Shahid angrily. “Should I just leave my hair all tangled up and in a mess?”
The mirror replied, “To comb your hair two to three times a day is more than enough, you know. Just think; you are a Muslim boy. You have to do great things. You have to do good things. If you spend most of your time doing your hair, who is going to do all those good things?”
“But how did you get to know all these things? And tell me, how is it that you can speak?” asked Shahid curiously.
The mirror had become silent now. It did not answer. Shahid asked the mirror again and again, but it just would not reply. Shahid wished he had asked the mirror these questions earlier. He left the room muttering under his breath, “Shahid, you are a Muslim boy. You have to do great things. You have to do good things.”
A little while later, Shahid’s older brother who had been hiding behind the dresser quickly stood up. His throat had become dry because of talking in the deep voice that Shahid had not recognized. He was pleased that Shahid had now understood what everyone had been trying to explain to him. He was also glad that Shahid had not found out that the talking mirror was no other than his own big brother!