Story of Little Zayd
A Tour of the Library
Haider Ali Madani
Little Zayd quickly put on his school uniform and rushed to the kitchen. “If you finish your breakfast, I will give you a surprise,” Mum exclaimed as she put the omelette on the table.
“Wow!” Little Zayd beamed, “But what is the surprise?”
His mother smiled, “If I tell you, it won’t be a surprise. Quickly eat the omelette and go to school. You will find your surprise when you get back.”
All day, Little Zayd was thinking about the surprise. “It might be that bike I wanted,” he thought to himself. After school, he went home, and as he said assalamu alaykum in a loud voice, he saw Uncle sitting on the sofa. Little Zayd ran and hugged him. “Assalamu alaykum uncle, when did you arrive?”
Meanwhile, mother came into the room with a jug of milkshake. She smiled and said, “Do you like my surprise? Take this. Sit down and drink some milkshake.”
“Why didn’t you tell me this morning, I would have stayed at home,” said little Zayd.
Uncle smiled, “Perhaps she did not tell you for this very reason.”
“Quickly change your clothes and freshen up. Lunch is ready,” said mother.
“Today I will take you to the library, Little Zayd,” announced Uncle after Asr salah.
When Little Zayd exited the car, he saw the large and beautiful library building in front of him. He took hold of Uncle’s hand and went in. What he saw left him amazed; there were books everywhere. Before choosing a book, uncle took him to every section of the library, there was: Quran, Hadith, Islamic law, Prophetic biography, history, and more! Each section had countless books. There were tables and chairs in a large hall where the older boys and uncles were sitting, reading books. There was also a large room on which it was written, “Kid’s Section.” After seeing the different books and learning charts, Little Zayd wished he could stay there.
After showing Little Zayd the entire library, Uncle asked the librarian for volume 21 of Fatawa Razawiyyah. Uncle handed over his library card and took the book outside. As they sat on the bench in the library’s garden, Little Zayd asked, “Uncle, you did not give any money for the book.”
“Little Zayd, we do not buy books from the library,” he explained, “we get the books for free, but we must return them after we finish reading them.”
Little Zayd asked, “So why don’t people just buy these books from the bookshop?”
“Not everyone can afford to buy books. Libraries have been opened so that people can enjoy reading books even if they cannot afford them.” Little Zayd was paying attention to everything Uncle said.
Then Uncle said, “Sometimes people have the books but come to the library to read in a quiet and peaceful environment. That is why we are not allowed to talk loudly in libraries. The librarian is someone who takes care of the books.” As the evening approached, Little Zayd and Uncle headed to the masjid to pray Maghrib. Little Zayd was excited to tell his friends all about his trip to the library.