Story of Little Zayd
A trip to the village
Maulana Haidar Madani
The car had entered the village and was travelling slowly on the dirt road between green fields. One could see fields and gardens for a long distance. In some places, farmers and goats could be seen roaming the fields. Between the fields, the call to prayer (azan) for Asr Salah could be heard from the village Masjid. Little Zayd was lost in these pleasant scenes. As soon as the next turn came after entering the village, mother said, ‘Little Zayd, look here!’
Little Zayd immediately turned his head to the left and saw that there was a small masjid built under a large tree. Its walls were so small that even little Zayd could easily jump over them and enter the masjid. Nearby there was a hand pump. Mother said: ‘This is the first masjid of this village. It was built by your grandfather.’
‘But how do all of the people pray salah in such a small masjid?’ asked little Zayd.
Mother replied: ‘Son, at the time, there were only ten families living in this village, and all of them were closely related too.’
Little Zayd was busy conversing with his mother when his uncle stopped the car and said, ‘We have arrived at our house.’ The shrubs outside the door had formed a canopy. When little Zayd held his mother’s hand and went inside, he saw charpoys in a large courtyard. His grandmother, aunties and the children were sat on them waiting for them. Grandmother kissed little Zayd’s forehead and then embraced him, saying, ‘Little Zayd has grown مَاشَــآءَالـلّٰـه.’
The first day passed with Little Zayd meeting everyone. The first home was that of his eldest uncle, which is where his grandmother also lived, and the second home belonged to his youngest uncle. As the children lived in both homes, the entire day would be spent in playing, and as soon as night fell, they would all fall asleep wherever they were due to tiredness. An internal door had also been fitted for coming and going from one house to another. Everyone had become friends by night, which is why mother came after Isha salah and asked, ‘Where will you sleep?’
Little Zayd replied, ‘I will sleep with my brothers. Don’t worry about me.’
The next morning, little Zayd returned after praying Fajr salah with everyone. His aunty had made some lassi. After giving the lassi to all the children, they were sent to the neighbour, aunty Zubeida; this is where all the children would recite the Quran after Fajr salah. There were probably very few children or adults from the village who had not learnt how to recite the Quran from aunty Zubeida. In fact, when the villagers’ relatives would come to stay, they too would attend Quran classes with aunty for those days.
Plastic mats were laid out on the earthen floor where the children would come and sit in turn, partake in their lesson, and then leave. After returning from the Quran class, breakfast was ready. All the children sat on the rug laid out on the kitchen floor and ate breakfast. Then, the youngest uncle gave good news: ‘All of you children, come, quickly; let’s show little Zayd the garden.’