Once there was a man who had five sons. Instead of living together peacefully and calmly, they were constantly bickering and fighting. Their father was fed up with their constant arguments, so he decided to teach them a lesson. He gathered five sticks, that were all the same size and tied them all together. Smiling smugly to himself, he called his sons. After the usual pushing and shoving, they finally stood in front of their father. “I would like you to take this bundle of sticks and break it for me.”He said The eldest brother smirked and grumbled, “I can do that easily!” He tried and he tried but he couldn’t break the sticks. The others scoffed at him and laughed. “Let me have a go.” said the second brother. Again he tried and tried, broke out into a sweat but he couldn’t break the bundle of sticks either. One by one all the brothers tried to break the sticks, but they all failed. “It’s impossible!” They cried “I’ll show you how it’s done!” said the father. He untied the sticks and gave each brother one stick each. “Now try.” He said Each of the brothers broke the sticks easily, they looked at each other in confusion. What was their father trying to tell them? Finally, he said “Let this be a lesson to you. When the sticks were tied together they were strong and unbreakable, but on their own, they were easy to break. So do you see, if you are united you are strong, on your own you are weak United we stand, divided we fall.”
The Fox and the Stork became very good friends. One day, the Fox decided to invite the Stork for dinner. The fox prepared a delicious soup, but, as a joke, presented the soup in a very shallow dish. When the stork arrived, the fox happily lapped and licked up the soup, but the stork could not do anything except wet the very end of her beak in the soup, without tasting one drop. She left the dinner hungry, and the fox apologised that the stork had not liked the soup. The Stork waved away the fox’s apology, and in return, offered to cook dinner for the Fox the following day. So, the next day, the Stork awaited Fox’s arrival and when he arrived, he found a table laid with two very long-necked flasks which held the meal. The stork easily dipped her beak into the food and ate hungrily, but the Fox could not fit his snout through the flask neck. The Fox left the dinner as hungry as when he arrived and had learned his lesson: One bad deed warrants another.
A farmer lived with his family and had one goose, which he would collect eggs from each morning. One day, he bent over to pick up an egg, when he realised that it was hard, heavy and a glittering yellow. He almost threw it away, but instead went to show his wife. When they looked at the egg more closely, they realised that it was made of pure gold! The next day, the farmer and his wife waited feverishly for the next morning’s egg. Sure enough, the same thing occurred and the farmer soon became rich from selling his golden eggs. Every day, the farmer collected the golden egg from his goose and sold it as quickly as he could. The farmer soon became very greedy, and he was not happy with only one egg per day, so he decided to get all the eggs at once. He took the goose, killed it and opened it up to find the other eggs – however, he was dismayed to find nothing inside the goose. The greedy farmer lost his wealth, and he came to realise that his greed had over-reached itself, and he had suffered for his foolishness.
The wind and the sun began to argue over who was the most powerful when they saw a young traveller pass by beneath them. The sun then set the challenge that whoever caused the traveller to take off his coat would be seen as the strongest. The wind agreed and blew the most ferocious winds in the direction of the man. But no matter how hard the wind blew, the traveller kept his coat clutched around him tighter. The wind finally gave up, and so the sun came out behind the clouds and shone, basking the traveller in gentle sunlight. The man quickly grew too warm to keep his coat on, and took it off, much to the sun’s pleasure. From then on, the wind understood that kindness is more effective than severity.
An old rooster was pecking around his home for food when he spotted something shining in the grass. Excitedly, he went to go and claim it as his own. It was a single, smooth pearl, which had probably been lost on the farm long ago. He wondered how valuable the pearl would be to his farmer, and said: “You might be very precious to men, but I would rather have a single kernel of corn than a whole basket of pearls.” He discarded the pearl to continue looking for food, as ‘precious’ things are only precious to those who can prize them.
Once there was a peacock who was extremely proud and vain. He boasted to everyone about his beautiful feathers, saying ‘ Look at my colourful feathers, look at how beautiful look, when I open them… I must be the most beautiful bird in the world!’
The other birds began to get very annoyed with the peacocks constant boasting. ‘He needs to be taught a lesson !’ They all crowed. ‘I have an idea’ said a crane. ‘Leave it to me…’ The next morning the crane walked past the peacock, who was busy preening and showing off her feathers. ‘Look at you.’ she squawked to the crane, ‘You are so plain and dull, you must so wish to be beautiful like me!’
The crane was ready with her reply and smiled, ‘I may be plain and dull, but I can lift myself up into the air and fly and swoop gracefully amongst the clouds. You, on the other hand, may have beautiful feathers, but they are of no use to you. They are not strong enough to lift you up into the sky like me!’
The peacock dropped her feathers and looked very embarrassed, she realised that if someone lacks one thing, they are always given another gift to compensate for what they do not have.
One day, the great lion, king of the jungle was having his daily afternoon nap. No one dared disturb him, as he became extremely grumpy if he didn’t get his sleep. On this occasion, a poor, little mouse accidentally ran over his face and woke him up. The lion was enraged. He grabbed the mouse with his paw and roared, “How dare you wake me up, I will kill you for your insolence!”
“Please don’t kill me!” squeaked the mouse, trembling with fear. “ I beg you to let me go, I promise that one day I will help you in some way.” “YOU HELP ME?” The lion laughed and laughed, “How can a little mouse like you help me?”
The lion thought it was so funny that he let the mouse go. A few months later, the great lion was rambling through the forest when suddenly he stepped into a hunters net and found himself trapped. No matter how hard he struggled he couldn’t break free.
The lion roared for help but none dared approach him, except the little mouse. “I am here” cried the little mouse “I will help you.” The lion was astonished before he had a chance to reply the little mouse began chewing at the net and before long he had made a hole large enough for the lion to escape. “Thank you so much,” he said, “a little mouse like you could help a great lion like me after all!”
One hot, summer’s day, a Crow was searching for water to quench his thirst. He searched and searched, and was almost dying of his thirst when he came across a pitcher. He excitedly hopped towards the pitcher but was dismayed when he found it was almost empty. There was a small amount of water at the bottom of the pitcher, but the crow’s beak could not reach it. In vain, the crow tried and tried to drink the water, and almost gave up.
Then the crow had an idea; he collected a pebble and dropped it into the pitcher. He scooped up another pebble and put it into the pitcher. One by one, he gathered pebbles and dropped them into the pitcher. He emptied more and more pebbles into the pitcher, and slowly the water rose up towards him.
Eventually, when the pitcher was almost full of small pebbles, the water had risen far enough for him to take a long and satisfying drink. Thus, the crow had saved himself by the knowledge that his efforts, little by little, will do the trick.
One mid-summer day, a young grasshopper was chirping happily in the grassy meadow, when he noticed a small ant dragging a heavy ear of corn towards its home. Upon seeing the ant, the grasshopper bound up to him to ask “Why are you working so hard? Why not enjoy the summer sun
with me?” The ant replied, whilst sweating from his load “I am gathering food for my family in preparation for the winter.” He suggested that the grasshopper should do the same.
The grasshopper laughed mockingly and said to the ant “Why worry about the winter? It’s summer and we have lots of food.” But the ant carried on working. When winter came, at last, the grasshopper was left cold and hungry, but he saw the ants sharing their grain and corn. So the grasshopper realised his mistake and knew that he should have been preparing for the winter instead of being idle all summer.
What we know as Medina today was called Yathrib in ancient Arabia. Its name was changed to Medina in honour of the Holy Prophet, when it was re-named Medina-tulNabwi (the city of the Prophet) after the Prophet migrated there. Medina is a very old town that lies about two hundred miles north of Mecca. It is a valley dotted with hills. In the Prophet’s time, people lived there in villages. Each tribe had his own village, its own fort. The predominant religious communities in Medina were the Jews and pagans. It was customary for the Prophet to make contact with groups that travelled to Mecca for the annual pilgrimage. The Prophet would use this opportunity to spread the message of Islam.
These groups would travel back to their towns and take the teachings of Islam with them. This became a very important tool for the spread of Islam.