Shu‘aib and the Sheep​

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Ask our children:

1. How should we treat animals and other creatures?

2. If we have a pet, how should we look after it?

Now tell them the story:

Shu‘aib was a little boy who loved animals and wanted a pet. He wanted a cat, but his daddy said no. He wanted fish, but his daddy said no. He wanted a parrot, but his daddy said no. Then, he wanted a rabbit, but guess what? His daddy said no!

One day, Shu‘aib complained to his father, “Daddy! Why can’t I have a pet?” His father replied, “Shu‘aib! Looking after a pet is a big responsibility! You have to feed it, clean its cage or wherever it stays, give it water, keep it warm when the weather becomes cold and look after it all the time! It’s not all fun and play you know, and I don’t think that you are ready for this responsibility!”

A few months later, Shu‘aib and his family began to get ready for ‘Eid. There was only one week left and everyone was very excited! Daddy went to get his overalls and gumboots, and mummy began to prepare the food and desserts, but most importantly – they had to get ready for the sheep!

Shu‘aib was the most excited and went to get the sheep pen ready. He swept it clean, filled the buckets with water and placed grass for the sheep to eat. Later that day, when the sheep arrived, Shu‘aib went into the pen with them and stayed there until the evening, feeding them and making sure that they were comfortable. When Shu‘aib’s father saw how much he cared for the sheep, he said to him, “Shu‘aib! I am making you in charge of the sheep! Every day, you must give them water and food and clean the pen!” Shu‘aib was excited and said, “Jazakallah! I will do my best to look after them well – you will see!”

Shu‘aib looked after the sheep very well for three days, but on the fourth day, he was so tired when he came home that he forgot to feed the sheep! That night, as Shu‘aib and his family were eating supper, they could hear a strange sound! Everyone stopped eating and listened carefully, and they realised that the sound was coming from the sheep pen!

“BAAAH! BAAAH! BAAAH!” – the sheep were bleating!

Then Shu‘aib remembered that he hadn’t fed the sheep! They were making noise because they were hungry! He ran out of the house and quickly went to the pen where he fed the sheep and comforted them.

Later that night, Shu‘aib’s father sat with him and said, “Shu‘aib, now do you understand why I felt that you are not responsible enough to have a pet? If you have a pet and you don’t look after it, Allah Ta‘ala will be unhappy with you.” “I understand daddy,” Shu‘aib replied. Then, his father said, “I have an idea though. Since you love animals, why don’t we feed wild animals every day? That way, you can be kind to animals without worrying about looking after them.” “That’s a fantastic idea!” said Shu‘aib.

From that day on, Shu‘aib would feed the birds and the stray cats. He would put water and food out for them, in his yard, and watch as they came to enjoy the food. The animals were happy, and Shu‘aib was also happy, because he knew that Allah Ta‘ala was happy with him.

Lessons:

1. If we have a pet, we must look after it properly. We must never hurt the animal or keep it hungry.

2. We must try to be kind to every creature and animal. If we are kind to Allah Ta‘ala’s creation, Allah Ta‘ala will be kind to us.