As we looked out onto the deck, darkness was pushing at the gates of twilight. The sun had already set. We had just completed our Maghreb Salah. I had looked out to note that the birdfeeder was empty. “Would you like to go out and fill the birdfeeder,” I ask him. . His eyes lit up and he runs to put on his shoes. As he gets up to accompany me outside he grabs something from the table. I turn to look questioningly. “ I want to take this to hold, if I am scared outside…………” I look at his hand clutching the blue bead tasbeeh.
Suddenly the tafseer of surah Falaq that I had explained to the little kids in the class called “Quran for little hearts” passes in front of my eyes. I see myself explaining ayah 3, where protection is sought by invoking surah Falaq for things lurking in the dark that may be scary. The comforting knowledge that Allah is protecting you from scary things.
That particular session had followed with gifting the students with a kufi or hijab and a tasbeeh from Morocco from where I had just returned. I had explained that they could call on Allah any time anywhere……. Just as quickly as the vision of the class came to me, it melted into the night shadows.
I look out to the deck, my eyes searching for the birdfeeder. The darkness of night is descending, rapidly. The naked branches of the winter trees cast shadows like extended claws of a giant bird. I look back into the lit room, where he stands resplendent with the innocence of a three year old holding the blue tasbeeh in his hand. His fingers rubbing on the beads, his eyes resting on me in anticipation. “Lets go Nano,” he says confidently.
I step out to the deck with him. He helps me, with the birdseed, never letting go of the blue tasbeeh. Soon the darkness envelops us, nudging us back into the arms of the electrically lit room.
I am overwhelmed with gratitude: the tasbeeh from Morocco, the association of Dhikr and Allah’s protection, a three year old and how much he remembers from Surah Falaq, not the words but the essence……………