It was the school holidays. Harun and his older sister Hana visited their grandparents who lived at a farm in the country, north of Victoria. Harun loved playing in the forest behind their grandparent’s farm.
Harun brought his slingshot one day to practise his shooting skills. He practised and practised but he could not hit his target.
Getting a little bit discouraged, he headed back for morning tea.
As he was walking back, he saw one of Grandma’s chicks which seemed to have wandered off from its mother. Mother hen and the other chicks were near the pond.
Feeling bored, Harun pretended to aim his slingshot towards the chick. But his fingers slipped and he unknowingly let his slingshot fly.
It hit the chick square in the head and killed it immediately. Harun was very shocked and deeply saddened. Tears started rolling down from his eyes.He carefully carried the chick to a safe spot, dug a deep hole and buried it neatly.
He even placed 2 stones and a branch on the grave to make it look more dignified.
All this while, Hana had seen what had happened through the kitchen window but she decided to not say anything about it to anyone.
After dinner the next day, Grandma was very tired. She said,”Hana, can you be a good child and wash the dirty dishes tonight?” Hana replied, “But Grandma, Harun told me dinner was so delicious that he should do you a favour by washing the plates.”
Then, she whispered to Harun, “Remember the chick?”
Harun was appalled.
How did Hana know about the chick? Harun knew that if he didn’t obey Hana, she will tell their grandparents about his awful deed.
The following day, Grandpa asked the children if they wanted to go horse-back riding, but Grandma said, “I’m sorry honey but I need Hana to assist me in the kitchen. I am baking chocolate cake for desert.”
Hana interrupted, “It’s alright Grandma. Harun told me he wanted to help you in the kitchen today as he noticed how tired you were yesterday. I shall go ride a horse with Grandpa. Just to keep him company.”
She whispered again to Harun, “Remember the chick?”
So Hana went horse-back riding and Harun stayed at home to bake a cake with Grandma.
After several days of cruel Hana taking advantage of him, Harun finally couldn’t stand it any longer. He came to Grandma and confessed that he had killed the poor chick.
Grandma knelt down, gave him a big warm hug, squeezed both his hands and said, “My little darling Harun, I know. I was standing at the side of the house doing the laundry and I saw the whole incident but because I love you, I forgave you. I saw how sorry you were. How regretful you were. I was just wondering how long it would take before you told me about it. And how long you would let Hana take advantage of you.”
As Muslims, we are told to seek forgiveness whenever we have committed a wrongdoing.
If we have committed a sin towards Allah*, we have to do tawbah (repentance). There are 4 conditions when doing tawbah. Firstly we have to admit that we have committed the sin. Secondly, we have to regret it. Thirdly, we have to ask Allah for His forgiveness. Fourthly, we have to promise not to do it again. (Watch the video clip*** below for more information, insha Allah*)
If we have committed a mistake towards a person, it is not enough for you to solve the problem by simply regretting it, giving up the wrongdoing and resolving not to do it again. (Read more at https://islamqa.info/en/65649)
If we have taken an object that belongs to a person without his permission or knowledge, we have to give it back. We have to ask forgiveness from him. Do not hide the mistake and hope that the person will not realise the mistake that we have done.
In this story, Harun has taken the chick that belongs to his grandmother. He has to give it back. But since he has killed it, he has to replace the chick with another one. Or pay for it with money or items of similar value. And he needs to tell his grandmother what he has done. He has to ask her to forgive him. If his grandmother forgives him, then all is well. But if the grandmother will only forgive him if he replaces the chick, it is her right to do so.
Harun has to be careful not to take any person’s rights away. Why? Because on the Day of Judgement, everyone will be looking for ways to increase their collection of good deeds. And if you have done wrong towards a person, that person will come looking for you asking you to give him back his rights, asking you for some of your good deeds. And you have no choice but to do so. However, if you have no more good deeds to give away, you have to take away some of his bad deeds from him. SubhanAllah*. Allah is Most Perfect and Most Fair.
Furthermore, by asking for the person’s forgiveness, we will feel much better inside. We will remove the feeling of guilt from our heart. We will not have a guilty conscience regarding the matter. Our heart will be more at peace and serene, insha Allah*. In addition, nobody can blackmail us or take advantage of us if we have done the right thing.
By the way, personally, I reckon Harun needs to also do tawbah for killing the chick. He needs to admit to Allah his wrongdoing. He needs to regret it. He needs to seek Allah’s forgiveness and he must promise Allah never to do it again. I’m sure he will feel much lighter within.
*** Do watch this video clip regarding Tawbah, insha Allah.
Allah = God; the one Almighty God
SubhanAllah = Glory be to God; How perfect God is
insha Allah = God-willing
The story (without the Moral section) has been adapted from the original story by “Niya” who is from Japan, which can be found at http://www.moralstories.org/little-boy-slingshot/ . The Moral section was written by SFMK.