Rashad and Tawfiq
Rashad and Tawfiq were friends. Rashad's grandmother lived in the same district as Tawfiq's family. Because Rashad stayed with his grandmother for part of the mid-term and summer holiday each year, they were able to spend a long time together.
Their first term at school had come to an end. Everybody had got their reports and Tawfiq and his friends began to enjoy their holidays. But because the weather was very cold they weren't able to go outside much during the first few days of the holiday. They still managed to get out occasionally, however, saw their friends and played games, even if only for a short time. Sometimes, too, they met in the house of one of their friends and chatted while eating the cakes and cookies his mother had prepared.
But although a week had passed, Tawfiq had not seen Rashad. He asked his other friends if they had seen Rashad. They all said they hadn't seen Rashad since the start of the school holiday either. Tawfiq thought he probably wasn't going out because the weather was so cold, even though he knew that normally he would go out even if it snowed because Rashad loved playing with snow. He decided to phone him.
As soon as he got home he went straight to the telephone and called Rashad's grandmother's house. His grandmother answered the phone and recognized Tawfiq's voice right away.
"I haven't seen Rashad since school came to an end," explained Tawfiq. "I was worried. I thought I'd come round and see him tomorrow but I decided to phone first."
Rashad's grandmother explained that Rashad had not come to stay with her because he was ill. He had very bad flu and had to spend the holiday lying in bed and resting. "I'll give you his telephone number," she said. "He'll be very pleased to hear from you."
Tawfiq took the number down and called Rashad that very minute.
Rashad's mother answered. She said, "Rashad, your friend Tawfiq's calling," and gave the telephone to Rashad who was lying down in his bedroom.
Rashad picked up the phone and told Tawfiq: "I'm very pleased you called. It's very nice to hear your voice."
Tawfiq told Rashad that he had been worried because he hadn't seen him during the holiday and after waiting a few days had called his grandmother and been very sorry to learn that he was ill.
Rashad explained that he had caught a very bad dose of flu at the start of the holiday and that he had to stay at home because the doctor had told him to stay indoors, rest and not go anywhere until he was completely better, so this was how he was spending the holiday.
"Get well soon," said Tawfiq. "I'm very sorry for you. I hope you'll get better quickly." He told him that all his other friends in Tawfiq's neighborhood were wondering about him too. Afraid of tiring Rashad, he didn't want to talk on the telephone for too long.
Rashad said: "I'm very glad you called. Say hello to my friends and don't forget to call again."
Again Tawfiq told him to get well soon and hung up. He was very unhappy because his friend was ill and had to spend his vacation in such a way.
When his mother saw he was unhappy she asked him what the matter was. Tawfiq told her about his friend's problem. "Who knows how bored he is having to spend his vacation like that. I wonder what else I can do for him," he said.
His mother thought for a moment: "They don't live very far away. You could go and visit him. Rashad's mother is an old friend I haven't seen for a long time. I could go and see her at the same time."
"That would be great, Mum. When can we go?" exclaimed Tawfiq delightedly.
"Call Rashad and ask when's a good time," his mother told him.
The next morning Tawfiq called Rashad early. He told him that he wanted to visit him with his mother and asked when would be a good time.
Rashad was very happy and told him his mother would be as well. He said they would be expecting them the next day.
Tawfiq and his mother set out early the following morning. After a few hours' journey they arrived at Rashad's house. Rashad's mother met them cheerfully. "I was very pleased when I heard you were coming," she said. "It's really good of you to come all this way."
All together they went up to Rashad's room. He greeted them happily from his bed. After asking how he was and chatting for a while, their mothers left the boys together.
Then something attracted Tawfiq's attention. In spite of having to stay in bed and spend the vacation lying down, Rashad was very cheerful. He didn't seem to be sad about his condition at all.
"I thought I'd find you very bored and unhappy," he said. "If it was me, spending my holiday like this would make me very sad indeed, but I can see that you're pretty cheerful. You don't seem to be bothered at all."
"You're right," agreed Rashad. "In the first days that was just what I thought and I was very unhappy. I was so unhappy that I couldn't stop myself from crying from time to time. My cousin Ali who came to visit me was very upset when he saw the state I was in. He visited me again a few days later when I was a bit better. He had a book with him. He told me he hadn't finished reading it and that would give it to me when he had, but he wanted to read the part he had already finished to me."
"When I said I would like to hear it, he read me that part. The book explained that Allah has created everything for a specific purpose, and that there is good even in things that look bad at first sight. It said that people who believe in Allah and trust in Him should act in the knowledge that there is very definitely a blessing in everything."
"It gave a lot of examples of this. One of these was about being ill. What it said affected me very much. As it said in the book, even the simplest of illnesses, like flu, show how powerless people actually are. Flu is caused by a tiny virus that can't be seen with the naked eye. But this tiny virus robs a person of his strength and makes him have to go to bed. He reaches a point where he can't walk or even talk. A person can't do anything except lie down and wait to get better."
"You're right," agreed Tawfiq. "When that happens all you can do is take your medicine and wait to get better."
Rashad went on talking:
"When we become ill we realize what a great blessing health is. When a person is in good health and can walk, run and play with no difficulty he should think about illness and be grateful to Allah. When you get up in the morning, being able to walk, run and do whatever you want whenever you want without anybody's help is a great gift from Allah. As it said in the book, by creating illness Allah made people think and notice this."
"Yes, what you're saying is quite right," nodded Tawfiq.
Rashad continued with his explanation: "When I started thinking like that I wasn't unhappy any more. I'm very pleased because I'm slowly starting to get better. I'll be completely better by the time school starts again. Then I'll take even more pleasure from being well and being able to run and play."
At that point Tawfiq's mother came into the room and told him it was time to go.
"I want to read that book too. Will you send it to me when you've finished it?" asked Tawfiq.
"Of course," said Rashad. "I'll send it on to you as soon as I finish it."
On their way back home Tawfiq thought again about what Rashad had said. He was pleased to see him happy and to listen to what Rashad had told him. He said to himself, "Being healthy really is a great blessing and when I get back I'm going to tell all my friends about it."
Glory be to You!