Islamic Fiction Contest Winner - 2015
Adult Category - 1st Place
The Blessed Banana Tree
by: Tayyaba Syed
On top of the highest hill, atop the tallest banana tree, there lived an old, chunky monkey named Qird. He was the wealthiest of all in the land, for Allah, the Most High, had truly blessed Qird with this tree he called home. It bore sweet, tasty bananas all year round, so Qird never had to search for food. Qird thought it was his own doing, since he had planted and cultivated this tree, never bothering to thank his Creator for it.
No one dared to come near Qird and his banana tree. That was his tree and those were his bananas, and everyone in the village knew that. Every day he sat alone atop his tree eating bananas while enjoying the breeze and the view.
One day, Qird was doing his usual routine of counting bananas.
“Three hundred five, three hundred six, three hundred seven…”
As Qird continued counting, he heard a tiny, squeaky voice.
“Excuse me, Sir. May the Peace of Allah be upon you,” the little voice called out.
Immediately, Qird looked around the tree to see who dare come near him and his tree.
“Who’s there?!” he asked not seeing anyone in sight.
“Down here,” spoke a little white mouse.
Qird looked down at his feet.
“Eeeek!” he shrieked. “How dare you come up here?” questioned Qird. “This is my tree, and you are not allowed up here. Now shoo!”
The mouse smiled.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to frighten you. My name is Fa’ir. I’m new to this area and was searching for some lunch. I made du’a to Allah to help me and then saw your luscious banana tree. May I have one banana please?” he asked politely.
Qird couldn’t believe his eyes or ears. First, this stranger trespassed onto his home. Then he tried to ask for a banana? He wanted to throw the mouse right out of his tree but was scared to get bitten.
“Listen, Mouse. Leave my tree right this minute, or you will be sorry. Everyone knows no one is allowed near me or my tree. And I don’t share my bananas with anyone!”
Fa’ir was heartbroken. His eyes began to well up with tears. How could someone be so selfish and mean? Out of respect for the elder monkey, Fa’ir did not say another word and sadly scurried back down the tree.
Oh Allah. Please guide that monkey to goodness. Ameen.
And with that du’a, Fa’ir quickly went down the hill.
Qird’s heart was racing with anger. That was the first time in a long time he had talked to anyone, and he was not happy about it. He realized the fateful encounter had made him forget where he had left off in his counting.
Great. I must start all over again, he thought.
As Qird began counting again, a black and yellow toucan flew down behind him and rested on the tallest bunch of bananas while panting.
“As salaamu alaikum,” she said between breaths. “I’m Thuqaanah. May I rest here for a few minutes?”
Qird could feel his blood boiling and quickly turned around to see who dares to trespass onto his property now. He walked up close to Thuqaanah and stared at her hard.
“No!” He screamed in her face.
Thuqaanah fluttered her wings in disbelief and backed away from him. She did not like confrontations.
“I didn’t mean to upset you. I had been flying for a long time and just needed a break. I saw your lovely tree and didn’t think you’d mind. I’ll just be going then. Sorry,” Thuqaanah said kindly.
She tiredly flew away and quietly made du’a. Oh my Lord. I forgive that monkey. Please have Mercy on him.
Qird could not believe the day he was having. He decided to make some signs to keep trespassers off his property. He climbed down the tree to gather some wood. As he reached the bottom of the tree, a large gray elephant approached him.
“As salaamu alaikum, Akhee. My name is Feel,” greeted the elephant in a deep voice.
Qird turned and glared up in shock at the giant creature.
“I am not your brother,” Qird replied curtly. “What do you want? No one is allowed to come near me or my tree!”
Feel was in dire need of Qird’s help and decided to disregard his rudeness. He reached out his trunk and softly nudged Qird on his shoulder.
“You are my brother in Islam,” he reminded Qird. “I need your help to find my herd. I see you live on this tall tree on this high hill and was hoping you can look from above which way my herd went,” said Feel.
Qird had heard enough.
“Get off my property right this minute. Go find your own way back.” The words spitted out of Qird’s mouth. He grabbed a few pieces of wood and started to climb back up his tree.
“Akhee, I beg you.” Feel pleaded. “Just take a minute to look for my herd, and I’ll be on my way.”
Qird ignored him and kept climbing.
In desperation, Feel wrapped his trunk around the tree trunk and began shaking it.
“Please, Akhee. Please!”
Startled and scared, Qird dropped the pieces of wood from his grip and grabbed onto the tree trunk with both hands. The wood pieces came crashing down just missing Feel’s head. Now angry and disheartened, Feel shook the tree even harder. Bunch by bunch, the bananas came flying down.
“My bananas!” cried Qird. “What are you doing? Help! Someone! Help!”
Meanwhile, at the foot of the hill, Fa’ir and Thuqaanah happened to be resting by a waterhole. They both worriedly looked up towards the hill.
“Do you hear that?” asked Fa’ir. “Someone’s in trouble up there!”
“Let me fly up and check,” said Thuqaanah. She quickly flew upwards to get a better view. There she saw the chunky monkey hanging from his tree.
“It’s the old monkey,” she shouted down to Fa’ir. “He is about to fall from his tree!”
“Oh no! We have to help him!” cried Fa’ir.
Thuqaanah swooped down and grabbed Fa’ir into her long beak. She flew up as fast as she could, forgetting all about her fatigue. Bananas and leaves rained down. They reached Qird in no time, but she couldn’t talk with Fa’ir in her mouth.
Qird was surprisingly relieved to see her again.
“Please help me!” begged Qird. “That elephant is trying to kill me!”
Fa’ir peaked out from inside Thuqaanah’s beak. Ya Allah. Please help, he prayed silently.
Thuqaanah flew down to Feel and opened her beak. Despite Feel’s magnificent size, Fa’ir knew just what to do.
“Salawaat ‘alan Nabi!” he shouted to Feel.
Feel didn’t know where the command came from, but he abruptly let go of the tree.
“Allahumma sali ‘ala Muhammad,” he recited. All became calm. He then saw the toucan hovering above his head with a mouse in its beak. “Peace,” he greeted them.
Qird hesitantly climbed down the tree. He started to cry at the sight of all the fallen mushy bananas.
“Why were you trying to hurt this monkey?” Fa’ir asked Feel.
“I wasn’t trying to hurt him. I kindly asked him to search for my herd from up there, but he refused and started throwing things at me. Then I just got mad,” explained Feel. “I’m sorry,” he said to Qird.
They all stared at Qird. No one knew how he would respond. Qird sat on the ground and placed his face in his hands. He realized how badly he had treated them, yet they still saved him. After a few minutes of silence, he stood up.
“I apologize to each of you. All these years of solitude have made me selfish and ungrateful. You each did not ask me for much. I should have helped you all.”
Thuqaanah let Fa’ir climb out of her beak.
“It’s ok,” she said. “We already forgave you, so Allah can forgive us one day.”
“Please come up and take rest in my home,” Qird welcomed Thuqaanah. He then picked up a bunch of bananas that were intact and placed them next to Fa’ir. “Please help yourself.”
Then he climbed to the top of his tree and scanned the village below. He pointed north and said, “There! I see your herd that way.”
Feel looked up at Qird, thanked him gratefully and headed north.
Feel looked up at Qird, thanked him gratefully and headed north.
Then Qird shouted from atop his tree, “Oh my fellow villagers! Please come and help yourself to these bananas. What’s mine is yours!”
Villagers came running up the hill from all corners gathering up as many bananas as they could. They made breads, cakes, cookies, drinks and all types of goodies with the fruit. The more Qird gave away, the more bananas the tree bore.
“Subhan Allah wa Alhumdullilah,” Qird cried out in happiness and enjoyed bananas atop his blessed banana tree with his new friends Thuqaanah and Fa’ir. The bananas tasted sweeter than ever.