Story No. 482 – City of Birds in the light of a Hadith of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw)
City of Birds in the light of a HadithThe place was very lonely and it seemed that there was none except Allah (SWT) in that place. It was surrounded by mountains. It was called the ‘City of Birds’. The city was the most beautiful place on earth. The birds over there led a very comfortable life. There were all kinds of birds – parrots, sparrows, pigeons, and etc.
At the break of dawn, the cock’s cry used to wake up everyone and then everyone began working. There lived a family of pigeons in that city. In that family there were several baby pigeons. These baby pigeons were very beautiful. They were milk white and there were brown lines along their necks, which added to their beauty. They used to wake up with the rising Sun and used to do salaam to the Sun with a lot of love and respect.
The Sun replied to their salaam and used to converse with them. The Sun loved them more than the other birds. Everyday the Sun used to wake them up and encouraged them to work.
The days passed in this manner, until it was winter. The birds, which could not tolerate the extreme cold, flew to another warmer city. Slowly many birds left the city and the place became very lonely.
One day, the cock crowed as usual. The pigeons and other birds began rising slowly. But today they did not see the Sun. The Sun was hidden behind a very dark cloud. With this, the birds felt very cold and uncomfortable. The baby pigeons asked their mother, ‘Why did the Sun not come out today?’
The mother pigeon took her little ones under the shelter of her wings and said, ‘Dear children, be patient, surely one day the Sun will come out.’
Many days passed, however there were still no signs of the Sun. Without the Sun, the birds felt more and more uncomfortable. And as the dark clouds surrounded them, the whole place was very dull and gloomy.
The birds used to sit alongside each other and consoled one another, ‘Don’t worry, surely one day the Sun will come out and drive the dark clouds away. It will fill our lives with light and happiness like before.’
But the dark clouds continued to surround the ‘City of Birds’. The thunder of the clouds frightened everyone, and the lightening made the birds feel very uneasy. The whole atmosphere was very tense. In this atmosphere, there were some who continued to do their work and were not affected by the thunder and lightening around them.
But there were some who were very afraid and even became hopeless of the Sun ever coming out again. They started telling the other birds, ‘O those who await the rising of the Sun, don’t be so hopeful of the Sun, because it will never come out again! You will never see it again. So don’t have any hopes on seeing the Sun, otherwise you will be disappointed.’
Such talks saddened the birds. They began thinking, ‘Will the Sun ever come out again?’ Then the dark cloud also began frightening the birds with its talks. The cloud said, ‘If you all don’t do as I say, then there will be so much snow, that all of you will be covered in it.’
Now while the cloud was saying this, suddenly it became very cold and it began raining heavily. Then some of the weak birds began believing the cloud and said, ‘O cloud, we believe you and will do as you command.’
However, the pigeons were not afraid of the cloud’s threat. They spoke to the other birds thus, ‘Dear brothers, what are you saying. Don’t be fooled with the dark cloud’s talks. Surely the Sun is present behind the dark cloud. One day the Sun will definitely come out from behind the dark cloud.
Hadith of Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw)However the situation was such that no one was listening to anyone and everyone had his own opinion.
Some were saying. ‘Surely the Sun has died’, while some were saying, ‘The Sun is unhappy with us and will never return’, while some others were saying, ‘The Sun has gone on a long journey and no one knows when it will return.’
There was a lot of confusion among the birds. Finally the birds decided that they would ask the Hoopoe’s advice about the Sun. So they all went to the Hoopoe’s nest and explained the matter to him. The Hoopoe listened to them very carefully. Then it said, ‘The pigeons are absolutely right. The Sun has neither died, nor has it gone away on some journey. Right now, the Sun is present above our heads.’
Then all those birds, which did not believe the pigeon earlier, were very surprised at the Hoopoe’s talks. They asked, ‘Is the Sun really present over our heads. But we cannot see anything. If the Sun had been there…
The Hoopoe interrupted them and said, ‘Just think a little and you will understand that whatever life is there on this earth, it is only because of the Sun. If there was no Sun we would all have died. Very often we don’t see the Sun with our eyes, but its effects are very clear to everyone. For example, at night we don’t see the Sun, but the Sun is very much there. It provides us with enough heat so that we remain alive.
Even when the weather is very cold, we get our heat from the Sun.’ ‘Don’t be so sad and disheartened. Be patient and pray so that the dark clouds go away and the Sun becomes visible once again. Pray so that our eyes can be comforted with a glance at the Sun.’
All the birds, especially the baby pigeons, prayed that night for the Sun. In the morning the Hoopoe, the birds and the pigeons woke up. The baby pigeons were very happy, and why not, their prayers had been answered. They all looked towards the sky very happily and said with love and affection, ‘O generous Sun. Peace be upon you!’
Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) said: “In occultation (Ghaibat) Imam is like a sun hidden behind the clouds.”