# 363: Ibrahim and the Little Bird

Do What You Can to Help, for Allah Will Ask What You Did Not How Much… | Amaliah

Story behind the Passage

Today in a conversation with a very wise, kind, and strong man, I learned about this story above. It touched me deeply, just like everything else he said. There were so many sentences which I will never forget. And the wonderful thing was that we laughed a lot — he laughed a lot. You know, very often, you get this sense that wisdom being taught is something “serious.” It needs to be communicated in some ‘formal’ setting, by people wearing a suit and in a tone that expresses authority and power. All this might be a legacy of history. But after all, this would be very recent history. From all we know, most of the really bright minds in human history, like Socrates or even the great theologists in the Middle Ages, lived in poor conditions and therefore never fulfilled these “traditional” conventions. Their faith and humbleness prevented them from prefering “form over function.” In addition, who says that they did not have a sense of humor? I think, humor is the biggest gift ever and you only regain it if you have been through all the dark valleys before.

The man I talked to today probably was through all these valleys, practically around the entire world. And he built entire libraries in his head with the books he read. But in the end, as I have come to learn on my journey, there is really only ONE book that matters in every culture. It is very simple. This is the source of everything. But you have to read all these other books, study all these other subjects, go to all these other places to see how much everything is connected to one source. And talking to someone who has already seen this at a young age and who has not lost his curiosity a bit — who is just as curious as he was before he started the journey — is just amazing. It made me feel humbled again and a bit guilty. Actually, very guilty. All the scorning and anger I had and still have about certain professional grievances — he taught me a different way of seeing them in a more positive light. This made me feel even more humbled and ashamed because, honestly, I had no hope to find people like this, especially in the academic environment.

When he shared the story about Ibrahim/Abraham and the bird, I knew I would have to write about it today. Parables are the most powerful ‘teachers.’ They only use up a few sentences on a page but they open up an entire universe in your mind. I wish I had met people like him before. But at the same time, I know this is not true — it is not just to say this. I know that, if I had met someone like him before and listened to such a story, my ears would not have been ready to receive the message. There is nothing you can do to force things. It is an illusion. Things happen when they are supposed to happen, if they happen at all. And you learn certain things when you are ready to listen. You might have heard a story for a million times but then there is a moment when it clicks.

Today, it clicked.

“There is a voice that doesn’t use words. Listen.” — Rumi

My Learnings

Hey little bird,

Someone told me about you.

He did it in a very gentle way.

He described you as a hero,

Whom I will never forget.

In my inner eye,

You are a small bird.

Not very pretty,

Not very ugly.

Not a rich bird,

Not a poor one either.

But you are shining,

Because of the beauty inside.

And your role model,

Can change the world.

As he spoke and described you,

I sensed what was coming.

But I liked listening to his voice,

Which was not pushing,

For the ending to unfold.

So many people rush all the time,

The wise ones among us,

Take their time to talk.

When he described what you did,

I felt sad at once,

I would have liked to be like you,

But I gave up on it.

Or maybe I never tried,

To put out the fire.

Not in all matters of life,

But in some.

You were so brave and confident,

Did not care about the big birds.

They could laugh at you and mock you,

You followed what felt right.

Saving Ibrahim was your inner calling,

Your endurance and faith were your gifts.

No matter what anybody would say.

You were not insane,

Neither were you naïve.

You were seeing the truth.

Which is why you kept going.

I do not know if I can follow you,

My heart is still full of anger,

Yes, small change is nice,

But no change is failure.

Writing books makes a difference,

Doing research can inspire.

A few people among a few people.

These are small drops of water.

Maybe I am like you,

But I just do not see it.

I just wish that your narrator today,

Will keep telling your story.

I know he is like you,

And I will never forget,

That he taught me your story,

And thus changed my life.

Reflection Questions

1) What is your favorite parable? Do you know where it originated/who the author was?

2) Where you ever in the place of the “big birds,” questioning the impact of the little bird? How do you feel about this now?

3) Who is the best storyteller in your personal circle? What does he/she teach you with the stories?