Lessons from a Monkey, Moth and a Bird

I was walking with my children a few days ago and we came across a monkey. A moth flew into his hands and began hopping around until eventually, the monkey caught him in its grip. He was ready to devour the moth but suddenly his grip loosened, and the moth flew away. The moth began soaring high into the sky. The monkey jumped behind trying to catch him, but he was too high to reach. Just then, a bird came flying in that direction. The moth literally flew into the bird’s mouth and thus, the bird had his meal for the day.

From this little incident we can extract many valuable life lessons. In the search for wealth we are often like that monkey. We jump behind many opportunities to make as much money as possible, taking on our shoulders far more than we can bear. Understand no matter how hard you try, if it is not decreed for you, you will never acquire it. Just like the moth that flew right out of the monkey’s grip. So, do not be so hard on yourself.

In contrast, the bird did not exert any effort, yet his food flew right into his mouth. A little while later the monkey searched the bins and found something to eat. Therefore, never become despondent. Your efforts never go in vain. Perhaps Allah has also decreed your sustenance elsewhere. His treasures are unlimited, and He always has something in store for you.

To acquire it, we should not allow ourselves to be humiliated in our jobs. Some of us have bosses who swear and shout whilst we work like slaves for them. This is not what Allah wants from us, He does not expect us to endure humiliation. If you are not respected as a human being where you work, search for work elsewhere. On the other hand, never be the one to humiliate those that work for you. You are not paying them, Allah is paying them via you so be kind.

The second lesson we can learn is on perspective. When the moth was trapped in the hand of the monkey, it appeared that he would be eaten in his hands. Whereas in reality, he was safe there. As soon as he flew out he thought he had acquired freedom. Little did he realise, he was flying to his death. Likewise, we often find ourselves trapped in the hands of difficulty. The measures we take to come out of it must always conform with Shariah. If it does conform, then know that you have pleased Allah and this temporary difficulty of yours will be a means of permanent ease in the hereafter. However, if it does not conform to the Shariah, then no matter how free we may seem death will eventually catch us out.

For example, in a financial problem it is impermissible to take a loan with interest. Those that do may seem to be flying high financially with a stable home and job. Little do they realise; the angel of death is waiting, and this financial freedom will eventually lead to destruction. Therefore, do not fall in love with mere worldly delights. Know that nothing is fool proof in life. Never be too sure of yourself or your means. Understand that life will be full of tests so do not reduce yourself or sacrifice your faith to come out of them. Rather, adopt a dignified means coupled with reliance on the Almighty, and your tests will soon turn into blessings in disguise. May Allah make it so, Aameen.

— Hazrat Ml. Dawood Seedat حفظه الله