From the innumerous blessings of Allaah, The Most High, upon us is our ability to reminiscence shared experiences with loved ones and here is a memorable experience that I won’t forget, insha Allaah ta’ala. One day while the children were playing in the yard they came across a colorful creature. They brought the unknown creature to me and told me that it was some kind of worm. I didn’t remember it’s name in Arabic at the time and cheerfully told them that in English this creature is called a caterpillar. What fun we had pronouncing caterpillar. I explained to them that this insect will one day become a butterfly by the permission of Allaah. They asked me “how?”. I was caught off guard and didn’t have a reply. I thought for a moment and decided that this could be a good science project, observing the metamorphosis of a butterfly.
We got an old jelly jar from the kitchen, added sand, poked some breathing holes in the top, furnished it with a short Y-shaped stick and introduced our caterpillar to its new home. Day after day, we fed our pet milkweed leaves and watched it grow like a weed. Its size mutliplied and tripled in a matter of days. Until one morning, as we entered class, we saw the caterpillar hanging up side down. Something was going to happen, but what? None of us knew. Not even the teacher.
Honestly, I’ve never seen what actually takes place. How does a caterpillar become a butterfly? I spoke to some of my co-workers at my evening job and they laughed at me. They called me names and said I was a “city slicker” who knew nothing about nature. They may be right. I didn’t grow up in the countryside, as they did. But I’m sure I came across some worms in the Big Apple. As the laughter settled, I inquired whether any of them had actually watched the process, exactly what or how it happens. They went on and on, but you know what, none of them knew. They brushed it off as one of God’s miracles and didn’t give it another thought. Maa sha Allaah.
We were scared that the caterpillar would fall if we moved the jar to much, so we moved it to a more stable location and started our class. However, after we looked back at the jar the caterpillar was no more. Where did it go? We saw a small pink bag hanging from the stick but the caterpillar was gone. What happened? Did it break in half, melt, or what? We missed it. Qadr Allaahu maa shaa fa’al. We quickly searched the internet to find a recording of the process. After seeing a video on pupation our questions were answered, al hamdu lillaah. I’m happy to say that we did the observation a second time and we were able to catch the full pupation process and it was nothing less than a miracle.
I tried to stress to the children the importance of what we are trying to do. I explained to them, that they, at their young ages, are observing something that a grown man is seeing for the first time in his life. I told then they could spend up to twelve years of their lives in an educational institution that won’t provide them with the opportunity they are having at our humble place of learning. We also spent time reflecting on the stages that we humans go through, from the womb, to this life, to the barzakh, and then the hereafter. We mentioned that who could have told this plant-nibbling worm that it will one day fly in the sky. Much like some who can hardly believe that we will be raised from our graves. This project was definitely from the innumerous blessings of Allaah, The Most High upon us.