Bilal and the Colourful Butterflies

At the weekend, Bilal went to visit his grandfather. The two days passed very quickly, and before Bilal knew it his father had arrived to take him home. Asad said goodbye to his grandfather and went to sit in the car. He was looking out of the window as he waited for his father to collect his things. A butterfly sitting on a flower a short distance away fluttered its wings and flew to the car window.

"You're going home, aren't you, Bilal?" asked the butterfly in a tiny voice.

Bilal was astonished "Do you know me?" he asked.

"Of course I do," smiled the butterfly. "I've heard your grandfather telling the neighbors about you."

"Why didn't you come and talk to me before?" Bilal inquired.

"I couldn't, because I was in a cocoon up a tree in the garden," explained the butterfly.

"A cocoon? What's that?" asked Bilal, who was always a curious boy.

"Let me explain from the beginning," said the butterfly as it took a deep breath. "We butterflies hatch out of the egg as tiny caterpillars. We feed ourselves by nibbling leaves. Later we use a liquid which comes out of our bodies like thread and wrap ourselves up in it. That little package we weave is called a cocoon. We spend a while inside that package as we wait to grow. When we wake up and come out of the cocoon we have brightly colored wings. We spend the rest of our lives flying and feeding ourselves from flowers."

Bilal nodded thoughtfully "You mean all those colorful butterflies were once caterpillars before they grew wings?"

"Can you see the green caterpillar on that branch?" asked the butterfly.

"Yes, I see it. It's nibbling away hungrily at a leaf."

"That's my little brother," smiled the caterpillar "In a while he'll weave a cocoon too, and one day he'll be a butterfly like me."

Bilal had lots of questions to ask his new friend. "How do you plan this change? I mean, when do you come out of the egg, how long do you stay as a caterpillar and how do you make the thread to weave your cocoons?"

"I don't plan any of it at all," explained the butterfly patiently. "Allah has taught us what we need to do and when we need to do it. We just act in the way our Lord wills."

Bilal was really impressed. "The patterns on your wings are wonderful. And all butterflies have different patterns, don't they? They are really colorful and eye-catching!"

Everything in the heavens and the earth glorifies Allah... (Surat al-Hadid, 1)

Do you not see that Allah sends down water from the sky and by it We bring forth fruits of varying colors? And in the mountains there are streaks of white and red, of varying shades, and rocks of deep jet black. And mankind and beasts and livestock are likewise of varying colors. Only those of His servants with knowledge have fear of Allah. Allah is Almighty, Ever-Forgiving. (Surah Fatir: 27-28)

"That's a proof of Allah's incomparable artistry. He created us one by one in the most beautiful way possible," explained his friend.

Bilal agreed enthusiastically: "It's impossible not to see the beautiful things Allah has created. There are hundreds of examples all round us!"

The butterfly agreed: "You're right Bilal. We need to give thanks to Allah for all these blessings."

Bilal looked over his shoulder: "My father's coming. It looks like we're about to set off. It was really great to meet you. Can we talk again when I come next week?"

"Of course," nodded the butterfly. "Have a safe journey home."

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