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Creative and Innovative Story: Clever Fisherman and King

Creative and Innovative StoryAs King Parveez and Queen Shireen were sitting in their palace one day, a fisherman who was selling beautiful fish was brought in front of them. King Parveez decided to buy a fish and gave the fisherman 4000 dirham for it.

The fisherman was overjoyed. He thanked King Parveez and left.

Queen Shireen turned to her husband in anger and scolded him for paying so much for a fish. King Parveez let her have her say but said that the fish was purchased and that there was nothing that could be done about it.

However, the Queen Shireen was adamant and insisted that the fisherman be brought back.

"We will ask the fisherman about the gender of the fish," she said. "If he answers that it is female, we will say that we wanted a male fish and if his response is that it is male, we will say that we wanted a female fish! Either way, we will be able to return the fish and have our money back."

So the poor fisherman was called back and was asked the question.

Fortunately, he was clever enough not to be caught out. Fisherman replied, "This fish is unique in the sense that it is neutral i.e., it's neither male nor female."

King Parveez was so impressed by the ingenuity of the man that he ordered a further 4000 dirham to be paid to him. The fisherman thanked the King Parveez again but as he was about to leave with the heavy bag of money, one of the coins fell onto the floor. The fisherman immediately bent down to look for the coin. Queen Shireen was already upset that the fisherman had been given 8000 dirham.

"Look how miserly this man is!" the Queen Shireen exclaimed. "One coin has fallen out of his bag full of money and he searches for it instead of leaving it for some other poor servant to find."

The fisherman heard this remark and said, "O Queen, it is not out of miserliness that I search for the coin but rather because it had the picture of generous King Parveez on it. I would not tolerate anyone to cause dishonour to the King Parveez by treading on the coin."

King Parveez was so flattered with this response that he immediately called for another 4000 dirham to be given to the fisherman. When Queen Shireen saw all this, she thought it was better to hold her tongue and let the fisherman go with the 12000 dirham before the King decided to increase the amount again.

Lessons from Life: Speech is an Art. If one knows what, when and how to talk then such a person will be successful in life.

Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has said, "The beauty of man is in the clarity of his tongue."

Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (as) has said, "Your tongue is the translator of your intellect."

Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (as) has said, "The most foolish person is one, who considers himself the wisest!"

Imam Hossein (as) has said, "Wisdom of a human being will attain the highest level only by following the truth."

Imam Jafar Sadegh (as) has said, "A wise man will not be bitten twice by the same snake in a hole!"

Imam Jafar Sadegh (as) has said, "The most knowledgeable person is one who runs away from ignorant people."

Imam Musa Kazem (as) has said, "The sleep of a wise man is far better than vigilance of a fool during the night."

Imam Musa Kazem (as) has said, "Human being has not been given anything higher than wisdom and intellect."

In other words, a person's intellect and wisdom is recognized through his speech.

Creative and Innovative Story: There is always a better way

There is always a better wayA blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet. He held up a sign which said: "I am blind, please help." There were only a few coins in the hat.

A man was walking by. He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat. He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words. He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.

Soon the hat began to fill up. A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy. That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were. The blind boy recognized his footsteps and asked, "Were you the one who changed my sign this morning? What did you write?"

The man said, "I only wrote the truth. I said what you said but in a different way."

What he had written was: "Today is a beautiful day and I cannot see it."

Do you think the first sign and the second sign were saying the same thing? Of course both signs told people the boy was blind.

But the first sign simply told people to help by putting some money in the hat. The second sign told people that they were able to enjoy the beauty of the day, but the boy could not enjoy it because he was blind.

The first sign simply said the boy was blind. The second sign told people they were so lucky that they were not blind. Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?

Lessons from Life:

1. Be thankful for what you have.

"Has there not been over Man a long period of Time, when he was nothing - (not even) mentioned? Then verily We created Man from a drop of mingled sperm, in order to try him: So We gave him (the gifts), of Hearing and Sight." Noble Qur'an (76:1-2)

2. Be creative. Be innovative. Think differently and positively as Noble Qur'an admonishes:

"Those who celebrate the praises of Allah, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth, (With the thought): "Our Lord! You have not created this for naught. Glory be to You! Give us salvation from the penalty of the Fire." Noble Qur'an (3:191)

3. Invite the people towards good with wisdom. Noble Qur'an says:

"Invite (all) to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for your Lord knows the best, who have strayed from His Path, and who have received guidance." Noble Qur'an (16:125)

Creative and Innovative Story: The Beggar's Well-Deserved Dinner

The Beggar's Well-Deserved DinnerMany years ago, there lived two woodcutters, Rahim and Rahman, in a village. They would go out every morning to the nearby Bandipur forest to cut firewood and sell it in the nearby town. They earned barely enough to survive. After they had cut wood, they would sit on the bank of the river and eat their lunch from their Tiffin boxes. Next they would sell the firewood till the end of the day in the marketplace before going home.

One sunny day, the woodcutters were eating their lunch. It was at that time, Rahim noticed a thin and exhausted beggar, coming out of the forest. His clothes were torn and his hair was dishevelled. The beggar hungrily eyed the packets of lunch. "I see that you are having an excellent day my friends," said the beggar, addressing them. I wonder if you can spare a few morsels of food for me." Rahim, who felt sorry for the beggar, quickly reached for his packet of lunch and was about to give a part of it to the beggar, but Rahman immediately grabbed his elbow and pulled him back "We have no food to spare," Rahman told the beggar. "We work hard throughout the morning and pack enough food for ourselves to see us through the day. At the end of the day, we buy food and other essentials for our families. So you see we cannot give you what we are eating. But if you wish, I can lend you my Axe and we both will teach you how to cut firewood and sell it. Insha Allah at the end of the day, you will have enough to eat and buy yourself a new Axe to cut more firewood tomorrow. This way, you can earn a livelihood with dignity."

The beggar joined Rahman and they both went inside the forest. Patiently, Rahman showed the poor man how to cut the firewood and make it into a neat pile. Thereafter they took him to the market and told him how to sell it.

At first, the beggar had no success. He began to mutter angrily: "It would have been so much simpler if these men had been generous, and shared their food with him". As he was thinking, a carriage pulled up before him. A person stepped out. He purchased the whole bundle from the beggar. While making an exit, he pulled out a bundle of currency notes from his pocket and pressed it into his hands. The beggar was delighted and grinning happily, he proudly took the money to Rahman to show them his earnings. Rahman took him to another shop and purchased him a brand new Axe with a part of his money. After thanking Rahman and Rahim for their help, he headed towards an inn to eat his dinner and catch up with some badly needed rest.

After he had gone, Rahman told Rahim, "Had you given the beggar some food, he would have eaten it quickly and would have been again hungry tonight. By teaching him how to start his own trade in firewood, we have both taught him a skill, which will last him a lifetime. Now he will never go hungry again. In doing this, we have followed the teachings and the example that has been set for us by the Holy Prophet of Allah, Muhammad (peace be upon him)."

As a very famous saying goes, "Don't give them fish but teach them how to catch the fish."

Lessons from Life: "We make a living by what we get; and we make a life by what we give."

Creative and Innovative Story: Square Watermelons

Square WatermelonsJapanese grocery stores had a problem. They are much smaller than shops in the USA and therefore don't have room to waste. Watermelons, big and round, wasted a lot of space. Most people would simply tell the grocery stores that watermelons grow round and there is nothing that can be done about it.

That is how majority of people would respond. But some Japanese farmers took a different approach. If the supermarkets wanted a square watermelon, they asked themselves, 'How can we provide one?' It wasn't long before they invented the square watermelon.

The solution to the problem of round watermelons was solved as the farmers did not assume it was impossible and simply asked how it could be done. They found out that if you put the watermelon in a square box when they are growing, the watermelon will take on the shape of the box and grow into a square fruit.

This made the grocery stores happy and had the added benefit that it was much easier and cost effective to ship the watermelons. Consumers also loved them because they took less space in their refrigerators which are much smaller than those in the USA meaning that the growers could charge a premium price for them.

What does this have to do with anything in life or at your job? There are a few lessons that you can take away from this story which help you:

Don't Assume: The major problem was that most people had always seen round watermelons so they automatically assumed that square watermelons were impossible before even thinking about the question. Things that you have been doing a certain way your entire life have taken on the aura of the round watermelon and you likely don't even take the time to consider if there is another way to do it. Breaking yourself from assuming this way can greatly improve your overall life as you are constantly looking for new and better ways to do things. This was one of the most difficult things for me to do because most of the assumptions I make, I don't even realize that I'm making them. They seem perfectly logical on the surface, so I have to constantly make an effort to question them.

Question Habits: The best way to tackle these assumptions is to question your habits. If you can make an effort to question the way you do things on a consistent basis, you will find that you can continually improve the way that you work. Forming habits when they have been well thought out is usually a positive thing, but most of us have adopted our habits from various people and places without even thinking about them. I have changed a large number of habits that I have had after taking the time to question them and continue to do so. Some of them I have know idea where they came from while others I can trace to certain people or instances in my life. It's a never ending process, but by doing this, you can consistently strive toward making all aspects of your life more enjoyable instead of defaulting to what you have now.

Be Creative: When faced with a problem, be creative in looking for a solution. This often requires thinking outside the box. Most people who viewed this question likely thought they were being asked how they could genetically alter watermelons to grow square which would be a much more difficult process to accomplish. By looking at the question from an alternative perspective, however, the solution was quite simple. Being creative and looking at things in different ways in all portions of your live will help you find solutions to many problems where others can't see them. I am not a creative person, but I've found that the more that you look at things from different perspectives, the more creative I have become. It's a learned art and builds upon itself.

Look for a Better Way: The square watermelon question was simply seeking a better and more convenient way to do something. The stores had flagged a problem they were having and asked if a solution was possible. It's impossible to find a better way if you are never asking the question in the first place. I try to ask if there is a better way of doing the things that I do and I constantly write down the things I wish I could do (but currently can't) since these are usually hints about steps I need to change. Get into the habit of asking yourself, 'Is there a better way I could be doing this?' and you will find there often is.

Impossibilities Often Aren't: If you begin with the notion that something is impossible, then it obviously will be for you. If, on the other hand, you decide to see if something is possible or not, you will find out through trial and error. Take away the lessons from the square watermelons and apply them to all areas in your life (work, finances, relationships, etc) and you will find that by consistently applying them, you will constantly be improving all aspects of your life.

I am sure we can bring about change if we really want to.

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Islamic Moral Stories is designed by Akramulla Syed Last Updated: Thursday, November 17, 2016