Little Red Kufi – A Tale for Ramadan
Adapted and retold by Fawzia Gilani Williams
Once upon a time there lived a little boy who was loved by everyone but most of all by his grandmother. Every Eid, his grandmother would make him a red kufi. He wore his red kufi everywhere he went. So everyone called him Little Red Kufi.
He lived with his parents and grandmother in a little house near a grove of date palms. One day during Ramadan, his mother said, “Little Red Kufi, please take this basket of dates to the mosque, so that people can break their fast at sunset.”
“Yes, of course Mama,” said Little Red Kufi. “I will take the basket right away.”
“Be sure that you don’t talk to any strangers,” warned Mama. “And take care to keep your fast.”
“Yes Mama. Asalaamu alaikum!” said Little Red Kufi as he picked up the basket of dates.
“Wa alaikum salaam,” replied Mama and give him a kiss.
The mosque was on the other side of the town. To get there Little Red Kufi had to go through the date palms. Near the date palms lived a greedy camel. As Little Red Kufi skipped through the date trees, along came the greedy camel.
“Where are you going, little boy?” he asked.
“I am taking this basket of dates to the mosque, so the people can break their fast at sunset,” he answered.
“Are they tasty?” asked the greedy camel.
“I don’t know,” answered Little Red Kufi. “I haven’t tried one.”
“Well try one,” encouraged the tricky camel.
“I can’t,” said Little Red Kufi, “I’m fasting.”
“But they look so sweet and tasty! Let’s both try one,” tempted the camel.
“No, I can’t. I’m fasting and now I must be on my way!” replied Little Red Kufi.
“Well, give me your basket,” said the greedy camel, “I will take it to the mosque for you.” But secretly the greedy camel just wanted to eat to them for himself.
“No,” said Little Red Kufi. “Mama asked me to take them to the mosque and that’s just what I’m going to do. But thank you anyway.”
The greedy camel began to plan how he could get the dates. He ran as fast as he could to the mosque.
“Salaam! Salaam!” bellowed the camel as he pushed open the door of the mosque. “It’s me, Little Red Kufi, I’ve come with a basket of dates so that the people can break their fast at sunset.”
There was no answer. The people were busy reciting Qur’an inside and did not hear him. So the camel peeked its head around the corner. Next to the shoe racks he saw a thobe and kufi hanging on a nail. Quickly, the greedy camel threw on the white thobe. It was very tight. Then he put on the kufi, it was very small. Then he waited for Little Red Kufi.
After a while, the greedy camel heard someone coming through the door.
“Asalaamu alaikum Imam!” called Little Red Kufi, “I’ve brought a basket of dates for the people who are fasting.”
“Wa alaikum salaam. Come in! Come in!” growled the greedy camel as softly as he could.
Little Red Kufi looked up and saw the Imam. He looked very strange.
“Subhan Allah! Brother Imam, you look so big and fat!” remarked Little Red Kufi.
“I have been eating too much,” answered the greedy camel.
“But it’s Ramadan, the month of fasting,” replied Little Red Kufi. “How could you have eaten so much?”
“O I just eat too much at sahoor and then at iftar,” explained the greedy camel.
“Please let me try one of your dates,” said the camel.
“But you can’t eat one yet” explained the little boy. “It’s not time to break the fast. The sun is still in the sky.”
“O yes, I almost forgot,” said the sneaky camel.
“Subhan Allah!” said Little Red Kufi, taking a closer look at the camel.
“Brother Imam, what long arms you have!”
“Yes, yes,” said the greedy camel. “All the better to reach for the Qur’an.”
Little Red Kufi stepped a little closer and said, “Brother Imam, what big eyes you have!”
“Yes, yes,” said the greedy camel. “All the better to read the Qur’an.”
Little Red Kufi stepped a little more closer and said, “Brother Imam, what a big mouth you have!”
“Yes, yes,” said the greedy camel. “All the better to eat those tasty dates with!” Then he leapt up to grab Little Red Kufi’s basket.
Little Red Kufi yelled and ran. Just then the Imam and the men in the prayer hall came running out. They chased away the greedy camel.
The Imam thanked Little Red Kufi for bringing the basket of dates and warned him not to talk to strangers again.
When Little Red Kufi got home, he told his family all about the greedy camel.
Kufi – skull cap
Eid – a celebration after the month of Ramadan (Eid-ul-Fitr)
Ramadan – the 9th month in the Islamic calendar and also the month of fasting.
Mosque - a house of worship like a church or synagogue
Salaam – Islamic greeting meaning peace.
Asalaamu alaikum – Islamic greeting meaning peace be with you.
Wa alaikum salaam – response meaning and peace be with you.
thobe – a long white shirt that comes to the feet.
kufi – a hat worn by Muslim men and boys.
imam – teacher and or person who leads the prayer
Salaam - peace
Subhan Allah – literally means Glory be to God.
Sahoor – meal eaten before dawn
Iftar – meal at sunset
Qur’an – name of the holy book guiding Muslims