The Spider and the Doves: The Story of the Hijra
Author and Illustrator: Farah Morley
Publisher: The Islamic Foundation
Hardback 28 pages
Age range: 6-9
The Spider and the Doves is a lovely narration of the well-known story of the time that Prophet Muhammad SAW and Abu Bakr RA embarked on the historic journey to Medina. Told from the perspective of the spider and the doves that were present in the Cave of Thawr with them, it is a great resource to introduce children to the magnificence and significance of the Hijra.
The book is targeted at age 6-9. The text is quite lengthy so probably not suited for younger children. Having said that, it is well written and the story flows well. It doesn’t only talk about the journey of the Hijra, but also gives background information about Makkah before the advent of Islam as well as a description of Prophet Muhammad SAW – his character, personality and message.
The illustrations use a silhouette technique whereby the characters are shown as blackened images against a backdrop of beautiful watercolours. It may not keep the interest of younger audiences, but combined with the strong narrative, the depth of the images is enough to keep a 6 year old interested.
What is great about this book is that it spends a lot of time explaining the character of the Prophet SAW. The little spider comes to love the Prophet SAW just by listening to the doves’ tales about him. This is, in effect, what we are trying to do with our children. We are asking our childrento love the Prophet SAW based on our stories of him and it is only through our constant reminders to them about how great the Prophet SAW is and how universal his teachings and his message are, that we can hope to instil a love for him in them.
This retelling of the classic story of the Hijra shows how, with the inspiration from Allah, the tiniest creatures could play such a huge part in the safety of the Prophet. By the use of appropriate language, and by telling it through the spider and the dove, it helps to put things into a child’s perspective.
“Now there have been many great journeys – to the icy poles, to the thickest jungles and even to the moon – but this journey changed the world like no other”
A highly recommended read, especially since the month of Muharram is now approaching.
I bought my copy of this book here http://www.bookdepository.com/Spider-Doves-Farah-Morley/9780860374497