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This blog is designed as a library of 'thoughts' and concepts for the students of Excel@Learning. It tries to speed up and simplify learning about core subjects including English, Maths and Sciences (Natural, Applied and Islamic) by breaking up topics into independent 'thoughts' or 'photons' of learning. You can contact us at . You can click to return to the Main Web Site.

Short Story: The Bulls and the Lion.

English Posted on Sat, October 12, 2013 23:54:36

The Bulls and the Lion.

Once upon a time there were three bulls that were good friends. They always went around together. There was a black bull, a red bull and a white bull. They walked together, ate together and fought together.

One day a hungry lion came near their home and saw the three bulls grazing on the field. The bulls looked healthy, fat and delicious. The lion’s mouth began to water. He had to think of a plan to eat the bulls but he could not fight all three at once.

The lion waited until one of the bulls had grazed a little far away from the other two into a corner of the field. It was the black bull. He sneakily walked up to the bull so that the other two bulls could not see him.

“Psst!” he said. The bull did not notice and carried on eating grass. “Psst, Psst”, the lion said a little louder. This time, the bull picked up his head and looked around; he saw the lion and felt afraid.

“Don’t be scared”, said the lion, “I am your friend”.

“Lions don’t be friends with bulls”, said the black bull. “Lions eat bulls!”

“Not me!” said the lion, “I’m a vegetarian; I only eat Quorn, milk and mushrooms.”

“Oh!” said the bull, “I never heard of a vegetarian lion before.”

“You need to get out of the field a little more,” said the lion, “the world is changing so fast these days. Oh! Is that the time? I have to go now, I ‘ll see you around later, friend.”

A few days later, the lion came back. Again he was careful to sneak up to the black bull when the other two where in another part of the field. He behaved in a very friendly way with the black bull, told him funny stories about himself and made him laugh with lots of jokes. Then just before he was leaving, the lion said,

“ You know that white bull? He thinks he is better than you! He walks around as if he is the leader, but I think you are much stronger and more handsome than him. Anyway I have to rush now, see you around friend!”

The lion disappeared. The black bull kept thinking about what the lion had said. He watched the white bull walking and couldn’t help agreeing with the lion; he felt bad inside. He didn’t want to talk to the white bull. He kept himself alone on one side of the field, sometimes he chatted with the red bull, but he stopped talking with the white bull.

A few days later, the lion came back. Again he said bad things about the white bull until the black bull asked,

“What should I do then?”

“Oh you don’t have to anything my friend! I’ll take care of him for you!” the lion replied.

“What do you mean?” asked the black bull.

“You just take the red bull and walk to the other side of the field. I’ll handle everything else so you don’t have to worry yourself.” said the lion. “Oh and don’t say anything even if he pretends to be your friend and calls you for help, pretending to be humble. We know how arrogant he is, don’t we?” the lion added.

So the black bull walked up to the red bull, talked with him and slowly walked away from the white bull to the other side of the field. The red bull talked and walked away with the black bull, not knowing what was going on. When they were far away, the lion sneaked up to the white bull and leapt onto his shoulders and bit him on the neck.

“Help! Help!” shouted the white bull. “My brothers, my friends where are you? I am being attacked, help me! Help me!” he screamed. The Black bull ignored him. The red bull started moving towards the white bull but the black bull told him not to bother because the white bull is just pretending.

The lion ate the white bull, leaving the bones on the ground and disappeared. Months went pass and the black bull and the red bull grazed on the field. Then one day the lion came back, sneaked up to the black bull and said,

“Hello friend, are you happy with your greater prosperity?”

“What do you mean?” asked the black bull.

“Well before you had only one third of the field for yourself, and now you are king of half of the field”, the lion said. “Which is greater a half or a third?”

“A half,” answered the black bull.

“So you are richer now than before my friend,” said the lion. The black bull thought for a minute. He missed the white bull, but the lion’s logic was difficult to argue with. They talked and joked while the red bull was unable to see. The lion came back and spend time with the black bull every day for several weeks until he convinced the black bull that the red bull was trying to take over more than his fair share of the field.

“What should I do?” asked the black bull.

“You, my friend, do not have to do anything,” answered the lion supportively, “leave everything to me. Just make sure you are far away from the red bull and don’t say anything, even if he calls out for help, pretending to be humble.”

The red bull met the same fate as the white. The lion disappeared for some time. The black bull felt very lonely all alone in the field. Sure, he was now the undisputed king of the field, but it was boring eating grass all on your own!

Some months later, the lion appeared again. He did not sneak this time, but stood tall and proud.

“Hello my friend”, said the black bull, “I have missed you.”

“You are looking very healthy and fat!” smiled the lion mischievously. “You will taste just delicious!”

“What do you mean?” cried the bull, “we are friends and you are vegetarian!”

“Oh no!” said the lion, “we cannot be friends, because lions eat bulls, I was just waiting for you to become fat and tasty!”

Poem: Tested to Tears

English Posted on Sat, October 12, 2013 23:52:20

Tested to Tears.

I have been tested to tears;
My patience has been tested
To the last sighs;
My energy tested till I collapsed.
I have been tested till I cried
Out to my Lord
Of Mercy and Might.

What nearly killed me,
Has made me stronger,
That which nearly tore my triceps,
Made them more ripped.
Each time my heart broke,
It became tougher and stricter.
Sun, wind and rain made my skin leather.

My bones screamed for help;
My heart yearned for peace.
My mind begged for end
To stress and confusion,
Trick questions, sly deceptions, corrupt councils
Paradoxes and puzzling conundrums.
My soul has wondered for how long?

How long will I be tested?
When will the exam end?
How many more questions are there?
How much time do I have?
With whom can I confer?
Who can I trust and depend on?
How can I finally, achieve a good grade?

by Abu Zahid.

Black Swan

Biology Posted on Sat, October 12, 2013 23:50:57


A rare black swan seen on the River Great Ouse in front of Bedford’s famous Star Rowing Club.

Pony Rides for Toddlers

General Learning Posted on Sat, October 12, 2013 23:45:09


Pilgrimage to Mecca

Religious Studies Posted on Tue, January 31, 2012 13:19:38

I remember going on the pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj) in December 2005. I went for three weeks, at the end of December and returned in the middle of January 2006. While it was very cold in England as we left the airport at Heathrow, it was very hot and muggy in Jeddah airport as we landed in Saudi Arabia.

On the way, we spent 24 hours in Sana’a in Yemen. We stayed in a luxury hotel in the Presidential Suite. I went with my Mum and my youngest brother, who was only 13 at the time. We walked around Sana’a to take a look around. It was very mountainous; people made their homes against mountain sides with the rock of the mountain as one or two walls and they built other walls with stone to complete their house. It was very hot. Many of the houses had bouganvillea flowers growing in their gardens or balconies with purple, fuchsia or pink coloured flowers. This made Sana’a look like the hilly districts of Sylhet, Bangladesh.

Before we got on the plane at Sana’a airport,we all had a shower and put on our Ihram, which is the two pieces of unsewn garments that male pilgrims wear on the Hajj. One of my friends from Somalia, Ahmed, who was staying in the room next to us in the hotel showed me and my brother, Rashid, how to put on the towel that would serve instead of trousers in the Somalian style. This style makes it easier to walk than the normal style.

The Actual Hajj starts when we pass over a marker between Yemen and Jeddah while we are still on the plane. We have to make our intention for Hajj and Umrah (which is like a minor Hajj) as we were doing a type of Hajj called Hajj Tamattu where you do the Main Hajj and the Umrah together.

When we passed over the marker called the Miqaat, the pilot told us that our Hajj has started. From this moment you cannot have a shower or bath until you have finished the Umrah part of the Hajj. You cannot wear perfume or use fragrant soaps or cosmetics. You are not allowed to scratch yourself if that makes any blood come out, pull out any hair from your body or break a twig from any tree or pull off any leaf from a plant, not even a blade of grass. Everyone should recite the ‘talbiyyah’ until you reach the Ka’ba which is the holiest Mosque in Islam. The talbiyyah means ‘Hear I am Oh Allah, Hear I am…’.

Once we reached Jeddah airport, we went on a coach for nearly three hours to reach Mecca. We recited the talbiyya all the way to Mecca. We put our bags in the hotel room, made wudu, which is to wash our face and arms, wipe your head and wash your feet. Then we all walked towards the Ka’ba to complete the Umrah. When we reached the Ka’ba, there were many gates to go through the Holy Mosque to the inner courtyard where the Ka’ba is situated. We all agreed that if we got separated inside, we would meet up again outside the same gate we entered through by the line of palm trees nearby.

We circled the Ka’ba seven times, stopping when the call to prayer sounded to pray with the Imam of the Ka’ba and then carrying on from the number of circuits we had completed. When we finished all seven circuits, we prayed two units of optional prayers at the place where the Prophet Abraham (peace be upon him) used to pray on the East side of the Ka’ba. Then we went to drink from the well of Zamzam.

We then had to walk to the hills of Safa and Marwa to run from one hill to the next until we make seven trips between the hills. My Mum, my brother and I walked together and ran together in the middle section between the hills. We stayed together until the fifth trip.

The call for the late afternoon (Asr) prayer sounded. We stopped our running to pray. When we returned, we could not find my brother Rashid. My Mum was very worried, but we continued with our running between the hills until we finished the seven trips. The only thing we needed to do now to finish our Umrah was to cut some hair.

We could not find Rashid. We waited anxiously for a long time at the top of one of the hills. Then we walked to the other hill looking for Rashid along the way. There were six million people doing the pilgrimage that year, the largest crowd to gather in history. We could not see Rashid anywhere. We waited on the other hill for a long time, then we walked back to the first hill. We waited there for a long time. The call for sunset prayer came and went. We prayed and we continued looking for Rashid, without any success. Eventually we decided to head for the barbers shop to have our hair cut and finish the Umrah. We then walked back to the hotel, with my Mum crying with worry. I left my Mum with some Muslim sisters and took a group of six or seven friends to look for Rashid.

We looked for several hours, with my heart heavy with worry. At times I had to fight back tears, as I thought that we might never see him again. Eventually one of my friends found Rashid waiting at the ‘Lost and Found’ department inside the Holy Mosque. A wave of relief went through my chest. My Mum was crying her eyes out back at the hotel; I didn’t have a mobile phone to tell her straight away. She would have to get the news when she saw Rashid with her own eyes.

That was the end of the Umrah part of our pilgrimage. We had to spend a week in Mecca waiting for the exact date of the Islamic Calendar for the main Hajj to begin. Then we would wear the Ihram again, circle the Ka’ba again seven times, run between the hills of Safa and Marwa seven times again. Then we would travel to the Valley of Mina to spend three days in tents there. On the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah (the last month of the Arabic calendar) we would go to the plain of Arafat to pray for forgiveness to Allah for all our sins. This is the most important part of the Hajj. If you miss this part, your Hajj is not valid. If you miss anything else you could do something to make up for it.

At sunset we travelled to the Valley of Muzdalifah where we have to sleep in sleeping bags in the open without any tent. This is the most difficult night. There is no water, no toilets, no shops. We had to eat dry food that we carried with us and drink from bottles of mineral water that we brought from Mina.

The next morning is the day of Eid. We head back to Mina to arrange for the slaughtering of a sheep each. We then had to walk to the Jamaraat and throw three stones at the marker where the devil had tempted the Prophet Ismail (peace beupon him). Then my brother and I had our heads shaved. Women only have to cut a lock of hair off. Once this is done, We can take off the Ihram, have a shower and wear normal clothes again.

That night we had to return to Mecca to circle the Ka’ba seven times again and run between the hills of Safa and Marwa seven times for the last time. Everyone needs to be back at Mina after this before the dawn. We were stuck in a massive traffic jam. Some people got off the minibuses and decided to walk to make it back for dawn. I had hurt my left leg when I had fallen over in the Holy Mosque, so I could not walk fast. I arrived at Mina after dawn. I had to sacrifice another sheep as penance.

The final acts of the Hajj were to return to the three places where the devil tempted the prophet Ismail to disobey his Father Abraham. We had to throw three stones at each of the three markers. This is the most dangerous part of the Hajj. After weeks of being patient and enduring hardship, people are eager to finish the Hajj and return home. The devils are also whispering to people to make them behave selfishly. Many pilgrims start to push and shove and rush on this day.

Many people, mostly from Africa carry large suitcases on their heads as they carry out this task. Sometimes a suitcase falls off and hurts another pilgrim. The Saudi Army form lines of linked arms to control the crowd. Some soldiers shout commands in Arabic on loudhailers. Unfortunately, most people do not understand Arabic. Sometimes they repeat some commands in English. There are many who do not understand English either. Every year we hear of pilgrims dying during the pushing and rushing of this task. Many pilgrims are old and frail. Some children can also be seen carried on the shoulders of their parents or carers. Sometimes the stones miss the markers and hit other pilgrims on the back of the head. I got hit a few times. Thankfully, the stones are only small.

When this was over, we returned to the Holy City of Mecca for the farewell tawaaf, the final circling of the Ka’ba seven times. We picked up our things from the Hotel and boarded the coach for Medina, the City of the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him). The Hajj was over. We were going to spend a relaxing seven days visiting the Holy Mosque in Medina and traveling around the City before returning home.