"Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please?"
Quickly the mother checked the back of the little foil box and then looked back into the pleading eyes of her little girl's upturned face.
"One rand ninety-five. That's almost R2.00. If you really want them, I'll think of some extra chores for you and in no time you can save enough money to buy them for yourself. You might get some money from Grandma."
As soon as Aysha got home, she emptied her penny bank and counted out 17 cents. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and she went to the neighbour and asked Mrs. Kamaa if she could pick Dandelions for ten cents.
On her birthday, Grandma did give her another rand and at last she had enough money to buy the necklace.
Aysha loved her pearls. They made her feel dressed up and grown up. She wore them everywhere – Madrassa, kindergarten, even to bed.
The only time she took them off was when she went swimming or had a bubble bath. Mother said if they got wet, they might turn her neck green.
Aysha had a very loving daddy and every night when she was ready For bed, he would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read her a story.
One night when he finished the story, he asked Aysha, "Do you love me?"
"Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you."
"Then give me your pearls."
"Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have Princess – the White-Horse from my collection. The one with the pink tail. Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She's my favourite."
"That's okay, Honey. Daddy loves you. And he brushed her cheek with a kiss.
About a week later, after the story time, Aysha's daddy asked again, "Do you love me?"
"Daddy, you know I love you."
"Then give me your pearls."
"Oh Daddy, not my pearls. But you can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful and you can have the yellow blanket that matches her sleeper."
"That's okay. Sleep well little one. Daddy loves you"
And as always, he brushed her cheek with a gentle kiss.
A few nights later when her daddy came in, Aysha was sitting on her bed with her legs crossed eastern-style. As he came close, he noticed her chin was trembling and one silent tear rolled down her cheek.
"What is it, Aysha? What's the matter?" Aysha didn't say anything but lifted her little hand up to her daddy. And when she opened it, there was her little pearl necklace. With a little quiver, she finally said, "Here, Daddy. It's for you."
With tears gathering in his own eyes, Aysha's kind daddy reached out with one hand to take the cheap store necklace, and with the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out a blue velvet case with a strand of genuine pearls and gave them to Aysha. He had them all the time. He was just waiting for her to give up the cheap store stuff so he could give her the genuine treasure.
And, so is it with Allah. Allah is waiting for us to give up the cheap things in our lives so that Allah can give us beautiful treasures. Are you holding onto things which Allah wants you to let go of? Are you holding on to harmful or unnecessary partners, relationships, habits and activities which you have come so attached to that it seems impossible to let go of?
Sometimes it is so hard to see what is in the other hand, but do believe this one thing. Allah will never take away something without giving you something better to take its place.