A friend loaned me this book with a bit of hesitation as to its quality, and although I needed one more Hajj book for an upcoming story time, it seemed that it was yet another book about the steps for Hajj, so I wasn’t stressing about acquiring it. Luckily we were both wrong, at least from my perspective. The book is so sweet, and not so much about the steps and details of Hajj, but more about the longing to go. To seal the sweetness deal, it is about the friendship between a man, and a tree, and perfect for 3 year olds and up.
The little tree dreams of traveling, but more than anything he dreams of going to see the Ka’aba. Noting the logistical struggles of travel with roots, his mother encourages him to make duaa for his heart’s desires. After a lot of patience and a lot of duaas, (alhumdulillah, it shows duaas take time and are not a magical instant granting of a wish) a young man walks by on his way to the coast to catch a boat for Mecca. Startled by a talking tree, the clever boy just happens to have a basket and he uproots the tree and they head out together.
The book shows the two doing all the steps in a large two page illustration, keeping the text to a minimum. On the next page though, it highlight the two praying and trimming their hair and leaves. When the tree is returned to his mother, she is watered with Zam Zam water and “they agree it is the sweetest water ever tasted.”
The friendship continues, as they journey on countless adventures, and in the end, when the man is old and the tree is too big, the old man returns to rest on the tree’s roots and tell stories to the nearby saplings.
Written in both English and Arabic, the story is a fast read that holds even the little one’s attention as they look at the expressive illustrations. There is additional information on the Hajj rituals page, but it can be used according to need, like the glossary in the back. The story is for Muslim children and families as it does not explain the requirements of Hajj, importance of the Ka’aba, or history of the rituals.