Hyderabad: Man gives you the award but God gives you the reward. The difference between the two is very subtle but it became clear when 200 children were given bicycles for being regular in their prayers for 40 days. Parents of the awardees as also others present at the programme held the other day were appreciative of the gesture shown by the Mimber-o-Mehrab Foundation India in recognising the sincere efforts of the kids in a novel way.

Tearing away from slumber and offering 'Namaz-e-Fajr' at the break of dawn is a bit difficult for most. It is all the more tough in the winter season particularly. But young boys in the age group of 7 to 15 proved that nothing is impossible provided one had the will. Braving the morning chill they attended prayers at the crack of dawn at the Masjide Alfalah in Old Malakpet from November 18 to December 27.

"I am not regular in prayers, particularly namaz-e-Fajr. But because of my son I got used to offering namaz", remarked a man echoing the views of many others.

Children awarded cycles

At the cycle distribution programme organised at the Hi Tech Function Hall, most parents admitted that the 40 day regimen had a salubrious effect on their wards. "Earlier I used to wake up my child for namaz and now he is waking me up", said a proud father.

The whole thing was in tune with the concept of early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. During the forty day course, children not only learned to get up early in the morning but also got a good grounding in moral values so essential in the present times, said Ghyas Ahmed Rashadi, founder, Mimber-o-Mehrab Foundation. Right from its inception two years ago, the Foundation is trying to make mosques a hub of socio-welfare activities instead of confining them to being just a place of worship.

Many children like Mujtaba Hasan waxed eloquent about the health benefits of cycling. Most persons who rose to heights of fame loved cycling. While keeping one fit, peddling the two wheels refreshed body and mind, they said. Noted ulemas, Maulana Shah Jamalur Rehman and Maulana Ahmed Obaidur Rehman reminded the children that they should offer prayers not in anticipation of any award but solely to please God who bestowed one with countless blessings.

Beaming from ear to ear, the kids rode their brand new cycles with the promise that they would be regular at school and prayers.

J.S. Ifthekhar

J.S. Ifthekhar is a senior journalist with nearly four decades of experience. Ifthekhar cut his teeth in journalism at the Indian Express before he moved to The Hindu. He was also associated with the Siasat Daily, Telangana Today, Deccan Chronicle, Onlooker magazine, Newstrack, Detective Digest and a few news agencies. He has written on different subjects and aspects of Hyderabadi life. However, his passion remains literature in general and Urdu poetry in particular. He is equally concerned with culture, heritage, civic affairs and problems confronting the man in the street. As a journalist he has taken up cudgels on behalf of the underprivileged and many of his stories in The Hindu saw the government promptly taking corrective measures. Ifthekhar has authored two books - Hyderabad - The Nawabi City on The Move and Haj - The Spirit Behind it. He has also translated two books from Urdu to English. Currently he is working on his third book - Poets and Writers of Deccan. Loves to write and writes to live. Can't imagine doing anything else.

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