One of the mercies Allah has instilled in humanity is the gift of compassion, that innate quality which allows us to love and care for His other creations. FILE PIC

ONE of the mercies Allah has instilled in humanity is the gift of compassion, that innate quality which allows us to love and care for His other creations.

I like to think that I am endowed with such a gift, though the latest subject matter of that love and care may beg to differ.

Several weeks ago, as I was driving to the neighbourhood mosque, I saw a tortoise crossing the busy road.

Concerned that it would be crushed by an oncoming vehicle, I stopped to help.

As with most impulsive acts, I did not think things through, so when I picked up the rather heavy tortoise, I was not sure whether to give it to my favourite nephew or throw it into a disused tin mine not far from where I was.

Remembering how short my nephew’s interest span is, I decided on putting the tortoise at what I presumed was its natural habitat — that disused mine.

But that would mean having to cross a grassy patch of land possibly inhabited by paranormal creatures, which were presumably neither cute nor cuddly.

Gripped by fear of the unseen, I decided to throw my acquaintance down from where I stood. Judging from the loud thud as the tortoise hit the edge of the drain, the poor bugger probably suffered a severe concussion before drowning. So much for trying to help.

I am inclined to believe that before its soul left its shell for tortoise heaven, it was hurling unbridled profanities at me wishing it had been a roadkill than being picked up by an absolute idiot.

Feeling guilty, I googled tortoises. The Internet says that unlike turtles, which prefer to be in the water and are excellent swimmers, tortoises prefer to be on land and are not good swimmers.

If I ever had any doubt about my lack of intelligence, it was cleared up.

May Allah forgive me.

Megat Shaharuddin Merican

Kelana Jaya, Selangor

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