بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
“As you sit on the hillside, or lie prone under the trees of the forest, or sprawl wet-legged by a mountain stream, the great door, that does not look like a door, opens.”
If I didn’t consider my face, voice and identity sacred, I would’ve made a Video/audio blog of my little experiences out in nature. There’s something therapeutic about nature which I, a city girl, only realized when I moved to a city of beautiful skies and landscapes. You’d be happily looking around here and suddenly spot a deer having his/her evening stroll in a nearby golf-park. Sometimes you’d even see a group of deers silently huddled around this King-deer (with special crown-like antlers, I’m not joking) as if they’re holding a board meeting/community-Shoora of some sort. Moose walk around as if they own the road and I hear coyotes (and huskies) having a nice chat at 2am in the morning in pure howling-language. Owls have their own thing going too as they please and when they please. Birds remind me to do my Adhkaar almost daily during Fajr time and right after ‘Asr up until Maghrib with their excited and consistent Tabeeh-like chirping. SubhanAllah. So alhamdolilah I live in a place full of vibrant activity which I absolutely adore and had been longing for since ages.
Being connected to nature is absolutely vital for a Muslim’s Eeman (faith). We get so caught up in our rituals/duties/techy gadgets that we forget that a much more interesting life exists for us to explore and remember Allah SWT through. We don’t live our lives consciously, in the moment, and let moments pass by without having a presence of mind. As a result we become a set of individuals who lose the habit to calm down and focus, thus always requiring constant intellectual stimulation to make us concentrate. This affects our lack of Khushoo’ in just about everything.
I had the pleasure of a mini excursion this past Friday. Where I live, ‘Asr is at around 6pm and Maghrib is at around 10pm. This leaves us with approximately four hours of daylight to enjoy and benefit from if we’re done with reciting Surat’l Kahf and our daily tasks. In my community area, they have designed small parks and the city I live in is an athletic city. People here are huge on hiking, running, winter sports (since it snows 9 months a year) and lots of outdoor activities (ziplining, underground cave tours and so on). Consequently, the urban planning has been done to facilitate hiking and running for the most part for humans, dogs and animals. Don’t ask me why I separated dogs from animals. For some odd reason they are treated as a special species on their own and have more rights than other animals and sometimes even humans.
It was on-the-spur decision. I prayed hard that there wouldn’t be any dogs that cross my path and despite the rain, me and my brother got to our destination. I was always in a ‘Oh-lookie!’ mode sometimes crouching near earthworms and sometimes pointing at beautiful little leaves on our way. As a Microbiologist (well ex now), who’s life revolved around the study of genetics for the past x years (bacteria and the like) you start to appreciate and respect the smallest of Allah SWT’s creatures. I almost felt like lifting the earthworm (no not with my bare hands) from the middle of the path to its destination so that it didn’t get crushed. In genetics, major research is done using earthworm genes to solve human disease problems. I almost felt that the knowledge I had about their genes and their sophisticated systems made me value them and not belittle them in any way especially since they reminded me of His Special Design. SubhanAllah! How could I allow something that points to Allah SWT to be crushed? Besides, it’s only a matter of time. We and all the earthworms are going to be neighbours very soon. As disgusting as it sounds, it’s a reality of life.
Here are a few photos that my brother took. I take credit for the direction:
Some brother-sister moments are precious mashaa’Allah. This is us with our reflection in a puddle along the sidewalk. In our conversation, we usually share things we’re annoyed about, things we dream about in a half-serious and in an almost-jokingly mood, alhamdolilah. We were talking about him graduating soon and I almost said, ‘You know we’ll do…on your graduation next year inshaa’Allah’ but I quickly realized I wouldn’t be there for him to cheer for him. May Allah SWT allow me to part of the celebration when Allah SWT honors him in Akhirah. Ameen!
This is the entrance of the park. Every type of tree has its own personality! SubhanAllah. There are ones who stand in line with their almost circular leaves fluttering like the wings of excited birds. Then there are those who have their long hanging narrow branches covered with leaves that are ready to sweep the ground to-and-fro. Beautiful mashaa’Allah!
As you walk, you’ll find a lonely bench right at the end of the view and one would be fooled into thinking that it is the end of the park.
إِنَّ اللَّهَ رَبِّي وَرَبُّكُمْ فَاعْبُدُوهُ ۗ هَٰذَا صِرَاطٌ مُّسْتَقِيمٌ
Truly! Allah is my Lord and your Lord, so worship Him (Alone). This is the Straight path.
[Surat Ale Imraan, 3:51]
But no! There’s a secret passage way right at the side of the bench which one cannot make out from far. So the track gives a deep bend into the left side. I almost felt like I was in Enid Blyton’s novel.
وَمَن يُشَاقِقِ الرَّسُولَ مِن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ الْهُدَىٰ وَيَتَّبِعْ غَيْرَ سَبِيلِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ نُوَلِّهِ مَا تَوَلَّىٰ وَنُصْلِهِ جَهَنَّمَ ۖ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا
And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way, We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination!
[Surat An-Nisaa, 4:115]
The more you walk, the deeper it gets subhanAllah.
وَكَيْفَ تَكْفُرُونَ وَأَنتُمْ تُتْلَىٰ عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتُ اللَّهِ وَفِيكُمْ رَسُولُهُ ۗ وَمَن يَعْتَصِم بِاللَّهِ فَقَدْ هُدِيَ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
And how could you disbelieve while to you are being recited the verses of Allah and among you is His Messenger? And whoever holds firmly to Allah has [indeed] been guided to a straight path.
[Surat Ale Imraan, 3:101]
The passage then opens into an open area ascending upwards until you reach the top and can see another track on the opposite side twisting its way through the hills. If you notice there are houses around so it’s a resendential area with some very lucky people living closeby to such beauty. You almost feel as if you’re on top of the world of beautiful hills. The view is spectacular from the top:
إِنَّ الْأَبْرَارَ لَفِي نَعِيمٍ
عَلَى الْأَرَائِكِ يَنظُرُونَ
Verily, Al-Abrâr (the pious who fear Allâh and avoid evil) will be in Delight (Paradise). On thrones, looking (at all things).
[Surat’l Mutaffifeen, 83:22-23]
If you keep walking, you can see a neighbouring golf park with mini lakes, all lying as if untouched by humans:
This was when we were heading back the same passage. It was getting dark, the clouds seemed to be on the move with much gentler winds directing them with the Permission of Allah SWT. There were a few random drizzles and the atmosphere felt alive with the subtle fragrance of freshly rained-on plants:
إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ وَالْفُلْكِ الَّتِي تَجْرِي فِي الْبَحْرِ بِمَا يَنفَعُ النَّاسَ وَمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مِن مَّاءٍ فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ بَعْدَ مَوْتِهَا وَبَثَّ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ دَابَّةٍ وَتَصْرِيفِ الرِّيَاحِ وَالسَّحَابِ الْمُسَخَّرِ بَيْنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ لَآيَاتٍ لِّقَوْمٍ يَعْقِلُونَ
Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, and the ships which sail through the sea with that which is of use to mankind, and the water (rain) which Allah sends down from the sky and makes the earth alive therewith after its death, and the moving (living) creatures of all kinds that He has scattered therein, and in the veering of winds and clouds which are held between the sky and the earth, are indeed Ayat (proofs, evidence, signs, etc.) for people of understanding.
[Surat’l Baqarah, 2:164]
On our way back I forced my brother to take the picture of this innocent little worm crawling on the ground, trying its best to cross the track across with some very important agenda, looking for something. My mom thinks I’m a little crazy but subhanAllah look at the flourescent orange gooey stuff within the worm. I wonder what that is! The worm had more motivation to cross the track than most of us humans to do anything for our dunia/Akhirah! What a hardworking creation of Allah SWT which keeps on working silently without making noise! Allahu Akbar!
وَاللَّهُ خَلَقَ كُلَّ دَابَّةٍ مِّن مَّاءٍ ۖ فَمِنْهُم مَّن يَمْشِي عَلَىٰ بَطْنِهِ وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَمْشِي عَلَىٰ رِجْلَيْنِ وَمِنْهُم مَّن يَمْشِي عَلَىٰ أَرْبَعٍ ۚ يَخْلُقُ اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاءُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
Allah has created every moving (living) creature from water. Of them there are some that creep on their bellies, and some that walk on two legs, and some that walk on four. Allah creates what He wills. Verily Allah is Able to do all things.
[Surat An-Noor, 24:45]
وَجَعَلْنَا لَكُمْ فِيهَا مَعَايِشَ وَمَن لَّسْتُمْ لَهُ بِرَازِقِينَ
And We have provided therein means of living, for you and for those whom you provide not [moving (living) creatures, cattle, beasts, and other animals].
[Surat’l Hijr, 15:20]
وَفِي خَلْقِكُمْ وَمَا يَبُثُّ مِن دَابَّةٍ آيَاتٌ لِّقَوْمٍ يُوقِنُونَ
And in your creation, and what He scattered (through the earth) of moving (living) creatures are signs for people who have Faith with certainty.
[Surat’l Jathiyah, 45:4]
It was getting time for Maghrib and we had to stop over at Co-op to get a few things. The horizons here are quite vast subhanAllah. It seems like one’s view is made up of more skies than land. On the left hand side of Co-op is an area which is quite open and you get the following view. We surprised our mom with Blueberry tea-biscuits and yummy scones as we got home, had tea and prayed Maghrib, alhamdolilah.:
أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يُزْجِي سَحَابًا ثُمَّ يُؤَلِّفُ بَيْنَهُ ثُمَّ يَجْعَلُهُ رُكَامًا فَتَرَى الْوَدْقَ يَخْرُجُ مِنْ خِلَالِهِ وَيُنَزِّلُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مِن جِبَالٍ فِيهَا مِن بَرَدٍ فَيُصِيبُ بِهِ مَن يَشَاءُ وَيَصْرِفُهُ عَن مَّن يَشَاءُ ۖ يَكَادُ سَنَا بَرْقِهِ يَذْهَبُ بِالْأَبْصَارِ
See you not that Allah drives the clouds gently, then joins them together, then makes them into a heap of layers, and you see the rain comes forth from between them; and He sends down from the sky hail (like) mountains, (or there are in the heaven mountains of hail from where He sends down hail), and strikes therewith whom He wills, and averts it from whom He wills. The vivid flash of its (clouds) lightning nearly blinds the sight. [Tafsir At-Tabari].
[Surat An-Noor, 24:43]
The pictures don’t do a single percent worth of justice to what my eyes saw that day/evening. Different sights which cooled not only my eyes but also the depths of the heart. It was chilly (probably 8-9 degrees Celsius not including the wind chill) but subhanAllah it made me wish I could just stay outside for much longer. Every time I felt happiness, I felt a sense of pain that some of our brothers and sisters must be going through so much all around the world at this very moment while I enjoy this. They may not feel any peace in this world but they will be rewarded for their patience in Akhirah with gardens under which rivers flow. Inshaa’Allah a promise of everlasting pleasure for the lack of security they suffer in this world.
These sights must not have meant much to me years back had I not known Islam like I know today. I saw a few people jogging in the park (with their dogs) in a nonchalant manner as if this was something nothing of value to them.
It made me realize that what is the value of anything without any faith in Allah SWT? How could one reconcile the sophisticated creations of Allah SWT and the point of it all? How terrible is a life without belief in Allah SWT! How limiting in its pleasure, peace and contentment. Empty and colourless. A life empty of meaning and purpose!
إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآيَاتٍ لِّأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ
الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ
رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَٰذَا بَاطِلًا سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding.Those who remember Allâh (always, and in prayers) standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and think deeply about the creation of the heavens and the earth, (saying): “Our Lord! You have not created (all) this without purpose, glory to You! (Exalted are You above all that they associate with You as partners). Give us salvation from the torment of the Fire.
[Surat Ale Imraan, 3:190-191]
My worries and all those pressures had fizzled out. My energy soared as if released from the cage of personal expectations I had locked it up in. My heart calmed down after days of ‘throbbing’. My senses drank in coolness from the atmosphere. If this wasn’t pure unadulterated form of happiness, then I don’t know what is! You don’t have to live where I live. You don’t have to have parks around. You don’t need to have everything or anything in this dunia. Just the belief in Allah SWT in your heart is enough to turn something mundane into the most prized experience inshaa’Allah. Try it either alone or with people you cherish. Inshaa’Allah it’ll be an Eeman-boosting experience!
May Allah SWT grant us the pleasure of meeting Him in Akhirah with His Pleasure so that we can tell Him how everything glittered with His Remembrance and how thankful we are to Him for placing several Signs in nature that point towards Him and Tawheed!
“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.”