By Zaynab Dawood
We live in a busy world where who we are and what we should ‘become’ provide constant pressure and stress. This is more so for revert women who are trying their best to adopt behaviour patterns that will assist in their growth. Becoming a woman that believes- a believer, a person that prays, a person that gives charity and the list goes on. Becoming all of these is a real challenge and to maintain being all of these is a struggle and that is why “becoming” is not a point we reach but a long process that we live, that we experience every moment of our lives.
There is also the push towards finding time for ourselves, so that we are not suffocated by life’s hustle and bustle. Nature has always been the positive yet neutral force that is there if you wish to escape the chatter of modern life, if you wish to escape from the clamour of pain and anxiety.
Becoming moved by nature
Becoming appreciative of nature is something we can all do. It is a lifeline that Allah has given us so that we can see the Power and Beauty in His Creation and be moved by it. We are humbled when we the see the delicate butterfly and we are awed with the sublime sunrise. We are soothed with the sounds of light rainfall and tweeting birds. We are refreshed with the scents of roses and orchids. We are comforted by the early morning sunlight and clean fresh air.
Having these experiences helps us to become aware of Allah’s Power as Al Khaliq, the Creator, and Al Lateef, the Sublime, as our hearts and souls are touched by Allah’s artistry in a way that nothing else can.
Appreciating the natural world helps us to become better worshippers:
Allah says: “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 Allah 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!’…”
Nature around us
We all have different lives and we live in different landscapes. Some of us live in busy urban places, where green spaces are scant and we exist in the throng of buildings, skyscrapers and cemented burrows. Some reside where homes are cushioned in valleys and woods and where many homes have gardens. We all recognise the healing power of nature but, unfortunately, not everyone has access to it. Beautiful meadows, charming streams and even a well-maintained park, may be out of reach for many of us. So how can we access nature and become more appreciative of it? How can we feel its power?
Allah, in His Supreme Wisdom, is aware that many people will not be blessed with such picturesque surroundings, yet He gave us aspects of nature that we all have access to. Whether we live in a concrete city or a thatched cottage, we all have access to these aspects of nature, aspects that are truly majestic and beyond the avaricious hands of humans who have spoiled this planet with their greed for more, more, more. Indeed, Allah, Most High, has taken Oaths by these manifestations of nature.
Allah makes oaths using natural phenomena
Allah makes oaths using the Stars (chapter 85,) the Sky (chapter 86,) the Break of Dawn (chapter 89,) the Sun (chapter 91,) the Night (chapter 92,) the Glorious Morning (chapter 93) and the Break of Day (chapter 113.) Wherever we are: if we are cooped up in busy cities or circumstances prevent us from going out on long walks through the beautiful countryside, we can all experience the stars, the sky, the sun, the morning and night- these natural phenomena are experienced by all of us and our immediate environment does not impede our appreciation of these natural phenomena. Through contemplation we can become more appreciative of nature and understand our place within it and our duties towards it.
Beauty in nature
Nature reminds us of Allah’s Power and Beauty and our inner voice instantly utters “Subhanallah” when we see beauty in nature and Muslims are encouraged to reflect over the mysteries of creation and contemplate on the beauty and order of the natural world. This contemplative reflection not only make us spiritually stronger but emotionally content and gives us mental clarity. Becoming more appreciative of nature enables us to work towards reflecting the external beauty of the natural world within ourselves, our relationships, our akhlaq (behaviour) and how we organise our lives. The beauty and order of the natural world has always informed Islamic architecture and the beautiful geometry and tessellations on mosques celebrate the perfect balance and beauty of Allah’s Divine artistry in nature. We should strive to replicate the beauty of the natural world in the manner we live and in the spaces we occupy.
What we can do
Becoming appreciative of nature also includes being mindful of nature. Respecting its boundaries and not being wasteful or greedy. It does not befit a Muslim, who recognises that everything belongs to Allah, to waste natural resources, to pollute and to be irresponsible towards animals. We can all do our little ‘bit’: we can recycle our waste, buy local produce, consume healthy food and keep our living areas tidy and clean. The natural world is on loan to us from Allah and we need to maintain it by respecting it as well as deriving spiritual benefit from it.
Allah has made this natural world our home and we need to tap into the power that nature exudes, as a prompt that there is beauty, solace and hope for those who seek a life of faith and contentment, and nature is a constant reminder that there is much, much more beyond the stars for those who wish to become close to the One Who made all of this and beyond.
About the author
I’m Zaynab Dawood from Lancashire, England. I’m a busy mum of four, a teacher and author. For me there are three delights in life: ibadah, spending time with family and friends, and reading good literature!