Today, I have been gazing out my window and taking in all of the signs of spring. The new growth, the blossoms all around, the sound of birds chirping, the changing weather patterns, and the smell of imminent rain showers. I do love the spring season! In fact, I love that I have the opportunity to experience all four seasons, the new beginnings of spring, the lush greens and abundant vegetation of summer, and the fresh cleanness from new fallen snow in the winter, but my favorite time of year….the fall…. Autumn in New England!
When I was young, I used to call it “crunchy leaf season” because of the sound the leaves made as you walked through them, kicked them, jumped into the big leaf piles, and stuffed handfuls of them into old jeans and shirts for scary Halloween decorations.
Today, I still love the smell of the autumn air and the fallen leaves, the change in the air from the summer heat and humidity to a nice crisp coolness. I love to watch the trees changing colors and I love driving through the hills and hiking through the many trails I grew up near, to see the foliage. And, I love to catch the most fabulous sunsets of the year. Subhan’Allah. (How glorious and amazingly perfect is God)
Several years ago, during the fall season, I was in my first semester of graduate school, heading from one end of the campus to other end for class with fellow students. The wind was gusting lightly causing a “whirlwind effect” of leaves spiraling down to the ground. “Oh, its such a beautiful day, I love this time of year”, I said. “Just smell the air, feel the crispness. Its sweatshirt season again! I love this!”
Just then, a fellow student, a Muslim brother said to me:
“You know what is beautiful? That not one leaf falls without the permission of Allah (SWT).”
I stopped suddenly, unable to move, and I looked up towards the sky as I watched one leaf break from a branch and slowly fall to the ground ever so gently. Then, another gust of wind came along and hundreds of leaves came down. I thought, Oh my God……what? What was that he just said? That was so beautiful. I was suddenly filled with an emotion that I had never experienced before. I felt a sense of overwhelming gratitude and awe and I actually began to cry.
What just happened? Why did that statement have such a profound effect on me? What did I just experience?
Alhamdulillah. (All praise is for Allah)
You see, I had been struggling with my beliefs, or non-beliefs, for several years. I was raised Catholic, but it never made sense to me. What I was learning seemed to contradict itself all the time and I never got any clear cut answers to my questions that made any sense to me. I stopped going to church as soon as I could figure out a way to do it without my parents catching me (although, I am sure that they figured it out).
I wasn’t kidding anyone, especially myself.
As I grew and matured, I kept experiencing the feeling that I had a purpose in life, and that purpose was definitely not linked to what I was doing, or how I was living during that particular period of my life.
What was my purpose? Was it to be a good mother, a good wife, what was it? I, along with most of the other people I hung with, was not concerned with anything but that very moment in time, not what occurred yesterday, or what may or may not occur tomorrow.
I started to notice that the people I surrounded myself with would do the same things over and over again, having fun doing stuff of course, but I soon began to view things from outside of this cycle of “sameness or purposeless.” What I once considered fun did nothing for me anymore. I would rather sit home and do nothing than go out and party with friends. I struggled with depression and often felt alone and sad.
Through all of this, I had this inner drive to find my purpose, but I was too wrapped up in my own stuff to even know where to begin. I often brushed off my feelings as “being to analytic” or “come, on, just snap out of it.”
I knew that there was this “truth” out there somewhere. I just didn’t know where or what it was. I knew that there was something to believe, some purpose, but what was it?
Well, believe it our not, the remark that the Muslim brother said: “Not one leaf falls without the permission of Allah (SWT)” was probably THE defining moment of when I began to realize that this, this emotion that I just experienced, has something to do with my purpose in this life. If something so simple, so insignificant (or so I thought) as a leaf does nothing without the permission of Allah, then what is my purpose? What am I supposed to be doing?
It was that day, that one brief moment in time, that I began to understand the Greatness of Allah (SWT).
Allahu Akbar. (God is the Greatest)
I began to listen to this brother talk a bit more. Things he said made so much sense, yet they were so simple! How could something so simple and easy to understand be IT, be part of my purpose? I began doing some research, and was encouraged to seek information from an individual with much more knowledge. I met with him twice, each time learning more and more about the pillars and basic beliefs of Islam. Each time being given things to read and opportunities to ask questions.
Now, with all of this information, I had to make a choice. I could go on living the way I had been, rather recklessly and with no clear direction or purpose, or based on my new knowledge, embrace the fact that there is No deity worthy of worship but
God (Allah), and that I am a servant of God. That was my purpose, to worship Allah SWT alone. If I wanted any chance of true peace I had no choice but to embrace Islam.
Alhamdulillah. (All praise is for Allah)
I love to observe all of the natural beauty I see surrounding me. I am in awe over the sighting of an animal in the woods, the sound of water as rivers flow past, the beauty of a sunrise or sunset, and the beauty that lies within our landscapes. It is when I am experiencing these natural wonders, that the Greatness of Allah is so apparent.
I have always, since I was little girl, found little treasures that I would bring home. Some piece of nature, whether I had a pocket full of sea shells, a pocket full of rocks, a piece of driftwood, or a snapshot of something beautiful I stumbled upon on my hike. I am so drawn to these little items. I now know that they are my small tangible representations of a much larger truth. Right now, I have a little pile of rocks in the car from a beach on the Cape, that haven’t yet made it in the house, As I sit on my couch right now I see the piece of birch wood bark that I found and I just had to bring home. I see the cool rock I found along one of my favorite river paths, and the little tiny beginnings of an avocado plant that I started from saving the pit from the fruit and allowing it to sprout a small root!
I look at all of this beauty with absolute amazement and thankfulness to Allah (SWT). Every ant that crawls through the grass, every butterfly that soars by me, every step that I take on this earth that sprouts vegetation, every rain drop that falls from the clouds, every animal searching for food in the early morning hours, every waterfall, every mountain, every gorge……..all here because of the Greatness of Allah (SWT).
All of this beauty that is found all over this earth, beautiful waters, beautiful forests, beautiful deserts, beautiful scenery, the many animals, the sky, the stars, the sun, and moon, all beautiful creations, all on a set course. All of these creations of Allah SWT are in perfect harmony and there is no disorder. Each has a purpose, to obey and worship Allah (SWT). And…we are able to experience this beauty because of Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) created this beauty for our enjoyment in this world too!!
All of this vast beauty…which also has a purpose! The same purpose as me! To Worship Allah (SWT)!
As humans we have to make a conscious effort to stay on the straight path and to turn to all that is halal (permitted) and turn away from all that is haram (forbidden). We must be thankful to Allah, (SWT) ask only of Allah (SWT), and believe in the Oneness of Allah (SWT).
He provides all that we need, Alhamdulillah.
The beauty of this world is just a small glimpse of what is to come for those of us who truly have faith and knowledge and follow the guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and worship Allah (SWT) alone.
“Ash-hadu an la ilaha il Allah Wa Ash-hadu anna Muhammad-ur- Rasul-Allah.”
I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah. I testify that Muhammad (PBUH) is the final messenger of Allah”