I went for a nature walk yesterday. For a few hours, I just did nothing but walk and take in my surroundings, let the senses kick in and just think.
And it struck me.
Why is it, that God is constantly telling us in the Qu’ran to reflect on the signs around us? He implores us to look at nature, to look at the universe, to look at His creation, as contained within them are ‘Signs for those who ponder / think / reflect / are intelligent’ (depending on which verse). It is repeated SO often within the Qur’an.
Why is it repeated with such regularity? After all, nothing is in there by accident. It surely must mean something. So I did what the Book asked. I pondered.
The reason God keeps telling us to look towards nature, is actually profound in its simplicity.
It’s because, nature is doing what it was created to do.
Nature is ‘in order’. It follows Allah’s laws exactly as it should. Day in, day out. It is on its fitrah (natural disposition). That’s why the sun rises and sets daily, like clockwork. That’s why the four seasons come in and out, the same time every year. It’s why the bees do their job and cross-pollinate, and why the trees give out oxygen. They do the job they were created for, without fail. Maybe they even go one better — there’s a famous hadith that suggests that animals are spending their time praising Allah — (in the hadith a Prophet had destroyed an ant colony after he got bitten and was admonished that he has destroyed those who are in constant praise of their Lord’.).
To talk in modern language, all creation has been ‘programmed’ to follow a system — these natural laws are essentially the source code that the world is made up of. There are no bugs in this system, it has operated flawlessly for years.
Hence, I’ll repeat it — nature is doing WHAT IT IS SUPPOSED TO DO.
It appears that the only creation that has such inconsistency in this regard is humans. We are often forgetful of our true purpose. Part of that is due to the test of free will upon us, and of course shaytan’s mission to constantly deviate us from the path we’re supposed to be on. As such, we are no longer in ‘balance’ — we are completely out of sync. And we’re getting worse. We’re moving further and further away from what we should be doing and as we do so, we are more in disorder than ever. This is why justice is spoken so much about in Islam — as it is the equilibrium, the balancing of law as it supposed to be. We are, quite simply NOT doing justice as a species.
We often think justice only goes hand in hand with human rights. And it does, but only to an extent. Justice for me, is a much wider concept that applies to everything in the universe. Where you find any type of law, you find a need for justice.
To ensure justice is done, you must have compliance to the law. Then you get to order. Hence why the phrase law and order is always put together.
If we do justice to divine law, we’ll have it. If we don’t, we’ll have anarchy.
Think about it, if true justice is not served in society, we often have riots and pandemonium.
As nature is in order, and complete submission to its creator, it works in perfect harmony. This is such a huge reminder to us. And it’s all around us, if we only looked!
When you look at this deeper, it’s no coincidence that we somehow feel the barakah and blessings of Ramadan much more than any other time of the year — it’s because we’re much more closer to living according to our fitrah, we are closer to doing justice to our souls.
Oh, and what happens when the laws of nature are tampered with? When it isn’t able to do what it’s supposed to do? You see havoc, you see anarchy. We’re doing things to the Earth, that we’re not supposed to. Fracking. Chopping down trees at a relentless rate. Messing with natural eco-systems — is it any wonder natural disasters are on the rise, more frequent and more devastating than ever? We’re hunting rare animals for sport, and consuming (or wasting) food and resources like it’s going out of fashion. Bee populations are dying which threatens the food chain which threatens the human race. This is us doing to the Earth what we’ve done to ourselves.
By extension, this is the same for any kind of law. (Note — the governments govern by statutes and legislation, law is something else — there is a difference).
If we don’t do justice to the laws or rights of our body — i.e we overindulge, eat too much sugar or salt or alternatively, we starve ourselves, it’s the same again — it causes chaos as we are not compliant with what the laws of our body govern. As long as we consume what our Law has instructed (i.e. halal and tayyib, lawful and wholesome) our bodies will benefit from compliance as it is the natural order for the physical nature of man.
Spiritually, if we are not compliant with our fitrah and our purpose — it causes chaos within our souls.
Everything is interconnected, everything is interlinked. And the Quran has the framework.
So, what IS our purpose? What are we ‘supposed to do’?
Well, it’s to worship and remember God. Simple. But that doesn’t mean you’re glued to a prayer mat and your rosary beads. It doesn’t just mean rituals. Worshipping God can be done through your work. Your legacy. Your impact. Your relationships. It means being mindful and conscious of God in the way you live your life.
Worshipping Allah is done through following His laws, ensuring everything is in balance. In a word, compliance. Submission. Your family and neighbours are given their due rights. Your body getting its due rights. Your soul. You’re providing value to the world through your work and doing what you were always meant to. It’s to seek knowledge fiercely, to find out what OUR individual purpose is and how Allah wants us to use our skills, our talents for the betterment of society. History is testament to what can be achieved if a society is in proper order and living with purpose. The Islamic Golden Age is proof of what happens when purposeful work is done to please God and you’re in compliance as a society.
Is it easy? No. Is it necessary? Well, you tell me. Is it necessary for fish to swim and birds to fly and plants to grow and animals to graze and the sun to rise?
I realised that our every day living in the grey concrete jungles that we call our cities is not conducive to regular reflection like this. Not taking in nature often enough is a problem. And without it, we can often become jaded.
Make it a regular activity to break out and go and bask in the ambience of nature. Reflect on it. Breathe in that fresh air and remember your Lord and why you exist. And learn about the laws of nature. And comply to those, above all others.
May we become of those who reflect on nature, be compliant with God’s natural laws and live according to our fitrah, ameen!
A lifelong learner, avid reader and passionate writer, I am the founder of KNOW and a serial entrepreneur.
I am a huge believer in personal development and am also the co-founder of Muslim CEO.