“This [Qur’ān] is guidance. Those who have disbelieved in the verses of their Lord will have a painful punishment of foul nature. It is Allāh who subjected to you the sea so that ships may sail upon it by His command, and that you may seek of His bounty; perhaps you will be grateful. [He] subjected to you all that is in the Heavens and all that is in the Earth; it is all as a favour and kindness from Him. Verily, in it are signs for a people who think deeply.”
Every architect has set parameters with which they work by, and they accept that their designs will have flaws and limitations. However, this does not apply to Allāh.
Think about flowers; their beautiful designs, colours, and scents. Think about the bees that take nectar from them. Recognise that the very same bees are the ones who pollinate other plants we use. Going from flower to flower, for weeks and weeks, becoming exhausted in the process, taking nectar back to their hives, and eventually dying from this work, producing honey that we then consume.
It was narrated that ‘Ā’ishah (radhi Allāhu ‘anha) said: “The Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would love sweet edible things and honey.”
Compare the efforts of the bees to that of some of us, who will not even contemplate dying for the sake of Allāh. See how we can learn from other creations and their submissiveness to Allāh.
“Your Lord inspired to the bee, ‘Take for yourself among the mountains, houses, and among the trees and [in] that which they construct. Then eat from all the fruits and follow the ways of your Lord laid down [for you].’ There emerges from their bellies a drink, varying in colours, in which there is healing for people. Indeed, in that is a sign for a people who give thought.”
Think about trees. There are many significant examples in Islām, like the tree that Allāh forbade Ādam and Hawā (‘alayhumā al-Salām) from eating its fruit.
“O Ādam! Dwell, you and your wife, in Paradise, and eat thereof as you both wish, but approach not this tree, otherwise you both will be of the dhālimūn (unjust and wrong-doers).”
There is also the tree that cried after it missed hearing the Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) reciting words of dhikr (remembrance of Allāh) during Friday sermons.
Jābir b. ‘Abdullāh, may Allāh be pleased with him and his father, reported that the Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would stand next to a tree or palm-tree on Fridays. A woman or a man of the Ansār said, “O Messenger of Allāh, should we not make for you a minbar (pulpit)?” He said, “If you wish.” So they made a minbar for him, and when the next Friday came, he was shown to it.
The tree cried like a small child, then the Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) came down and hugged it until it had calmed down. Jābir said, “It was crying because of the dhikr that it used to hear.”
Think about the horrible tree of Zaqqūm that the inhabitants of Hell will eat from. The tree will cause excruciating pain, boiling the insides of those who consume from it. All this in return for those of us who lived our lives in this world, going against the Commandments of Allāh.
“Is that (Paradise) better entertainment, or the tree of Zaqqūm? Truly, We have made it as a trial for the dhālimūn (polytheists, disbelievers, wrongdoers). Verily, it is a tree that springs out of the bottom of Hell, the shoots of its fruit-stalks are like the heads of the shayātīn (devils). Truly, they will eat thereof and fill their bellies therewith. Then they will be given boiling water to drink, so that it becomes a mixture (of boiling water and Zaqqūm in their bellies). Then, thereafter, their return is to the flaming fire of Hell.”
Think about rain and the water cycle. The Sun provides heat that causes water to evaporate from oceans, seas, and rivers up into the sky, forming clouds when it condenses, which then float at a height where the air is so light that it becomes vapour, which then rains down when the clouds get heavy. Think about torrential downpours and hurricanes, floods and droughts. Think about fire, an essential element for anyone in a remote area. Think about clean water, something we take for granted.
“Have you seen the water that you drink? Is it you who brought it down from the clouds, or is it We who bring it down? If We willed, We could make it bitter, so why are you not grateful? Have you seen the fire that you ignite? Is it you who produced its tree, or are We the producer? We have made it a reminder and provision for the travellers, so exalt the name of your Lord, the Most Great.”
Think about the universe, and a solar system that is itself inside a galaxy, one that holds at least a hundred billion stars, and there are over two-hundred billion galaxies in the universe. Massive black holes – with one right in the centre of the Milky Way – suck in everything that comes close due to their enormous gravitational pull; even light cannot escape from a black hole. Jupiter is over a thousand times the size of the Earth, and the Sun holds over 99% of the mass of our solar system. Think about how the Sun is 95,000,000 miles away from us, yet if we look at it directly, we can go blind. And the universe is ever-expanding.
“Blessed is He who has placed in the sky great stars and placed therein a [burning] lamp and luminous Moon. And it is He who has made the night and the day in succession for whoever desires to remember or desires gratitude.”
This is all His design, so how can we ever think He is incapable of anything? How can we sin, knowing He could destroy us at any moment? His creations cause fear in our hearts from how they remind us of Him, so how can we possibly comprehend His Wrath? For a thing to happen…
“Exalted is He! Rather, to Him belongs whatever is in the Heavens and the Earth. All are devoutly obedient to Him, Originator of the Heavens and the Earth. When He decrees a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be!’ and it is.”
Think about marine life. Organisms have been found on the ocean floor, a place where there is no light at all. Look at the dolphins, whales, sharks, and other fish. Take the blue whale, for instance, which grows up to 30 metres and weighs up to two-hundred tonnes. Forget dinosaurs. What about water vortexes? Some are so powerful that they destroy boats and ships, like tornadoes with spinning water sucking things downwards.
Think about how sand is made. The weathering process smoothes down boulders into rocks, rocks into stones, stones into pebbles, then pebbles into fine grains. What about the sky? Sunny, cloudy, stormy, clear, never constant. Think about at night when the stars come out, and the Moon and the different stages during its monthly cycle, and the way clouds pass by in front of it, sometimes moving at such speed that you really get a sense of how insignificant we are. Then think about Paradise, and time stops.
“Indeed, in the creation of the Heavens and Earth, and the alternation of the night and the day, and the [great] ships that sail through the sea with that which benefits people, and what Allāh has sent down from the Heavens of rain, giving life to the Earth after its lifelessness, and dispersing therein every [kind of] moving creature, and [His] directing of the winds and the clouds controlled between the Heaven and the Earth, are signs for a people who use reason.”
Think about how the Earth is constantly spinning on its axis, with the Moon so far away yet the light it receives from the Sun is bounced onto our eyes. How many different climates are there on this planet? The closer to the equator, the hotter it gets, and the farther away from it, the colder it gets. Compare the stark difference in climates between the North Pole and Uganda.
Think about the bears, cats, horses, cows, goats, sheep, giraffes, zebras, antelopes, elephants, deer, rhinoceros, monkeys, camels, and hundreds of other animals. New species are found constantly. Do we not feel ashamed at how we abuse our free will, something that these animals do not have?
“Do they not see the birds above them with wings outspread and [sometimes] folded in? None holds them [aloft] except the Most Merciful. Indeed, He is, of all things, Seeing.”
Think about the intermittent birdsong heard throughout the day, the familiar and not-so-familiar sounds of birds outside. When we listen and hear them sing, we wonder what Allāh commands them to say to one another. We hear their talking as beautiful tweeting to us.
Think about hurricanes, tornadoes, avalanches, ice, sleet, snow, wind, thunder, lightning, tsunamis, earthquakes, and sinkholes — everything can be stunning yet deadly if Allāh so wishes.
“Do you not see that Allāh drives clouds? Then He brings them together, then He makes them into a mass, and you see the rain emerge from within it. He sends down from the sky mountains [of clouds] within which is hail, and He strikes with it whom He wills and averts it from whom He wills. The flash of its lightning almost takes away the eyesight. Allāh alternates the night and the day. Indeed in that is a lesson for those who have vision. Allāh has created every [living] creature from water, and of them are those that move on their bellies, and of them are those that walk on two legs, and of them are those that walk on four. Allāh creates what He wills. Indeed, Allāh is over all things Competent.”
Think about the various stages that fruits and vegetables go through, from seeds to fully grown produce. Strawberries, for example, are the only fruit to hold their seeds on the outside – small, yellow-white dots aligned systematically, on average holding two-hundred seeds. Then there are the fruits of Paradise awaiting those of us who work for it.
“Every time they will be provided with a fruit therefrom, they will say, ‘This is what we were provided with before,’ and they will be given things in resemblance [in the same form but different in taste].”
Remember that even the most beautiful things in our eyes are not always as they may seem. Roses have thorns, so we admire them for their beauty, but if we are not careful, they can hurt us too. It is important to strike a balance between admiring Allāh for His creation and fearing Him for the same.
“It is Allāh who erected the Heavens without pillars that you [can] see, then He established Himself above the Throne and made subject the Sun and the Moon, each running [its course] for a specified term. He arranges [each] matter. He details the signs that you may, of the meeting with your Lord, be certain.”
“It is He who spread the Earth and placed therein firmly set mountains and rivers, and from all of the fruits He made therein two mates. He causes the night to cover the day. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.”
“Within the land are neighbouring plots and gardens of grapevines and crops and palm trees, [growing] several from a root or otherwise, watered with one water, but We make some of them exceed others in [quality of] fruit. Indeed in that are signs for a people who reason.”
As one may have concluded, the theme of this article was to make us think. But to think about what, exactly? Other than the few examples that have been listed, there is, of course, an innumerable and infinite number of other examples of the sheer beauty of Allāh’s design, structure, and perfection in all of His creation.
Unfortunately, it seems nowadays that there are so many more fitan (temptations, distress), and so many more sources of veering away from Islām, that it is almost forgivable for us to feel a sense of numbness about our religion. It can sometimes get to the best of us – a lull in belief and a profound feeling of not belonging to this world. Need we be reminded that the believers are al-Ghurābā, strangers amongst a larger group of the world’s population who do not adhere to Islam? Need we be reminded that we are also strangers in the sense that we are not of this world, but instead yearn for better things in the Hereafter?
As fellow Muslims, we know well and truly that Allāh is the One and Only, Al-Wāhid. We have the depth of understanding in our hearts that regularly reminds us of His ever-present being. We should use our God-given senses to regularly reflect upon the creation of Allāh, as this will, in shā Allāh, help us to stay on track, to stay guided, and to stay as Muslimīn in a world where we do not always feel welcome.
 Al-Qur’ān 45:11-13
 Sahīh Al-Bukhāri 5431
 Al-Qur’ān 16:68-69
 Al-Qur’ān 7:19
 Sahīh Al-Bukhāri 3319
 Al-Qur’ān 37:62-68
 Al-Qur’ān 56:68-74
 Al-Qur’ān 25:61-62
 Al-Qur’ān 2:116-117
 Al-Qur’ān 2:164
 Al-Qur’ān 67:19
 Al-Qur’ān 24:43-45
 Al-Qur’ān 2:25
 Al-Qur’ān 13:2-4
Jazaak Allahu khair.
I was going to include the statement about the ghuraba but it feels like ‘self-praise’ so regarding “We should use our God-given senses to regularly reflect upon the creation of Allāh, as this will, in shā Allāh, help us to stay on track, to stay guided, and to stay as Muslimīn in a world where we do not always feel welcome.”
I’m probably not going to articulate this very well but recently I’ve realised that you can belong to everybody and at the same time belong to nobody.
Good read. Really helpful
Nice. This is good read.