Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
The very word conjures magical ideas and whimsical images in one’s mind.
Do you believe in miracles? Of course you do – you’re a Muslim. The Muslim knows of Allah’s Magnificence, the All-Powering, All-Capable One, subhaanahu wa ta’ala. So the Muslim believes in miracles. To what extent and in which way or form, I guess that’s personal to each of us. But I guess, deep down we all wish for miracles, seek to witness them in some way; something special and unique between the slave and his Lord.
I went on my own soul-searching experiential expedition recently, and I guess, amongst other things, I was hoping for a miracle too. Something unique and special that would leave me in awe of the Majesty of the Sublime One. So I went out, seeking. Barely moved at all, and yet I seemed to traverse an immense distance, walhamdulillah. And amidst all that, in my ardent desire for a miracle, I came to perhaps the greatest realisation amongst my many realisations; there are miracles all around us.
There are miracles all around us, all the time. We just don’t take the time to look out for them.
I watched one day, as a lady threw out dried bread, out in the open air. I shook my head disapprovingly. This is exactly how we detriment our environment, I thought; littering and encouraging vermin. But a short while later something amazing happened. A flock of birds, white breasted with a blue-grey coat gathered together, hovering over that same bread. I wouldn’t have noticed had they not been making so much noise, calling out to each other in their own tongue, chirpy and excited. And then I just sat and watched, in utter amazement, as gradually, each of the birds took its share of the bread, and flew away, ecstatic at its find. I don’t know how much time passed, but the excitement of the beautiful birds, whose species is unknown to me, sparked the interest of crows too, and in no time they too joined the feast – or rather, came to snatch away their share.
I watched each bird hover, slowly flying over the bread a few times before swooping down to grab its catch. I watched each bird delightfully nab its find and swiftly soar away, gone as quickly as it came. I was mesmerised. ‘Umar ibn al Khattaab [ra] related that the Prophet [saw] said,
“If only you relied on Allah a true reliance, He would provide sustenance for you just as He does the birds: They fly out in the morning empty and return in the afternoon with full stomachs.”
[Tirmidhi, Ahmad, An-Nasa’i and others].
For the first time ever, I saw the manifestation of true tawakkul, true reliance upon Allah, and I witnessed the mercy of Allah in a completely unprecedented, extraordinary manner. It was precisely as the Prophet [saw] had said. Those birds flew out in the morning, not knowing where their sustenance would be, but trusting that there would be sustenance. The random lady that randomly littered and polluted the environment that day, without her knowing, facilitated the affair of another creation of Allah [swt]. Two seemingly isolated events, completely unrelated to each other, the woman never seeing the birds and the birds never witnessing who it was that threw out the dry bread. And yet, here they were, their paths now entwined, by the All-Knowing, All-Wise.
From that day forth I fell in love with birds. And I fell in love with the sky. And the open horizon before me, which day in day out, brings forth so many miracles that I simply hadn’t taken the time to see.
I watched the movement of the birds, the manner in which they flew. Agile, lithe, elegantly gliding through the sky, at complete and utter ease. Sometimes you see them; sometimes they disappear into the clouds and randomly reappear miles ahead. They perch where they please and make a home wherever they see fit. They start the day from one region of the sky, and as the sun sets they motion towards the opposite direction – never towards the setting of the sun, or the gathering clouds, always moving away. Fascinating creatures, subhanAllah. Allah says about them:
“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.” [Surah Mulk (67):19].
I started to take more notice of the sky too, especially at dawn and dusk. Do you ever notice the sky? Do you see the types of clouds, how they all roll on in a purposeful motion, sometimes at a gentle pace and at other times they seem to rumble on into each other, coming together in preparation of rain. I began to notice all that and more.
I watched as the first hues of faint redish-purple appeared in the sky, a time of complete tranquillity, as a new day dawned. Slowly the red mixes with the breaking sunlight and a crimson-orange brilliance dazzles the horizon. It reaches a peak, an intensely beautiful blush of colour, before it gradually dies down into lighter tones of blue and yellow-white. The dawn of a new day. Allah [swt] says:
“[And] who created seven heavens in layers. You do not see in the creation of the Most Merciful any inconsistency.”
So return [your] vision [to the sky]; do you see any breaks? Then return [your] vision twice again. [Your] vision will return to you humbled while it is fatigued. [Surah Mulk (67): 3-4].
No really, go out and watch the sky. Carefully scrutinize it. I swear by the One in Whose Hand is my soul, you too will be mesmerized by the perfect harmony of the creation of Allah, glory be to Him, Most High.
Perhaps it will suffice to say that I witnessed many a miracle in this one journey of mine, too many for me to detail here. And what captivated me, more than anything, was how Allah has directed us to it, over and over again, in the Book, in the Sunnah. As if to say look, and be in awe of the majesty of the Majestic One. 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 be to You!” [Surah Aal Imraan (3):190-191].
And numerous supplications from the Sunnah constantly refer us back to Allah’s creation by way of praising Him:
“I turn my face towards the One who created the heavens and the earth…”
“O Allah, praise is to You. You are the Light of the heavens and the earth and all that they contain. Praise is to You, You are the Sustainer of the heavens and the earth and all that they contain. Praise is to You, You are the Lord of the heavens of the earth and all that they contain…”
And it goes on. These are supplications for daily remembrance [all of which can be found in the Fortress of the Muslim]. Time and again Allah refers back to His creation in the Qur’aan, drawing parable upon parable, similitude upon similitude, for us to witness His miracles, to recognise His favours, to take heed and submit. Time and again the Prophet [saw] glorified Allah [swt] and mentioned His creation. Over and over we are referred back to the same heavens, the same earth that we live, breathe and explore every single day.
And yet, we hope for miracles? The miracles are right before you!
The miracles are right before us, all around us. We just haven’t taken the time to look.
In closing, I say that Allah [swt] commands that we remember Him, in our selves, and by proclaiming His graces. Reflection is remembrance. Contemplation is remembrance.
And by the mercy and grace of Allah, this too will be a form of remembrance. For I only put this together in a meagre attempt to glorify and praise Him, and share with you some of the magnificence that He [swt] allowed me to comprehend. And my endeavour in sharing this with you is only that you too reflect, on the creation, function and order of the heavens and the earth, so that we all recognise His signs and favours, Glory be to Him, Most High.
All praise is due to Allah for all that is good and correct, only the mistakes are mine. I pray that Allah [swt] accepts this from us, ties our hearts to Him and makes our deeds purely for His sake, aameen.
And Allah knows best.
Wassalaamu’alaikum wa rahmatullah