In the digital age that we live in, it seems like many of us are slowly losing our connection with nature. When I was growing up, I would play outside with the other kids on my block.
Now, it appears that children and adults alike are glued to their screens. I’m definitely not against the use of modern technology; if I were, you probably wouldn’t even be reading this article on the Internet right now. However, I think it is vital that we don’t lose our connection with nature. There are many benefits that come with spending time outdoors, including spiritual ones.
Reminders of Allah’s Greatness
One such benefit of going outside is that it can help to remind us of Allah. After all, everything we see when we are in a natural environment was made by the same Creator who made us.
From the grand heights of mountains to the slightest breeze that you might feel in your hair, it’s all a miraculous sign of Allah’s majesty and power. These signs remind me of Allah’s unique ability to create without any effort. He simply says, “Be,” and it is.
Nature is made up of things that human inventions cannot come close to. In fact, humans often try to capture or recreate nature through artwork, design, etc. because of how stunning it is. And let’s not forget that we, as human beings, are Allah’s creation as well. The amazing way our bodies are put together are another testament to Allah’s perfection.
Being outdoors, especially in scenic area like a meadow or a beach, also gives me a sense of peace. Mindful meditation is a well-known practice now in which people are encouraged to focus on the present moment to help center the self and leave less room for anxiety.
Although we are encouraged to ponder on the past and plan for the future as Muslims, I also think being mindful is a good practice at times. It is often practiced through focusing exclusively on one’s breath or certain sound or sensation; but mindfulness can even be done through salah or dhikr.
These practices are all the more enjoyable and beneficial when done outside. There is something about the sights and sounds of nature that makes everything feel okay. Having a connection with creation can bring us closer to the Creator.
A Fresh Perspective
When life is overwhelming me, I often find that what helps me the most is spending time in nature. There’s something about the outdoors that just puts everything in perspective.
Maybe it’s the perfect order that everything is in, which reminds me that Allah is capable of anything and will help put my life back in order as well. Or maybe it’s just being under the grand, open sky that makes me realize that my problems are not as catastrophic as I had thought.
Regardless of the reason, it seems that when I need a fresh perspective on life, the place to be is not trapped between four walls and a ceiling. Sitting on a bench in the park or going for a walk around the block helps open my mind up to new possibilities and points of view.
Sometimes it’s tough to get out there when I want nothing more than to lay in bed or sit on the couch, stewing in my own misery, but that’s also when I need it the most.
A Piece of Paradise
I’ll be the first to accept that this dunya is not perfect—not even close. It’s riddled with problems and can feel like a miserable place to be at times. But it’s also beautiful, no doubt about it.
Going out and looking for the beauty can be an inspiration for people of faith. Watching a breathtaking sunset, or looking at a bird gliding with its wings spread wide, or listening to the sounds of the ocean crashing onto the shore… These are all small reminders of how amazing that place is which Allah has reserved for the believers.
Even though Jannah (paradise) is like nothing we could ever imagine, the beauty that Allah has put in this world is meant to be a reminder of what we have waiting for us (Insha’Allah).
There are reminders throughout the Quran for us to reflect on the world around us; and there examples taken from earthly life to tell us what Jannah will be like.
Make it a goal to spend at least a few minutes a day away from work, screens, and other distractions; reflect on nature, and you’ll see the benefits inshaAllah.
May Allah grant us all a place in Paradise.
(From Discovering Islam archive)