Lush greenery and blooms of the brightest colour. One of the most poignant signs of the majesty of Allah is His creation. The intricacies with which He has created these self-subsisting systems cannot but leave one in awe of His perfect wisdom. In these isolating times of a global pandemic, one of the greatest reminders of His majesty for many has been the respite provided by nature. As we stroll amidst this greenery and examine it in further detail we come towards the realisation that we are not much different from this flora that surrounds us; just as they display a certain vulnerability, so too do we. Just as they require a specific environment to facilitate their growth, so too do we.
In order to explore this common ground further, we may say that plants require the following four things for optimum growth and wellbeing:
- Protection from pests
- Protection from unnatural weather conditions
- Protection from enemies
For optimum growth and wellbeing, we also require each of these four elements- things that we ask of Allah each time we recite Surah Al-Falaq (113: 1-5).
Plants require protection from pests that may surround them- insects and bugs though seemingly small in size, over time can be detrimental to the survival of plants. Similarly, we too require protection from certain ‘pests’ in our lives that hinder our growth. Though, they may be different for each person, the fact that we require protection from them for our wellbeing is something we all have in common. And so that is what we seek refuge from when we ask for protection: “from the evil of that which He created.” (113:2)
There are also certain things that need to be present in order to ensure any plant survives- water, sunlight and soil. A lack in any one of these can be the beginning of malnourishment for any greenery. Likewise, sustenance is also essential for our survival. If we are not physically getting what we require (food, shelter, clothing) we may also be prone to both physical and spiritual malnourishment. Subsequently, we are instructed to “seek refuge in the Lord of daybreak.” (113:1) so that we can advantage of His refuge.
Unnatural weather conditions are harmful to any plant and will inevitably result in their death, if steps are not taken for their protection. In life, we are all made to weather storms, some we may be aware of as they approach, others not so much. Surah Al-Falaq guides us to seek refuge from “the evil of the darkness when it settles” (133:3).
The darkness carries with it the element of the unknown and it is usually when we are unaware of danger and harm surrounding us that we have the most susceptible to injury and damage.
Just as foliage requires protection from any enemies that may want to harm its existence, be that animal or human, so too do we. As humans our enemies are two-fold and Allah instructs us to seek protection from each accordingly. First, the internal satanic whisperings of evil that we carry within us that may incline us sometimes to the wrong path. And secondly, the protection from any external enemy that may wish us harm, whether they are near enough for us to acknowledge their existence or not. Surah Al-Falaq makes mention to this protection from external evil: “And from the evil of the blowers in knots. And from the evil of an envier when he envies.” (113:4-5)
Just as everything on earth has been made with the same purpose-to hymn the majesty of their Lord, equally their needs in fulfilling that purpose are not so different too.
Sofia is an English teacher and Islamic Studies student based in the Midlands. She writes, primarily, to make sense of the world around her, as she navigates her experiences and observations as a woman of colour. When she’s not writing she likes to spend her time reading, travelling and being sarcastic. She currently writes on https://www.instagram.com/thesilentsoliloquy/