Day 2: Trees may be some of the greatest teachers on the journey…

Today was the first day of classes, AND I went horseback riding and swimming. But we have to talk a little bit more about trees. There was a wonderful khatira from Dr. Umar Faruq AbdAllah today on the Moroccan scholar Muhammad ibn Ja’far ibn Idris al-Kattani al-Hasani al-Fasi’s Aqidat al-Najah (1857-1927). It’s a 19-line poem that talks about the essential beliefs in aqidah, and mashAllah, it’s so deep that we only covered like the first 2 verses, and that was enough to blow me away. The knowledge that we are getting here is so profound, there’s no way I could blog about it all, so we’ll just have to settle for snapshots of the day. Today we must speak of trees.

In the poem, Dr. Umar emphasized that Allah creates all things from nothing. And He constantly creates and re-creates and wills things to be in continuity until He wills otherwise. If He, azza wa jal, decided to stop this constant creative power, everything would not turn to dust. It would turn into nothing. He is the Only Necessary Being. He is Pre-Existent. And everything else is nothing. Subhanallah, I actually feel good about being nothing today. It’s a beautiful thing to think that you and I were chosen to be…for some reason, and we are not necessary beings. Subhanallah.

But that’s not what really grabbed me. It was Dr. Umar’s talk about becoming perfect in our existence, more pure in our existence–getting closer to the reason we were made–to worship and obey Allah. And how we perceive things is directly reflective of our hearts. Take for instance a tree. Most people just see a tree, and then they may begin to see signs of Allah being manifested in the tree. They begin their understanding from low to high. At one of the higher points, they may begin to understand the name of Allah, Ar-Razzaq (the Provider) through the existence of the tree, who provides. The tree gives us food, oxygen, shade, beauty, lumber, nourishment–just to name a few. It’s the tree’s job to be a provider. Subhanallah. And it does so unconditionally and willingly…and unceasingly until we chop its head off while its making its sujud (the roots). Subhanallah, where is our gratitude? To Allah and the tree? We can’t live without either one. Allah created the tree and it helps maintain our existence, though we don’t help the tree maintain its own existence in many circumstances. But before I get on my treehugging soapbox, the point of all this is that we must train ourselves to see beyond creation to see the Creator. The one with a more pure existence, a more pure heart, sees Ar-Razzaq first, and the tree second.

And this was just five-ten minutes into the whole talk, one of nine given today by different scholars. If you haven’t listened to any of Dr. Umar Faruq AbdAllah’s lectures, you might want to start. MashAllah, he has a lot of knowledge to share and a beautiful way of conveying it. I hope that I have done this poem and his explanation of those things justice. It wasn’t my intent to give you notes because I deeply believe that you need to have the first-hand, primary-source experience to get the right meanings of things sometimes, but I just had to talk about my newfound understanding of trees. I will never look at them again in the same way, nor will I think of this attribute/name of Allah in the same way. Now let me go hug my friend-provider-Abdul Razzaq, the Calliandra Surinamensis (thanks Jodi!).

2 thoughts on “Day 2: Trees may be some of the greatest teachers on the journey…

  1. Subhanallah, it’s amazing to what capacity our minds can enlighten to if we simply submit our hearts to Allah! Being called to perfection and realizing His infinite perfection all around us is truly enlightening! Seeing His beauty in all of His creations and especially a tree. I enjoy the trees around me very much and now I will see new meaning in their beauty and existence. You really have had a fantastic day my friend! I am so happy for you and that you have shared this with us. I know I’m not there, but I feel as if I am through your words and praise. It’s wonderful that you got to swim and ride a horse today. Such beauty in it all. Alhamdulillah!

    I’m going to have to look up Dr. Umar Faruq AbdAllah’s lectures now! 🙂 Oh and you’re welcome!

    • Jazaki Allahu khair Jodi! I’m so happy you’ve continued on the journey with me here, so to speak, and I hope that inshAllah maybe we’ll bump into each other one day at one of these retreats, or better yet, that Allah blesses us under the shade of His tree on a day when there will be no shade. And may we be inhabitants of the Lote Tree in the Highest Heaven! Amin!

      On Dr. Umar Faruq AbdAllah, truly the brother is deep, mashAllah. I never heard him speak before, and now I feel it is imperative to seek out his lectures. I found three audio cd lecture collections online that I must get my ears on (my hands touch so many things, but truly, I don’t always listen to or read what i buy): The Principal Imams and Their Schools, Famous Women in Islam, and The Attributes of God in Islam which may enlighten us on more of those Beautiful Attributes and how He manifests them in our lives…

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