The reason I write about nature is because that is where God put all the answers.
The becoming of the learned man is much like the growing of a tree.
For, as the soil has to be, before anything else, disturbed and dug up from all directions, so must he challenge his heart and destroy his ego, up until the point when he is empty and penetrable- his soul as hungry for his blossoming, as the soil from which the tree is to grow.
And then as the soil captures the seeds eagerly, so must his thirst be for gaining knowledge. Seed after seed, he should plant in his soul with no pride whatsoever over the knowledge he gains; for he knows that there are endless new seeds that could fall into his soil and endless words of wisdom that others have that he does not.
And as the signs of growth begin to appear outward, and he starts to become acknowledged for the wisdom he is gaining, by others and by his own self; he should take good care in keeping the pests of arrogance and impatience away from his plant. Because his only job that he has power over, is the watering of the plant; and that is the manifestation of his seeds. Much like how his knowledge is now to be used practically and his growth aided by good deeds. He is to now put others before himself and minimize his own needs and desires.
He should remember that he has no control over how much his plant grows and so he should never take measures of it. For the growth and measurement is the work of God, and every minute he stops to measure, is a minute gone without watering. And if he were to find that it is growing well, he would be captured by arrogance, and if he were to find that it has grown less than he hoped, he would become impatient and ungrateful; either way it will be his folly to forget that God tests you by giving, and God tests you by taking away and He alone knows how much you will outwardly blossom. So when you start quantifying the good that comes out of you, you interfere in God’s work and forget your own, thus ending up with nothing.
And then as his soul reaches the point at which he can give fruit, he should bow down and hang low his branches and humbly offer his fruit to the world. This fruit contains seeds for other plants of his sort to grow around him, but in a form that is more evolved than the seeds he had in his time of growth; for it is his own primitive knowledge but with the addition of his personal evolutionary adaptations that he went through in order to survive. Much like the fruit of the tree that withstood the harsh climate by adapting to it, and its seeds carry that forward; so shall the knowledge and wisdom he now gives to others be.
And remember that the tree never discriminates between people that come to it for fruit and shelter; so the learned man shall never turn away anyone who comes to him for aid. And the tree doesn’t withdraw its shelter from those who appear evil, it just shadows; so shall the learned man treat the supposed outlaws, the hopeless men that the world has rejected and sent away to rot. For as the evil man eats from the tree’s fruit, and sits in its shelter, his soul too, might blossom into a beautiful tree, and the once barren land shall be turned to green.
And what more shall you ask about the learned man, but this: He never stops looking for more knowledge and better seeds, even when he reaches the position to start giving fruit to others and spreading his knowledge, his roots reach deeper into the soil and stronger, searching far and wide with as much humility as the first time he came to learn. Searching for more and more and more wisdom and never letting pride touch him, because he knows that at any moment Allah commands “KUN” (BE!); “FAYAKUN” (AND IT IS). So as he gives fruit, he plants more seeds, and as the fruit is eaten he waters his new knowledge, and as his fruit grows, he digs up the soil again to renew himself.
There it was again. The same serene place in front and around him.
A field of grass spreading as far as the eyes could see. The clear blue sky with just the perfect amount of sunlight falling upon the grass to make it glitter like emeralds of the purest green.
A single tree- the same large one that he saw everyday- bearing gorgeous fruit on its branches that hung low; it seemed to be inviting him to eat and enjoy God’s gifts upon him.
He sat down in its shade and thought to himself of how desperately he wanted to find God. And to thank Him Almighty, for what He had blessed His servant with. Lost in his praise and thoughts of God, his eyes fell suddenly on what he expected to see, yet secretly wished against.
There she was, standing tall. Her feet sunk in the grass just enough to expose her ankles, being brushed gently by the ends of her white dress. For a second his heart beat faster, like it always did at this point in his dream; and he gasped. It seemed as though she became more beautiful by the day. More silent, and more mysterious. In one single glance, he felt his whole body wanting to walk towards her. He breathed heavily, and stood up.
“Why must you trouble my heart with the thought of my beloved?” He looked to his left and spoke with a voice that was loud and stern, but drenched with hopelessness.
“So that you can know that losing yourself in fantasies of solitude is not the way of life”, replied his nafs*; grinning. It knew it had once again interrupted the man’s perfect dream.
He looked back where he had seen her- she had disappeared. Just like the emeralds and the blueness of the sky. What remained was his body and his nafs, in the darkness of a summer night. The sheet he had been sleeping on was now wet with his sweat.
“I do not want anything to do with your way of life! All I desire is the way of God, to God. And therein I shall spend all the rest of my days.”
“So you will simply forget her? Are you so selfish? Have you forgotten what she means to you? What she makes you think when you lay eyes upon her?”
“Do not dare! Do not dare try to sabotage my love. You keep your filth away from her. She is too pure to be mentioned by your worthless tongue!” He was on the verge of screaming now.
The nafs creeped out of the shadows and stood right in front of him. “You cannot simply forget her. Have you left behind what she made you feel?”
“I have not forgotten a thing, you foul creature! I remember exactly what it was like to be in her midst. To have more of her than fragments in dreams. To hear her voice and look at her eyes glowing in the day and in the night. I remember the entirety of what you want to remind me of, bringing her into my dreams of spirituality, every night. I can never forget! I can never be selfish.”
“Then why have you distanced yourself?” Its voice shook the very walls of his poor home.
“Because I cannot deny the truth she holds in her very existence! I cannot! Her silence, her kindness and the heart that pounds inside of her, her very life- all of that speaks of but one thing: God! That is all! All that I see when I look at her, is God and no other. It is only Him that could create her. It is only Him that made her beautiful and filled her soul with gentleness. There is no other who could have fashioned the being she is. When I think of her, I think of the One who created- Al-Khaaliq!”
He paused for a moment and looked at his nafs. It stood frozen.
Who could’ve known that a heart that belongs to God could turn a desire that the nafs put inside it and the selfish wanting that made men yearn for the beauty of the world; into the most prominent and constant reminder of his own Master, his Allah?
His eyes were streaming with tears now. He held his hand over his chest, lest his paining heart would fall out.
“I cannot be with her until I am with God. How can I be content, knowing only the creation and being oblivious towards the Khaaliq? I cannot. I simply cannot! I have to seek The One, before I seek what He made from a clot of blood. I love the art but I have found that my heart belongs to Al-Musawwir: The Artist.
I was a mere traveler of time, until God brought me to her. And since then I have found myself only needing Him. As if that was His plan all along.”
He now looked up, his shirt soaked with tears. And he found himself alone; with only God and himself.
*nafs: The part of a man that creates worldly desires (greed, lust, jealousy, etc.). Usually regarded in religion and sufism as a wall between one and God.
Heyy. I have an exam in less than 6 hours so naturally my brain decided to stay up writing a poem at 3 am. I really hope you like it :p Here it is:
“THE EXTRAORDINARY TREE-HOME”
Amidst the fiery storm one day
I came upon a shadowing tree
Tired beneath it’s leaves I lay
And smelt a whiff of glee;
Wider it spread its arms
Each hour that passed underneath
Like a cloud from heaven, so all harm
Could do no wrong, and free I breathed;
It grew and grew around me, I
grew into it, and my own soul!
My tree and I, we bloomed entwined
Freed of our old selves of holes;
Its roots of wise serenity
Growing out from me, I found
And knew then why I knew no peace
Ever-chasing oceans down;
But wanderers shall wander and so have I
By fate, for more things to know
Everyday, though, knowing, I do smile
Soon I will find my way back home.
And do not delude yourself; that time flows through you. For in reality, you flow through time. The ocean is never dependent upon the travellers that pass through it. There were millions before you, and there will be millions after.
Time always was and always will be. You are the one born and you will be the one to die. Time has no end or beginning. You in fact are mortal. So do not equate your mortality with time’s immortality. And do not mistake the time period you are aware of by measurement, for eternity.
In this knowledge, you must learn to never surrender to the giant tide of time in front of you. If your boat has swam towards it, it will swim away; but not before time is done with you. So be patient.
And when you come upon a kind wave, do not walk with pride and think yourself to be lord of the sea. You might feel in control of your boat but even so you shall never challenge time’s might; he is the proud one so let him be.
Your place is among the needy. And they do not run out of humility in times of ease; and gratefulness in times of hardships.
And never forget that even time is God’s slave. So submit in love to God and He will love you. And when He loves you, time will love you. Only then, will you become the one time treats with care. In the words of Iqbal:
Hello world!! I am very excited today, because I finally penned down a remotely nice piece of poetry after ages! 😀 I hope you like it. Do not forget to enjoy and share! Until next time! 🙂
If the wind could speak, would it tell me of you?
How in the morning you wondered what I was up to
Would it talk of your squinted eyes against the tiring noon
and of your dreams tonight as the clock will strike 2?
If the wind could speak, would it whisper of me?
Laugh, as you listen close, about my naivety
Would it tell you I spend nights awake till half past three
reminiscing about what was, and what I thought could be.
I know not what tales it would tell, if it were to ever try
But one of them for certain, would not be a lie:
“She sat down with a plan for a poem about I,
But until she wrote for you, the words won’t stand by.”