Sensing, Seeking

For part of last summer, my children and I depended upon blackberrying for a near-daily source of sustenance alhamdulillah. Because we didn’t have financial means to purchase fruit of similar nutritional value, I experienced myself sensing dignity-unease about foraging. But, in part, I also felt comfortable collecting blackberries because we never took more than a portion each. As spring currently arrives, I find myself seeking more harmony and wholeness regarding sourcing my food over the coming months insha’Allah.

 

Alhamdulillah, last year I am aware was to some extent motivated by intentions to not waste Allah’s blessings. But I didn’t reflect fully upon this. Was I too uncomfortable with my ‘poverty’ to take a wholesome approach? I don’t think so. We visited the local blackberry bushes almost daily, and I could see that hardly anyone else picked their fruit. Even so, had I been finacially richer, I imagine I would likely have said we should leave the fruit for poorer people. I often spoke to my children about sharing with people and wildlife.

 

Why didn’t I think deeply about the food situation in terms of the purpose for which Allah creates and provides all things in His inter-connected world? Why didn’t I think about my spitritual need for the food and the activity being nourished by it?

 

Why am I, and why are many of us, closed off to the reality that Allah created us within our ecosystems, inter-dependent upon and responsible for them?

 

Many years ago I was inspired to think and act at a deeper ecologically level by Shumaisa Khan. And as I increasingly intend to prepare holistically for Ramadan, I am seeking inspiration from her again.

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Allah’s Signs

 

Shumaisa says:

Remember, non-human beings are always in a state of fitrah and surrendering to the Oneness of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى); by being in their company, some of this quality can rub off on us. So this Ramadan, spend time with the aayaat (verses) of the Quran, but also spend time with the aayaat (signs of God) manifested in the book of nature!”

 

Alhamdulillah, through re-reading articles by Shumaisa, I got the inspiration I sought. Shumaisa helped me to regenerate a mindset for appreciating and engaging deeply in the local environments Allah has placed me in. After taking a few minutes to read Wild Nourishment for Ramadan Part 1, I now feel happy about wanting to be among Allah’s signs in nature, including to forage, to benefit my personal spiritual health.

 

Masha’allah, Shumaisa has also written a short guide towards taking action upon this insight in Wild Nourishment for Ramadan Part 2.

 

Importantly, after reading it, I also feel educated enough to be able broaden my foraging activity, insha’Allah. Shumaisa specifically explores nettle, dandelion, wild garlic, hawthorn flower, and elderflower, and I have featured photos of them in my video below.

 

Although you have read this far, does part of you want to shun a ‘book of nature’ approach to connecting with Allah’s signs and opt for familiar procedures of reacting to pleas for financial charity by giving away sums you can’t really afford? I am asking from a place of experience and empathy. Many of us have been exhausted by seemingly self-sacrificial strategies. Mnay of us have focussed upon ourselves in part: our unworthiness or lack of value, rather than seeing the awesome whole – that we were created by Allah. Many of us have neglected to wholly self-nurture, to fully enable ourselves to connect and give with excellence.

 

Let’s reflect upon another quote from Shumaisa:

Having been involved in different social movements, I have come to believe that although there is urgency around challenges such as homelessness, climate change (and other ecological concerns), conflicts, and so on, chronically living out of sync with nature’s intelligence and burning out isn’t the way to resolve them. Rather more people living in greater integrity – to the extent possible given life circumstances – can unleash more of what the world needs.”

 

If you are still reading, maybe like me you are ready for a rhythm shift, a new momentum, and new strategies for sensing, seeking, and connecting with Allah and His signs. Alhamdulillah, I wrote the following song, subsequent to my inspiration from Shumaisa. And I pray it will inspire me, my family, and you and yours.

 

Sense of Sense

(Three Blind Mice)

 

Sense of sense. Sense of sense.

What do we make? What do we make?

 

We look for weeds in familiar stalks.

We feel for tame on familiar walks.

We tune out sounds of familiar talks.

We don’t make sense.

 

Sense of sense. Sense of sense.

What don’t we make? What don’t we make?

 

We don’t see food in familiar stalks.

We don’t feel wild on familiar walks.

We don’t hear friends speak familiar talks.

We don’t make sense.

 

Sense of sense. Sense of sense.

Let’s re-direct. Let’s re-direct.

 

Allah makes food in familiar stalks.

Allah makes wild on familiar walks.

Allah makes friends speak familiar talks.

Let’s make real sense.

 

© Elizabeth Lymer 2018

CLICK HERE > Be helped by Shumaisa Khan’s regenerative work

 

CLICK HERE > Visit Wisdom in Nature, for useful articles and workshops by Shumaisa Khan (and others)

 

PRAISE ALWAYS! Alhamdulillah for Allah’s signs! Glory to Allah for guiding us in sensing and seeking them, in all their diversity. All thanks to Allah for abundant blessings in signs that we discover as well as those we don’t wholly comprehend.

 

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19 thoughts on “Sensing, Seeking

  1. themuslimaguide says:

    Masha Allah, reading this made me want to get my garden going. I don’t think i am professional enough for many of the fruits was thinking about starting with strawberries. I want my kids to be able to appreciate nature and eat what the ‘earth’ has provided by the will of Allah.

    1. Elizabeth Lymer says:

      Me too, insha’Allah. We have started with planting little pots of bee-friendly and butterfly-friendly flower seeds. And I bought a mint plant which I separated into two pots. Insha’Allah we will also do potatoes, and get braver and branch out as we gain experience over time. May Allah put barakah in your garden, ameen. (Let’s tell ourselves we can do it, to give ourselves more support. Insha’Allah, we can do it!)

  2. Hafsa says:

    This is soo beautiful mA – ever since living in the desert of Saudi Arabia – I miss the lush green nature of England and berry picking was something we did as kids (even plum picking) – now of course my kids see fallen dates and try eating them straight off the ground! As it’s one of the main trees here, that’s pretty much all we see around us. Anyway, I absolutely love the points mentioned about the connection with Allah – for a long time I am looking forward to growing my own veg at least iA (i’m seeing one of my friends do this here and its so inspiring) the process and care and appreciation taken around Allah’s creation – ie which becomes food for us – subhanAllah!

  3. Lilac Prose says:

    “Remember, non-human beings are always in a state of fitrah and surrendering to the Oneness of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى); by being in their company, some of this quality can rub off on us. So this Ramadan, spend time with the aayaat (verses) of the Quran, but also spend time with the aayaat (signs of God) manifested in the book of nature!”

    Subhan’Allah! This makes so much sense. I always feel closer to Allah swt when I spend time in nature. Jazak’Allah Khayr for sharing!

  4. sumairaz says:

    Mashallah sis, I enjoyed reading this and your points about nature were so fascinating! Thank you for showing us our connection to nature and Allah!

  5. thrifdeedubai says:

    Masha’Allah what a lovely article, also takes me back to my plum & berry picking days as a kid, carefree in nature as Allah intended! Love the rhyme too. JazakAllah khair for sharing.

  6. sarcasticmuslimmama says:

    Jazakillah for sharing this perspective. I’ll be honest, I’ve never thought about looking to nature for sustenance but everything you said makes so much sense. What better way is there to connect with Allah than through His creation?

  7. Jamila Jones says:

    You took me back to my childhood when I went foraging with my little sister. I also remember being more tuned in as a child of all the small creatures such as ants and worms, I was fascinated with ants as a child. Your article as really made me ponder and reflect. Allah is truly great.

    1. Elizabeth Lymer says:

      Glory to Allah. You prompted me not only to resonate with your childlike attention to nature, but to read the Chapter of the Ant with fascination for the natural surroundings in the stories of all the prophets it includes. The same world we travel through, alhamdulillah. May Allah reward you, ameen.

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