Alhamdulillah for Trees

Where I grew up, my parents owned a single little field in a beautiful valley balanced between grazing fields for sheep and cows, and trees – both forestry and woodland. And they let their land to a farmer for his sheep to live on. Several ewes and lambs benefited from eating the lush grass and exercising on the safe ground, year after year.

However, year after year, people living uphill of the field cut down branches from trees that bordered it. Trees within the field. Trees they had no permission to damage. They also uprooted their own trees, turning their woodland site half into glade.

Over the years, my father spent more and more time clearing hazardous branches dropped into the field by the environmental vandals who cut them.

He also fenced off an area of the field that became water logged. This change to the terrain was perhaps a result of the extensive tree felling up hill. Was there more run off because of fewer tree roots to keep the earth porous and to absorb water saturation, and fewer tree branches to slow rainfall onto the ground?

I daresay the sheep suffered the force and cold of the wind increasingly, too, with fewer and fewer branches to provide shield.

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The Right Way to Fell Trees for Wood

If we look to the example of Prophet Adam AS, we can find the correct way to fell trees. First plant trees to replace those you will take – even if you know the whole earth will be flooded. Also, only fell what you need for the task(s) you undertake to please your Lord – and be in constant communication with Him.

There is a difference between replanting and decimating, between pruning and lopping, as between sustaining and destroying.

Where I currently let my home, the garden is almost completely bordered with trees and is a sanctuary for birds. Alhamdulillah, I observed the garden for more than a turn of all seasons before I learned how to prune the trees at the right time of year and in ways that continue to support nest building and perching.

Pruning was hard work, but it was more joyful than anything else.

Since pruning is best done over the winter, when the trees are dormant and birds are mature, I can see the sense in pruning for firewood. However, from my suburban estate, I have sent the branches to the council to utilise.

In my current situation, I can’t plant a tree on land I ‘own’ (Allah is the ultimate owner of everything). And it’s been years since I collaborated to plant a tree. But I want to, in a way that is beneficial to the land and its inhabitants, insha’Allah. I would love to pray beside, and later under, a tree I have planted myself insha’Allah. (And I have written a song prompted by this desire, to be released next year insha’Allah.)

How about you? What kind of brick-free setting would you like to cultivate for worship?

CLICK HERE > Read my poem ‘Summer Salah to Allah Outside’ (published in Sisters Magazine, and a discontinued anthology).

 

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Tree Vandalism

The following rhyme is about two city people who want to pray outdoors in the countryside nearby. But, due to extensive tree felling in their area, the wind has become too strong. Determined to pray on time – wherever the place – they return home for salah.

 

The Swansea Muslims

(The Kilkenny Cats)

There were once two Muslims of Swansea

who wanted to pray by an ash tree,

but the wind flapped their mats,

and it whipped off their hats,

then the rain splattered down,

so they ran through the town,

and at home, calm and dry, they prayed happily.

© 2018 Elizabeth Lymer

CLICK HERE > Read about tree vandalism in Swansea. Is the felling intended to ‘improve the view’ as with the motives of the people who neighboured my parents’ field? 😦

Self Pruning 1

Care for Our Hearts Like Seedlings

Trees and shrubs benefit from regular pruning, to increase light and reduce over-covering.

Like trees, our hearts benefit from cutting unnecessary and unhelpful branches of fascination, to redirect connection to Allah’s noor, and reduce spiritual blindness, deafness, and forgetfulness.

When we cause damage, only Allah knows how wide it will spread. And He is the Oft Forgiving, if we ask Him.

SubhanAllah, only Allah knows how many good deeds will result from the small good intentions and actions we do for His sake.

Let’s sustain like responsible farmers. When we plant or replant, let’s consider our effects on Allah’s local and wider creation. When we need to sever and let go of specific things, let’s do so as part of a strategy for effecting growth towards Allah.

Self-pruning may be hard and painful, but can potentially lead to eternal joy.

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Care for Trees and the World Like Shepherds

If we look to the example of every prophet, we notice they all tended sheep to some extent.

And we can too. Differently, in most cases. But intention is half of action. So next time you perform environmentally friendly deeds to please Allah, how can you layer your shepherding intentions to widen benefits to yourself and creation, insha’Allah?

With Allah’s signs in the Qur’an, we read (listen, observe), learn (memorise, comprehend), and then endeavour to actively respond to Allah’s call in our actions. So too with His signs in the world. Sense, understand, proceed. And repeat.

So what can you do today?

CLICK HERE > Learn about Ash trees, which are native to Europe.

CLICK HERE > Discover trees native to the UK.

CLICK HERE > Rehearse spreading peace to farm animals, practising gratitude for Allah’s blessings to us through them, and enjoy calming colouring with young children. Get ‘Peace and Thanks on the Farm Colouring Book’.

CLICK HERE > Sign up to emails from Elizabeth Lymer.

PRAISE ALLAH ALWAYS! Alhamdulillah for trees. 🙂

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18 thoughts on “Alhamdulillah for Trees

  1. Zainab Dokrat says:

    Loved the pictures and love nature! Alhamdulillah we are so blessed to have such beautiful bounties that do so much and look beautiful ❤ Thank you for sharing!! (www.spicyfusionkitchen.com)

  2. Hafsa says:

    Absolutely love nature! My fave are willow trees – we have one outside our parents house – it brightens up our area mA. I love that you wrote up such a lovely cause, something so overlooked at times but so vital – imagine a life with no trees? After living in Saudi Arabia for 3 years, and seeing mainly the date palm tree, I really miss trees, woods and forest and have a new appreciation for the greenery of England!

    1. Elizabeth Lymer says:

      Alhamdulillah. My idea of Jannah is very tree-centred. I can’t bear to imagine existence without them, subhanAllah. May Allah grant you a better surrounding than that which you miss, ameen.

  3. Lilac Prose says:

    I have a deep love for nature. Growing up, I kept observing the importance and value of nature and environment in the Qur’an also. It certainly is imperative to take care of the environment. Jazak’Allah khayr for writing this post, it’s really inspiring.

  4. Sumaira Zaheer says:

    I always dreamt of living on an acreage surrounded by land and trees! It’s sad to hear people will tear down trees and not replant them! I learned a lot through this post including the negative effects cutting down trees has on animals! Thanks for sharing sis!

  5. mymodernhejab says:

    I grew up in a National Park and totally took the lush greenery and endless forests for granted. After moving to the “city”. I definitely appreciate their beauty so much now. Great article!

  6. hannahm84 says:

    Alhamdulilah for trees! I need really appreciated them until I moved to Ireland, especially the county where I am now. It is so green and so beautiful. They do a pretty good job of nurturing a good attitude towards nature in the schools too. My children just planted some oak trees at school last week. 🙂

  7. Jamila Jones says:

    My favourite tree is the willow tree. I love the shape and the way they fall. As a little girl, I attended Willow Green Infant School, named after the Willow tree in the school field we played in. We swung on the hanging branches, played and sat under that tree. The thousands of children that must have done the same before me and after me. I always look forward to your posts, each time I read them, I am transported back to my childhood where I had more of a connection with nature and the environment.

    1. Elizabeth Lymer says:

      Alhamdulillah, I also love willow trees. At the primary school I went to for a few years, there were willow trees. I loved to be near them and under them, but we weren’t allowed to swing on them–I am so glad you were, masha’Allah. 🙂 Alhamdulillah, I still swell with joy to spot them, and now insha’Allah I will think of you too. And I feel the same way about your posts, subhnAllah. I haven’t had much time online this week, but I have been looking forward to reading your latest one insha’Allah. May Allah allow us to meet under a willow tree in Jannah, ameen. |Perhaps you can show me how best to swing! ❤

  8. Fozia S says:

    Such a shame that people feel the need to vandalise trees. They are essential for our well being and these people don’t remember that.

    1. Elizabeth Lymer says:

      Alhamdulillah for when we are guided away from forgetfulness and into remembrance and gratitude. I’ve often watched Dr Who (among other series from which I learn storytelling and am provoked to reflect), and in one episode the trees grew up all over the earth taking over. Some ministers urged for their destruction and by the climax I found myself in agreement, yet surprised by my perspective. It turned out the extra trees had grown to protect the earth, and they retreated underground when their work was done. I felt ashamed and humbled, yet grateful to have experienced a valuable reminder to respect and seek to learn from creation whether or not I understand Allah’s plan–insha’Allah.

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