An elder relative once said to me, “There’s joy in remembrance.” At the naive age of 10, I assumed he meant having lived a life that’s full of good memories.
Upon reflection now, I think he meant it in a different context. I think he meant the joy in doing dhikr, remembrance of Allah (subhanahu wa ta`ala, exalted is He). Isn’t it wonderful to remember Him in all aspects of life? Because remembering Him provides us the stability our thoughts require. The barakah (blessings) our plans require. The humility His Magnificence brings in us mere mortals. We are reminded of the ayah (verse):
“Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest,” (Qur’an, 13:28).
The four seasons are just one of the many examples of such remembrance for me. Changes in the weather remind me how man has no control over the seasonal weather and how God has control over everything. The chilly winters remind me of the gratitude I should feel when I come home to a centrally heated house or the warm clothes I wear when I step out. It reminds me to not only reflect, but to also give back through donating my winter clothes or buying hot food for those in need.
After the hardship of winters comes relief in spring. The flowers and the colors in bloom, subhan’Allah (glory to God)! It makes me wonder what Paradise will be like which in reality is beyond anything we can imagine as said in the Qur’an:
“And [as for all such believers,] no human being can imagine what blissful delights, as yet hidden, await them [in the life to come] as a reward for all that they did,” (Qur’an, 32:17).
The spring reminds me of His beauty for He is al-Jameel (the Absolute Beautiful) and how He bestows His loves for us in all things beautiful. This is a blessing to have not only the outer sight but also the inner sight to recognise the sights that surround us. Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) said: “Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty,” [Sahīh Muslim (911)].
The summer is a time for family vacations in many countries, and festive events and the sunshine generally puts everyone in happy mode. When you fast in this heat, how do you feel? There are poor people who feel like that 365 days a year. When I apply sun block, I remember the hellfire and realise no form of protection will give me shade except for my obedience, good deeds and His Mercy.
The autumn is another palette of colors. From Johannesburg to Chicago, the colors of the fall are breathtaking. They make me stop for a moment by the neat rows of autumn trees in the pretty lanes of my neighbourhood and thank Allah (swt) that I see this sight rather than torn down buildings from drone attacks and natural disasters. Autumn also provides an opportunity to reflect on the past summer and the oncoming winters. What we achieved this year, how was our Ramadan and what can we do better in the New Year given the opportunity. Life is all about continuous improvement and gratitude. Indeed Allah (swt) says: “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor],”(Qur’an, 14:7).
May He increase us in our remembrance of Him, in gratitude, and in recognition of all the signs He sends our way for reflection.