Unable to Appreciate

nature.jpgIn the Qur’an, Allah directs us over and over to ponder over the miracles of His creation, and even swears by them: the sun, the moon, the stars, the seas, the turning of the seasons.

“Wal ‘Asr…” “WatTeeni wazZaytoon…” “WadhDhuha… walLayli ithaa sajaa…” “Wal Fajr…” “WashShamsi wa DhuHaahaa…”

By Time… By the fig and the olive… By the morning brightness, by the night and its darkness… By the dawn… By the sun and its brightness…!

Since the beginning of existence, mankind has been fascinated by the world around us and most if not all of us have realized at one point that none of this could exist without Someone being responsible for it all – however, whether we follow up on that realization by acknowledging Allah as the only One worthy of worship is another matter altogether. Anyway, the point is that the universe we live in is a miracle in and of itself, such that it is within humankind’s nature that we observe it in awe and appreciation.

Yet I have noticed a disturbing trend within myself and others, something which causes this aspect of the fitrah to be… well, quashed, I guess you could say.

Here’s an example:
As amazing as something like a lunar eclipse is, I have to admit that I learnt something shocking about it: it wasn’t as impressive as I’d expected it to be. Why? Because I – and many others – have been accustomed to the new tricks and abilities of technology such as CGI and much more.

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The day after the eclipse, I asked my friends and other kids at the Madrasah if they’d seen it and what they thought of it… and I was surprised to see many of them express a total lack of awe or excitement regarding it – the same feeling I guiltily acknowledged within myself.

Just as the culture of instant gratification has made us more selfish and less likely to recognize and appreciate our rizq, it seems that just so has modern technology created within us higher expectations of the “wow” factor. We want more flashes and bangs, yet with each new advance in technology, with every new invention and upgrade, our ability to appreciate and enjoy seems to be dulled. The latest generations are unimpressed with what is currently available, and view the world with jaded eyes, demanding something bigger, flashier, newer, faster every day – yet they’re swiftly bored by whatever is placed in their laps.

Have you observed the same feelings within yourself and others? Is this a sign of the hardening of our hearts? The need for us to let go of the complex unnecessary technological clutter of our lives? Or do we just have to find a way for technology to increase our awareness and awe of Allah’s creation, and in turn of His Might and Power?

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10 responses to “Unable to Appreciate”

  1. Very true. On the other hand, I think I appreciate the eclipse in a different way – from among the signs of Allah subhaana wa ta’aala, it is a relatively rare occurence, so from the perspective of supply and demand, it was more valuable for me to have that experience of seeing one.

    Siraaj

  2. Manas Shaikh says:

    I shall only repeat after a giant:

    “You can live as if nothing is a miracle, or you can live as if everything is a miracle.”
    -Albert Einstein.

  3. SaqibSaab says:

    That stinks the eclipse felt that way. It’s hard for us to reflect on some of the Quranic signs, especially in the YouTube and Discovery Channel HD era we live in.

    One of the few Sunday School teachers that taught me something (this uncle was amazing, hafidhuhullah) was going over the story of the man with two gardens. He began to describe the imagery of the gardens as presented in the Quran.

    “Have any of you even SEEN an orchard before?” None of us responded, embarrassed at being a bunch of washed up suburbanite high schoolers. “Get out there and go see Allah’s creation!”

    That really hit me. We should make more family vacations to places like the Smokey Mountains or Myrtle Beach instead of just the Disneylands and Mt. Epcots. And for the youth, go on Islamic camps! They’re an eye opener. Youth = under 40 btw, hehe. :P

  4. Dawud Israel says:

    “Wisdom begins in wonder”
    -Socrates

  5. AlBaraa says:

    I think the issue is that people have become so accustomed to the fast pace of life that we don’t stop to smell the roses. When was the last time you were walking to the car and decided to notice the robins bathe in the creek? When was the last time you decided to pull over on the highway on your way home from work or school and just gaze at the stars for a moment…or even from a road trip. Heck…when was the last time you went camping just to be in the wondrous outdoors and experience the beauty of nature.

    I’ll tell you this…there aint nothing in these concrete jungles that we’ve grown so accustomed to that can compare to the jungles of the real world. Theres nothing like sitting on the side of a mountain, yelling at the top of your lungs and hearing your echo bouncing off the walls off the other mountains.

    The thing one needs to do is take a pause from life and smell the roses :-)

  6. MrEspy says:

    “In the later stages of an epic worldwide struggle, the forces of Western economic development are assaulting the remaining native peoples of the planet, whose presence obstructs their progress. In some places the assault is violent; elsewhere, as here in the United State, it is legalistic. Given the lack of public awareness and the misreporting by the media, a “final solution” for the native problem is deemed likely. Upon the ultimate outcome of this battle will depend whether a living alternative would view, rooted in an ancient connection with the Earth, can continue to express what is insane and suicidal about the Western Technological project.”

    jerry mander – In the Absence of the Sacred”

  7. Manas Shaikh says:

    You can also think about it this way- what seemed so perplexing to us- humans- for ages, is actually so simple for Allah!

  8. Saaida says:

    Guilty! That’s exactly how I felt! and I kept pushing myself to want to feel more. May I should go camping or something and experience an all out nature-fest! JazakAllahukhair for your honest article, and I pray our hearts soften to see the visibility of Allah’s Majesty.

  9. bismillah.

    when we crave the sheen or glitter of what we know is false, and prefer it over the gleaming majesty of what is wrought by Allah alone, then we do have something for which to be sad. and it is sad whenever a Muslim finds in himself or herself a likeness to the behavior of the people who are misguided.

    at the same time, be grateful to Allah that He permitted us time in which to turn towards Him more completely, time to seek out the opportunities that will increase in us the characteristics of the people on whom are glad tidings, the people of Paradise.

    may Allah strengthen you, me, and all of us from His Mercy. may He guide each of us, and make us among those with whom He is pleased, and not from those who go astray. ameen.

  10. Adam Bhakrani says:

    Assalaamualeikum,

    after reading the article, I realized that I rather prefer watching pictures of beautiful landscapes instead of taking time and go to that places. I have a forest next to me but I hardly take the oppurtunity. We all have the “wow” effect when see discovery channel or national geographic but when did we say “let us go there and observe Allah’s creation, na?” May be there was this voice but we haven’t listened to it.

    The big issue is our development that from early childhood on we get used to TV, computer and many other things in life but not with nature. Until now I haven’t ever been camping. Due to all those habits we are so stuck in our life that although we wanna get rid of it, even partially, we can’t. I hope Allah may give us strenght for it.

    Allah Hafiz

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