Some thoughts and photos on water.
“Indeed, the righteous will be among gardens and rivers" 54:54
There is something about water, the sound, the visuals, the refreshing taste, a warm shower on a cold day, the coolness of a refreshing soak in summer. It stirs the soul.
The Qur’an contains an abundance of verses talking about rivers running through the gardens of paradise. As humans we are drawn to this natural phenomenon.
Even a simple stream, a small amount of babbling water, provides some element of tranquility. The gentle sounds bringing such peace and calm to one’s heart.
"Allah has prepared for them gardens beneath which rivers flow, to abide in them; that is the great achievement." Qu’ran 9:89
"Surely the ones who have believed and done deeds of righteousness will have Gardens from beneath which rivers run; that is the great triumph." Qu’ran 85:11
We see this reflected in our earthly architecture. Luxurious houses and hotels feature pristine pools and elaborate water features. Grand capitals, like London and Italy feature ornate fountains in their centres; providing a peaceful oasis in the middle of bustling city life.
When designing the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies the architects featured a gently babbling water-fountain, as the centre-piece for the garden. Part of the design was not just the visual aspect of the water but the holistic importance of the sound of running water. Careful work was done to make sure the water didn’t sound harsh or loud, but was just gentle enough to provide peaceful murmurs to the nearby buildings during summer.
Why does water have this effect on us? It’s hard to say but water is the fundamental foundation of all life. Providing sustenance for plants and people alike. All our food is ultimately nourished by water.
“وَجَعَلْنَا مِنَ ٱلْمَآءِ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ حَىٍّ ۖ أَفَلَا يُؤْمِنُونَ”
“We created every living thing from water? Then will they not believe?” — Qur’an 21:30
“There is a sign for them in the lifeless earth: We give it life and We produce grain from it for them to eat; We have put gardens of date palms and grapes in the earth, and We have made springs of water gush out of it so that they could eat its fruit. It was not their own hands that made all this. How can they not give thanks?” --Qur’an 36:33-35
"(He is the one) who sends down rain from the sky in perfect measure, with which We give life to a lifeless land. Likewise you will be resurrected from the grave" Qur’an 43:11
I’ll never truly know the extent to why water has this effect on us. The relaxing nature of water and the serenity it brings, in many ways it defies explanation but the serenity of it is a reminder to us of Allah and the majesty of His creation.
"Do they not see the earth, and what noble kinds of thing We grow in it? There truly is a sign in this, though most of them do not believe" --Qur’an 26:7-8
Being in nature is a continuous reminder to us of the majesty and beauty of Allah’s creation. The bustle of life and work can leave us feeling drained and disconnected. Spending time in nature, rejuvenates us, leaving us in awe, reminding us of the greater beauty at work in the world.
When surrounded by the grandeur and beauty of nature our hearts can’t help but be reminded of Allah, His greatness and His majesty. Time spent surrounded by such vast beauty can leave us feeling humbled and helps us to put our lives into perspective. Our worries seem small compared to the vast extent and beauty of the natural world.
How simple are our lives compared to the magnitude of countless rivers, streams and oceans we see in nature; bordered by verdant forests and tremendous cliffs. The sheer magnitude of it all is astounding.
Can the one who created and maintained the whole earth not also care and maintain for our relatively simple lives? Of course, we simply need ask.
“وَقَالَ رَبُّكُمُ ٱدْعُونِىٓ أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ ۚ ”
“And your Lord says, ‘Call upon Me; I will respond to you.’” — Qur’an 40:60