Nothing changed. I’ve walked past this scene hundreds of times every day as I head to and from classes. It’s my evening stroll. However, never have I walked past it and felt the way I did on this day.
I had just gotten out of a phenomenal class and my heart felt lighter. I had sat in the masjid reviewing Quran, worshipping, and just had a meeting canceled. I decided to spend some more time to reflect on life, my blessings, and the future.
Eventually I figured I should start heading over to Masjid Al-Azhar. I adore praying in that masjid with her beautiful minarets, centuries of scholarship, and people of the sacred path that prayed within her walls. I exited Masjid Hussein and this is what I saw.
Breathtaking isn’t it?
But like I said, I walk past this scene every day. Why was it that today I glanced up and held my breath from the beauty that my eyes fell upon?
I believe it was because of the state of my heart. It was, I pray, because of my closeness to the Divine at that moment. It was because I had just spent time reflecting upon myself, and so God gifted me with sight to see the beauty in front of me.
There is so much negativity surrounding us today. The conversations of the various abuses of power have become commonplace in our conversations. The feeling of trying to connect to a tradition and way of life that at times feels out of reach, surrounded by people who claim to call towards God but instead call towards pain.
You get used to it all, and you forget there is beauty out there. You forget that beauty lies in this way of life that God chose for you, and in the people that live it with sincerity.
When He shines His light on you and the people around you, you begin to see beauty where others can’t. You begin to see what you had thought was mundane as spectacular. You begin to see this way of life as more than a religion, but as a miracle, hand-chosen and gifted to you.
I’d like to say to everyone reading, welcome to this family of believers. Thank you for honoring me with your presence… now go fill the world with your beauty.
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Beautiful reflections, and a reminder for us to disconnect from creation once in a while and get back in touch with our souls. When we’re in that state, and the inner eyes are active, we see things so much more clearly…so much more beautifully. It’s almost a shame we have to return to this world – with all its busy-ness and artificial constructs.
But I take it that those episodes are really just a glimpse into Jannah…flashes we get here, to whet our appetite and motivate us to strive to earn that permanently.
Incidentally, I’ve only ever been to Al Azhar masjid once (well, technically twice – but in the same day)…but it was beautiful to me. Even better, though, was the Masjid of Amr bin As. We went there in the week after our Hajj, as part of a Cairo tour. And when I walked in, I just couldn’t believe how I felt…it was exactly like my early time in Masjid Nabawi (which left a deep impact on me weeks before)….the peace, the atmosphere. I felt like it was full circle: a return to the purity of Madinah, after having been through so much in Makkah, on Hajj, and then in Palestine.
JazakAllah for sharing your reflections.