A Conversation with a Leaf: Seeing God Through His Signs

A Conversation with a Leaf: Seeing God Through His Signs on

The following reflection is from a previous attendee to the Tazkiyah Retreat with Shaykh Mokhtar Maghraoui.

I woke up with a heavy heart, all day I felt weak and frail. On my way home, while walking on the usual cobbled path, I stepped down on a grassy plot. I saw a tiny fragment of a leaf lying on my way. I was about to step on it, when it cried, “Stop! Don’t do that.” It continued, “Once I was a part of a beautiful leaf that swayed happily on the topmost branch of a lofty tree. It was a beautiful spring; summer came, and finally autumn. The leaf fell, yellowed and withered. Someone stepped on it, breaking it into tiny fragments. Heavy winds carried me here, separated from the rest. You know why I am here?”. Before I could reply, it said “Lā ilaha illa Allāh. It was part of the Divine decree. You and I were destined to meet. The pen has written, it was maktūb. My Merciful Lord let me taste His Jamāl (Divine Beauty) while I swayed in the wind, and now His Jalāl (Majesty), so that I may know Him more fully.” “Do not feel sad,” it continued kindly. Our Lord is ʿalīm ḥakīm, everything happens under the umbrella of His Merciful love and has a purpose full of khayr, even though we fail to understand at times.

Inna maʿa al-ʿusri yusrā – Thumma inna maʿa al-ʿusri yusrā

Indeed hidden under His Jalāl is His Jamāl. My spirits lifted up, I felt happy again. It continued, “You were about to trample me, but soon you too would be scattered in dust, so why have any kibr or ghurūr? I spent my life glorifying our Lord, did you do that too?” It asked. I bowed my head in shame, truly humbled.

What wisdom, I thought. I wish I had been in its place, someone would have trampled me and that would be the end of me. This freedom of choice, what a heavy burden. Mountains had refused it, but man out of his ignorance agreed to carry it.

The scenic beauty unfolds in front of me: the grassy plots, the tall trees in ḥamd, the calm lake in quiet dhikr, the blue sky, the overcast clouds, the rising mountains, the chirping birds, the colorful flowers. All are letters from the Most High to me, shouting: “Lā ilaha illā Allāh”, if only I have eyes that see, ears that hear, and a heart that ponders.

These falling rain drops, my Lord has a count of each of them; which Angel shall carry it down, where it will fall, the river or lake it will join. All are maktūb sometime when there was no space or time.

The Divine Wisdom opens up to me. Why I changed my path, His Merciful Love had ordained that I learn from my little friend. Just as His Love and His Raḥma brings me here, to breathe in the gentle breeze that blows from the garden of His Beloved (Peace and Blessings be upon him).

So much wealth, such infinite treasure. How can my tiny hands, my weak shoulders, carry all of this? I am frightened. I bend down, pick up a glittering pearl, it says: “O Allah, what did he find he who loses You, and what did he loose he who finds You?” What Infinite Beauty, I shall keep it in the safest corners of my heart.

I make a resolve, I will embark on a lone journey with You as my ultimate destination. My Beloved Allah, walking on the path of Tazkiya as outlined by our Beloved Rasūl (Peace and Blessings be upon him), for no one reaches You without him.

An inner voice calls out “You are a bundle of dirt, your aims are high,” it mocks me. How true. I am scared. “But no, no, do not panic”, another voice echoes.

I bend down, pick up another pearl from the garden of our Beloved Nabi (Peace and Blessings be upon him). It says: “Trillions and trillions divided by Infinity is always zero.” A simple mathematical formula, but how immensely beautiful.

Our Lord has a count of each of the injustices we inflicted on ourselves, big or small, known or unknown, hidden or exposed. But if all the creation, heavens and earth, the animate and the inanimate, thoughts, feelings, emotions were to join hands and count His Merciful Love, they would never be able to do so. For His Merciful Love had no beginning, it has no end. No one reaches Allah but by Allah.

I extend my hands in earnest duʿāʾ:

“Our Beloved Allah, we ask You from You as we embark on our journey. Oh Allah, give us a living heart, forgive us our mistakes. We stretch our hands in sincered tawba. Hide our shortcomings. You love to forgive, so please forgive us. Our Beloved Lord, let tawba be our constant companion as we journey towards you. We implore You for the love you have for Your Beloved, please grant sincerity to our duʿāʾs. Please make us remember what we learned, help us understand the way it should be understood. Give firmness to our resolve, guide us when we go astray, make us remember when we forget. Hold us in Your loving embrace when we stumble, lift us when we fall. Make us walk resolutely and firmly behind Your Beloved on the path of tazkiya not our weak selves, from knowledge to earnest striving so that we may reach You with qalb salīm. Enrich us with ʿilm that is beneficial and wijdānī, empty our hearts from that which You do not like and fill them up with that which You love. Beautify our actions. On our journey to You, our reliance is on You, and with constant duʿāʾ and dhikr that strengthens our resolve. We have gathered here in love for You and Your Beloved, so that our darkened souls may be illuminated from the glowing nūr of his heart (Peace and Blessings be upon him).

As we embark on our journey to You, Our Lord, instill in our hearts hope in You and sever all hopes from others, until we have hope in nothing and no one but You. Oh Allah, that which my strength was too weak to acquire and my deeds fell short to achieve and my desire could not aspire to and my tongue did not utter, of all of these, what you have given to any creature, of the first and the last one, of yaqīn in You, please give it to us as a special gift. So that in our lone journey when the dark clouds rise, the violent storms rage, when merciless tornadoes strike, when violent earthquakes shake the very foundations of our being, we take refuge in yaqīn in Your Merciful Love and remain firm, resolute, and steadfast.

Oh Allah, the Creator of Raḥmatan lil-ʿalamīn, accept our tawba and our humble duʿāʾ. Give us living hearts for the sake of one who loved You and You alone, for the one who buried six of his beloved children with his gentle, loving hands, but obediently, dutifully, resolutely, smilingly continued to be Your humble ʿabd, delivering Your Message, so that Your creation may find peace and lost souls like me could be saved from the fire of hell.

Please, my Rabb, keep us steadfast on our path of cleansing our nufūs, so that on the Day of Judgment we may stand behind our Beloved Rasūl (Peace and Blessings be upon him) so that when he looks at his beloved Ummah, his face lights up in a dazzling smile. Please My Lord, just for that beautiful smile, keep his Ummah guided and those whose hearts have been blessed with Īmān, give nūr to their hearts.

Our Lord, elevate our beloved Shaykh, his noble-hearted mother, his sisters, his noble wife, his father, his grandmother, uncles and aunts, his children and all those who love him and whom he loves to the ranks of the Your Ṣālihīn who shall see you.”

My heartfelt thanks to our beloved Shaykh, to the staff, and all of my angelic brothers and sisters, who by their love and kindness provided me with ten days of bliss and happiness of jannah in this mortal life.

I bid Allāh Ḥāfiz to my beloved Shaykh, my brothers and sisters, with an earnest duʿāʾ: “Please Allāh, provide us with more illuminating experiences that enrich our souls for after all we are only insān, the ever forgetful one. Keep us in the Company of those who remember You morning and evening so that they help us to remember when we forget. Āmīn.”

By Guest Author , 30 Aug 2015

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