Reflecting on the Wonders of Allah’s Creation: Sheikh Faisal Aal Mubarak

In his brief explanation of al-Nawawi’s Riyadh al-Saliheen, Sheikh Faisal Aal Mubarak provided the following valuable comments about a recurring theme in the Qur’an:

باب التفكير في عظيم مخلوقات الله تَعَالَى وفناء الدنيا وأهوال الآخرة وسائر أمورهما وتقصيرنفس وتهذيبها وحملها عَلَى الاستقامة
Chapter: Reflecting on the Wonders of Allah’s Creation, the Passing Nature of this Worldly Life, the Terrors of the Hereafter and other related matters. Also, Recognizing One’s Own Deficiencies, Removing Them and Motivating Oneself to Be Upright

التفكر في المخلوقات: كالعرش، والكرسي، والسماء والأرض يدل على كمال الخالق وعظمته. ـ

Reflecting on the Wonders of Allah’s Creation – such as the ‘Arsh – the Throne, the Kursi – the Footstool, the sky and the earth. All of these things point to the grandeur and complete perfection of the Creator.

وفي الحديث: «ما السماء والأرض، وما بينهما في العرش إلا كحلقة أُلْقيتْ في فلاة من الأرض» ، وقد قال الله تعالى: {وَمَا قَدَرُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ وَالأَرْضُ جَمِيعاً قَبْضَتُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَالسَّماوَاتُ مَطْوِيَّاتٌ بِيَمِينِهِ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ} [الزمر (67) ] .” ـ

There is a hadith:

The heavens and the earth in comparison to the kursi are like a plate of armor in the midst of a desert, and the kursi in comparison to the Throne is itself like a plate of armor in the midst of a desert.

And Allah said:

وَمَا قَدَرُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ وَالأَرْضُ جَمِيعاً قَبْضَتُهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَالسَّماوَاتُ مَطْوِيَّاتٌ بِيَمِينِهِ سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى عَمَّا يُشْرِكُونَ

They have not appraised Allah with true appraisal, while He will take the entire earth within His grip on the Day of Resurrection and the heavens will be folded in His right hand. Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him. [39:67]

والتفكُّر في فناء الدنيا: يبعثه على الزهد فيها، والإِقبال على الآخرة. ـ

Reflecting on the Passing Nature of this Worldly Life – this promotes more self-restraint when it comes to pursuing the pleasures of this worldly life, instead turning one’s attention to the hereafter.

والتفكُّر في أهوال الآخرة: يبعثه على فعل الطاعات، وترك المنهيات، وتقصير أمل النفس بذكر الموت، وتهذيبها من الأخلاق السيئة. ـ

Reflecting on the Terrors of the Hereafter – this inspires one to engage in more acts of obedience and to abandon the prohibited deeds. Delusional ambitions are reigned in when one remembers death, and one is also motivated to cleanse himself of lowly character traits.

وحملها على الاستقامة يورثها العز في الدنيا والآخرة. ـ

Motivating Oneself to be Upright – this will endow him with honor in both this life and the next.

قَالَ الله تَعَالَى: {إِنَّمَا أَعِظُكُمْ بِوَاحِدَةٍ أَنْ تَقُومُوا للهِ مَثْنَى وَفُرَادَى ثُمَّ تَتَفَكَّرُوا} [سبأ (46) ] . يقول تعالى: قل يا محمد لهؤلاء الزاعمين أنك مجنون: إنما أعظكم آمركم وأوصيكم بواحدة، هي: أن تقوموا لله من غير هوى ولا عصيبة مثنى وفرادى، أي: اثنين اثنين، وواحدًا واحدًا. ثم تتفكروا جميعًا في حال محمد – صلى الله عليه وسلم – فتعلموا ما بصاحبكم من جنة إن هو إلا نذير لكم بين يدي عذاب شديد. ـ

Allah said:

إِنَّمَا أَعِظُكُم بِوَاحِدَةٍ ۖ أَن تَقُومُوا لِلَّـهِ مَثْنَىٰ وَفُرَادَىٰ ثُمَّ تَتَفَكَّرُوا

I only advise you of one thing: that you be sincere towards Allah, seeking the truth in pairs or individually, and then give thought. [34:46]

Here, Allah is saying: O Muhammad, say to these people who claim that you are mad, “I only exhort, instruct and advise you to do one thing, which is to be sincere towards Allah without having any ulterior motives or partisan attachment, in groups of two or on your own, and that you all would then seriously consider the state of Muhammad. Then you would know that your companion is not insane; he is only a warner sent to you before a painful punishment comes.

وَقالَ تَعَالَى: {إِنَّ في خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لآياتٍ لأُولِي الأَلْبَابِ * الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللهَ قِيَاماً وَقُعُوداً وَعَلَى جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَذَا بَاطِلاً سُبْحَانَكَ} الآيات [آل عمران (190، 191) ] . ـ

And Allah said:

إِنَّ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَاخْتِلَافِ اللَّيْلِ وَالنَّهَارِ لَآيَاتٍ لِّأُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ * الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّـهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَـٰذَا بَاطِلًا سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

In the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and day there are certainly signs for the people of intellect – * those who remember Allah while standing and sitting and while laying on their sides, and who reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth – Our Lord, You have not created all of this in vain! Exalted are You! So protect us from the punishment of the Fire! [3:190-191]

until the end of the passage.

التفكر في المخلوقات أفضل العبادات. وفي بعض الآثار بينما رجلٌ مستلق على فراشه إذْ رفع رأسه فنظر إلى السماء والنجوم، فقال: «أشهد أن لك ربًّا وخالقًا اللَّهُمَّ اغفر لي» فنظر الله إليه فغفر له. ـ

Reflecting on the creation is the best type of worship.

There is one narration that while a man was lying down on his bed he raised his head to look at the sky and the stars and said, “I profess that you have a Lord and Creator! O Allah, forgive me!” So Allah looked at him and forgave him.

وَقالَ تَعَالَى: {أَفَلا يَنْظُرُونَ إِلَى الإِبِلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ * وَإِلَى السَّمَاءِ كَيْفَ رُفِعَتْ * وَإِلَى الْجِبَالِ كَيْفَ نُصِبَتْ * وَإِلَى الأَرْضِ كَيْفَ سُطِحَتْ * فَذَكِّرْ إِنَّمَا أَنْتَ مُذَكِّرٌ} [الغاشية (17: 21) ] . يحثُّ تعالى على النظر إلى أنواع المخلوقات الدالة على وحدانيته، واقتداره على الخلق، والبعث، وغير ذلك، وخُصَّت هذه الأربع من بين المخلوقات، لأنها ظاهرة لكل أحد، وخُصَّت الإبل من بين المركوبات لأنها أعجب ما عند العرب. يحثُّ تعالى على النظر إلى أنواع المخلوقات الدالة على وحدانيته، واقتداره على الخلق، والبعث، وغير ذلك، وخُصَّت هذه الأربع من بين المخلوقات، لأنها ظاهرة لكل أحد، وخُصَّت الإبل من بين المركوبات لأنها أعجب ما عند العرب. ـ

Allah said:

أَفَلَا يَنظُرُونَ إِلَى الْإِبِلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ * وَإِلَى السَّمَاءِ كَيْفَ رُفِعَتْ * وَإِلَى الْجِبَالِ كَيْفَ نُصِبَتْ * وَإِلَى الْأَرْضِ كَيْفَ سُطِحَتْ * فَذَكِّرْ إِنَّمَا أَنتَ مُذَكِّرٌ

Haven’t you looked at the camel, how it was created? * And the sky, how it was raised? * And the mountains, how they were erected? * And the earth, how it was spread out? * So remind them – you are only a reminder. [88:17-21]

Allah is encouraging us to look at the various created things which point to His singular role and exclusive ability to create the creation, and resurrect them, and so on. And He chose these four created things in particular because they are plain and obvious to anyone, and the reason why He selected the camel out of all the other riding animals is because it was the most impressive one known to the Arabs.

وَقالَ تَعَالَى: {أَفَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا فِي الأَرْضِ فَيَنْظُرُوا} الآية [محمد (10) ] . يحثُّ تعالى على المسير في الأرض، فينظروا آثار الأمم قبلهم واضمحلالهم بعد وجودهم، وكمال قوتهم، فيعلمون أنَّ الحيّ القيُّوم هو الله وأنَّ غيره فانٍ فلا يركنوا إلى الدنيا ولا يغترُّوا بها. والآيات في الباب كثيرة. ـ

Allah said:

أَفَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَيَنظُرُوا كَيْفَ كَانَ عَاقِبَةُ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِمْ

Haven’t they traveled through the earth and seen the end of those who came before them? [47:10]

Allah is encouraging us to travel through the earth so that we may see the remains of the previous nations and how they ceased to be after having once been present and powerful. By doing so, the people would come to know that al-Hayy al-Qayyoom – the Ever-Living, the Ever-Sustaining – is Allah. All others besides Him will pass away. Knowing that, you should not become attached to this worldly life or be fooled by it.

And there are many other ayaat on this topic.

ومن الأحاديث الحديث السابق: «الكَيِّسُ مَنْ دَانَ نَفْسَهُ» . لفظ الحديث: «الكَيِّسُ مَنْ دَانَ نَفْسَهُ وعمل لما بعد الموت، والعاجزُ من أتْبع نفسه هواها وتمنّى على الله الأماني» . معنى دان نفسه: حاسبها. فإنَّ محاسبته لها وعدم تركها هملاً إنما ينشأ عن تفكُّره في الدنيا وزوالها، وفي نفسه وانتقالها، كأنك بالدنيا ولم تكن، وبالآخرة ولم تزل، فيحاسب نفسه فيمنعها عمّا لا ينبغي، ويحملها على ما ينبغي. وبالله التوفيق . ـ

As for hadith narrations related to this topic, there is a hadith that was previously mentioned:

The clever person is he who takes charge of himself

The full text of this hadith is:

The clever person is he who takes charge of himself and works for what is after death, while the feeble person is him whose soul follows its whims and who engages in wishful thinking about Allah.

The meaning of “takes charge of himself” is that he takes himself to account, for taking one’s soul to account and not just letting it run wild is most certainly born out of reflecting on this worldly life and its passing nature, and reflecting on his soul and how it will move from one world to the next. You are in this world now but it will not last, and then comes the hereafter which will not pass. So the clever person holds himself to certain standard, which serves to prevent him from anything unbecoming and motivates him to do what he ought to do. And success is with Allah.

[Tatreez Riyadh al-Saliheen 1/80-82]

See also: A Brief Discussion of Sabr in the Qur’an: Sheikh Faisal Aal Mubarak

See also: When Repentance Will No Longer Be Accepted: Sheikh Faisal Aal Mubarak

See also: How Allah Calls Us to Know Him: Ibn al-Qayyim

2 thoughts on “Reflecting on the Wonders of Allah’s Creation: Sheikh Faisal Aal Mubarak

  1. Pingback: When Repentance Will No Longer Be Accepted: Sheikh Faisal Aal Mubarak | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: How Allah Calls Us to Know Him: Ibn al-Qayyim | Tulayhah

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