Seasonal Change: A sign of God

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SHAFAQNA- The  advent  of  Spring  is  the turning  of  another  page  in the  book  of  creation  and  is a golden opportunity to learn lessons  that  are  constructive  for  our lives.  The  changes  that  the  beginning of  every  solar  year  brings  are  opportunities  for  human  beings  to  also make changes to spiritual and material aspects of themselves. Although we are responsible for initiating these changes their execution is the work of God.

Just as God brings the dead to life, the earth infuses the flowers and blossoms with  new  life  with  the  winds  that  He blows  and  the  rain  that  He  lets  fall. He blows the breeze of His grace and mercy upon the landscape of the heart of humanity and enlivens the heart and soul of man.

There is a well known tradition of the Prophet (s)  that says, “Verily, in your lives there are breezes (of grace and mercy) that   will   blow,   indeed   you   should take  advantage  of  them.”    As  such the  rain  of  divine  mercy  falls  and  the divine  grace  reaches  everyone  without limit, obstacles or conditions. Everyone benefits  from  it  depending  upon  the extent of his capacity and being, just as a smaller patch of ground has a smaller share of the rain, and a larger patch of soil  benefits  from  a  larger  share.  The heart of man is similar with respect to the  descent  of  divine  grace.  Verse  17 of Surah Ra’d accurately encapsulates this very reality when God says:

“He  sends  down  water  from  the  sky whereat the valleys are flooded to the extent of their capacity.”

The  supplication  recited  at  the  beginning  of  each  Spring  emphasises  four important points:

•  Oh the converter of hearts and vision,

•  Oh He who directs nights and days,

•  Oh  He  who  changes  stratagem  and circumstances,

•  Change  our  situation  to  the  best conditions.

The principle of change

According to this supplication the world is  constantly  undergoing  change  and profound   transformation.   The   great philosopher   Sadra   al   Mut’alliheen, asserted  that  the  substance  of  existence is permanently in motion, change and  transformation.  This  change  and transformation  is  so  embracing  that it  encompasses  the  outside  world  as well as the interior world and the soul. In  reality,  the  very  continuance  of  the world  depends  upon  this  change  and transformation.

The axis of transformation

In addition to the principle of transformation  and  its  encompassing  aspect, the  supplication  also  points  to  the things that are themselves transformed, from the phenomena that characterise this season – when nature awakes from the winter sleep, those things that were dead become alive, the earth quickens and moves, fields and meadows become clothed  in  beautiful  green  displaying freshness and vigour, and when flowers of various hues beautify the earth – to the  cream  of  the  crop  of  existence, the  Vicegerent  of  God,  Man,  who  also undergoes changes. These changes can affect every dimension of his spirit and his inner realities. They can change his way of thinking and understanding, his perceptions  and  beliefs,  his  behaviour and his deeds. These changes too are necessary  for  Man  to  arrive  at  perfection.

The tune of monotheism

Every  sentence  of  this  short  supplication speaks of monotheism. For indeed everything,  from  the  cycle  of  day  and night,  the  enumeration  of  the  events of  the  year,  the  changes  in  the  conditions  of  mankind  all  derive  from  the power  and  wisdom  of  the  “One  God”, the Unique Source of all. In truth, this supplication calls mankind from multiplicity to unity and monotheism.

The purpose of transformation

The  purpose  of  this  great  transformation that begins from the depths of nature and reaches the state of mankind is  to  change  the  human  condition  to the best of states which is the state of “divine  nearness”  in  order  to  have  access to His mercy and to receive divine grace. We can now see that this supplication which is recited at the beginning of the  Spring,  despite  its  brevity,  is  a complete lesson in religious doctrine.

The  Holy  Qur’an  talks  about  knowing God  through  natural  phenomena  in more than 750 verses. In these verses God  teaches  us  that  natural  phenomena  are  divine  signs  that  invite  mankind  to  contemplate  and  investigate them  within  the  context  of  the  order of existence.

Bilal the Mu’azzin of the Prophet (s) , narrated  that  upon  the  revelation  of  the verses 190 to 195 of Surah- al- Imran, the Prophet said tearfully:

“Woe  unto  him  who  reads  this  verse and  does  not  contemplate  it”.  And then the Prophet (s)  recited the following verse,

“Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and  the  earth  and  the  alternation of  night  and  day,  there  are  signs  for those  who  possess  intellects.  Those who remember Allah standing, sitting, and lying on their sides, and reflect on the  creation  of  the  heavens  and  the earth  (and  say)  ‘Our  Lord,  You  have not  created  this  in  vain!  Immaculate are You! Save us from the punishment of the Fire.”(3: 190-191)

Thus,  the  more  a  person  is  aware  of the mysteries of the universe, the more they should be aware of the Creator of the  universe  and  with  this  knowledge should be more effective in the area of self-training and perfecting the personality.

Spring  opens  for  us  many  avenues  to know God. One of these is the Spring Equinox, which refers to the position of the sun in relation to the Earth on the first day of Spring. The Spring Equinox is one of two times in the solar calendar when day and night are equal, the other being the Autumnal Equinox.

The Spring Equinox is a time when we witness  the  beauty  of  the  flowers  and enjoy  and  take  pleasure  in  the  greening of the pastures and fields. This view takes both the material world and the afterlife into consideration, as depicted in the Qur’anic prayers: “Our Lord! Give us what is good in this life and what is good in the next and save us from the punishment  of  the  Fire.”  (2:201)  And

“By means of what Allah has given you, seek the abode of the Hereafter, while not forgetting your share of this world.” (28:77)

The  Spring  Equinox  teaches  us  that in  our  material  and  spiritual  lives,  we should also go towards an Equinox and this is nothing but the middle way that is a teaching specific to the religion of Islam.  Islam  takes  into  consideration man’s  instincts  and  drives  as  well  as his intellect. It sees extremism in both areas as an indication of ignorance and decries all forms of extremism whether in  beliefs,  moral  conduct,  and  even worship.

Allah  says:  “Thus  We  have  made  you a  middle  nation  that  you  may  be witnesses  to  the  people  and  that  the Messenger  may  be  a  witness  to  you.” (2:143). •

Written by  Abdolhossein Moezi

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