Finally, winter vacations were here! We all needed a break to take a breather from the daily routine of life, school, work and all that had totally drained us of our energies. A vacation was planned to the northern areas of Pakistan to experience the real winters of Pakistan. The family looked forward to it and was excited. I recalled the verse of the Qur’an where Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) has commanded us to travel through the land and our travelling also becomes a means to connect to our Rabb. What a multifaceted gain this vacation would be, In Sha’Allah. I looked forward to it.
قُلْ سِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَانظُرُوا كَيْفَ بَدَأَ الْخَلْقَ ۚ ثُمَّ اللَّهُ يُنشِئُ النَّشْأَةَ الْآخِرَةَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
Say, [O Muhammad], “Travel through the land and observe how He began creation. Then Allah will produce the final creation. Indeed Allah, over all things, is competent.”
[Surah Al-Ankabut: 20]
The Northern areas of Pakistan and the true nature seemed to be just the perfect place to remind ourselves how Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ)- the Magnificent is our Creator.
As we passed by the small villages and headed towards the valley of Swat, entering Kalam, the scenery suddenly changed and we saw the world through another lens. The chilly air felt crisp and refreshing. The scenic view invited us to ponder over the larger and much stronger creation of the mountain. The only phrase that kept coming out of our mouths was, “SubhanAllah wa bhi hamdihi SubhanAllahil Adheem.” How was it that the smaller rocks were once a part of the huge mountain and as the water rushed down from the mountains, gaps were created making a path down the mountainside. Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) says in the Qur’an:
اَفَلَا يَنْظُرُوْنَ اِلَى الْاِبِلِ كَيْفَ خُلِقَتْ
وَاِلَى السَّمَاۗءِ كَيْفَ رُفِعَتْ
وَاِلَى الْجِبَالِ كَيْفَ نُصِبَتْ
وَاِلَى الْاَرْضِ كَيْفَ سُطِحَتْ
Then do they not look at the camels – how they are created?
And at the sky – how it is raised?
And at the mountains – how they are erected?
And at the earth – how it is spread out?
[Surah Al-Ghashiya: 17-20]
I marveled at the blue sky so clear with the clouds up above which seemed to travel with our bus. I thought: “Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) is the One who had appointed angels to drive these clouds.
The entire universe at this point in time was a witness to Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) as the Creator. Every object around was calling out to Him Alone and returning back to Him with the same message: Indeed your God is One!
وَاللَّهُ الَّذِي أَرْسَلَ الرِّيَاحَ فَتُثِيرُ سَحَابًا
And it is Allah who sends the winds, and they stir the clouds
اللَّهُ الَّذِي رَفَعَ السَّمَاوَاتِ بِغَيْرِ عَمَدٍ تَرَوْنَهَا ۖ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ ۖ وَسَخَّرَ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ ۖ كُلٌّ يَجْرِي لِأَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى ۚ يُدَبِّرُ الْأَمْرَ يُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لَعَلَّكُم بِلِقَاءِ رَبِّكُمْ تُوقِنُونَ
It is Allah who erected the heavens without pillars that you [can] see; then He established Himself above the Throne and made subject the sun and the moon, each running [its course] for a specified term. He arranges [each] matter; He details the signs that you may, of the meeting with your Lord, be certain.
The Beauty of This World and the Universal Plan
I thought to myself, “If what is seen of natural beauty is so breathtaking, what would Jannah be like? We stopped in a place called Fizzaghat. There was a mountain pass on one side, residential houses on the other and in between passed a Swat River. The pressure of the water causing ripples felt like as if someone was pushing it along. The frothy white of the water and the rushing sound of the river was soothing and had the most wonderful calming effect. I amused at the fact that so many of us turned to creating this natural burble as a relaxation exercise through decorative waterfall fountains placed around the house where Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) has made it such a natural and live therapeutic phenomenon. The water to taste was beyond any bottled water that could exist. Imagine, this water was coming from melted glaciers of the mountain, finding its way down into the river. It was cold, fresh and so clean I was sure it had the perfect pH balance! SubhanAllah. I thought of Haudh-e-Kawthar and how wonderful it would be to taste that. May Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) make all believers be the one to taste it. (Aameen)
Just this picture reminded me of how Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) states in His Book the oft-mentioned description of Jannah:
تَجۡرِى مِن تَحۡتِہَا الۡأَنۡهَـٰرُ
Underneath which rivers flow
Not only was the scene beautiful, what was so enchantingly captivating was the fact that everything around me seemed connected and focused to their present and their environment. Everything around had a role just as Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) had subjugated and defined it for them. They did what they were supposed to do. Everything was interlinked through Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ)’s command. The water flowed to the extent it was commanded. The mountains stayed put in their place and only when Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) commanded them an avalanche would occur.
It is said in the Qur’an:
وَهُوَ الَّذِي أَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَخْرَجْنَا بِهِ نَبَاتَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ فَأَخْرَجْنَا مِنْهُ خَضِرًا نُّخْرِجُ مِنْهُ حَبًّا مُّتَرَاكِبًا
And it is He who sends down rain from the sky, and We produce thereby the growth of all things. We produce from it greenery from which We produce grains arranged in layers.
The life cycle was well defined where the pine cone trees provided food for the smaller animals. The coniferous trees in the Ushu area stood up high and deeply grounded despite the thin trunks. All of the inanimate creatures were all creations of Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ). Everything was in unison and every created being is in a state of submission to Allah and worships Him in a manner appropriate to its situation.
أَلَمْ تَرَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَسْجُدُ لَهُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَن فِي الْأَرْضِ وَالشَّمْسُ وَالْقَمَرُ وَالنُّجُومُ وَالْجِبَالُ وَالشَّجَرُ وَالدَّوَابُّ وَكَثِيرٌ مِّنَ النَّاسِ
Do you not see that to Allah prostrates whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth and the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, the moving creatures and many of the people?
Imaam Ibn Katheer said: Allah is telling us of His Might, Majesty and Pride, for everything submits to Him and all things and creatures humble themselves before Him, inanimate objects and animals, and those which are accountable among mankind and the jinn, and the angels.
The Gifts Given by Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) During Travel
Of course, the gift of qasr (combining prayers during travel) was definitely something to be much grateful for. As it is wudhu is difficult during travel so combining the prayers and being able to use this gift was a wonderful blessing. It reminded me of the verse:
يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهِّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you, but He intends to purify you and complete His favor upon you that you may be grateful.
[Surah AlMaida: 6]
يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ أَن يُخَفِّفَ عَنكُمْ ۚ وَخُلِقَ الْإِنسَانُ ضَعِيفًا
And Allah wants to lighten for you [your difficulties]; and mankind was created weak.
Use of Water During Wudhu
As we reached Kalam, evening was setting in. The crisp air was now getting chillier and frigid. The temperature had dropped. As we stepped into the hotel room, we found out that the water in the taps were frozen. Hence, we will have to make do with the water found in the buckets. It seemed doable but the thought of doing wudhu seemed tasking. Here is when I realized the wisdom behind being able to repeat the steps of wudhu either once, twice or three times. Of course the Arabs did not have water at the time so this ease was given to them. Yet with the freezing water, I happily and gratefully poured water only once and thought of this hadith where we are given the provision of washing once, twice or three times. My Rabb was ever so Merciful and Knowing. SubhanAllah!
فَأَكْفَأَ عَلَى يَدِهِ مِنَ التَّوْرِ، فَغَسَلَ يَدَيْهِ ثَلاَثًا، ثُمَّ أَدْخَلَ يَدَهُ فِي التَّوْرِ، فَمَضْمَضَ وَاسْتَنْشَقَ وَاسْتَنْثَرَ ثَلاَثَ غَرَفَاتٍ، ثُمَّ أَدْخَلَ يَدَهُ فَغَسَلَ وَجْهَهُ ثَلاَثًا، ثُمَّ أَدْخَلَ يَدَهُ فَغَسَلَ يَدَيْهِ مَرَّتَيْنِ إِلَى الْمِرْفَقَيْنِ مَرَّتَيْنِ، ثُمَّ أَدْخَلَ يَدَهُ فَمَسَحَ رَأْسَهُ، فَأَقْبَلَ بِهِمَا وَأَدْبَرَ مَرَّةً وَاحِدَةً، ثُمَّ غَسَلَ رِجْلَيْهِ إِلَى الْكَعْبَيْنِ.
My father saw `Amr bin Abi Hasan asking `Abdullah bin Zaid about the ablution of the Prophet. `Abdullah bin Zaid asked for earthenware pot containing water and in front of them performed ablution like that of the Prophet (ﷺ).
He poured water from the pot over his hand and washed his hands thrice and then he put his hands in the pot and rinsed his mouth and washed his nose by putting water in it and then blowing it out with three handfuls of water. Again he put his hand in the water and washed his face thrice and washed his forearms up to the elbows twice; and then put his hands in the water and then passed them over his head by bringing them to the front and then to the rear of the head once, and then he washed his feet up to the ankles.
(Sahih AlBukhari 186)
Every step of the way, I was reminded of my Creator and the ease He has created for us during even our travel. Every scenery was a reminder that Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) has created a life cycle that exists and depends on others. There is an entirely connected universal plan that exists and only Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) has Power to control it, run it and eventually bring it all to an end to take us yet to another realm that is even more beautiful than the beauty that exists in this word. That is no other than Jannah! May Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) give us the opportunity to see it with our own eyes. Aameen. My trip connected me to my Rabb yet once again while I understood the value of traveling to witness the fact that there is none other than Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) Who is خالق Khaliq, مصور Musawwir, and مدبر Mudabbir.
 Sahih AlBukhari 186, Kitab Al-Wudhu