Learning about Allah through His Creation

Learning about Allah through His Creation

We are blessed with guidance and details about every aspect of our relationships to Allah and to people, about how to worship and to pursue knowledge, about how to connect the trials and experiences from the past to the present, and more. These suggest that Islam was designed to be practiced intentionally and consistently as a way of life. Conscious effort must be taken to help our children connect with Allah – to get to know Him, to respect Him, and to heed the guidance that He so mercifully provides. And the earlier that starts the better. The best way for parents to inculcate this type of connection to the practice of our religion is to provide age-appropriate training from those who have knowledge and also by making use of “teachable moments.”

It can be difficult for children to connect to Allah, however, because they can’t see Him. They are more connected to the here and now, what is seen and heard, what they can understand based on their age about the world around them. One very effective way of heading into this territory, especially at an early age, is to learn about Allah by learning about His awesome creation.

The Arabic word ayaat means verse, signs, miracles, evidences, proofs, reminders, etc. There are numerous references in the Quran to the importance of this step.

“Verily, in the creation of the heavens and of the earth, and the succession of night and day; and in the ships that speed through the sea with what is useful to man: and in the waters which God sends down from the sky, giving life thereby to the earth after it had been lifeless, and causing all manner of living creatures to multiply thereon; and in the change of the winds, and the clouds that run their appointed courses between sky and earth: [in all this] there are signs [of Allah’s attributes etc.] indeed for people who use their reason.” (Surah 2:164)

Parents can introduce these practices into everyday life by noticing the wonder of the natural world and attributing it, not to the limits of our own scientific understanding, but to Al-Khalaaq, The Creator of All Things.

Look for These Teachable Moments

Here are a few teachable moments to share with your children.

Take a look at the sun and the moon.

There is great order in the alternation of the day and night, the rising and setting of the sun and the moon. It doesn’t happen abruptly but instead transitions gradually. We rely on the light during the day for illumination and warmth and also take rest in the darkness.

“Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding. (Surah 3:190)

Who is in charge of that alternation? Can any human intervene? How do our circadian rhythms – our national internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle – align to the day and night? It is by the direction of Al-Bari, the Maker of Order, alone.

Consider the ant.

Allah mentioned 31 animals in the Quran. The ant is mentioned in the story of Prophet Suleiman but there is also a reference to its way of life here:

"There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you. Nothing have We omitted from the Book, and they (all) shall be gathered to their Lord in the end." (Surah 6:38)

What do we know about the small creatures? There are over 12,000 species of ants worldwide living on every continent except Antarctica. We share the earth with an estimated 1 quadrillion ants (that’s 15 zeros), equating to 1.6 million for every human! Ants are the longest living insect and live in structured colonies, called formicaries which are made up of one or more egg-laying queens and a large number of female “worker” ants which build and maintain the nest, forage for food, and care for the young and the queen. There are a lesser number of male ants who job is to mate with the queen. And Allah, Al-Alim, is the Knower of All, big and small.

Listen to your heartbeat.

An adult human heart beats about 60 to 80 times per minute, about 100,000 times per day, and nearly three billion in an average lifetime. Newborns hearts beat faster at 70-190 times a minute. The heart pumps about 6 quarts (5.7 litres) of blood throughout the body. Although it's no bigger than your fist, your heart has the mighty job of keeping blood flowing through the 60,000 miles of blood vessels that feed your organs and tissues. The heart starts beating at about four months of gestation and beats until death. And we mostly don’t think about that consciously. 

What does Allah, Al-Muhyi, the Giver of Life to All Things, tell us about the heart?

The human heart is mentioned 132 times in the Qur'an, and while we know the importance of the physiological work of the heart, the emphasis here is on the capacity of the heart as the center of reasoning, intentions, and decision making. Al-Nu’man ibn Bashir narrated that the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, in the body is a piece of flesh which, if sound, the entire body is sound, and if corrupt, the entire body is corrupt. Truly, it is the heart.”

Ponder about the blessing of water.

The world al-ma’a – water in Arabic – appears 63 times in the Quran. Allah, Al-Muqit, The Nourisher of All Creation, says:

“Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth we joined together (as one Unit of Creation), before we clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing.” (Surah 21:30)

“And God has created every animal from water: of them there are some that creep on their bellies; some that walk on two legs; and some that walk on four. God creates what He wills; for verily God has power over all things.” (Surah 24: 45)

Science has uncovered details that were not known 1400+ years ago when the Quran was revealed. Today we know that water covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface and was likely one of the first molecules on our planet. We also know that there is a finite amount of water on Earth and that it moves continuously in a water cycle, changing from liquid, to water vapor in the form of clouds, to precipitation in the form of rain and snow that falls back to the Earth’s surface, and so on.

Marvel at the beautiful colors in our world.

When we think of beautiful colors we can think about flowers or birds or a beautiful sunset. But did you know that scientists have estimated that we can view around a 18 decillion varieties of colors (that is 18 followed by 33 zeros!). Humans see light in three ways – on surfaces, as light sources, and in volumes. Plus, every individual sees colors differently. Allah, Al-Musawwir, The Shaper of Beauty, has provided a spectacle of color the likes we cannot even imagine. In Surah Fatir (The Originator) ayaat 27-30, Allah states:

Do you not see that Allah sends down rain from the sky, and We produce thereby fruits of varying colors? And in the mountains are tracts, white and red of varying shades and [some] extremely black.

Indeed, those who recite the Book of Allah and establish prayer and spend [in His cause] out of what We have provided them, secretly and publicly, [can] expect a transaction [i.e., profit] that will never perish.

That He may give them in full their rewards and increase for them of His bounty. Indeed, He is Forgiving and Appreciative.

These are just a few examples of how we can help our children learn about the awesome nature of Allah’s creation. If the creation is this awesome, what does that say about the Creator? It can only mean that He is even more awesome! He is Allah, Al-Mutakabbir, the Greatest. 

Take advantage of the opportunity you have to teach and to be a role model for your children. Each and every minute counts and it is a lifelong work-in-progress. Be on the lookout for more teachable moments that awe and inspire and you will find them everywhere!

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