By Alveena Salim
Recently, I was fortunate enough to spend a week in the lush, misty mountains of Sri Lanka. I was humbled and awestruck by the beauty of this country. I discovered large areas covered in tropical forests, with hundreds of rivers flowing through them, often cascading in stunning waterfalls.
According to some Arab traditions, when Prophet Adam (as) was expelled from heaven, God placed him in Sri Lanka to make his transition less painful, as Sri Lanka is a place on Earth most like heaven.
Sri Lanka has been called ‘The tear drop of India’ because of its shape and location and is known as “The Pearl of the Indian Ocean” because of its natural beauty. It is also known as “The nation of smiling people”; my husband and I were fortunate enough to meet so many amazing people, who made our stay there even more enjoyable.
Each time a stunning waterfall took my breath away or when I saw breathtaking views of valleys, meadows, mountains and lakes I couldn’t help but think that, this is just the creation of Allah. We can not even begin to imagine the beauty of our Creator. This is because the beauty that exists in Creation – on land and at sea all attests to Allah’s beauty as well as His power. After all, He who created beauty is most entitled to beauty.
Ibn Al-Qayyim put it beautifully when he said, “And it is enough to realize Allah’s Beauty when we know that every internal and external beauty in this life and the next are created by Him, so what of the beauty of their Creator?”
This beauty that we see in nature has the ability to take our breath away, give us peace and stir something within us. This is also from Allah, as its in our fitrah (natural disposition) to be drawn towards beauty.
I would urge all my brothers and sisters to travel the world and reflect on the beauty of Allah’s creation.
Allah says in the Quran ‘Say (O Muhammad): Travel in the land and see how He originated creation, then Allah brings forth the later growth. Indeed, Allah is Able to do all things.’ (29:20)
“…(Such is) the artistry of Allah, Who disposes of all things in perfect order…” (27:88).
‘Have they not travelled in the land, so that they may have hearts
wherewith to feel and ears wherewith to hear? For indeed it is not the
eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts which are within the bosoms
that grow blind.’ (22.46)
Who needs more of an invitation from Allah (swt), to travel and see the world He created and to see how He keeps it changing. Prophet Muhammad (saw) also encouraged people to travel in the lands and to learn the lessons.
This travel can unfold mystries of the universe and can teach you the lessons of life that you are not going to learn in any classroom. It can make you tremble with fear of Allah, marvel at a mere glimpse of His Divine Beauty and it can make you cry with the love of Allah.
Islam urges Muslims to tour the earth seeking beneficial activities while having better interaction with others.
Sheikh Muhammad Nur Abdullah said “Tourism is highly recommended by the Qur’an. Allah asked us to travel through the earth to take the lessons from the other people that came before us” People travel to gain knowledge, learn about history of other people, and widen their perspective about life and their understanding of human civilisation and the wonders of Allah’s creation.
Sri Lanka, is one of many beautiful places on Allah’s Earth. Earth is full of so many more breathtaking places to visit. Go and travel and marvel at the pyramids in Egypt, which are rumoured to be built by angels. Visit Madagascar which is truly a lost world, where visitors encounter a forest of upturned limestone daggers. See Mount Everest, which is the world’s highest mountain, with a peak that reaches more than 8800 meters above sea level. Appreciate the beauty of Lake Louise, which is a Canadian lake formed by a glacier and is known for its blue-green colour that results from mineral deposits that enter the lake from melting glaciers above. See the ‘Empty quarter’, in Abu Dhabi which is the largest sand desert in the world. I could go on, but I couldn’t possibly even begin to exhaust the list of places on Earth which are worthy of our visits.
I will leave you with some pictures that I have taken over the years.
Mangroves Tours: Malaysia
City of a thousand Minarets: Egypt
Dolphin watching: Oman
Liwa (Abu Dhabi )
Empty Quarter (Abu Dhabi)