I love watching birds fly with their wings majestically stretched out treading the open skies so peacefully as if embracing freedom itself. They appear to be relaxed, carefree not bound by anything of this materialistic world. As a kid I wanted to fly along with the birds, sit on clouds which appeared like cotton candy to me; I wanted to experience what the earth would look like from high above. I’d even thought about tasting a part of the clouds to see if they actually were white cotton candy if I could somehow go up there…hey, I was only a kid back then but just imagine if it really were like that; that would be one heck of a treat. XD Even now when I look at the sky it gives me the feeling of freedom, peace and tranquility. As if untouched by man and his selfish motives.
Anyway, coming back to the birds. Do they feel the same freedom we think they possess? I don’t know. But, if you actually watch them closely, you can see the effort they have to put in so as to fly. It’s not easy. I mean I don’t have wings so I can’t say for sure but I’ve seen how they take short breaks in between their flights by sitting on branches or window panes. If they didn’t make an effort to flap their wings and take flight (knowing how difficult it was) they would never taste this so-called freedom man seeks. In other words, they were not born with this ability, rather they acquired it. And through practice they got accustomed to it, learning from their mistakes, their experiences. It’s beautiful to watch little birds learn to fly. They somehow know that in order to obtain food they have to step out of their comfort zones: the nests, and take flight. Subhan’Allah! Their determination and willpower to make it to the sky is just amazing. It’s not that they get it all perfect at the first go. No, they trip, they fall, they crash but never do they ever give up. At first they’re just struggling to stay up in the air, clumsily flailing their tiny wings so they don’t fall down. But eventually they get the hang of it, gracefully spreading their wings; flapping them with steady beats, they glide through the open sky. Here’s an important ayah (verse) that needs mention:
“Do they not look at the birds, held poised in the midst of (the air and) the sky? Nothing holds them up but (the power of) Allah. Verily in this are signs for those who believe.” [Al-Qur’an 16:79]
So, it is only by the Will and Power of Allah ‘azza wa jal that the birds are able to fly. The scientists like to explain it very artistically making it seem as a very complicated matter. And yeah, to the human mind, it is. But the One behind it all is the Creator alone. Doing so is not difficult for Him in the slightest bit. Relate this to the verse,
“Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity…” [Al-Qur’an 2:286]
Seeing birds fly makes us want to fly like them; never once bothering to ponder on the effort it takes for them to work against the force of gravity. All we think about is how hopelessly we are grounded on earth. We dream of flying a thousand miles away from all restrictions and obligations that bind us to this world, always looking up at the sky with a persistent longing in our hearts.
But really, the sky’s not the limit and flying like the birds is not the ultimate experience. There’s a world beyond the vast sky and an experience beyond all imagination which is in store for the righteous.
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Allaah says: ‘I have prepared for My righteous slaves that which no eye has seen, no ear has heard and it has never crossed the mind of man. All of that is reserved, besides which all that you have known is as nothing.’ Then he recited: “No person knows what is kept hidden for them of joy as a reward for what they used to do.” [al-Sajdah 32:17 – interpretation of the meaning].
[Narrated by al-Bukhaari (3072) and Muslim (2824)]
Don’t know why but I think we all lack focus in life. Our priorities are messed up. We try to become someone we are not. And when these worldly activities take a toll on us all we want to do is escape, hide in between the clouds, dive underwater, or transform into a rock. Although I think the best option would be to go for a run. It works like a million dollar holiday, that is if you know your way back home. 😉
The truth is that there is freedom everywhere. Rules are a part of life. A bird won’t fly until it flaps it’s wings. That’s rule number one for them. Similarly, for us to survive we need to work. So that makes work an essential part of life. With work come our obligations and restrictions. That’s a part of the rulebook which cannot be neglected. So that leaves us with only one thing: our role in this grand play. The only bad news is that it is real and not theatrical. That’s the problem with us human beings; we tend to look at life as some fantasy where all our wishes should come true. But you know what, nobody, not a single soul, human or animal is in a better situation than yours. So stop wishing for somebody else’s life. No, not even a bird’s. But you are free to fly, I mean try to fly, whenever you want to. At your own risk. But just so you know, the bird has to face difficulties and challenges in life like you do. Allah does not charge us beyond what we can bear. The arrogant boss in your office was meant to be a part of the grand play, just like the annoying kids in your neighborhood, the bills you have to pay every month, judgmental people you come across, the busy day, the lonely night, the clothes you’ve grown out of or those that look like rags on you, everything. But the one thing that will make this play a success is your trust in it’s director/the Creator.
I say there is freedom because we’ve been given freewill to do what we want. We’ve been equipped with a mind that can be simply awesome almost all the time, alhumdulillah. The ability to see, hear, talk, walk and every ability Allah has blessed us with is for a purpose. And, yeah, even a difficult situation, sickness, disability, the prick of a thorn is for a reason. I know it’s easy for one to say and I apologize if I’m oversimplifying this. I don’t intend to and I mean no offence. I’m just basing this on the verse that I shared earlier. “Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity…” [Al-Qur’an 2:286]
May Allah ‘azza wa jal ease all our affairs for us. Ameen.
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