The First Spring – the Birth of the Spring of our Hearts

The month of Rabia Al Awwal or the First spring in the Islamic calendar, also marks the birth of the spring of our hearts. Spring is the dawn of the arrival of warmer and better times after the bitter coldness of winter and is used as a metaphor in many languages to indicate such revival. Spring is also generally the most temperate month of the year, the month in which greenery appears and the flowers start to blossom, as we look around this greenery delights us – the heart gets delighted - there is something about the colour green.

[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 heaped up/arranged up (at harvest) in layers.]

Perhaps the color green delights us because it connects us to a very deep truth – our perception of colors is linked to our perception of light and Green–falls exactly between the colour red (long wavelength) and the blue (short wavelength) regions of the visible light spectrum– it is exactly in the middle.

There is something about being in the middle, the nation of the Prophet has been defined as the Middle Nation. We also see that the color green held a specific affinity for the Prophet, perhaps this is the reason why the Prophet’s dome is painted green.

On Green Being His Favorite Color
Anas in Malik (Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said,

“The most beloved of colors to the Messenger of Allah (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) was green.” [Tabarani, Mu’jam al-Awsat; al-Bazzar, Musnad]

Although this hadith by itself is weak in its chain, it is strengthened by a corroborating narration in which Anas and a group of people went out to a plot of land covered in vegetation, and so someone exclaimed, “How beautiful is this greenery!” Thereafter, Anas reminisced that, “We used to say that the Prophet’s (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) favorite color was green.” [al-Bayhaqi, Shu’ab al-Iman]

The main reason that scholars cite for this preference is that green will be the main color of the clothing of the people in Paradise [Qur’an 18:31]. It is also reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon) used to like to gaze at the beauty of natural greenery. Green is also the first color that the eye can identify in the morning and last color the eye can see when the sun goes out and the Prophet was the last prophet sent.

Everything in the physical world is a sign, almost a metaphor for something beyond, that we are asked to reflect upon

[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 indeed for people who use their reason.]

The process of photosynthesis is a fascinating thing for us to reflect upon. Photosynthesis comes from two greek words which literally means to make light, it is this process that produces cholorphyll or the greeness we see. Chlorophyll is the molecule that absorbs sunlight and uses its energy to synthesise carbohydrates from CO2 and water. This process is the basis for sustaining the life processes of all plants. Since animals and humans obtain their food supply by eating plants, photosynthesis can be said to be the source of our life also. Thus the foundation of all life at the physical level could be said to be photosynthesis – a process that involves the interaction of light and a chemical that reflects the color green.

Why did Allah make the secret of all life at the physical level related to a process of producing light and the color green ? Maybe as an Ishara (indication) that just as the physical body is nourished by the interaction of light and chlorophyll, our spiritual bodies receive their nourishment through following the revelation and its living example of the Prophet. The Qu’ran explicitly says, he calls us to that which gives us life.

[O you who have attained to faith! Respond to the call of God and the Apostle whenever he calls you unto that which will give you life; and know that God intervenes between man and [the desires of] his heart, and that unto Him you shall be gathered.]

So perhaps just as Chlorophyll assists the life of the Body, the Prophet is the essential necessity to enable us to assist the life of the Soul. For we cannot attain the love of Allah, except through following His Prophet.

[Say, (O Muhammad), "If you love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful."]

The word love is an interesting word in Arabic. The word ‘Mohabba’, is derived from a word ‘Habba’, which means seed. Implying that just as a seed can grow, when given the right ingredients and environment, love also has the capacity to grow, and the greater and bigger the heart – the greater the capacity to love.

The Prophet had a capacity to love greater than anyone else, that is why we find him with everyone, with the Slaves, with the Ghifaris – the lowest tribe of the peninsula in the social fabric of the time. According to Qadi Iyad, the author of Al- Shifa, the reality of love is to incline to what one’s soul finds agreeable and harmonious inwardly and outwardly, either:

(1) By pleasure in its outer form – such as love of beautiful forms, melodious sounds, delicious foods and drink to which one naturally inclines because they are agreeable;

(2) By pleasure in its inner form – such as noble inner qualities (like courage, bravery, mercy, compassion, kindness, etc.) as sensed by the intellect and heart;

(3) By reason of gaining benefit and blessing from it. The self is naturally disposed to love that which is good to it.

A moment’s reflection on these reasons to love and the Prophet, will convince us he is most worthy of our love on all three accounts. For to know what the Prophet did for us and still does for us – we cannot help but love him. As the Prophet said:

“None of you truly believe until I become more beloved to him than his father, his children, and all the people collectively.” (Al-Bukhari, Muslim & an-Nasa'i)

The Prophet was constantly concerned for this Ummah, he compared the believer to the date palm trees. The following hadith is quoted in Imam Bukhari’s Book of Knowledge, hadith No. 61, narrated by Ibn ‘Umar:
[The Prophet said, "Amongst the trees, there is a tree, the leaves of which do not fall and is like a Muslim. Tell me the name of that tree." Everybody started thinking about the trees of the desert areas. And I thought of the date-palm tree. The others then asked, "Please inform us what is that tree, O Allah's Apostle?" He replied, "It is the date-palm tree."]

This simple analogy of the Prophet is rich in meaning. For just as the date-palm tree is amongst the most durable of trees, with its roots penetrating deep into the earth allowing it to live off very little water such as in desert climates like the UAE – the believers faith and conviction in Allah is not affected with the various events of life such as fame, money, tragedy, difficulty – the believer always stands firm.

Likewise just as everything in the date palm tree is of benefit, so too is everything about the believer beneficial. In a date tree, the leaves, fruit, date pits, tree trunk, sap, bark, are of benefit. The fruit of the date palm tree can be eaten at every stage of its development and has unique benefits at each stage.

Similarly, the believer radiates benefit to everything around him/her and at every stage in their life. May Allah allow us to radiate the light of the Prophet in our lives such that we can be of benefit just as the date-palm tree. The key to such radiation or metaphorical photosynthesis, is love of the Prophet and the key to such love is to follow and emulate the Noble Prophet – the Spring of our hearts.

[Say,"If you love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And
Allah is Forgiving and Merciful."]

Wa billahi tawfeeq.

Khutba Paper Courtesy of -
Khutba delivered on 27/01/2012