When The Clouds Spoke

“And how many Signs in the heavens and the earth do they pass by? Yet they turn (their faces) away from them!”(Surah Yusuf)

-This is a guest post by a writer who wishes to remain anonymous-

“And how many Signs in the heavens and the earth do they pass by? Yet they turn (their faces) away from them!” (Surah Yusuf, ayah 105)

Clouds fascinate me. Rather, I’m obsessed with them. Whenever I step outside, I love to observe the clouds. Unlike most obsessions, I can identify the exact incident which triggered this one.

When I was 14, an Aunty in our neighbourhood underwent a sudden transformation. From a hijabless, all-night partying kind of lady, she became a hijabi, Quran-studying, Arabic-teaching lady inviting others to Allah’s (s.w.t) obedience. The pendulum had swung from one end to the other with amazing speed. It transpired that one day, she had seen “Allah” written in the clouds. The spectacle struck her as a sign from God and made her mend her ways.

When I got to know about this, my teenage brain immediately started yearning to see “Allah” written in the clouds too. I was sure that Allah s.w.t could show it to me too. And I was sure that I too would as a result become pious overnight. It was an exhilarating thought that all the struggles (e.g. praying 5 times a day) would evaporate and I would become a practicing Muslimah. So I made dua and I waited and I waited and I observed the clouds whenever I got the chance. I had vivid daydreams of the day when I would see this sign and call my family to witness it too. And we would all be struck by the majesty of it and make prostration and suddenly become ‘naik’.

This continued for more than a year! In the school bus, in the car, I would always take the window seat to do my cloud-watching. The beauty of the clouds, the amazing artistry, the variety, the changing hues and shapes started to fascinate me. I had my “Wow” moments seeing clouds as big as mountains, as inviting as cotton candy, as artistic as anything overhead.
I would point it out to people around and would be amazed at how oblivious they were to the sky above them. Anyhow, time passed and I did not see the awaited Sign but I actually did see it. I did not see “Allah” written in the clouds but I actually did see it! It so happened that Allah gradually opened my heart. Maybe it was because I had started to skim through the translation of the Quran for the first time and my brain was gradually becoming tuned according to it. One hot afternoon in the desert of Arabia, I noticed a majestic, towering cloud that looked all cute and fluffy at the same time. There and then, it dawned upon me. There was “Allah” written all over it. Not the Arabic alphabets alif-laam-laam-ha. But it was as if I could see what the cloud wanted to show. I could hear what it wanted me to see. It was a sign of Allah s.w.t; a miracle, if you like. This cloud suspended like this; it was very clearly saying: Allah SWT created me. The one who is Al-Azeez, Al-Jabbar, Al-Musawwir, Al-Khaliq, He created me. And he changes my form every moment. I could hear the tasbih of the sky as if it too was proclaiming:

“Kulla Yaumin huwa fi shaa’n”

(Every day, He has a matter to bring forth; Surah ar-Rahman, ayah 29)

This observation became a turning point. I am utterly grateful to Allah (s.w.t) for opening my heart like this. My cloud-gazing become more persistent but now it was not an anxious gazing filled with waiting for the moment I would see “Allah” written in the clouds. Rather, I had achieved my goal. I had seen Allah’s (s.w.t) power and glory in the clouds. I had heard the clouds doing His tasbeeh. My sight and hearing had reached new dimensions. And then my cloud-obsession became wider and wider until it encompassed all of nature. I would go around as if I was walking in a museum displaying Allah’s (s.w.t) creations and recognizing the artist and his attributes. Countless “Wow” and “SubhanAllah” moments followed. The ayaat sprung forward from nature. Visits to the beach, mountain trails, fruit orchards, rivers etc. became the mega-boosters, cherished for the dose of Imaan and nearness to Allah (s.w.t) they provided.

But then, gradually, man forgets and man changes. Ten years later, a particularly beautiful, rainy post-Fajr morning walk in Islamabad became the impetus to write this article and to encourage the readers to ponder over the creation of Allah. We are so cut-off from nature, so engrossed in man-made gadgets that we miss out on the Eeman banquet Allah (s.w.t) has spread around us. See the signs of Allah(s.w.t) for what they are: Signs from Him! This concept is discussed at numerous places in the Quran. Countless ayaat invite us to open our eyes and to observe nature and recognize Allah.

“And how many Signs in the heavens and the earth do they pass by? Yet they turn (their faces) away from them!” (Surah Yusuf, ayah 105)

So when was the last time you gazed at the stars or winked at the moon or smiled in the rain or observed the clouds and the flowers and remembered Allah (s.w.t )with all of this. Feel the caressing of the wind, the kiss of the sun. See, Hear, feel, Smell, Think, Ponder; and Recognize Him!
It’s ones of lifes sweetest and most easily available pleasures. Don’t miss out on it. Get in sync with the universe in making tasbeeh of Allah (s.w.t) and remembering Him.

“And how many Signs in the heavens and the earth do they pass by? Yet they turn (their faces) away from them!” (Surah Yusuf)

May Allah s.w.t make us sincere and show us the Beauty of His Face just as He has shown us the beauty of His Creation.

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