“There are signs in the earth, don’t you see them?”

Muhammad says that the first seeds for cycling to Mecca were planted on a bicycle. “I biked from Maassluis to Hoek van Holland to watch the sun go down into the sea and then to pray. To be honest, I did it mainly because I was too stingy to get a train ticket. While I was cycling, I noticed that this way I could think better of the ayatollahs The signs of the Creator can be found everywhere in creation.I was told from an early age that thinking about the signs of God is very important, but no one taught me how to do it.While cycling I discovered that nature is very important to me in this.At that time ‘I thought that in order to see the ‘real’ nature I should go abroad. I asked myself where I would like to ride a bike. The answer came straight away: Mecca.”

After Muhammad gained more cycling experience, he discussed the idea with his friend Rudy. “We went on a bike trip across Europe together. It went well, so I told him about my actual goal: cycling to Mecca. He immediately replied, ‘I’m coming!’ And so he went.” In the winter of 2016 and 2017, they completed the journey to Mecca in 63 days. Both are cycle with different intent. Muhammad wanted to ride a bike to think of the ayatollahs in nature. Rudy’s intention was to perform Hajj in a sustainable manner.

The wooden cyclists Muhammad and Rudi were cycling to Mecca

For Muhammad, the topic of “sustainability” only came to light when he was a young adult. “Part of this has to do with the world screaming about climate change, but more with Rudy screaming about the same thing,” he says. His cries were far more effective than the cries of the world. I know him as someone who acts with great integrity. Not only did he shout at us to take better care of the earth, but the message of his words was reflected in his actions. It made a deep impression on me.”

Muhammad gives an example: “On the last day of our trip, we traveled by bike from Jeddah to Makkah. We left early without having breakfast because we wanted to beat the heat of the day. In hindsight, this might not be the best option, because as a bike traveler you really need to Your nutrition.So I had a hard time and was very hungry.Like an oasis in the desert,a chicken burger restaurant appeared on our way.I was just so glad I saw the food!On the other hand, Rudy saw a fast food chain and chicken packed in very small cages for fattening ASAP , so he didn’t want to hear it. I tried to convince him: “Emergency breaks the law: we must eat something, or else we fall!” But he held his ground. I found it inspiring: that he stuck to his ideals even in difficult times. This made a deeper impression on me. Much more than big words can do at any time.”

Ayatollah

Muhammad’s intention to ride a bike to Mecca was to meditate on the signs of God. But what are the signs of God? The Qur’an consists of verses written in Arabic “ayat” which literally means “drawing”. Not only the written book, the Qur’an, but the book of creation (the whole world) is composed of verses verses from God. Muhammad explains: “Only when you link the verses of the Qur’an with the signs of creation will you reach a deeper understanding of their meaning.”

The Qur’an says: “There are signs on earth for certainty as they are in yourselves, do you not see?” (Quran 51: 20-21). Muhammad views us as human beings as treasure hunters, looking for the signs of God. “In verse reason” in “the earth,” and “in” verses. You can’t always see the signs right away. You have to think about it, and start digging the signs into yourself and into your environment, so to speak. And this is only possible through observation and reflection. .

Islamic children’s books

But how do you do that, think? As a child, Muhammad himself never learned what it looked like to think about the ayatollahs in practice. He pointed out that there are no children’s books written from an Islamic perspective on nature and how to find God’s wisdom and verses in it. So he decided to do his part and start writing himself.

“I actually wanted to write one children’s book about nature, but I soon discovered that I could only do justice to the wisdom behind all those different natural elements by dedicating his own book to each element. So I started a book about the whale. We know the whale from the story of the Prophet Yunus (Jonas). There are many books that describe the story of Yunus, but there is not much room for the story that the whale must tell us. One of the lessons that the whale must teach is the power of prayer. So it is no coincidence that the cry of the whale reaches the furthest extent of all. Animals on earth.This call can be heard by other whales over a thousand miles away.The only being on earth that can communicate more is man in his prayer.Jones’s prayer was heard in the whale and answered in the sky from above.I think the whale in the story of Jonah God may use it as a means of emphasizing the message of the story. In my opinion, this is the case with all the natural elements in the Qur’an that I have studied thus far, as well as for example the ants in the story of Solomon (Solomon). For me, they symbolize, among other things, the power of Small business. I’m writing my second book about it.”

In writing these books, integrity is essential to Muhammad. “It is essential for me to learn for myself the lessons of the element of nature that I am writing about before moving on to the next element. It is also important that I internalize these lessons myself and not only talk about them with others. Sustainability is also about delay. It is precisely this haste, that constant drive for speed and pluralism that we perish. We have to take the time to really learn, so that our environment sees from our actions that we have learned.” This is how Muhammad himself learned from Rudy.

Sustainability

“Sustainability for me is adjusting your actions according to God’s will,” says Muhammad. “To do this, it is necessary that you have knowledge of God (taqwa) and that you have knowledge of God’s will. If someone asks me which verses of the Qur’an are about permanence, I ask: “Which verses are not about permanence?” In this life, we strive for health in the sense The vastness of the word: physical, mental, spiritual, social and environmental. To maintain a balance in all those different aspects of health, God has given us guidance. By this I don’t just mean the rules found in the Qur’an. The Qur’an is much more than just a book. dos And the don’t. Most of the Qur’an revolves around meditation on the signs of God. This is the basis of good work. From there, you can live a healthy life for yourself and those around you. This is where sustainability comes in.”

For Muhammad, sustainability is as closely related to nature as it is to God. “In the West, we are generally concerned with creation above average, but to a much lesser degree in the Creator. I often note among Muslims that there is a great deal of interest in the Creator, but much less interest in creation. This is both a sin. To protect creation, you must know its Creator. And in order to do justice to the Creator, you also have to do justice to His creation.”

This interview was originally published on February 2, 2022 in the “Inclusive Sustainability” article series and is republished in the context of the new summer rehearsals.

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