And there was only Him. Then He created all; earth, us, and beauty. Some breathe and some don’t, but all are alive. Dark or light, they’re all good and not bad, all beautiful and not ugly. And then He said to us “there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except [that they are] communities like you. Then unto their Lord they will be gathered.” (Qur’an, 6:38) we all need each other and we all live because of each other and because of Him.
When I heard about the tree-planting project I quickly registered without any hesitation. I thought to myself what is better than to make the earth, our only home in this world, a greener place? I know that I am only one person, but imagine a world where everyone would plant a tree at least once a year. Our home and our cities would be a lot more beautiful. Just think about all those birds that would make their small nests on all those tall trees standing strong in the windy winters. All those green leaves holding tight to their mother branches and making lots of oxygen for those of us that breathe it. All the beauty that will be created when they all stand next to each other looking like a troop of young soldiers defending their country; or the view created that will remind us of our true home, the heaven.
In the past seven years, London has become my second home. Coming from a city like Qom, London has always looked so green to me, but recently I have noticed that it is now becoming less green and more grey. Many skyscrapers are being built in central London and many other apartments across all areas of the city. Most of the spaces available are being used for business purposes and many new shopping malls are under progress. People’s hobbies are now shopping, playing with electronic gadgets, and watching films rather than cycling in the park; we all know that this can all be too much to our sensitive minds. We need to be with nature and with all other creatures that Allah (SWT) has created, not just ourselves. As we will see Him through all the beauty that He has created which will put us in a state of calmness. The guardian states “anxiety or depression affects nearly one in five UK adults.”1 In my opinion this is something that should be taken into major consideration. Every individual has a major role in the society. The fact that one in five people affected by anxiety or depression could be a mother raising three children, it could be a teacher teaching a hundred students or it could be a scientist working on crucial research that could change thousands of people’s lives. I don’t know why our health does not matter to us anymore. I don’t know why we have stopped caring about our surroundings. It is the environment in which we live in that makes us who we are. We all know this and I think it is now the time for us all to make a movement to not just be alive, but to live.
One of the brothers that helped us in tree planting told me that his main reason to come today was to do sadaqah jariyah [ceaseless charity]. Until he told me, I did not know that planting a tree would be an act of sadaqah jariyah. When I thought about it, it was easy to recognise tree planting as a type of sadaqah [charity]. Planting a tree that would live for decades and would be beneficial to all those around it must be counted as sadaqah, as in Islam any act of goodness is counted as one. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has said “if a Muslim plants a tree or grows grains, and a bird, a person or an animal eats from, it will be counted as a charity for him.” He also said, “whoever plants a tree is rewarded by Allah as much as the produce grown on that tree.”
It was very beautiful to see many people coming to plant trees on a weekend while it was very cold and raining at the same time. There were people from various age groups, communities and faiths all coming together to make a difference in their town. We managed to plant many young trees, which I cannot wait to see grow and become older. In our charity, IUS, we also had a lot of help from our friends from Focolare. It was a very fun and enjoyable day for me and I would love to join the team next time as well.
Written by Maryam Rezai