Wild Nourishment for Ramadan – Part 1
by Shumaisa Khan
Ramadan is here, and for those of us in the northern hemisphere, this is one of the years it falls during summer.
The good thing about this is that there is so much green abundance and drier weather beckoning us to spend some time outdoors.
We know that time with green beings is good for our mental health and vitality, but it’s also good for our spirit and soul, engendering feelings of generosity and compassion – so doesn’t it make sense to spend a bit of contemplative time outdoors during Ramadan?
Muslims in the UK are especially blessed with relatively mild summers compared to the tormenting heat and humidity of other places. Hopefully, even those living in areas with extreme heat and humidity (like much of the US, where I grew up), will find some bits of time during the month where this is feasible to do.
Before getting to the outdoor ‘wild’ bit, it’s worth bearing in mind that we don’t have to be camping in some lush, green space to find peace of the wild (although how amazing would that be?) – we can find it within us.
Simple actions such as minimizing our time on screens and online; observing the sun, rather than relying on adhan alarms; and consciously incorporating wild plants into our food and drink (more on that in Part 2) help us reclaim our unmediated, direct connection to the Divine.
To nourish your spirit:
- Set an intention and set aside a time to walk in a less built up outdoor space for spiritual nourishment. When walking, slow down and notice the non-human sounds, and observe the different shades and textures of colors.
- Approach this place with humility and an open heart.
- Just be present and take in the wonders that surround you, with gratitude
The place can be in a park, or the beach, a patch of woods – whatever is accessible to you. If it feels right (and safe), you may wish to do this at night. For those of us living in urban areas, a post-iftaar stroll in a quieter area can be quite rejuvenating.
You can do some Quran reading or salaah outside, even just in your backyard. None of this has to be for a long amount of time; as with most things, little and often is superior to long and infrequent.
Remember, non-human beings are always in a state of fitrah and surrendering to the Oneness of Allah (سبحانه و تعالى); by being in their company, some of this quality can rub off on us. So this Ramadan, spend time with the aayaat (verses) of the Quran, but also spend time with the aayaat (signs of God) manifested in the book of nature!