I recently came across this Native American saying used by Alanis Obomsawin decades ago—and it struck a chord with me. A few days prior, I had reprimanded my son and his friends for climbing one of the masjid trees. Their ball was stuck, and in the process of retrieving it, they had broken several branches. At the time I was more concerned about safety, but minutes later, I found other boys on that same tree, ripping off leaves and shaking branches for no apparent reason.
I called security, and together we made the kids clean up the mess they had made. During this process, one of the boys remarked, “at least she didn’t make us clean the bathroom,” and they all cringed in agreement. I didn’t dare ask.
Anas (May Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “If the Hour is about to be established and one of you was holding a palm shoot, let him take advantage of even one second before the Hour is established to plant it.”
Let us remind our kids and each other to be kind to the environment entrusted to us for one day, we will be asked.
Kulsum Tasnif is a visual artist residing in NC. Her upcoming solo exhibit about refugee struggles, “Journey to The Good Life,” will be seen at The Carrack Modern Art, Page-walker Arts and History Center, and Skylight Gallery. Her work has been published in Patheos, Brown Girl Magazine, Creative Ummah, and The Muslim Vibe. Please visit www.kulsumtasnif.com and www.instagram.com/kulsumts for more about her art.