Belize is intense and beautiful. Gracious and untouched by my personal tragedy.
As I swim in the ocean alongside Allah’s beautiful creatures, unafraid for my companions, or myself. I repeat to myself the supplication of Prophet Muhammad, peace & blessings be upon him:
‘O Allah none can prevent what you have willed to bestow. And none can bestow what you have willed to prevent’.
And thus this is the first time I ventured into the deep ocean close to the end of the reef without a life vest. It is not a suicidal attempt, I did wear my snorkel and fins and I can swim, (I tied my camel) but as to the rest, the fear of the unseen and the unknown, I have laid aside those worries. I have placed myself and my loved ones in the hands of Allah.
As I swim along the coral reefs, which are brimming with Gods creation, I see colony after colony of every type of fish and coral with colors and names and shapes that I do not even know.
I imagine Allah (SWT) creating them, with painstaking detail, their fins, their transparent bodies and their fluorescent line, their smiling face, and then their relationship to each other. Suddenly the water in front of me blurs with a thousand specks. As I look carefully I realize that I am seeing a school of thousands or at least hundreds of fish swimming together in a wavy course forward and back. They are luminescent and smaller than my fingernail, turning and coming back in a perfect pattern, which seems to be programmed in their genes. I have always wondered about their perfectly matched movements. I feel that they are in Dhikr of Allah moving back and forth like a child rocks while reading the Quran.
Allah SWT tells us in the Quran that all His creatures are in Dhikr of Allah. In addition they pray for the sons and daughters of Adam. It seems that the sparkling schools of fish are doing just that. They are performing salaat in jamaat in unison, back and forth instead of up and down like us.
In the ocean momentarily a warm feeling of serene happiness creeps into me. I feel Tariq is alongside, but I cannot see him. At a conscious level I know he is no longer with us and is in a better place, but that does not prevent me from missing his exuberant company and his unadulterated love. I ask forgiveness from Allah for any mistakes I may have made in his upbringing, and slowly just as my sadness came, it floats away in the magnificence of the sea and its creatures. A gift of healing from Him.
From within the ocean, looking out at the ocean where it meets the sky on one side and at the strip of land where the palm trees are swaying on the other side, I feel the Ayat ul Kursi come to life. Truly Allah’s footstool is extending over the Heavens and the Earth. Everything is in harmony with each other.
The people in Belize are in harmony with nature and with each other, they only take what is needed and no more. The sheer carelessness towards nature seen in most Oceanside resorts around the world over is missing. I am deeply grateful to Allah (SWT) for allowing me a glimpse into the colorful world of the sparkling waters.
I see workers from The Honduras, building the roof of one of the condos. Yet another set of immigrants working away from home to earn money for their absent families.
One evening as we sit alongside the beach, the sad soulful song from a workman on the pier drifts into my soul. Someone is missing their loved one. Dead or just separated by the ocean? I don’t know.
The exotic fragrance of the island’s wild white flower engulfs me like an embrace. The three of us sit for long silent moments, immersed in thought, looking out at the ocean. The fourth chair remains empty beside us.