Narrated Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Apostle said, “Whoever says, ‘Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi,’ one hundred times a day, will be forgiven all his sins even if they were as much as the foam of the sea.
Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 75, Number 415
I have spent the past few days at the beach with my family and while we did not actually go sit at the beach very long I was offered the opportunity to see the ocean at a phenomenal time. During the summer, we usually pack some food up, get covered in sunblock, and get ready for a long day just hanging out with family. This time it was just for looks. Friday was an extremely windy day at the ocean, to the point where we could hear the wind whipping around the house and if you were within a block of the ocean it was as if it were raining on you, except the rain was salty.
So once we crossed the street to get to the boardwalk the ocean was so loud, it was thunderous. And then, this is what we saw….
I have never in life seen or heard something of that sort—but Masha’Allah it was amazing. Ocean spray pelting me like tiny rocks, the foam of the ocean flying around like clouds on the ground. The smell of the ocean was intoxicating—a mix of salt, water, and fresh air, which to me is one of the best smelling things on Earth. And the waves kept crashing and crashing and crashing—the ocean had an emotion and it was angry. You could see it in the colors; green, brown, and gray. No matter how far away you stood, it touched you, you could not escape it. It was so cold yet there was an element of awe that engulfed me. I wanted to sit there and stare for hours because all I could think of was that specific Hadith. The foam of the sea is literally, foam. And there was SO much of it. Imagine if your pile of sins was as great as that and you said a simple phrase one hundred times, and it would all disappear. I don’t know if I was as much in awe of the ocean or of the simplicity of sincere forgiveness. Allah (SWT) forgives us so easily, but all it takes is reflection, sincerity, and contemplation upon our actions and reactions.
In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are Signs for people of intelligence: those who remember God standing, sitting and lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: “Our Lord, You did not create this for nothing. Glory be to You! So guard us from the punishment of the Fire. (Qur’an Ali-‘Imran: 190-191).
The idea that this was created for us to contemplate and reflect upon. In conjunction with the previous Hadith it makes perfect sense! Why would this be here if it were not for us to compare the amount of sins a man can accumulate to the foam of the sea (which at times can be endless). Everything on this planet is meant to be as a sign for us to contemplate and understand because through that contemplation we will have sincerity in our hearts towards Allah (SWT). A person cannot appreciate what they have been given unless they assess its importance in their life. We take for granted the ability that our bodies are on auto-pilot and that the ocean’s waves do more than just crash on the shore to make sound.
Say: “If the ocean were ink (wherewith to write out) the words of my Lord, sooner would the ocean be exhausted than would the words of my Lord, even if we added another ocean like it, for its aid.”
Surah 18, Aya 109
This aya is very important to me, it truly made me feel small in comparison to the sea. It is scary to think that it keeps going for hundreds (thousands?) of miles. It is not a lake that I just can’t see the other side, there is an unknown. And to think that if the depth, breadth, and extent of the ocean were ink that Allah’s words would not only completely consume it, they would also consume another just like it. In a world where words seem endless, communication is always on, we are constantly making contacts with others—Allah’s words can still surpass us. In beauty and in logic, we cannot even fathom approaching anything close to that. Allah (SWT) gives us signs that we may contemplate and be grateful; this aya is one that causes us to put ourselves into perspective and how truly small we are—that even Allah’s words are greater and bigger than we’ll ever be.
SubhanAllah wa bihamdihi