by Wasi Daniju and Muzammal Hussain
Think for a moment about the last time you named something. A child perhaps, or a pet. Maybe something you created - a sculpture, painting, poem or song. Maybe a group or a team. Or maybe just a pet name for someone close. In this variety of cases, the time, thought and reflection put into deciding on this name no doubt varied, depending on the import placed on what was being named. In just about every case, though, the name chosen would be likely to reflect aspects of the named thing that you consider important, elements of it that you would want people to get an idea of as soon as they hear it.
Thus it was with LINE - London Islamic Network for the Environment, founded in 2004. The name encapsulated certain elements of the group and its aims. It was a practical name, demonstrating the group’s foundation on Islamic principles, and the focus of our activities, the environment.
In recent discussions of our ethos, our values and the actions that we take, however, we felt that actually, there were certain fundamental aspects of our ethos, values and actions that are not captured and reflected by this name. We agreed that actually, our scope is beyond the environment, and wider than 'Muslim'. These are not new ideas for the group, this has always been true, but time and experience have led to the emergence of a need to clearly express this. And so, from this reflection, our new name was chosen: Wisdom in Nature.
The drawing out of wisdom includes a process of reflection and sensing deeper connections to knowledge accumulated over time. It enables us to get to the essence - this requires both the heart and the mind. Developing wisdom necessitates transfomation, and a transformative approach has always been central to the group. We engage in deep dialogue and reflection, taking the time needed for wisdom to emerge, both within ourselves and as a collective.
When considering the word ‘nature’, the first thing that tends to come to mind is the natural world around us - the incredible and fascinating beauty of the flora and fauna, the amazing way in which billions of organisms coexist harmoniously, the peace and tranquility that can be found, sometimes in even the wildest of landscapes. By nature, we also consider our natural disposition, our innate nature, or fitrah, that pure state in which we were created . By living according to the fitrah, we more naturally fit harmoniously into the wider creation that we are a part of.
And thus the name ‘Wisdom in Nature’ encapsulates two intertwining ideas, that we hope our group embodies. Through reflection and sensing, we look to learn from the wisdom of the world around us. Rather than an over-attachment to new human-made sciences and technologies, we also consider the value of learning from the lessons that nature has to offer. In a number of places in the Qur’an, it is mentioned that in the world are ‘signs for those who reflect’. We believe that careful contemplation of the harmonious systems and beauty of the natural world can not only draw us closer to the Divine author of the works, but can also help us to discover solutions to the ecological and social imbalances present in the world today.
Furthermore, we believe that there is something innate in us that echoes nature’s methods - something in our own natures that holds an answer to the quandary we find ourselves in, if only we are able to reflect deeply enough, and listen to the quiet voice within.
We had an exciting and fruitful time as LINE. We now look forward to our future as Wisdom In Nature, and hope that, especially given the reflection in its choosing, we are able to maintain our ethos and be true to our name.
For more information about WIN's ethos and history, please visit our website here.