Sunday 11th December, 2016.
One of my (technically) nieces (we’re age mates) invited me to go with her for a picnic in Paradise Gardens (Google Maps link opens in new tab). My little brother tagged along and our first stop was to get some food. We got two chicken burgers and a chicken wrap from Galitos, some gum and water. I’d been to the movies the previous day and still had an uneaten Crunchie bar in my bag, which served as dessert.
We got there at about 1 pm which gave us ample time to relax and enjoy ourselves.
People. It was beautiful. Probably one of the most beautiful places I’ve come to experience. Yes, experience, because ‘seeing’ doesn’t fully describe the effect such spaces have on your emotions. It was love at first sight.
Fresh air, birds chirping, bees buzzing around, sweet smelling flowers in the air and the sunshine was just perfect. We sought shade under one of the beautiful trees and set up our little picnic. Often times, one of us would just get up and walk to the little lake and stare into nothingness, just enjoying the peace and serenity. This immense sense of presence overcomes you, and you just feel so happy. See, all the three of us have sort of the same personality characteristics. We don’t need to talk all the time, we’re comfortable in silence because I guess, we think too much. But when we do feel the need to talk, we are very raw and perhaps even intense, because we want to get a point through. Does this make any sense?
This place reminded me of a conversation I had with my sister-friend Nafisa when she took her mum for a walk in one of those beautiful British gardens with ‘perfectly manicured lawns’ and carefully pruned roses or whatever other varieties of flowers are in season. Her mother was elated, completely smitten by how beautiful the garden was. And then she asked, “If this is one of the most beautiful gardens I’ve laid eyes on in my life here on earth, can you imagine how beautiful the Gardens of Paradise really are”?
I don’t know how the Gardens of Paradise are described in the Bible, but I’ll end this post with a verse describing the Gardens of Paradise in the Qur’an.
Quran 56: 10-40
And their recompense shall be Paradise, and silken garments, because they were patient. Reclining therein on raised thrones, they will see there neither the excessive heat of the sun, nor the excessive bitter cold, (as in Paradise there is no sun and no moon). And the shade thereof is close upon them, and the bunches of fruit thereof will hang low within their reach. And amongst them will be passed round vessels of silver and cups of crystal, Crystal-clear, made of silver. They will determine the measure thereof according to their wishes. And they will be given to drink there a cup (of wine) mixed with Zanjabil (ginger, etc.), A spring there, called Salsabil. And round about them will (serve) boys of everlasting youth. If you see them, you would think them scattered pearls. And when you look there (in Paradise), you will see a delight (that cannot be imagined), and a great dominion. Their garments will be of fine green silk, and gold embroidery. They will be adorned with bracelets of silver, and their Lord will give them a pure drink.
SubhanaLah. Can you imagine what the Gardens of Paradise are like? :’)