Two Types of Trees

Mufti Asim Rashid

Many times in life, we fall into dilemmas between two things. This is something we experience on a daily basis. We wonder if we should get up for work or stay in bed if we should eat or save it for later. Like so, Shaytan causes people to fall into a dilemma between belief and disbelief. Allah (SWT) presents these two examples as if to say to those people that they shouldn't fall into this confusion because once they grasp the meaning of these examples, it will become easy to choose belief over disbelief.

The Qur’an is the most beautiful speech to have ever been spoken, however, it is required of us to give it a chance and ponder over Allah’s (SWT) words to fully understand this. Allah (SWT) tells us:


One of the most unethical actions a person can commit is to be heedless of the person speaking to him/her. A parent dislikes being ignored by his/her child and a spouse dislikes being ignored by his/her spouse. Although we all agree with this, we also don't realize that many of us commit this same disrespect with our Lord (SWT). He (SWT) speaks to us through his perfect book and we don’t give his words any thought, rather we listen to them passively without proper care. This is perhaps the epitome of negligence.

We, humans, tend to have a natural inclination towards heedlessness. It is almost impossible to have our constant undivided attention and because of this we need to be constantly reminded, either by ourselves or others, to focus.  This is why Allah (SWT) begins the verse by saying: “Have you not seen…?”. This grabs our attention and shows us that what Allah (SWT) is about to tell us is something we should notice and give deep thought to.

The first example Allah (SWT) gives is that of Imaan, which He (SWT) refers to as “Kalimah Tayyibah” (A Pure Word). According to Ibn Abbas (RA), this refers to “La Ilaaha Illa Allah” and by extension, Imaan itself. He (SWT) compares this Pure Word to “Shajarah Tayyibah” (A Pure Tree). Although the word “Tayyib” refers to the purity of the Tree, it also refers to it being extremely fruitful, beneficial, and beautiful. It is free of flaws and problems. He (SWT) says that its roots are firmly in the ground which means it can't be shaken by heavy winds or torn down by people. Its branches are shooting high into the skies. The more it is watered and taken care of, the more it increases and improves, just as our Imaan is increased and improved through doing good deeds.

Allah (SWT) continues to describe this beautiful tree in the next verse by saying that this tree isn't like an ordinary tree. An ordinary tree may be beautiful in one season but not the next. It may be fruitful in one season but not the next. However, this particular tree is fruitful at all times. There is never a time or season when it loses its beauty. Likewise, a believer is constantly receiving good deeds because of his Imaan. However, it is important for us to remember that this is only possible through the will of our Lord (SWT).

The second example Allah (SWT) gives is that of Kufr which He (SWT) refers to as “Kalimah Khabeetha” (A Wretched Word). This In fact refers to Disbelief itself and Allah (SWT) compares it to such a tree which has three disgraceful qualities. The first quality is that it is Wretched as already mentioned. This means it is bereft of any benefit and void of any good. The second quality is that it is uprooted above the ground rather than being planted in which means that it has no roots, just as disbelief in Allah (SWT) has no valid basis. The third quality is an emphasis on the second which is that it has no stability due to being uprooted and having no roots. This is why it won't last and in the end, belief will prevail over disbelief.


After understanding the two different types of trees mentioned, we must ask ourselves: Which tree do we want to be planted in our hearts? A tree which is completely useless and has no roots, it provides no shade nor fruit and is uprooted as if it is lifeless, or a tree which is beneficial, bearing fruit at all times and is firmly planted in our hearts…


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