Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim narrate on the authority of Hazrat 'Abdullah Ibn Umar (RA) who said :
"We were sitting in the company of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) when a palm core (an edible tuber growing at the upper end of the palm trunk) was brought to him. While eating it, he said: 'From among the many trees, there is a green tree. Its goodness and benefits are like that of a Muslim. Its leaves do not fall, nor do they scatter about. It produces its fruit at its appropriate time by the permission of its Sustainer. It is similar to a Muslim. Tell me, what tree is it?'
Hazrat Abdullah says : ‘The people began thinking about the different trees in the forests. Some of them said : It is such and such tree. It occurred to me that it is the date-palm. I wanted to say this [to Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam)] but became scared to utter anything. When I looked at myself, I saw myself merely ten years old – the youngest and smallest of all who were present. When I looked around me, I saw Abu Bakr and ‘Umar sitting silently. So I also remained silent.’
‘When these two [Abu Bakr and ‘Umar] did not speak, all the people said : You tell us what tree it is O Rasulullah!
Rasulullah (Sallallaahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: ‘It is the date-palm.’
When we got up from there, I said to my father, ‘Umar : ‘O my father! I take an oath by Allah that it had occurred to me that it was the date-palm.’
He said: ‘What prevented you from giving the answer?’
I said : ‘I saw all of you remaining silent. I saw that you and Abu Bakr too were not speaking. And I am a young boy. I therefore felt shy and did not want to speak or say anything. I therefore remained silent.’
Hazrat ‘Umar said : ‘Had you given the answer, it would have been far more beloved to me than my having such and such thing.’
There are several reasons for comparing the date palm to a Muslim:
- It is considered to be the noblest of trees and the highest in rank.
- There is abundant goodness in it.
- It provides shade all the time.
- It produces wholesome fruit.
- It is found all the time.
- From the time its fruit appears, it is eaten in different forms till new dates appear and they are also harvested.
- When the date palm dries, numerous benefits are taken from it.
- Its wood, leaves and branches are used for stumps, firewood, staffs, batons, rope, utensils, etc.
- The last thing used thereof are its date-pits. They are used as fodder for camels.
As for the beauty of its growth and leaves, its beautiful shape and fruit, its lofty and soaring height, its evergreen leaves, its firm roots which prevent the winds and storms from uprooting it, its noble shadow and shade - in all this are obvious benefits and numerous well-known and praiseworthy advantages for those who are living the Arabian Peninsula.
Allah Ta'ala has praised this tree greatly in several verses in the Qur`aan Sharief.
In a like manner is the Muslim or the Believer :
- He is an embodiment of goodness and benefit.
- His blessings are wide-ranging in all situations.
- His benefits are continual in his favour and in favour of others even after his death.
- He is one who does good deeds, speaks good, engages in various types of obedience; be they fasting, offering Salaah, reciting the Qur`aan Sharief, remembering Allah Ta'ala, reminding others of Allah Ta'ala, giving in charity, commanding good and prohibiting evil.
- He intermingles with people; he exercises patience over their transgressions against him.
- He is loving and attracts people towards him.
- He benefits people without causing them any harm.
- He is beautiful in his conduct and in his speech.
- His noble qualities are spent for the benefit of people.
- He gives and does not refuse.
- He gives preference to others and is not covetous.
- The passage of days only increases him in his aloofness and detachment from this world.
- Hardships and afflictions only serve to make him firm and steadfast on the truth, more lofty towards goodness and benefit, and further away from decline.
- His deeds are accepted and liked by his Sustainer.
- If you sit in his company, he will benefit you.
- If you become a partner with him, he will benefit you.
- If you accompany him, he will benefit you.
- If you ask his advice, he will benefit you.
- There is benefit in every state of his affairs.
- Whatever knowledge emanates from him is a source of nourishment for the souls and hearts.
- He is covered and encompassed by his religion.
- He does not become devoid of the clothing of piety.
- His deeds do not stop whether he is in a state of affluence or poverty, health or illness.
In fact, his deeds do not stop even after his death.
- He looks at his life for his hereafter. He takes benefit from today for his tomorrow.
- Benefit is derived from everything that he does; be he alive or dead.
…The reason for this is that the basis of all his deeds and activities is belief in Allah Ta’ala and benefiting the servants of Allah. Glory be to Allah! How great a Believer is!
Extracted from the English Translation of PROPHET MUHAMMAD (Sallallaahu 'alayhi wasallam):
THE TEACHER AND HIS TEACHING METHODOLOGIES
Shaykh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah (RA)