Story of the Trees

I’ve been surrounded by trees my whole life living in an area where they’re overly abundant. Hopefully by the end of this post, you will have learned to appreciate these magnificent pieces of creation and will look at them very differently.

Trees are so important for human life. Islam makes mention of trees in such a positive light and the descriptions that we read of Jannah often make note of how Jannah will be covered in heavenly nature and trees that are unimaginable to us. Not only are trees giants amongst us, Allah (swt) has given them a special status in the Qur’an.

“Do you not see that to Allah prostrates whoever is in the heavens and whoever is on the earth and the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, the trees, the moving creatures and many of the people?…”

Source: Surah Hajj, Ayah 18

The placement of trees in the ayah is extremely important. Allah (swt) puts trees in the same echelons as other important creations. Let’s be honest. The vast majority of us always overlook trees and other flora because we don’t receive any instant gratification from them.

The famous saying, “If you believe in tomorrow, you plant a tree today,” should be engrained in every humans mind. With the ongoing global climate debate, trees are being cut down in huge numbers every single day. Those responsible for mowing down these trees probably forget that they’re own lives partly hinge on trees being able to clean the air that they inhale. Trees make sure that life on Earth is sustained through the oxygen cycle. They essentially act as the lungs of the Earth. A good analogy is how smoking destroys human lungs, similarly, pollution and smog destroy trees.

It’s interesting to note that the Qur’an discusses the story of Adam (as) and the forbidden tree. For those reading who don’t know, Allah (swt) told Adam (as) and his wife Hawa to enjoy everything in Jannah, EXCEPT for this one tree.

“And We said: O Adam! Dwell you and your wife in the Paradise and eat both of you freely with pleasure and delight of things therein as wherever you will, but come not near this tree or you both will be of the wrong-doers.

Source: Surah al-Baqarah, Ayah 35

The story proceeds with Adam (as) and Hawa getting tricked by Shaytaan to eat fruit from that tree. Subhan’Allah, so early on trees played such a crucial role in our Islamic history. Allah (swt) also uses the tree as an example of strength and firmness.

“See you not how Allah sets forth a parable? – A goodly word is as a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the sky (i.e., very high).” 

Source: Surah Ibrahim, Ayah 24

For the most part, trees themselves always benefit humans. They provide food and clean the environment for us. We all know they’re are trees for many different fruits. Pineapples, mangoes, apples, peaches, olives, dates, figs, oranges, papayas, almonds, etc. The list can go on forever. The Prophet (saw) specifically mentions the olive tree as being blessed when he says,

“Eat the oil and use it on your hair and skin, for it comes from a blessed tree.”

Source: At-Tirmidhi, 1775

Trees are almost always associated with good things in Islam. For example, in Jannah, our clothes will be made from a heavenly tree called  “Tooba” (Ibn Hibban and Sahih al-Jaami). Even in this world we can observe that our clothes come from some form of flora whether it be our t-shirts, or our jeans.

Jaabir ibn ‘Abdullaah reported that the Prophet (saw) used to go and stand next to a palm-tree on Jummah. A woman or a man of the Ansaar said: “O Messenger of Allah, should we not make for you a mimbar (pulpit)?” He said, “If you wish.” So they made a mimbar for him, and when the next Friday came, he was shown to the mimbar. The tree then cried like a small child, and the Prophet (saw) had to come down and hug the crying tree until it calmed down. Jaabir said: “It was crying because of the dhikr (remembrance of Allah) that it used to hear.”

Source: Sahih al-Bukhari, 3319

Subhan’Allah this story always softens my heart. Trees can in fact be our gateway to Jannah. Planting a tree can be a form of sadaqah jaariyah as reported in Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim where the Prophet (saw) says,

“There is no Muslim who plants a tree or sows a field for a human, bird, or animal that eats from it, but it shall be reckoned as charity from him.”

Whenever we see palm trees all nicely decorated along a highway, or see them lined at the beach we automatically feel so relaxed. Imagine a beach in any Pacific island. The first thing that’ll come to your mind is a palm tree extended out into the ocean or onto the beachfront. Well, Allah (swt) uses trees as a reward for us in Jannah. The Prophet (saw) said, ““Whoever says SubhanAllah il ‘azeem wa bi hamdihi (Glory and praise be to Allah, the Almighty), a palm tree will be planted for him in Paradise.” Now, how nice would it be to have an entire forest of palm trees to yourself in Jannah.

We need to make sure as Muslims that we make environmental conservation a high priority for us. It’s unfortunate that tree planting or other ecological activities get overlooked. It’s a lot easier to be eco-friendly once we remind ourselves of the reward we can get in Jannah. Trees are an integral part of our planet and they signify so much in this world. The roots of a tree always signify strength and firmness and are often used in proverbs and poems to inspire people. As Muslims, let’s never forget our duty towards our planet and let’s make a sincere effort to appreciate these peaceful giants.

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