A Pictorial Summary of what to be like and what not to be like
“See you not how Allah sets forth a parable? – A goodly word as a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the sky (i.e. very high). Giving its fruit at all times, by the Leave of its Lord and Allah sets forth parables for mankind in order that they may remember.”
“And the parable of an evil word is that of an evil tree uprooted from the surface of earth having no stability.”
[Surah Ibrahim (14) : 24-26]
The “goodly word” is the word of tawheed i.e. laa ilaaha ilallah. The evil word is the word of kufr (disbelief) i.e. anything contrary to the shahaadah.
[You may read the tafsir of these ayaat here.]
What about the two trees, you ask?
Anas ibn Malik said: “The Messenger of Allah (salallahu alaihi wasallam) was brought a dish with unripe dates on it. He said: The parable of a goodly word is that of a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the sky (i.e. very high). [[Surah Ibrahim (14) : 25] And he said: It is the date palm tree.
“And the parable of an evil word is that of an evil tree uprooted from the surface of earth having no stability.” [Surah Ibrahim (14) : 26] He said: It is the colocynth tree.
[Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Hadeeth No. 3119. There seems to be some dispute as to whether this narration is a statement of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) or not. Imams Tirmidhi, Al-Albani and Muqbil Al-Wadiee (rahimahumullah) all point out that it is more authentic as a statement of Anas ibn Malik (radiallahu anhu). You may read the comments on dorar.
Imam Ibn Kathir has also narrated it in his tafseer as a statement of Anas. Either way, the meaning is correct, as at the very least, this is a statement of a Sahabee (Companion).]
The Muslim is supposed to resemble the date palm tree.
Narrated Ibn Umar: While we were with Allah’s Messenger (salallahu alaihi wasallam), he said, “Tell me of a tree which resembles a Muslim man. Its leaves do not fall and it does not, and does not, and does not*, and it gives its fruits every now and then.” It came to my mind that such a tree must be the date palm, but seeing Abu Bakr and Umar saying nothing, I disliked to speak. So when they did not say anything, Allah’s Messenger said, “It is the date-palm tree.”
When we got up (from that place), I said to Umar, “O my father! By Allah, it came to my mind that it must be the date palm tree.” ‘Umar said, “What prevented you from speaking” I replied, “I did not see you speaking, so I disliked to speak or say anything.” Umar then said, “If you had said it, it would have been dearer to me than so-and-so.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari, Volume No. 6, Hadeeth No. 220]
[*The narrator might not recall the exact words that the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) used.]
What to be like
Yes, that’ll be us, insha-Allah: standing firm on tawheed and benefitting everyone around us.
Oh and producing magnificent fruit, of course:
So, if you’re like this tree, you are a:
And isn’t that what everyone wants to be?
What not to be like
That’s not going to be us, insha-Allah. We will not be weak in our tawheed nor be completely useless to those around us.
If you’re like this tree, you’re a:And who on earth (no pun intended) wants to be like that?