The first story revealed in the Qur’an – Eat for today and tomorrow

One of the earliest surahs to be revealed in Makkah was the 68th Surah, Al Qalam (the Pen). This was sent down at a time when opposition to the Holy Prophet (upon whom be peace) had become very harsh and tyrannical.

In response to their denial of the Messenger (upon whom be peace), Allah (SWT) related a story which they were familiar with.

The story is about a well-known, pious man who lived in San’aa (Yemen) and owned a beautiful garden filled with fruit trees. He was very generous and allowed the poor to eat from it freely, not putting up any fence to prevent them. He would ensure he split his harvest equally with his family eating one third, a third he would reinvest and the final third would always be given as charity.

When he died, his children inherited the garden and immediately stated they would not share the harvest with anyone, especially not the poor. That night they plotted to pluck all the fruits in the morning and store them in their houses.

That night they slept oblivious to what was taking place outside. Allah (SWT) caused their garden to be completely destroyed by severe weather!

The next morning, they woke each other hurriedly and then enthusiastically departed for the garden. On the way, they whispered to one another, trying not to draw any attention but gleefully remarking “Today no poor person will take anything from us!”

On arriving at their plot, they came across a razed field and told themselves that they must have mistaken the path. So they retraced their steps taking care to follow the landmarks only for the real shock to set in that this destroyed field none other than their garden.

They could not believe their eyes and shared their grief with one another. Once the truth had sunk in, they realised that the cause of their loss was their greed and denial of food for the poor. At this point, the wisest from amongst them said, “Didn’t I warn you to glorify your Lord and give to the poor when you were considering your plan?”

They then called out “How perfect and great is our Lord. We were definitely in the wrong. Perhaps our Lord will substitute for us [one] better than it. Truly, we turn to our Lord (wishing for good that He may forgive our sins, and reward us in the Hereafter).”

Lessons

  1. Benefit from your provisions, invest in sustaining your provision and invest in your Akhira through sharing and giving in charity.
  2. Although one of the brothers reminded them, he also partook in this act and therefore his portion of the garden was lost as well. Once you have made firm intention and want to engage in an evil act (a state called azeema), you will be sinful.
  3. Because they remembered Allah(SWT), they were only punished with loss in their wealth, not loss in their person or families and they were not destroyed. In fact due to their repentance, they were given a garden better than this.
  4. Know that committing sins does harm your dunya.

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