Good Word and the Good Tree – Part 2

“Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, [making] a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches (high) in the sky? Producing its fruit all the time by the permission of its Lord. And Allah presents examples for the people that perhaps they will be reminded.” (Surah Ibrahim:24-25)

The Example of the Palm Tree and the Believer

Some of the righteous predecessors said that the good tree (in Surah Ibrahim:24) is the palm tree. This is supported by the hadith on the authority of Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, that is recorded in the Sahih books. Some of them also said (the good tree) is the believer, as per the report narrated by Muhammad ibn Sad who relayed (through a salad [chain]) that Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “In the ayah “See you not how Allah coins a similitude: A goodly saying, as a goodly tree, its root set firm, its branches reaching into heaven”, the goodly tree is the believer and “its root set firm, its branches in the heavens” means that the believer works and talks on earth so his words and deeds reach into heaven while he still lives on earth.”

Atiyyah al-Ufi said, “See you not how Allah coins a similitude:A goodly saying, a goodly tree” is similar to the believer whose words and good deeds emanate from him and ascend to Allah.”

Al-Rabi ibn Anas said, “its root set firm, its branches reaching into heaven” is to exemplify the sincerity of the believer to Allah and his devoted worship to Allah alone without associating any partner with Him, ‘its root set firm’ means the origin of his good deeds are well established on earth and ‘its branches reaching into heaven’ means his name is mentioned in heaven.”

There is no contradiction between these two interpretations because the intended meaning of the example is the believer, who also shares many similarities with the palm tree. Thus, since the palm tree is a goodly tree then it is more befitting to say that the believer is similar to it. And though some of the righteous predecessors said: ‘the goodly tree’ is a tree in paradise; it is also known that the palm tree is amongst the most honourable of trees in paradise.

Paragons of the Qur’an by Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyyah Pages 76-77

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