The Example of the Rich Idolators and the Poor Muslims

After mentioning the idolators who were too arrogant to sit with the poor and weak among Muslims, showing off before them with their wealth and noble lineage, Allah then gives a parable for them of two men, one of whom Allah gave two gardens of grapes, surrounded with palm trees and cultivated with crops throughout. All of the trees and plants were abundantly fruitful, providing readily accessible, good quality produce. Allah says:

كِلْتَا الْجَنَّتَيْنِ آتَتْ أُكُلَهَا

(Each of those two gardens brought forth its produce,) meaning, produced its fruits,

وَلَمْ تَظْلِمِ مِّنْهُ شَيْئًا

(and failed not in the least therein,) meaning, nothing at all was diminishing.

وَفَجَّرْنَا خِلَـلَهُمَا نَهَراً

(and We caused a river to gush forth in the midst of both.) means, rivers were flowing through them here and there.

وَكَانَ لَهُ ثَمَرٌ

(And he had Thamar,) It was said that what was meant here was wealth, and it was said that what was meant were fruits, which is the more apparent meaning here. This is also supported by the alternative recitation, Thumr, which is the plural of Thamrah (fruit) just as Khushb is the plural of Khashab (wood). Others recite it as Thamar.


(and he said) the owner of the two gardens

لَصَـحِبِهِ وَهُوَ يُحَاوِرُهُ

(to his companion in the course of discussion) means, while he was disputing with him and boasting to him and showing off,

أَنَاْ أَكْثَرُ مِنكَ مَالاً وَأَعَزُّ نَفَراً

(I am greater than you in wealth and have a mightier entourage.) meaning, `I have more servants, attendants and children.’ Qatadah said, “This, by Allah, is the wish of the immoral to have a lot of wealth and a large entourage. R

وَدَخَلَ جَنَّتَهُ وَهُوَ ظَالِمٌ لِّنَفْسِهِ

(And he went into his garden having been unjust to himself.) meaning, in his disbelief, rebellion, arrogance and denial of the Hereafter.

قَالَ مَآ أَظُنُّ أَن تَبِيدَ هَـذِهِ أَبَداً

(He said: “I do not think this will ever perish.”) Thus he was allowing himself to be deceived because of the plants, fruits and trees that he saw, and the rivers flowing through the different parts of his gardens. He thought that it could never come to an end or cease or be destroyed. This was because of his lack of understanding and the weakness of his faith in Allah, and because he was enamored with this world and its adornments, and because he disbelieved in the Hereafter. So he said:

وَمَآ أَظُنُّ السَّاعَةَ قَائِمَةً

(“And I do not think the Hour will ever come…”) meaning, will ever happen

وَلَئِن رُّدِدتُّ إِلَى رَبِّى لأَجِدَنَّ خَيْراً مِّنْهَا مُنْقَلَباً

(and if indeed I am brought back to my Lord, I surely shall find better than this when I return to Him.) meaning, `if there is a Hereafter and a return to Allah, then I will have a better share than this with my Lord, for if it were not that I am dear to Him, He would not have given me all this.’ As Allah says elsewhere:

وَلَئِن رُّجِّعْتُ إِلَى رَبِّى إِنَّ لِى عِندَهُ لَلْحُسْنَى

(But if I am brought back to my Lord, surely there will be for me the best with Him.) 41:50

أَفَرَأَيْتَ الَّذِى كَفَرَ بِـَايَـتِنَا وَقَالَ لأوتَيَنَّ مَالاً وَوَلَداً

(Have you seen him who disbelieved in Our Ayat and said: “I shall certainly be given wealth and children if I will be alive again).”)19:77 He took it for granted that Allah would give him this, without any sound evidence for that. The reason why this Ayah was revea- led was because of Al-`As bin Wa’il, as we will explain in the appropriate place, if Allah wills. In Allah we put our trust.

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