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Monday, September 04, 2006

The owners of the Garden

Allaah states in the Holy Qur’aan in Surat al-Qalam something about the story of the owners of a great garden who did not obey God’s orders.

Thus, He deprived them of it as a punishment for their evil intentions.

This page is about the events behind this story.

In Yemen, which was known for its fruitful gardens and fertile land, a pious man lived a good life with his children, near its capital San^aa’ in a territory called Dawran.

He had a large piece of land with a wide variety of vegetation, numerous trees and an abundance of fruits.

Palm trees, vineyard and foliage made it a joy to look at for those who visited it for relaxation and enjoyment of its beauty.

This pious man, who was a Muslim follower of Prophet ^Isa (Jesus), was grateful for what God had blessed him with, so during harvest time he used to call on the reaper and his helpers to reap the crop and pick the fruits.

Then, as he did every year, he would invite the poor and the needy of the region.

He never prohibited them from entering his property and always gave them a great share of the crop.

One poor man would fill the containers that he had brought with him and another would load his share in his clothing.

Later, they would be allowed to take whatever the scythe had missed, whatever had fallen off the rugs during the gathering of wheat, whatever the harvester had left behind, and the dates that were scattered amongst the palm trees during their picking; the old man allowed them to take it all; and that went on every year.

However, the pious man had some greedy children who couldn’t bear to see their father’s money being distributed amongst the people like that, and their father’s fields wide open to the needy ones and that they themselves were treated just like everyone else.

So one of them greedily said to his father, “By spending so much on the poor, you deprive us of our share of your money and leave us with too little too spend.”

Another son said, “We might become poor after you pass away, needing other people and begging them for money.”

Then a third son was also about to talk when his father interrupted him saying, “You all have wrong assumptions and illusions. All this money is God’s money and He has ordered to give shares to the poor and the needy in charity and as Zakaah. By constantly doing this my money increased and became blessed. I have been doing this since I was young and have kept it up as I grew older, so would I quit now that I have become an old man and so close to dying?”

The pious man did indeed die soon after and left behind his children and his wide land.

Time passed by quickly and it was soon time for harvest again.

The poor and the needy people expected their shares as they had been used to.

However, when the stingy sons got together to prepare for harvest, one of them said to the others, “We shall no longer give the poor people anything from our garden and it shall no longer be a haven to passers-by. Thus our money and our riches will increase.”

However, the second son, who was a decent good doer like his late father, advised, “You’re about to do what you think is more beneficial for you, yet it’s evil and shall destroy your garden from its roots up. If you deny the needy and those who deserve Zakaah their rights, I fear for you the punishment you would receive from God!”

Unfortunately however, they didn’t listen to their brother’s wise advice and secretly agreed amongst themselves to wake up very early the next morning, well before other people have risen, go to their garden, pick its fruits, and reap its harvest then divide it amongst themselves leaving nothing to the poor people.

Allaah, who eternally knew about their conspiracy, sent Angel Jibreel that same night to destroy their garden.

Consequently, their vegetations were pulled off, their shrubs burnt down, their leaves dried out, and their field became as black as night itself.

The sun rose just as they came to their garden and they saw what had happened to their field and confusedly wondered, “Is this our field? We had left it green and fruitful just last night. This doesn’t seem to be our field; we have probably lost our way.”

But their virtuous brother explained to them, “Oh it is your garden, yet you were deprived of it before you deprived the poor ones, and punished for your stinginess.”

Subsequently, they started blaming each other; the first one said to another, “You suggested forbidding the needy people.”

Another one accused, “You tempted us with depriving them.”

And another one blamed, “You warned us of poverty.”

And the last one, “You tempted us with saving money.”

Fortunately, however, they all soon realised what they had done and said regretfully, “O God we disobeyed you by deciding not to pay the Zakaah!”

As they admitted their sin showing remorse and regret and asking for forgiveness, Allaah, the Merciful, forgave them.

They said, “Should God replace us with better land, we shall do as our father did.”

They prayed to God and begged Him and repented.

God replaced them that very night with better land and ordered Jibreel to pull out the brothers’ burnt up field and transfer it to a far away place and take an abundant and fruitful field from Shaam and replace it with it.

Thus the blessings were clear with enormous vines.

So they started doing what their father had done before, not prohibiting any poor or needy from their land and purifying their money and their selves in the ways Allaah ordered.

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