Islamic Sufism Spirituality

The Believer & The Disbeliever – Stories of the Quran

Posted on: June 18, 2008


Allah the Almighty says:

{And put forward to them the example of two men: unto one of them We had given two gardens of grapes, and We had surrounded both with date palms; and had put between them green crops (cultivated fields). Each of those two gardens brought forth its produce, and failed not in the least therein, and We caused a river to gush forth in the midst of them. And he had property (or fruit) and he said to his companion, in the course of mutual talk: “I am more than you in wealth and stronger in respect of men.” And he went into his garden while in a state (of pride and disbelief), unjust to himself. He said: “I think not that this will ever perish. And I think not the Hour will ever come, and if indeed I am brought back to my Lord, (on the Day of Resurrection), I surely shall find better than this when I return to Him.” His companion said to him during the talk with him: “Do you disbelieve in Him Who created you out of dust (i.e. your father Adam), then out of Nutfah (mixed semen drops of male and female discharge), then fashioned you into a man?”But as for my part, (I believe) that He is Allah, my Lord, and none shall I associate as partner with my Lord. “It was better for you to say, when you entered your garden: ‘That which Allah wills (will come to pass)! There is no power but with Allah! If you see me less than you in wealth, and children. “It may be that my Lord will give me something better than your garden and will send on it Husban (torment, bolt) from the sky, then it will be a slippery earth. “Or the water thereof (of the gardens) becomes deep-sunken (underground) so that you will never be able to seek it.” So his fruits were encircled (with ruin). And he remained clapping his hands (with sorrow) over what he had spent upon it, while it was all destroyed on its trellises, and he could only say: “Would that I had ascribed no partners to my Lord!” And he had no group of men to help him against Allah, nor could he defend (or save) himself. There (on the Day of Resurrection), Al-Walayah (protection, power, authority and kingdom) will be for Allah (Alone), the True God. He (Allah) is the Best for reward and the Best for the final end. (La ilaha illallah -none has the right to be worshipped but Allah)}. (Al-Kahf, 32-44)

Some scholars said: This is a mere example that has not necessarily taken place in real life. But, the majority of scholars hold that it really took place and happened in this present life of ours. His Statement, {And put forward to them the example}, i.e. for the polytheists of Quraish as they wear pride and show arrogance to the weak and poor. This is like Allah’s Statement that reads,

{And put forward to them a similitude: the (story of the) dwellers of the town, [it is said that the town was Antioch (Antakiya)], when there came Messengers to them}. (Ya-Sin, 13) It is well-known that one of these two men was a believer, while the other was a disbeliever. It is also said that each one of them was very rich. The believer spent all his riches and wealth in the Cause of Allah. Conversely, the disbeliever, though granted gardens and orchards (of which are the two gardens mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an in full details), He diverted from Allah’s Path. His two gardens contained grapes and date-palms surrounding his plants and grapes, along with overflowing rivers and water streams running everywhere along with his property. The fruits of his trees and plants were numerous and countless (only by Allah’s Grace), and the sight of his gardens was very pleasant. However, the owner of the two gardens became proud and dealt arrogantly with the believing man saying: {I am more than you in wealth and stronger in respect of men}, i.e. I am better than you as you spent all your wealth in vain and you did not do as I did: buying gardens and orchards and investing the money therein to gain the profits later. You should have followed my very steps! And, {he went into his garden while in a state (of pride and disbelief), unjust to himself), i.e. in a state that is not pleasing to Allah the Almighty (with pride and arrogance). And he {said: I think not that this will ever perish}, that is because there is plenty of its plants and trees and if any of these were to perish, he would certainly (as he thought) get it replaced with a better and more fine one. For -he thought -he has everything: plentiful water, countless fruits, and varieties of plants.

Then, the disbeliever said: {And I think not the Hour will ever come}, as he put his perfect trust in the vain pleasures of this life of ours and belied the existence of the everlasting Hereafter. Then, he said: {and if indeed I am brought back to my Lord, (on the Day of Resurrection), I surely shall find better than this when I return to Him}, i.e. if there is indeed a Hereafter and a Last Day, he will find there better than what he has been given in the present life. As he was deceived by what he was given and thought that Allah the Almighty granted him all these blessings because He loves him and favors him to other people. The same was said by Al-‘As Ibn Wa’il in His Saying: {Have you seen him who disbelieved in Our Ayat (this Qur’an and Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and said: “I shall certainly be given wealth and children [if I will be alive (again)].” Has he known the Unseen or has he taken a covenant from the Most Gracious (Allah)?} (Maryam, 77, 78). And, Almighty Allah says pertaining to the one He granted with blessings, {And truly, if We give him a taste of mercy from Us, after some adversity (severe poverty or disease, etc.) has touched him, he is sure to say: “This is due to my (merit); I think not that the Hour will be established. But if I am brought back to my Lord, surely, here will be for me the best (wealth) with Him “} (Fussilat, 50) and, {Then, We verily, will show to the disbelievers what they have done, and We shall make them taste a severe torment} (Fussilate, 50), and Qarun (Korah) said, {This has been given to me only because of the knowledge I possess}. (Al-Qasas, 78) i.e. for Allah knows that I deserve it. But, Allah the Almighty says: {Did he not know that Allah had destroyed before him generations, men who were stronger than him in might and greater in the amount (of riches) they had collected? But the Mujrimun (criminals, disbelievers, polytheists, sinners) will not be questioned of their sins (because Allah knows them well, so they will be punished without being called to account)}. (Al-Qasas, 78) And, Allah the Almighty says: {And it is not your wealth, nor your children that bring you nearer to Us (i.e. please Allah), but only he who believes (in the Islamic Monotheism), and does righteous deeds (will please Us), as for such, there will be twofold reward for what they did, and they will reside in the high dwellings (Paradise) in peace and security} (Saba’, 37) and, {Do they think that in wealth and children with which We enlarge them. We hasten unto them with good things. Nay, [it is a Fitnah (trial) in this worldly life so that they will have no share of good things in the Hereafter] but they perceive not}. (Al-Mu’minun, 55, 56)

When this ignorant was deluded by what he has been given in this present life, he denied the Hereafter and claimed that if it is to be there, he would find that which is better than what he was first given. When his companion (the believing man) heard him saying so, he said to him {during the talk with him}, i.e. during their debate. {Do you disbelieve in Him Who created you out of dust (i.e. your father Adam), then out of Nutfah (mixed semen drops of male and female discharge), then fashioned you into a man?},

i.e.
do you disbelieve in the Day of Resurrection while you know that He, Allah, is Him Who created you out of dust, then out of Nutfah, then fashioned you in stages till you became a sound and well-erected man with hearing, sight, understanding and organs you transgress with! Then, how could you deny the Resurrection while you know that Allah is capable of creating you out of nothingness. {But as for my part, (I believe) that He is Allah, my Lord},
i.e.
I believe in other than what you believe in or even think of. As {(I believe) that He is Allah, my Lord, and none shall I associate as partner with my Lord}, i.e. I do not worship other than Him and I believe in that He will resurrect the dead and gather the scattered and rotten bones together, and I know that there is no partner with Allah in His Dominion or creation, and that there is no god but Him.

Then, he guided him towards what should have been said upon entering the garden saying: {It was better for you to say, when you entered your garden: ‘That which Allah wills (will come to pass)! There is no power but with Allah!’}, for this, it is better for anyone who becomes admirer of any of his wealth, household, children or status, he should say these words: (That which Allah wills (will come to pass)! There is no power but with Allah!).

Then, the believer said to the disbeliever: {If you see me less than you in wealth, and children. It may be that my Lord will give me something better than your garden}, i.e. in the Hereafter. {And will send on it Husban (torment, bolt) from the sky}, i.e. torment or heavy rain that uproots its trees and plants, {then it will be a slippery earth}, i.e. soft dust that does not grow plants or anything. {Or the water thereof (of the gardens) becomes deep-sunken (underground)} that is opposite to the overflowing water, {so that you will never be able to seek it}, i.e. you will never be able to restore or regain it. Then, Allah the Almighty says: {So his fruits were encircled (with ruin)}, i.e. all his fruits and plants were ruined and totally destroyed. {And he remained clapping his hands (with sorrow) over what he had spent upon it, while it was all destroyed on its trellises},

i.e. totally destroyed and perfectly ruined. That was really against his hopes and wishes as he previously said: {I think not that this will ever perish}. So, he regretted his previous acts and sayings that declared him as a disbeliever in Allah the Almighty and he could only say: {Would that I had ascribed no partners to my Lord!}. Then, Allah the Almighty says: {And he had no group of men to help him against Allah, nor could he defend (or save) himself}, i.e. he could neither be helped by others, or even help himself. This is as the Statement of Allah that reads: {Then he will have no power, nor any helper}, (At-Tariq, 10) and His Saying, {There (on the Day of Resurrection), Al-Walayah (protection, power, authority and kingdom) will be for Allah (Alone), the True God}, i.e. the irrefutable judgment and irresistible ruling on this and on all conditions will be for Allah the Almighty Alone. {He (Allah) is the Best for reward and the Best for the final end}, i.e. trading with Allah is better than anything else as He gives the best of all rewards and with Him rests the best of all ends and goals. Finally, this story denotes three things:

  • One should not sell himself out to the luxuries of this present life of ours and should not be deluded thereof. Moreover, one should trust what is in Allah’s Hand more than what is in his own hand. One should put his entire trust in Allah Alone. Obedience of Allah should be one’s first and final goal. Anyone who prefers anything to Allah and His obedience surely will be tormented thereof.
  • One should whole-heartedly accept the advice of his compassionate brother, as in rejecting his counselor advice there rests complete destruction and perfect ruin.
  • Regretting goes in vain if the Divine Decree is already done.
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1 Response to "The Believer & The Disbeliever – Stories of the Quran"

I liked this post a lot.
It is really inspiring.

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