Al-Bukhari recorded that Ibn `Abbas and `Ubayd bin `Umayr said that `Umar bin Al-Khattab asked the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, "According to your opinion, about whom was this Ayah revealed,
﴿أَيَوَدُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن تَكُونَ لَهُ جَنَّةٌ مِّن نَّخِيلٍ وَأَعْنَابٍ﴾
(Would any of you wish to have a garden with date palms and vines...).''
They said, "Allah knows best.'' `Umar became angry and said, "Say we know or we do not know.'' Ibn `Abbas said, "O Leader of the Faithful! I have an opinion about it.'' `Umar said, "O my nephew! Say your opinion and do not belittle yourself.'' Ibn `Abbas said, "This is an example set for a deed.'' `Umar said, "What type of deed'' Ibn `Abbas said, "For a wealthy man who works in Allah's pleasure and then Allah sends Shaytan to him, and he works in disobedience, until he annuls his good works.''
This Hadith suffices as an explanation for the Ayah, for it explains the example it sets by a person who does good first and then follows it with evil, may Allah save us from this end. So, this man annulled his previous good works with his latter evil works. When he desperately needed the deeds of the former type, there were none. This is why Allah said,
﴿وَأَصَابَهُ الْكِبَرُ وَلَهُ ذُرِّيَّةٌ ضُعَفَآءُ فَأَصَابَهَآ إِعْصَارٌ﴾
(while he is striken with old age, and his children are weak (not able to look after themselves), then it is struck with a whirlwind) with heavy wind,
﴿فِيهِ نَارٌ فَاحْتَرَقَتْ﴾
(that is fiery, so that it is burnt) meaning, its fruits were burnt and its trees were destroyed. Therefore, what will his condition be like
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Al-`Awfi said that Ibn `Abbas said, "Allah has set a good parable, and all His parables are good. He said,
﴿أَيَوَدُّ أَحَدُكُمْ أَن تَكُونَ لَهُ جَنَّةٌ مِّن نَّخِيلٍ وَأَعْنَابٍ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهَا الأَنْهَـرُ لَهُ فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ الثَّمَرَتِ﴾
(Would any of you wish to have a garden with date palms and vines, with rivers flowing underneath, and all kinds of fruits for him therein.)
But he lost all this in his old age,
(while he is striken with old age) while his offspring and children are weak just before the end of his life. Then a lightning storm came and destroyed his garden. Then he did not have the strength to grow another garden, nor did his offspring offer enough help. This is the condition of the disbeliever on the Day of Resurrection when he returns to Allah, for he will not have any good deeds to provide an excuse - or refuge - for him, just as the man in the parable had no strength to replant the garden. The disbeliever will not find anything to resort to for help, just as the offspring of the man in the parable did not provide him with help. So he will be deprived of his reward when he most needs it, just as the man in the parable was deprived of Allah's garden when he most needed it, when he became old and his offspring weak.''
In his Mustadrak, Al-Hakim recorded that the Messenger of Allah used to say in his supplication,
«اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْ أَوْسَعَ رِزْقِكَ عَلَيَ عِنْدَ كِبَرِ سِنِّي وَانْقِضَاءِ عُمُرِي»
(O Allah! Make Your biggest provision for me when I am old in age and at the time my life ends.)
This is why Allah said,
﴿كَذلِكَ يُبيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الآيَـتِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَفَكَّرُونَ﴾
(Thus Allah makes clear to you His Laws in order that you may give thought) meaning, comprehend and understand the parables and their intended implications. Similarly, Allah said,
﴿وَتِلْكَ الاٌّمْثَالُ نَضْرِبُهَا لِلنَّاسِ وَمَا يَعْقِلُهَآ إِلاَّ الْعَـلِمُونَ ﴾
(And these similitudes We put forward for mankind; but none will understand them except those who have knowledge (of Allah and His signs)) ﴿29:43﴾.
﴿يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءامَنُواْ أَنفِقُواْ مِن طَيّبَـتِ مَا كَسَبْتُمْ وَمِمَّآ أَخْرَجْنَا لَكُم مّنَ الاْرْضِ وَلاَ تَيَمَّمُواْ الْخَبِيثَ مِنْهُ تُنفِقُونَ وَلَسْتُم بِأَخِذِيهِ إِلا أَن تُغْمِضُواْ فِيهِ وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ غَنِيٌّ حَمِيدٌ الشَّيْطَـنُ يَعِدُكُمُ الْفَقْرَ وَيَأْمُرُكُم بِالْفَحْشَآء وَاللَّهُ يَعِدُكُم مَّغْفِرَةً مّنْهُ وَفَضْلاً وَاللَّهُ وسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ﴾
﴿يُؤْتِى الْحِكْمَةَ مَن يَشَآءُ وَمَن يُؤْتَ الْحِكْمَةَ فَقَدْ أُوتِىَ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا وَمَا يَذَّكَّرُ إِلاَّ أُوْلُواْ الأَلْبَـبِ ﴾
(267.O you who believe! Spend of the good things which you have (legally) earned, and of that which We have produced from the earth for you, and do not aim at that which is bad to spend from it, (though) you would not accept it save if you close your eyes and tolerate therein. And know that Allah is Rich (free of all needs), and worthy of all praise.) (268. Shaytan threatens you with poverty and orders you to commit Fahsha' (evil deeds) whereas Allah promises you forgiveness from Himself and bounty, and Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures' needs, All-Knower.) (269. He grants Hikmah to whom He wills, and he, to whom Hikmah is granted, is indeed granted abundant good. But none remember (will receive admonition) except men of understanding.)