|The Parable of this Life|
Allah the Almighty has set an example of the similitude of the life of this world, its glitter and the swiftness of its passage, likening it to the plant and vegetation that Allah brings out from the earth. This plant grows from the water that comes down from the sky. These plants are food for people, such as fruits and other different types and kinds of foods. Some other kinds are food for cattle such as clover plants (i.e. green fodder for the cattle) and herbage etc.
﴿حَتَّى إِذَآ أَخَذَتِ الاٌّرْضُ زُخْرُفَهَا﴾
(until when the earth is clad in its adornments ,)
(and is beautified ) meaning, it became good by what grows on its hills such as blooming flowers of different shapes and colors.
(and its people think...) those who planted it and put it in the ground,
﴿أَنَّهُمْ قَادِرُونَ عَلَيْهَآ﴾
(that they have all the powers of disposal over it) to cultivate it and harvest it. But while they were in that frame of mind, a thunderbolt or a severe, cold storm came to it. It dried its leaves and spoiled its fruits. Allah said:
﴿أَتَاهَآ أَمْرُنَا لَيْلاً أَوْ نَهَارًا فَجَعَلْنَاهَا حَصِيدًا﴾
(Our command reaches it by night or by day and We make it like a clean-mown harvest, ) it became dry after it was green and flourishing.
﴿كَأَن لَّمْ تَغْنَ بِالاٌّمْسِ﴾
(as if it had not flourished yesterday!) as if nothing existed there before. Qatadah said: "As if it had not flourished; as if it was never blessed.'' Such are things after they perish, they are as if they had never existed. Similarly, the Hadith,
«يُؤْتَى بِأَنْعَمِ أَهْلِ الدُّنْيَا، فَيُغْمَسُ فِي النَّارِ غَمْسَةً، فَيُقَالُ لَهُ: هَلْ رَأَيْتَ خَيْرًا قَطُّ؟ هَلْ مَرَّ بِكَ نَعِيمٌ قَطُّ؟ فَيَقُولُ: لَا، وَيُؤْتَى بِأَشَدِّ النَّاسِ عَذَابًا فِي الدُّنْيَا، فَيُغْمَسُ فِي النَّعِيمِ غَمْسَةً، ثُمَّ يُقَالُ لَهُ: هَلْ رَأَيْتَ بُؤْسًا قَطُّ؟ فَيَقُولُ لَا»
(A person who led the most prosperous life in this world will be brought up and dipped once in the Fire. He will then be asked: `Have you ever found any good or comfort' He will reply: `No.' And a person who had experienced extreme adversity in this world will be brought up and dipped once in the bliss (of Paradise). Then he will be asked: 'Did you ever face any hardship or misery' He will reply: `No.') Allah said about those who were destroyed:
﴿فَأَصْبَحُواْ فِى دِيَارِهِمْ جَـثِمِينَكَأَن لَّمْ يَغْنَوْاْ فِيهَآ﴾
(So they lay (dead), prostrate in their homes; as if they had never lived there.)﴿11:67-68﴾ Allah then said:
﴿كَذلِكَ نُفَصِّلُ الآيَـتِ﴾
(Thus do We explain the Ayat. ..) We do explain the proofs, and evidences, in detail
(for the people who reflect.) so they may take a lesson from this example in the swift vanishing of this world from its people while they are deceived by it. They would trust this world and its promises, and then it unexpectedly turns away from them. This world, in its nature, runs away from those who seek it but seeks those who run away from it. Allah mentioned the parable of this world and the plants of the earth in several Ayat in His Noble Book. He said in Surat Al-Kahf:
﴿وَاضْرِبْ لَهُم مَّثَلَ الْحَيَوةِ الدُّنْيَا كَمَآءٍ أَنْزَلْنَـهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ فَاخْتَلَطَ بِهِ نَبَاتُ الاٌّرْضِ فَأَصْبَحَ هَشِيمًا تَذْرُوهُ الرِّياحُ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ عَلَى كُلِّ شَىْءٍ مُّقْتَدِرًا ﴾
(And put forward to them the example of the life of this world: it is like the water (rain) which We send down from the sky, and the vegetation of the earth mingles with it, and becomes fresh and green. But (later) it becomes dry and broken pieces, which the winds scatter. And Allah is able to do everything.) (18:45) He also gave similar examples in both Surat Az-Zumar ﴿39:21﴾ and Surat Al-Hadid ﴿57:20﴾.
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