بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
مَثَلُ المؤمنِ مثلُ السُّنبُلةِ، تستقيمُ مرَّةً، و تخِرُّ مرةً، ومَثَلُ الكافرِ مَثَلُ الأَرْزَةِ، لا تزال مُستقيمةً حتى تخِرَّ، و لا تشعرُ
❝ The example of the believer is like that of an ear of corn that remains upright time after time (upon being shredded). And the example of the disbeliever is like that of a cedar tree that remains standing straight until it falls suddenly without feeling it. ❞
[Musnad Ahmad, 15154 (see ‘Saheeh al-Jaami’, 5844)]
Such beautiful comparisons and similitude are found aplenty within the body of Hadeeth literature, and are profound because of the depth of guidance and analysis they provide in signposting praiseworthy characteristics believers should inherit.
Some notable lessons we learn from this Prophetic narration is as follows :
1. An ear is the grain-bearing part of the stem of a crop, such as corn, wheat and maize etc. It is blessed in both, its seeds and grain, providing nourishment for people and supporting life. Faith likewise is the nourishment of the heart that feeds the soul – and when hearts lose nourishment, they die causing the death of the entire body.
2. Despite the weakness of the individual crop itself, it extracts its strength collectively from neighbouring crops and environment. Unlike the cedar tree which is solitary and doesn’t support others despite its strength and large size.
3. The state of the believers in their empathy, mercy and compassion towards each other is like one body; for when a limb complains, the entire body feels pain.
4. Allah ﷻ set an example for the Prophet ﷺ and his Companions with plants because of what He Mentioned:
ذَٰلِكَ مَثَلُهُمْ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ ۚ وَمَثَلُهُمْ فِي الْإِنجِيلِ كَزَرْعٍ أَخْرَجَ شَطْأَهُ فَآزَرَهُ فَاسْتَغْلَظَ فَاسْتَوَىٰ عَلَىٰ سُوقِهِ
“…That is their description in the Torah. And their description in the Gospel is as a plant which produces its offshoots and strengthens them so they grow firm and stand upon their stalks…” [Surat Al Fath, 29]
5. Even upon experiencing severe weather and being subjected to harvesting, the ear of corn (eventually) returns to being in upright position.
This is the type of resilience a believer must develop and assume, having the capacity to recover quickly from any type of difficulty. Attributes opposite to this are unbecoming of a believer for he is not despondent, weak, defeated and lacking in resolve or courage.
And Allah is the source of all assistance and success.