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The People Of The Garden (The Two Selfish Brothers) - Story from The Quran

The People Of The Garden (The Two Selfish Brothers) - Story from The Quran 

It was the early hours of dawn.  In its stillness, the sound of a walking stick knocking on the stony pathway could be heard, intermittently followed by the panting of heavy breathing as the old man made his way to his garden.  It was filled with a large variety of lush fruit trees and a cool stream meandering through its ground.  The air was rich with fragrance of many flowers.  As a faint light of the dawn was being shed, birds were chirping to awaken the sleeping world.  But this great bounty had not caused the slightest feeling of haughtiness in the man.  He was ever mindful of the blessings of his Lord.  He laid out his prayer mat and thanked Allah for His favours.

He allowed everyone to roam in his garden, to enjoy its beauty, as long as they did not spoil it.  At harvesting time he would invite the poor and give them a generous share of his crops.  And if his labourers left anything unharvested, the poor were allowed to gather it for themselves.

The three sons
The old man had three sons, two of whom were unlike their father.  Their father’s generosity annoyed them.  One of them remarked, “Father, in giving so generously to the poor you are reducing our portions.” The second son added, “Father, your generosity will eventually turn us into beggars.” The third son was about to say something but his father put a finger on his lips and silenced him.  He looked at his two sons sadly, and said, “My children your belief that my giving to the poor will make you poor is a selfish thought.  This wealth over which you want full authority of is neither yours nor mine; it belongs to Allah and I am only its trustee.  I am not allowed to spend it only on myself; the rest of Allah’s creation has a right over it, especially the poor, needy and the wayfarer; the birds and insects also have a due share, for they, too, are Allah’s creation.  Only what remains thereafter is our share.  This is how ones wealth is purified, blessed and increased.  I have abided by this law since my youth and will keep to it until my death.  I am now bent with age and my body is riddled with disease.  My death cannot be far off.  It will not be long before you inherit all of this.  You will then be faced with two choices: if you spend your wealth in the way of Allah, as I have done, He will reward you and bless you.  But if you are selfish and do not spend it in His way, you will lose both His bounty and blessings and end up empty-handed.  Remember my sons, this is how Allah wants things to be.”

The People Of The Garden (The Two Selfish Brothers) - Story from The Quran

Not long after this conversation the father passed away.  As harvesting approached, the poor, as usual, eagerly awaited the invitation to collect their share of the crop.  The sons who were in charge now, held a meeting.  One of them proposed that from that day onward the poor shall have no share in that harvest nor would the wayfarers have the right to enter the garden.  The third son who was more like his father, said, “What you are proposing is evil and evil begets evil.  By depriving the poor we will not benefit, instead, we may find ourselves in need.  So give what is due to them in the same way our father did when he was a trustee of Allah’s wealth.” The other brothers became angry and said, “Do not give us advice on what is not yours.  We had enough of that when our father was alive.” But he persisted, “Let us turn to Allah and seek His guidance, for prayer protects men from evil.” They bluntly refused his advice.

The following morning his brothers rose before dawn and planned to harvest the crops and to divide it among themselves.  They hurried to the orchards, but the sight they saw stopped them dead in their tracks.  The garden had changed beyond all recognition.  It was as if they were in the place other than their beautiful garden.  Everything had withered.

When the third brother heard the tragic news, he remarked, “See what your evil intention has brought upon us!” The two brothers then turned to Allah and pleaded for forgiveness, “Glory be to our Lord; Lo, we have been wrong.  We beseech our Lord, and if He so Wills, He may give us a better garden in its place.”
(Quran 63:17-33)
The lesson
Allah gives wealth as a trust in our hand and tests us what we do with it.  If we refuse to share it with the needy, He reduces it and punishes us in many ways.
If we show sincere regret for our wrong, Allah replaces with better whatever He takes away.

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