Every human being is part of the human family which began when Adam and Eve were sent to the earth to populate it. Allah says:
O man; fear your Lord Who created you from a single Person; and created from it its mate, and from both of them (caused to be scattered like seed) many men and women. (4:1)
Every human being is like a tree in the forest. Each person is distinct in size, shape, etc. just like the variations of the forest trees.
We are all aware that some trees are beneficial to man in many ways while some are harmful so too some human beings benefit others and some cause harm and hurt.
Allah has likened each human being like a tree. He says:
Don’t you see how Allah sets forth a parable? A goodly word is like a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches reach up to the sky. (14:24)
So by declaring Tawheed (a goodly word) and following that up with the correcting prescription of pruning, i.e. enjoining good and avoiding evil, a person becomes a goodly tree.
Declaration of faith earns for the “believer” the guarantee to enter Paradise. However, entry might be delayed if the believer does not follow the prescription which will reduce the length of the onward journey. According to the Qur’anic definition of making the return easy and successful, is to do good to others. This is contained in the same message that Allah gave in the same Chapter. He says:
It (the blessed, goodly tree) has branches high up (it gives shade); and it brings forth its fruits at all times; by the leave of the Lord. (14:25)
So the true believer is one who does not join any partner with Allah, and is very helpful and beneficial to other human beings.
In contrast to the “goodly tree” is another which the Lord has described in the next verse in the same Chapter. He says:
And the parable of the evil Word, is that of an evil tree; it is torn up by the root from the surface of the earth; it has no stability. (14:27)
The person who can be considered to be an evil tree is a non believer. Such a person will be destroyed when the earth and all that is on it will no longer exist. In addition to giving preference to creatures rather than to the Creator, such a person will be like a tree in the forest of trees with thorn and does not give shade, etc. Such a person is not an asset to the society.
We should all aspire to be a good tree in this life by perfecting our belief in Allah and being loving, kind and helpful to others in order to earn for ourselves Eternal Bliss in the next life.
Dr. Waffie is the Principal of Markaz al Ihsaan Institute of Islamic Theology, and currently serves as the Chairman of the Majlis ul Ulamaa (Council of Scholars) of Trinidad and Tobago. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org