بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) once said to the companions:"Amongst the trees, there is a tree, the leaves of which do not fall and it is like a Muslim. Tell me the name of that tree" [Bukhari] . When nobody could answer, he let them know that it is the palm tree. This may seem odd, but Allah (swt) gives us the explanation in a parable in Surah Ibrahim:
أَلَمْ تَرَ كَيْفَ ضَرَبَ اللَّهُ مَثَلًا كَلِمَةً طَيِّبَةً كَشَجَرَةٍ طَيِّبَةٍ أَصْلُهَا ثَابِتٌ وَفَرْعُهَا فِي السَّمَاءِ ۞ تُؤْتِي أُكُلَهَا كُلَّ حِينٍ بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهَا ۗ وَيَضْرِبُ اللَّهُ الْأَمْثَالَ لِلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ ۞ وَمَثَلُ كَلِمَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ كَشَجَرَةٍ خَبِيثَةٍ اجْتُثَّتْ مِن فَوْقِ الْأَرْضِ مَا لَهَا مِن قَرَارٍ ۞ يُثَبِّتُ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِالْقَوْلِ الثَّابِتِ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ ۖ وَيُضِلُّ اللَّهُ الظَّالِمِينَ ۚ وَيَفْعَلُ اللَّهُ مَا يَشَاءُ ۞
“Have you not considered how Allah presents an example, [making] a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches [high] in the sky? ۞ It produces its fruit all the time, by permission of its Lord. And Allah presents examples for the people that perhaps they will be reminded. ۞ And the example of a bad word is like a bad tree, uprooted from the surface of the earth, not having any stability. ۞ Allah keeps firm those who believe, with the firm word, in worldly life and in the Hereafter. And Allah sends astray the wrongdoers. And Allah does what He wills.” [14:24-27]
Allah (swt) compares a “good word” to a palm tree that is not only firmly rooted and reaches the sky but also provides benefit via fruits year around. To fully understand this we must become familiar with the date palm tree. This is a tree that is 100% beneficial - it grows strong roots and therefore is difficult to uproot and provides protection, it grows tall and therefore provides shade for passerbyers, it bears dates which have countless benefits, and its leaves and bark were used for building structures in the past.
This is how the Muslim should be. Always bringing benefit to those around us. The scholars have explained that the “good word” referred to in the verse is the kalima - that there is no God but Allah (swt), the foundation upon which Islam is built. The verses continue and discuss how a “bad word” is like a bad tree, this is often understood to be any negative trait someone may have (but some scholars specify it to mean disbelief) and the bad tree would be similar to a specific cactus tree found at the time of the Prophet (ﷺ) in Arabia that provided zero benefit. Afterward, the verses discuss how the benefits of the “good word” is not only limited to this life but also the next by providing steadfastness, in the same way a palm tree does not waiver in the wind and can withstand all the elements.
When we apply all of this to the verses and compare our Islam to a palm tree, it all comes together:
So we should ask ourselves, after reading the above verses: Am I a Palm Tree?