If the Last Hour comes while one of you has a palm seedling in his hand, which he can plant before it falls, let him plant it. 1
The palm seedling will only bear fruit years later when the Day of Judgment is imminent, but the order of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is: Plant it.
It is not: Repent! Pray! Ask forgiveness! Rather, Plant it.
This is simple, yet teaches the whole law of Islam.
There are not two different paths, one for this world and another for the hereafter. Nor a path for the hereafter called “Worship” and another for this world called “Work.”
There is only one path leading to both and connecting them together. One path – its beginning in this world and its end in the hereafter. A path on which worship is nothing different from work; where both are one thing in the sight of Islam, moving along side by side.
Once they meet and merge into one, the same thing happens inside the soul and the inner conflict over divergent goals is solved. With them united, life is no longer divided into worship and work – nor the individual into body and soul, nor one’s aims into practical and abstract, realistic and idealistic – for every deed becomes in itself an act of worship and a means of approaching Allah Almighty.
“Every utterance of glorification (Glory be to Allah) is an act of charity (good deed); every utterance of magnification (Allah is the Greatest) is an act of charity; every utterance of praise (All praise be to Allah) is an act of charity; every declaration of the Oneness of Allah (There is no god but Allah) is an act of charity; enjoinment of good is an act of charity; forbiddance of evil is an act of charity; and the marital sexual intercourse one of you have is an act of charity.”
The Companions asked, “O Messenger of Allah, is there a reward for one of us when he satisfies his desire?”
He (pbuh) said, “Tell me, if he were to place it in that which is forbidden, would it not be a sin on him? Similarly, when he places it in that which is lawful, he will have a reward.”2
With his sincere push to work and persistence in it, the Prophet (pbuh) teaches that there is no room for despair.
Take action, work, plant, have faith to the last moment.
Working to the last moment of life must not stop because of despair of the results. All obstacles, impossibilities, or fears have no weight and must not prevent action.
Exert the effort, and leave to Allah how and when its fruits will be picked up.
Exert it with complete faith; that is your duty and mission and there they end – at planting the seedling in the land, not picking up the fruits.
This was the way of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
He (pbuh) always planted the seedling, even without knowing what would happen moments later.
The Quraish might conspire against him and kill him.
He (pbuh), along with the believers, might die of hunger under their merciless siege.
Their evil hands may catch him while trying to reach the cave.
But despite all hardships, he (pbuh) always planted the seedling, giving it all the needed care until Allah willed for it to yield fruit.
This is the way of this New World of Muhammad (pbuh).
Any hand holding a seedling should plant it.
How will it grow amid destructive storms?
Or evil besetting it?
Do not ask.
It is not your task.
Plant it, and rest confident in the Hands you entrusted it to.3
- Narrated by Anas bin Malik: Musnad Ahmad, Book of Al-Mukthrin, Hadith no. 12512; a similar version is also reported by Ahmad (12435).
- Narrated by Abu Dharr: Sahih Muslim, Book of Zakah, Hadith no. 1674; similar versions are also reported by Ahmad (20457, 20496, 20508, 20568).
- Adapted from Muhammad Qutb, Qabasat min Ar-Rasul, chapter of Plant It, Dar Al-Shorouk.