Dwarfed or branched out?
Have you noticed bonsai trees? These trees decorating our living rooms are a wonder! Banyan, Fig tree, Maple, Pine or Olive trees are carefully cultivated in pots restricting their growth to few inches tall. It is really amusing to watch a grown up tree in a miniature form. These little trees are actually pretty old. Dwarfed trees!
How are they dwarfed? These are miniaturized by application of various techniques while they were young plants, by pruning their roots and pinching – its physical growth is thus restricted. And there are trees that grow up to the skies with its branches all over. For example, sequoia trees grow about 80 feet in circumference and 300 feet in height! If you cut them in to sizes, it could well be used for furniture enough for many houses! In reality, the beginning of a fully grown sequoia tree and that of a bonsai were both from a tiny seed. While a bonsai tree’s growth is extremely truncated, a naturally grown Sequoia branches tall and wide.
Human beings can also be likened to these trees. Some get miniaturized in their social growth while others branch out far and wide. A believer should be able to reach out to others from own cocoons. They are the stream that should be seamlessly flowing, without being affected by the dirt of selfishness. Still water rots; it gets purified when it flows away.
It is reported from Abu Musa Al Ashari(may Allah be pleased with him) : The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “On every Muslim there is enjoined (a compulsory) Sadaqa (alms).” They (the people) said, “‘If one has nothing?’ He said, “He should work with his hands so that he may benefit himself and give in charity.” They said, “If he cannot work or does not work?” He said, “Then he should help the oppressed unhappy person (by word or action or both).” They said, “If he does not do it?” He said, “Then he should enjoin what is good (or said what is reasonable).’ They said, “If he does not do that”’ He said, “Then he should refrain from doing evil, for that will be considered for Him as a Sadaqa (charity) (Sahih al-Bukhari 6022)
Here, regardless of their limitations, Prophet (peace be upon him) does not let any believer stay idle. He is bound to reach out to his fellow human beings with whatever he has. Instead of worrying about comforts of one’s own self and that of one’s family, a believer should worry about his success in the Hereafter. To succeed, one has to get involved with others in their difficult times and sorrowful moments. Horizons of help are so wide. Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Administering of justice between two men is also a charity. And assisting a man to ride upon his beast, or helping him load his luggage upon it, is a charity; and a good word is a charity; and every step that you take towards prayer is a charity, and removing of harmful things from the pathway is a charity.”(Part of Hadith in Sahih Muslim 1009)
Prophet Abraham (peace be on him) prayed : “And grant me a reputation of honor among later generations” [Qur'an 26:84]. Basis for reputation is virtuous deeds. It is not the number of years we lived that matters, but our deeds during those years. A person’s life, an otherwise small phenomenon, is turned to a great phenomenon though good deeds. A good word likened to a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed and its branches high in the sky. One who comprehend a ‘good word’ should also be like this. A friend in-need by all, always!
Small fishes are washed ashore in tide. They die when sun shines on them. A jogger saves them every morning by helping them swim back in to the water. A surprised passerby asked “Sir, what would you gain out of this? There are too many of them along the shore. What difference could you make, after all?!” The man did not answer. Instead, he bent down to help another little fish in to life. Then he said : “I made a huge difference to this fish”
This is the attitude that should grow inside all of us. Great acts should outweigh great number of acts. Prophet (may peace be upon him) reminds us never to consider a virtue trivial when he taught us that it is a virtue to smile to another person or to pour water to one’s pot
Let us not be dwarfed deprived of good growth. Reach out to others with good deeds of small and big. A good tree doesn’t have to move towards others. All come seeking it. Our deeds are proof to the fact that we lived in this world. What else would stand by us for the world after?!
English rendering of article written by Abdul Wadud
Translated by Yahiya Perothayil