[3] Substituted Beautiful Thankfulness With Ugly Ingratitude – [Gigantic Gardens With Good Fruits Replaced With Gardens That Bore Bitter Ones In The Land of Saba]


In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

Allaah [The Most High] said:

فَأَعۡرَضُواْ فَأَرۡسَلۡنَا عَلَيۡہِمۡ سَيۡلَ ٱلۡعَرِمِ وَبَدَّلۡنَـٰهُم بِجَنَّتَيۡہِمۡ جَنَّتَيۡنِ ذَوَاتَىۡ أُڪُلٍ خَمۡطٍ۬ وَأَثۡلٍ۬ وَشَىۡءٍ۬ مِّن سِدۡرٍ۬ قَلِيلٍ۬

But they turned away, so We sent against them Sail Al-‘Arim (flood released from the dam), and We converted their two gardens into gardens producing bitter bad fruit, and tamarisks, and some few lote-trees. [Surah Saba. Aayah 16]

[فَأَعۡرَضُواْ – But they turned away]- Meaning: They turned away and disbelieved. [فَأَرۡسَلۡنَا عَلَيۡہِمۡ سَيۡلَ ٱلۡعَرِمِ – so We sent against them Sail Al-‘Arim (flood released from the dam)]- Meaning: Because they turned away, We sent them the flood. This flood drowned their gardens and their wealth. This is Allaah’s way in dealing with His creation [i.e. the disobedient ones amongst mankind and jinn], just as Allaah [The Exalted] said [in another Aayah]:

وَضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلاً۬ قَرۡيَةً۬ ڪَانَتۡ ءَامِنَةً۬ مُّطۡمَٮِٕنَّةً۬ يَأۡتِيهَا رِزۡقُهَا رَغَدً۬ا مِّن كُلِّ مَكَانٍ۬ فَڪَفَرَتۡ بِأَنۡعُمِ ٱللَّهِ فَأَذَٲقَهَا ٱللَّهُ لِبَاسَ ٱلۡجُوعِ وَٱلۡخَوۡفِ بِمَا ڪَانُواْ يَصۡنَعُونَ

And Allah puts forward the example of a township (Makkah), that dwelt secure and well content; its provision coming to it in abundance from every place, but it (its people) denied the Favours of Allah (with ungratefulness). So Allah made it taste the extreme of hunger (famine) and fear, because of that (evil, i.e. denying Prophet Muhammad) which they (its people) used to do. [Surah An-Nahl. Aayah 112]

[وَبَدَّلۡنَـٰهُم بِجَنَّتَيۡہِمۡ جَنَّتَيۡنِ ذَوَاتَىۡ أُڪُلٍ خَمۡطٍ۬ وَأَثۡلٍ۬ وَشَىۡءٍ۬ مِّن سِدۡرٍ۬ قَلِيلٍ۬ – and We converted their two gardens into gardens producing bitter bad fruit, and tamarisks, and some few lote-trees]- Meaning: The two previous gardens that had good fruits from which they ate and benefited through trade and other than that.

In summary: When these people turned away and were not thankful to Allaah, He sent the flood and thus their wealth was drowned and their buildings destroyed. Their two gardens were replaced with two other gardens that were neither equal nor could they be compared to that which they had before.

Benefits Derived From This Noble Aayah:

– A clarification of the situation of these people- that they replaced the blessings of Allaah with disbelief, even though it was incumbent upon them to be thankful to Allah and obey Him after they were given those blessings, but they turned away.

-Punishment against those who turn away [from obedience to Allaah] is based on that which Allaah’s Perfect Wisdom necessitates. And indeed Allaah has stated in another Aayah: [فَكُلاًّ أَخَذۡنَا بِذَنۢبِهِ- So We punished each (of them) for his sins]. Punishment is always given in a manner that fits the deed [i.e. the crime]. So, when these people became ungrateful and disbelieved due to those gardens [given to them], they were replaced with bad gardens.

– An affirmation of the ‘Reason or Cause’ which can be taken from the Aayah: [فَأَعۡرَضُواْ فَأَرۡسَلۡنَا – But they turned away, so We sent against them (i.e. the flood released from the dam)]. So, Allaah sent them [the flood] due to their turning away.

– Sins are a reason for the cessation of blessings, because Allaah said: [فَأَعۡرَضُواْ فَأَرۡسَلۡنَا – But they turned away, so We sent against them (i.e. the flood released from the dam)]. They were in a state of bliss prior to that, but when they turned away Allaah sent them this destructive flood. This has many other testimonies in the Qur’aan, and from them is the statement of Allaah: [وَضَرَبَ ٱللَّهُ مَثَلاً۬ قَرۡيَةً۬ ڪَانَتۡ ءَامِنَةً۬ مُّطۡمَٮِٕنَّةً۬ يَأۡتِيهَا رِزۡقُهَا رَغَدً۬ا مِّن كُلِّ مَكَانٍ۬ فَڪَفَرَتۡ بِأَنۡعُمِ ٱللَّهِ فَأَذَٲقَهَا ٱللَّهُ لِبَاسَ ٱلۡجُوعِ وَٱلۡخَوۡفِ بِمَا ڪَانُواْ يَصۡنَعُونَ – And Allah puts forward the example of a township (Makkah), that dwelt secure and well content; its provision coming to it in abundance from every place, but it (its people) denied the Favours of Allah (with ungratefulness). So Allah made it taste the extreme of hunger (famine) and fear, because of that (evil, i.e. denying Prophet Muhammad) which they (its people) used to do]. [Surah An-Nahl. Aayah 112]

Allaah said:

وَلَوۡ أَنَّ أَهۡلَ ٱلۡقُرَىٰٓ ءَامَنُواْ وَٱتَّقَوۡاْ لَفَتَحۡنَا عَلَيۡہِم بَرَكَـٰتٍ۬ مِّنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَلَـٰكِن كَذَّبُواْ فَأَخَذۡنَـٰهُم بِمَا ڪَانُواْ يَكۡسِبُونَ

أَفَأَمِنَ أَهۡلُ ٱلۡقُرَىٰٓ أَن يَأۡتِيَہُم بَأۡسُنَا بَيَـٰتً۬ا وَهُمۡ نَآٮِٕمُونَ (٩٧) أَوَأَمِنَ أَهۡلُ ٱلۡقُرَىٰٓ أَن يَأۡتِيَهُم بَأۡسُنَا ضُحً۬ى وَهُمۡ يَلۡعَبُونَ

أَفَأَمِنُواْ مَڪۡرَ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ فَلَا يَأۡمَنُ مَڪۡرَ ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلۡقَوۡمُ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرُونَ

And if the people of the towns had believed and had the Taqwa (piety), certainly, We should have opened for them blessings from the heaven and the earth, but they belied (the Messengers). So We took them (with punishment) for what they used to earn (polytheism and crimes, etc.). Did the people of the towns then feel secure against the coming of Our Punishment by night while they are asleep? Or, did the people of the towns then feel secure against the coming of Our Punishment in the forenoon while they play? Did they then feel secure against the Plan of Allah. None feels secure from the Plan of Allah except the people who are the losers. [Surah Al-A’raaf. Aayaat 96-99]

– Rain is blessing and mercy, but it can be a source of vengeance and punishment, because Allaah said: [سَيۡلَ ٱلۡعَرِمِ – Flood released from the dam]. Sail in origin is the gathering of rainwater until it begins to flow. Its origin is good, just as Allaah said: [أَوَلَمۡ يَرَوۡاْ أَنَّا نَسُوقُ ٱلۡمَآءَ إِلَى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ ٱلۡجُرُزِ فَنُخۡرِجُ بِهِۦ زَرۡعً۬ا تَأۡڪُلُ مِنۡهُ أَنۡعَـٰمُهُمۡ وَأَنفُسُہُمۡ‌ۖ أَفَلَا يُبۡصِرُونَ  – Have they not seen how We drive water (rain clouds) to the dry land without any vegetation, and therewith bring forth crops providing food for their cattle and themselves? Will they not then see?] [Surah As-Sajdah. Aayah 27]. This [i.e. rainwater] is good, but sometimes it is a means of punishment.

– A clarification of the misguidance of those people who when afflicted with the likes of these calamities, such as floods and its like, it does not have an effect on them and they would say, “This is something that occurs naturally [i.e. it has no connection to the decree of a Creator nor is it due to sins etc]”. Indeed, these floods that cause destruction are nothing else but punishment from Allaah by way of which those punished are put to trial and those upon their way are deterred.

–  A clarification of Allaah’s All-Encompassing Power, because He sent them those floods which drowned their fruits and vegetation. And after [the destruction of those fruits and vegetation], bitter bad fruit, tamarisks and some few lote-trees grew [to replace them]. It was not lote-trees [i.e. in their abundance], rather it was few lote-trees, and their gigantic gardens were replaced with it.

– The Perfect Wisdom of Allaah in that He replaced those two gardens with another two gardens, because obedience to Allaah is light [i.e. guidance], uprightness and success, and it is appropriately recompensed with Allaah’s [Favours, Blessings etc]. Sinning is darkness [i.e. misguidance] and corruption, so it is appropriately connected to that bad replacement [i.e. the gigantic gardens that produced abundant good fruits were replaced with gardens that bore few fruits and were bitter].


[Excerpt and Slightly Paraphrased from ‘Tafseer Surah Sabah. Pages 133-137 By Imaam Muhammad Bin Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen (rahimahullaah)]

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