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“And a tree (olive) that springs forth from Mount Sinai,

 

 “And a tree (olive) that springs forth from Mount Sinai, that grows (produces) oil, and (it is a) relish for the eaters.”

(Surat Al-Mu’minun (The Believers): 20)

 

By: Dr. / Zaghloul El-Naggar

This is the twentieth ayah of Surat Al-Mu’minun (The Believers) which was revealed in Makkah. The main theme of this Surah is Iman (believing in Allah) and a description of those who believe in the Oneness of Allah (tawhid). The Surah provides proofs and indications of the Oneness of Allah and compares true faith to its antitheses of shirk (polytheism) and kufr (disbelief). The Surah is called Al-Mu’minun in praise of those who believe, asserting their virtues and distinguishing them above those who have been led astray by Shaytan (Satan) into the depths of polytheism, doubt and disbelief in Allah.

Tenets of faith in Surat al-Mu’minun:

1.      Paradise (Jannah) is real; only the believers (those described in the Surat and after whom the Surah is named) shall inherit and dwell in paradise. 

2.     Allah is the Creator of mankind and the One who determines the embryonic phases one after the other until His creation is fully formed. Allah is the Lord and Owner of everything; man’s creation was not pointless and he shall most definitely return to his Lord.

3.     All creatures are destined to die.

4.     The hereafter is real, as is the resurrection, the gathering of mankind and the reckoning of deeds.

5.     The Prophets, Messengers and all the messages sent by Allah are true.

6.     There is no God but Allah; all His signs are real. He is the All-Knower of the seen and the unseen.  He is the Supreme Lord of the Holy Throne. Associating partners with Allah is disbelief and disbelievers shall never succeed.

7.     Allah is the best of Providers; it is He who gives life and death and causes the day and night to vary. He is above needing a wife or child, a partner or equal and above any description that does not befit His Majesty.

8.     One must seek refuge in Allah from the devil.

9.      There is no return to this world after death except on the Day of Resurrection; the dead are in the barzakh (where the soul remains after death until the Day of Resurrection). At the first blow of the trumpet, every living being will become unconscious and at the second blow, all the dead will be resurrected.

10.            Those whose good deeds weigh heavily on the balance on the Day of Reckoning are the successful people whereas those whose good deeds are few are those who lose themselves in this life and their eternal abode will be Hell.

11.            One can only ask for forgiveness and mercy from Allah who is the most merciful.

Signs of creation in Surat al-Mu’minun

1.     Man was created from clay.

2.     The successive stages of the development of the human embryo are described in extensive detail.

3.     Both the male and female reproductive organs are described as being a “safe lodging”.

4.     The creation of the seven heavens and the barriers between them.

5.     Rainfall in proportion and its subsequent storage in the ground.

6.     The sprouting of plant life after it rains, making gardens of palm trees and grapes as well as other plant life.

7.     The olive tree being described as a tree that provides edible oil; the olive trees that grow in Mount Sinai are mentioned specifically.

8.     Cattle are described as being an example for men of understanding; how they produce milk, meat and many other benefits.

9.     Reference is made to the possibility of using both cattle and ships as means of transport.

10.            Reference is made to the fact that one’s faculty of hearing is created before the faculty of seeing and the heart.

11.            Reference is made to the rotation of the earth on its axis before of the sun - "the alternation between day and night"

Mention of olives and olive oil in the Holy Qur’an

Olives and olive oil are mentioned in the Holy Qur’an in seven occasions.  The ayahs in which they were mentioned can be translated as:

1.     *..And gardens of grapes, and olives, and pomegranates, each similar (in kind) yet different (in variety and taste). Look at the fruits when they begin to bear, and the ripeness thereof. Verily! In these things there are signs for people who believe.*

(Surat al-An’am (The Cattle):99).

2.     *And it is He Who produces gardens, trellised and untrellised, and date-palms, and crops of different shape and taste (their fruits and their seeds) and olives, and pomegranates, similar (in kind) and different (in taste). Eat of their fruit when they ripen, but pay the due thereof (its Zakat, according to Allah's Orders1/10th or 1/20th)   on the day of its harvest, and waste not by extravagance. Verily, He likes not Al-Musrifun (those who waste by extravagance),*

 (Surat al-An’am (The Cattle): 141).

3.     *With it He causes to grow for you the crops, the olives, the date-palms, the grapes and every kind of fruit. Verily! In this is indeed an evident proof and a manifest sign for people who give thought.*

(Surat an-Nahl (The Bees):11)

4.     *And a tree (olive) that springs forth from Mount Sinai, that grows (produces) oil, and (it is a) relish for eaters.*

 (Surat al-Mu’minun (The Believers):20).

5.     *Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The Parable of His Light is as( if there were) a niche and within it a lamp: the lamp is in glass, the glass as it were a brilliant star,  lit from a blessed Tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! God doth guide whom He will to His Light: God doth set forth Parables for men: and God doth know all things.*

 (Surat an-Nur (The Light): 35).

6.     *Then let man look at his food: We pour forth water in abundance. And We split the earth in clefts.  And We cause therein the grain to grow, And grapes and clover plants (i.e. green fodder for the cattle), And olives and dates, And gardens dense with many trees, And fruits and herbage, (To be) a provision and benefit for you and your cattle.*

 (Surat Abasa (He Frowned): 24-32).

7.     *By the figs, and the olives. By Mount of Sinai. And this city of security (Makkah). *(Surat at-Tin (The Fig): 1-3).   In this Surah "The Figs"; Allah swears, and He doesn’t need it, by: “the figs, and the olives .By the Mount of Sinai (the mountain in peninsula of Sinai beside which Moses - peace be upon him - was called) and the city of security (Makkah, the noblest place on earth)”.  Allah swore by them all, that He has created man with the inclination to believe in Him, to love goodness and hate evil, to love high moral standards and to hate low manners.  Allah made man love observance to reach grades of perfection that would raise him higher than the ranks of angles, only if he observed.  Should he deviate from the nature which he has been created for and sink into the humiliation of disbelief, polytheism or aberration and mean morals, he will then be punished by falling deeper into the dungeons of meanness.

Figs are mentioned only once in the Qur’an in Surat At-Tin (The Fig).

Each of the ayahs mentioned above requires separate research. I shall limit this article to a discussion about ayah 20 of Surat Al-Mu’minun. Before I begin, let us have a quick look at some scholar’s interpretations of this ayah.

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