The saying of the Messenger - صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ:
“Indeed there is a tree that does not shed its leaves, it resembles a Muslim. So tell me, which is it?”
So people started discussing the trees of the country side. ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar said:
“I thought to myself that it was the date palm tree, but I was shy [and did not speak up].”
So they asked the Messenger - صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: “Tell us what it is O Messenger of Allaah.”
He said: “It is the date palm tree.”
I mentioned this to ‘Umar who said:
“It would have been more beloved to me than such and such had you said it was the date palm tree.”
[Collected by al-Bukhaaree: The Book of Knowledge: Chapter; The Statement of the Muhaddith, ‘he narrated to us’, ‘he informed us’ and ‘he related to us’ . Also collected by Muslim: The Book of the Characteristics of the Believer: Chapter; The Believer is like a Date Palm Tree. The wording is for Muslim.]
There are a number of benefits in this Hadeeth:
Amongst them is that a scholar asks his companions about an issue to test their understanding, encouraging them to think and pay attention, this is recommended.
Amongst them: Giving analogies and likening things to others.
Amongst them: Respecting elders as ibn ‘Umar did, but if the elders do not know the answer then the youngster who knows it should respond.
Amongst them: The happiness of a parent for the merit and understanding of his son, and the statement of ‘Umar: “It would have been more beloved to me had you…” What he intended was that the Prophet - صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ - supplicates for his son and learns of his merit and understanding.
The virtue of the date palm.
The scholars stated: The Muslim was likened to the date palm due to the abundance of its goodness, the continuity of its shade, the goodness of its fruit and its presence throughout the year. Indeed from the time its fruit emerges, it could continue to be eaten until it dries, and after it dries a lot of benefits are gained from it. Likewise from its leaves, wood and branches; they are used for staffs, fire wood, rods, straw mats, ropes and utensils amongst other uses. The last thing is the date stone which is used as fodder for camels. Furthermore, the beauty of its growth and the pleasant shape of its fruit, all of it is beneficial, is goodness and beauty.
Just as the believer is all goodness, from the abundance of his obedience and the nobility of his manners. He constantly prays, fasts, reads, remembers, gives in charity, enjoins the ties along with the rest of the forms of worship and other than this.
This is the correct angle of resemblance. It was also said that the angle of resemblance is that if the top of it is chopped off the rest of it dies in contrast to the rest of the types of trees. It was also that it is because it does not produce fruit until it is pollinated and Allaah knows best.