Each one of us started off as a seed planted in our mother’s womb. Then as we continue our life’s journey we plant seeds along the way—just like farmers. Yes, I know we aren’t farmers—I do love the profession though so I am going to use it as my metaphor today to get my point across. You are a farmer—just imagine with me that you are—and in all matters of your life you plant seeds, water them, nurture them, and after a period of time you harvest their fruit. As a skillful farmer you know that you only harvest that which you planted in the past. So for instance, if you planted an apple seed you expect to harvest apples, never plums or oranges. Seed input determines the output. Nowadays, the food industry is involved in the manufacturing and sale of “quality’ Genetically Engineered / Genetically Modified seeds for faster, better and higher crop yields. And we too are involved in this process of quality seeds for quality harvests. Ponder on what Allah says:
“And a sign for them is the dead land. We gave it life, and We brought forth from it grains, so that they eat of it / And We make therein gardens of palms and grapevines and We make springs to gush forth in it / That they may eat of its fruit and the work of their hands —will they not render thanks.” (Qur’an 36: 33-35)
So, it’s clear here that what you will eat from is what you planted, watered, nurtured, and harvested. Literally and figuratively, you will eat the fruits of your labor. Nothing more and nothing less. Quality seeds means a quality harvest. Now take this idea and apply it to all matters in your life. When you are a person who reviews the “seeds” that you plant in the various areas of your life you are of a selective few who are highly aware that actions have consequences. When you are of these few select people, your review process of all your actions involves you asking yourself: Will what I am doing now , in this particular area of my life, bring about the outcome I am hoping for in the future? In all matters—big and small.
Let me provide some examples. Does the fact that I am currently eating unhealthy and not exercising predict a future me who is: overweight, suffering from a chronic illness. Will this kind of life style cause me to age early? This while the Prophet (saw) told us in a hadith, “Your body has a right over you.” That, by the way, is applicable to all phases in our lives. I once met a woman at the gym, her name was Hope. She was indeed a ray of hope for me when I first started going to the gym on a regular basis. Although in her early 80’s now, she never misses an early morning class at the gym. When I met her, I said to myself, “I want to be Hope when I grow old.” But I also realized that I had to start now to be a future Hope. Ramadan is always a wonderful beginning for cleaning out your system, reviewing your food choices, introducing healthy alternatives, and staying fit. I know many of us don’t exercise in Ramadan, including the past me. But over 7 years I decided that exercising regularly even during Ramadan was doable and very rewarding, and haven’t stopped since.
Let’s move on from the gym to our homes. Let’s ask ourselves about whether we have planted quality seeds in our homes that have brought about favorable harvests. Do we sow quality seeds— seed of love, kindness, compassion, fairness, respect—and as a result peace resides in our homes? Have we adhered to our responsibilities and protected our rights and the rights of our loved ones for tranquility to permeate our home. The Prophet (salah Allah alayhe wa salam) says:
Each of you is a guardian and is responsible for those whom he is in charge of.
So the ruler is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects; a man is the guardian of his family and is responsible for those under his care; a woman is a guardian of her husband’s home and is responsible for those under her care; a
servant is the guardian of his master’s wealth and is responsible for that which
he is entrusted with; and a man is the guardian of his father’s wealth and is responsible fore what is under his care. So each one of you is a guardian and is responsible for what he is entrusted with. (Al Bukhari)
You know that in the absence of the latter, protests can also break out at home as can revolutions. Sow discord and harvest discord. It’s as simple as that.
What about in our jobs? In our current jobs, do we put in quality work that predict the kind of future careers we will eventually have? The ladders we will climb? The glass ceilings we will shatter? Or are we just marginal / average employees: grinding 9 to 5pm, waiting for our monthly pay checks , looking forward to retirement. Allah says:
“ And when the prayer has been concluded, disperse within the land and seek from the bounty of Allah , and remember Allah often that you may succeed.” (Qur’an 62:10)
“. . . remember Allah often that you may succeed” means that you put in what will please Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala); work ethics such as: integrity, sense of responsibility, quality, sense of teamwork and the list can go on. Success is what you should aspire for, and what Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala loves for you) , don’t you love it for yourself?
What about our social relationships? Do we sow seeds of selflessness or selfishness? Do we have friend when in need, or none? Are we reaping friends who will intercede for us in front of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala), or enemies who will show up to settle disputes with us on the Day of Judgment. I have a headache just thinking about it.
If we are currently in school or college, are we building a strong foundation for our future careers? Foundations that are not based on academic dishonesty and mediocre work but rather on honesty and quality work. A future where we will have weight as experts in our careers, and not be empty pseudo experts. Remember Allah’s (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala)words: “. . . And whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah . It is better and greater in reward. And seek forgiveness of Allah . Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Qur’an 73:20)
The Qur’an is indeed full of verses that teach us this concept of planting the quality seed for the best outcome. At times Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) gives us verses where we can visualize the future us with either a favorable or an unfavorable outcome. Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) says to us when we’re out of time in the Hereafter, at the time of great reckoning: “Read your book. You yourself are sufficient as a reckoner against you this Day.” (Qur’an 17:14) Then Allah takes us back to the prevent this outcome with the idea of planting the right seeds today, without delay:
“Whoever goes aright, then he goes aright only for the benefit of his ownself. And whoever goes astray, then he goes astray to his own loss. No one laden with burdens can bear another’s burden. And We never punish until We have sent a Messenger (to give warning).” (Qur’an 17:15)
We’ve been told; we’ve been warned. The choice is ours. It is either ever lasting success or ever lasting regret, and we have to determine our fate and Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) makes the comparison for us, and reasons with us: “Which is better? He that is cast into the Fire, or he that comes safe through, on the Day of Judgment? Do what you will: verily He sees (clearly) all that you do.” (Qur’an 41:40)
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the “fire” is just in the Hereafter, you’ll feel the heat in this world.
O Allah make us among those who plant excellence and harvest excellence and achieve excellence in Your books. Ameen.