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The Owner of a Vineyard

In Surat al-Kahf, Allah gives the example of a vineyard-owner who was deceived by his prosperity and achievements. This man exemplifies the type of arrogance that is derived from wealth. The pertinent verses are as follows:

Make an example for them of two men. To one of them We gave two gardens of grape-vines and surrounded them with date-palms, putting between them some cultivated land. Both gardens yielded their crops and did not suffer any loss, and We made a river flow right through the middle of them. He was a man of wealth and property and he said to his companion, debating with him, "I have more wealth than you and more people under me." He entered his garden and wronged himself by saying, "I do not think that this will ever end. I do not think the Hour will ever come. But if I should be sent back to my Lord, I will definitely get something better in return." (Surat al-Kahf, 32-36)

As the verse maintains, in order to test him, Allah granted this vineyard owner abundant wealth. Yet, all this wealth only made him boastful. Instead of feeling grateful towards Allah, asking His forgiveness, and putting his riches to use for the cause of Allah, he spoke proudly and falsely assumed that his wealth was immune to time and disaster.

This is a clear example showing the illogic of arrogant people; although the vineyard-owner claimed that his possessions were eternal, he did not explicitly deny the existence of Allah, and even considered the possibility of his having to return to Him. Interestingly, he falsely maintained that he would not be punished, but rather, would actually be rewarded if this were to really happen.

A similar line of thinking is also common in the arrogant people of today. Although they do not openly deny the morality of religion, they are far from having fear of Allah in their hearts. Still, they falsely assume that they will somehow be saved, even if they are "sent back to their Lord." This example of the vineyard-owner, given in the Qur' an, clearly shows that such people lack wisdom. Such a person' s understanding is blurred by his arrogance, and he is hindered from grasping Allah' s infinite might.

The end met by the vineyard-owner, as Allah relates in the Qur' an, was also a note of caution. He lost all his wealth. He eventually said "if only...," but it was too late to be mindful:

The fruits of his labour were completely destroyed and he woke up wringing his hands in grief, rueing everything that he had spent on it. It was a ruin with all its trellises fallen in. He said, "Oh, if only I had not associated anyone with my Lord!" There was no group to come to his aid, besides Allah, and he was not given any help. (Surat al-Kahf, 42-43)
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