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Story 31: The Date Palm

Samarah ibn Jandab owned a date palm tree in one of the Ansar’s gardens (Ansar: helpers of the Prophet). The Ansar’s dwelling was located in the garden where his wife and children were living. Samarah frequently visited the Ansar’s garden in order to inspect his date palm or to pick the dates. It was obvious that, according to Islamic law, he had the ‘right’ to visit the garden to look after his palm tree. However, whenever he wanted to enter the garden, he did so without prior notice, while prying on the owner and his family.

The owner of the garden requested him not to enter the garden without prior permission, but he refused. Thus, the owner was obliged to complain about this matter to the Holy Prophet (S) and said, “This man comes to us without warning. Ask him not to enter the garden in an unlawful way. He must inform us before entering so that my family can protect their privacy from his prying eyes.”

The Holy Prophet (S) summoned Samarah and said, “So-and-so complained about you saying that you enter his garden without warning and you see his family in a state that he does not like. From now on, take prior permission and do not enter their home without informing them.”

Samarah refused. The Prophet (S) said, “Then sell the palm tree.” Samarah refused again. The Holy Prophet (S) doubled the price, and then increased the price more and more, but Samarah persisted in refusing. At last, the Holy Prophet (S) said, “If you sell it, you will have a tree in heaven.” Samarah still did not give up and remained stubborn in his position of not disposing of the tree, and not taking permission of the owner before entering the garden.

Then the Holy Prophet (S) said, “You are a harmful and rigid person. In Islam there is no place for prejudice nor obstinacy.”

The Holy Prophet (S) turned towards the Ansari man and said, “Go uproot the date palm and throw it before Samarah!” He did as the Holy Prophet (S) had ordered. The Holy Prophet (S) looked at Samarah and said, “Now go and plant your tree wherever you like.”1

  • 1. Wasa’il, v. 3, p. 329 (Tradition No. 1, 3 and 4).