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Parable No. 02 in a series of Parables from the Quran For more info contact: [email protected]
Parable[i]: Grain of Corn
The similitude of those who spend their wealth in the way of God is that of a grain of corn that grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. God gives manifold increase to who he pleases and God is All-sufficient for the needs of his creatures, All-knower (2:261)
Let us analyze each of the symbols and terms used in this parable:
Grain of corn – Quran extensively uses examples from nature such as grain, garden, its growth and rain to explain the laws governing human life. The grain of corn represents the wealth one spends for the sake of God. It is like a seed one sows to reap the harvest later. It is like an investment which grows many times and gives much more return than the ordinary financial investments.
In the way of God – There are many different ways a person can spend for the sake of God. To free somebody from debt or disability, to provide for an orphan, to provide for poor[ii], to spend for parents, relatives and wayfarers [iii], to spend for the Muslim community, to spend for struggle against evil[iv] are some of the examples of spending in the way of God. Quran emphasizes that we are trustees of our wealth[v] and poor has a known right in our wealth [vi]. Quran also emphasizes that we should not give to show off[vii], we should give what is good and should not follow our giving by insult or injury instead kind words are better than giving with insult[viii]. Therefore, it is our responsibility to share the wealth with the poor.
Seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains – This shows the mercy and benevolence of God for those who spend for the sake of God. Just like one seed produces hundreds of seeds one good deed bring enormous return from God.
Moral of this parable is that if a person spends, his or her wealth, with certain faith to seek the pleasure of God, he or she will get an enormous and plentiful return from God much more than one can get from ordinary financial investments. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[i] A parable is a narrative of imagined events used to illustrate or convey a moral or spiritual lesson. Quran uses parables to convey its message. Quran says “And these similitudes we put forward for humankind, but none will understand them except those who have knowledge” (29:43)