of People According to the Guidance
Excerpt from Ibn al Qayyim's "Ar-Risalat Ut-Tabukiyah"
The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa
sallam) also classified people into three groups based on their response
to his Message and Guidance.
"An example of the guidance and knowledge with which Allah (azza
wajall) has sent me is that of a rain that falls on different kinds of
land: 1) One land is good; it accepts water and produces vegetation and
grass in plenty. 2) Another land is dry with a solid bed that reserves
water so that people can drink and irrigate with it. 3) The third kind
is a porous land that can neither retain water nor produce vegetation.
This is an example of those who acquire the knowledge of the Din and benefit
from that with which Allah (azza wajall) sent me, and of those who do
not take heed and who insist on rejecting Allah's (azza wajall) Guidance."
(Al-Bukhari and Muslim.)
The Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa
sallam) likens the knowledge (with which he came) to rain, because both
are causes of life. Rain is the cause of life for the body, while knowledge
is the cause of life for the heart. He (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) also
likens different hearts to different valleys, as Allah (azza wajall) said:
"He sends down water from the
sky, making different valleys flow according to their different natures..."
Thus, just as there are three kinds
of land, there are three kinds of hearts:
1) The first is a good land which
accepts water and is ready to produce vegetation. When rain falls on
it, it absorbs the water eagerly, giving rise to all sorts of pleasant
This is an example of one with a
healthy, pure, and intelligent heart, which embraces knowledge, and
is guided by its true intelligent nature, blossoming by that wisdom
and true faith. Therefore, it is eager to take the knowledge, and ready
to bear fruits because of its good nature.
It is also like a rich business
man who has experience in different trades and investments, which enables
him to invest his wealth in that which brings the best profit.
2) The second kind is a hard, solid
land prepared to preserve and keep water: It benefits people who visit
it to drink or irrigate.
This is an example of one whose
heart preserves knowledge and safeguards it so as to convey it just
as he hears it, without changing it or deriving conclusions from it.
This is also described in another hadith:
"There is often one who conveys
knowledge to one who is more knowledgeable than himself; and there is
often one who carries knowledge when he himself is not knowledgeable."
(Narrated by Zayd bin Thabit, Anas bin Malik and others; recorded by
Abu Dawud, at-Tirmithi, Ahmad, and others; authenticated by al-Albani
(as-Sahihah no. 404).
It is also like a rich man who does
not possess the knowledge or experience to invest his wealth, but who
knows very well how to preserve it.
3) The third is a barren land which
is incapable of holding water or producing vegetation: no matter how
much rain falls, it does not profit by it.
This is an example of one whose
heart does not accept any knowledge or wisdom. It is also like a poor
man who neither possesses wealth nor knows how to preserve it.
The first of the above three examples
applies to a learned man who teaches knowledge, and who calls people to
Allah (azza wajall) with clear guidance; such are the inheritors of the
The second applies to one who preserves
the knowledge, and who transmits what he hears precisely; he carries to
other people precious goods that they can use for trade and investment.
The third applies to one who neither accepts Allah's Guidance nor benefits
Thus, this hadith covers the different
types of people and their different attitudes towards the prophet's dawah,
which make them either happy or miserable.