The Boy who threw stones at trees

There was a boy who lived in the city of Madinah, who loved the taste of dates. He would do almost anything to enjoy dates fresh from the tree.

Just outside the city was a beautiful pool, an oasis. Round the pool there were many palm trees. And on the palm trees grew the dates which the boy loved so much.

Each day the boy slipped away from his friends and went by himself to the oasis. There he took out a handful of stones which he had collected during the day. He chose a tree where he could see the dates hanging, ready to eat.

Selecting a stone with care, the boy took aim and threw it hard at the tree. With luck he would hit the tree just right, and a date would fall to the floor, ripe and juicy.

Then he would choose another stone, and another, until lots of dates lay in the sand around, leaning against the tree and ate his fear of fresh dates. He never thought about the damage he had caused to the trees. He never imagined that the trees might never grow fruit again, at that they might even die.

When the people who owned the trees came to check their fruit, they were very surprised. Each day there were fewer dates to be seen. Each day the trees looked less and less healthy. They decided to watch the trees for a whole day, to see what was happening.

They were curious when the boy arrived to throw his stones and eat his dates. They were angry when they saw what he was doing to the beautiful trees. No wonder they did not look healthy. The owners stepped out of their hiding place and took hold of the boy. He was surprised, and a little frightened. They were angry, and a little confused. They did not knew what to do, “let’s take him to Prophet Muhammad,” one said “He will knew what is right.”

Standing in front of The Prophet (salAllahu alayhi wasalam), the boy was afraid. He was usually very well behaved and had never been in serious trouble before. But he did love fresh dates. And it was easy to knock them out of the branches with stones.

Prophet Muhammad (salAllahu alayhi wasalam) looked at the boy. He spoke very quietly, because he was not angry.

He could tell that the boy loved dates so much that he did not think about damaged he had caused to the trees.

“Why do you throw stones at trees? Don’t you know it hurts them?” The boy said he was sorry. He had not thought about the trees. He only thought about the delicious taste of the dates.

“Why don’t you wait,” said Prophet Muhammad, “until the dates are really ripe, and fall from the trees themselves. They will taste even better.”

The boy smiled. He could still enjoy his dates. The trees would stay healthy, and grew more dates next year. And sure enough, the boy found that the dates he picked up from the sand the trees tasted wonderful.

Key Ideas: Respect for nature, Respect for other people’s wealth and property, correct adab and tarbiyyah.

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