Translation: Have you not seen how Allah has given the parable of a beautiful kalimah, like a beautiful tree, whose roots are firmly established, and whose branches tower in the sky? (Surah Ibrahim, verse 24)
According to the tafseer in Ibn Kathir, the mu’min is also like a beautiful tree. The heart of the believer is firmly established with the proofs (the Qur’an and the sunnah). The branches, the sincere and correct actions of the believer, reach Allah (see also Surah Fatir, verse 10: “To Him ascend (all) the goodly words, and the righteous deeds exalt it”)2. The fruit in all seasons is the believer who always obeys Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) at all times.
Even more amazing, subhanallah, are some amazing parallels we can draw from the science of trees.
Forests: Trees grow much taller in forests then they do individually spaced-out. Why? More competition for sunlight. This is like believers.
Cut the Side Branches: When you cut the branches at the side of the tree, the tree doesn’t stop growing–instead, it grows taller. Similarly, the believer, when pressured from all sides, he grows taller. (If you’ve ever seen someone put into a position of responsiblity rise up to the challenge, you know exactly what this means.)
Cut the Top Branches: If you cut the top branches, the tree doesn’t stop growing–instead, it grows wider! Subhanallah. Similarly, if someone tries to stop a believer (“you can’t do X”), he grows wider–networking and outreach.
In either case, the tree keeps growing!
And these are metaphors for people to ponder upon. And inshaAllah even your contemplation earns you some reward in the akhir.
May Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) increase us all in our knowledge (and subsequent implementation), ameen!