Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Pledge Under the Tree

Surely, Allah was pleased with the believers
when they took the pledge under the tree.

Allah knew what was in their hearts.
He sent down tranquillity upon them,
and rewarded them with near victory.  


This moment was so important in the history of Islam.  I read about it when I was researching Uthman (ra), the third Caliph.  Back in the Spring, I had tried to picture the Sahabi under a tree but I couldn't.  I mean...there are so many trees. 

Which tree was it?

This morning, in my Mohamed Asad translation of The Holy Quran, I started reading Surah Al-Fath .  In the introduction, I found my answer.  It was the Acacia Tree!

So, as great as that was, I had no idea what it actually looked like.  I meant to google "Acacia tree" but I had to leave for a promised excursion .  We were going to spend the day traveling back in time to the days of the Pharaoh.

We three were in a group with all Egyptians.  There aren't tourists in Egypt (well there were two in shorts I saw later).  We trudged along from exhibit to exhibit.  We perserved from starting fire to glass blowing.  It was a beautiful day and good fun. 

Yet, half of the group hemmed and hawed when the tour guide reached The Islamic Museum.  They checked their watches and made excuses and walked off.  I told the tour guide that I was ready to see the museum because Islam is better than the pharaoh.  We were richly rewarded by all kinds of interesting displays including replicas of Mecca, Al-Quds, and Saladin; President Sadat's prayer beads and Quran; and even tiny fragements of the moon!

After a sensory overload, I almost forgot about my reading this morning, when I found myself in a garden with a tree marked, "Acacia". 

You've seen it before.  I know I have. 

Most of us have seen Acacia trees when we've seen pictures of giraffes reaching their long necks upward to eat leaves.  Those are Acacia trees!

I found a really interesting blurb about Acacia trees on the Boise State University website:

"In a similar way, trees communicate – maybe not so “consciously” (no, not at all!) but it happens. When giraffes eat Acacia tree leaves, the trees release pheromones that waft downwind to other trees, in a sense “warning” them that the giraffe may be headed their way. The trees then emit toxic tannins to prevent the giraffe from eating its leaves."

Subhanallah, right?

Actually, there is a connection between Ancient Egypt and the Acacia tree.  It was known as, "The Tree of Life".  Here is a papyrus with lots of birds showing the different stages of human beings.  For more explanation click here.

Part of what I was shown today was the making of papyrus from reeds to paper.  My day really has come full circle.  It's at times like this that I honestly feel God's presence in my life.

And what just seems miraculous to me right now is how much of what I wondered, learned and experienced is so seamlessly interwoven.  Subhanallah, really.

Can you picture the believers under the tree? 

I can.  

Subhanallah, I can.

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