Plants in the Qur’an and Sunnah

The special attention given to plants in the Qur’an and Sunnah

Many Qur’anic verses make direct mention of particular plants or use plant-related expressions such as “tilling” and “planting,” among others. All of these verses refer to the greatness of God’s creation and exemplify the impeccability of His power, as in “And we sent down, from the rain clouds, pouring water that We may bring forth thereby grain and vegetation and gardens of entwined growth” (An-Naba’:14-16). 

Plants were mentioned in other Qur’anic verses in contexts that describe heaven, such as “In both of them are fruit, palm trees and pomegranates” (Ar-Rahman: 68), and contexts that describe the rewards of the faithful in the afterlife, as in “And fruit of what they select” (Al-Waqi`ah: 20) and “The companions of the right - what are the companions of the right? [They will be] among Sidr trees with thorns removed and [banana] trees layered [with fruit], and shade extended and water poured out, and fruit, abundant [and varied], neither limited [to season] nor forbidden” (Al-Waqi`ah:27-33). 

In other contexts,  plants are mentioned in stern warnings against the types of punishment in hell, as in “For them there will be no food except from a poisonous, thorny plant, which neither nourishes nor avails against hunger” (Al-Ghashiyah: 6-7). Reference to plants is also made in the Quran where it instructs people on the best practices of preserving and storing food, as in Surat Yusuf  “[Joseph] said, "You will plant for seven years consecutively; and what you harvest leave in its spikes, except a little from which you will eat” (Yusuf:47). This verse has served as the foundation for work in botanic gardens and seed silos. 

Various uses of plants are repeatedly mentioned in the prophetic tradition (Sunnah). For instance, the Prophet describes those in heavens as people whose “combs are of gold … and aloes-wood will be used in their centers.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, 55:544). Aloes-wood is traditionally used to make perfumes and incense. Also the Prophet PBUH had been perfumed with Dharira (shampoo-ginger)  , as reported by Al-Bukhari. Narrated Aisha “During Hajjat-al-Wada`, I [Aisha] perfumed Allah's Messenger PBUH (ﷺ) with Dharira with my own hands, both on his assuming Ihram and on finishing it”