What Is the Reward for Planting Trees?
Name of Questioner: Karim
Date: 17-2-2016 04:08:54 PM
Consultant: Ask About Islam Editorial Staff
Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullah. It comes in a hadith that even if you sow a seed, you will get the reward. Do we get the reward of growing plants in a pot, like house plants? And if we take good care of them but they die, do we get the sin for that?
Wa-alaykum As-salamu wa-Rahmatullah Wa-Barakatuh
Thanks a lot, dear questioner, for your important question which reflects your pure soul and nature.
The important hadiths for this question are as follows:
- The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Never does a Muslim plants a tree except that he has the reward of charity for him, for what is eaten out of that is charity; what is stolen out of that, what the beasts eat out of that, what the birds eat out of that is charity for him. (In short) none incurs a loss to him but it becomes a charity on his part. (Muslim)
- The Prophet said: “No Muslim plants a plant or sows a crop, then a person, or a bird, or an animal eats from it, except that it will be charity for him." (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Allah knows best about how this might apply to potted houseplants which are merely kept in the home for decoration and household purposes. Houseplants do not provide the types of general benefit mentioned in the hadith as being the reasons for the reward. The hadith describes the reward for planting a tree to be that of charity. The hadith goes on to describe the charity as being realized through the food the tree provides for humans and animals.
We might extend the meaning of the hadith by analogy to other benefits that plants provide to people, animals and the environment. For instance, trees provide shade along the road and contribute to the beauty of the urban environment. These are important benefits that are enjoyed by the public. Likewise, trees provide habitation and shelter for birds and many other animals.
However, similar benefits to the public that can be likened to charity are not really seen in the houseplants a person keeps at home for beatification, fresh air, and other purely personal reasons. Therefore, we cannot easily extend the hadith’s meaning to such plants.
However, we cannot rule out a reward for taking care of such plants. If the houseplant dies through no fault or negligence of the owner, then there is, of course, no sin upon the owner for its death.