In a recent khutba, Imam Muhammad Ameen touched on a valuable lesson to be learned from Allah’s (swt) mention of corn in the Quran. In Surah Al Baqarah 2: 261, we are given the parable of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah. This charity, our Holy Book goes on to explain, “…is that of a grain (of corn); it grows seven ears, and each ear has a hundred grains. Allah gives manifold increase to whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.”
Looking deeper, I asked myself what, if anything can we learn from a grain of corn? What lesson can we learn from this one small element of our Lord’s creation? While I’m sure there are others, the one lesson that comes to my mind is its creation – and the similarity of that creation to ALL of G-d’s creation of living things throughout the planet. Let me explain…
A kernel of corn has two layers. The outer layer, the pericarp, is made up of non-living cell walls. An inner layer, the aleurone, consists of a single layer of living cells, surrounded by thick cell walls. Together, they form the nucleus for not only that kernel but also for all future corn grown from that planting.
What is important here is that while each layer is important in itself, neither can function without the other. If for example, the layers are separated and planted separately, nothing will grow. It is only by planting the entire kernel – in its original form and the blessing Almighty G-d Allah, according to Imam Ameen, that the possibility exists for anything to grow from the planting – at all.
We see this throughout creation. As we consider for example, our existence. At some point after our primordial souls’ creation, Allah asked all beings destined for existence, “Am I not your Lord?” (Alastu bi Rabbikum). On this day, all of the children of our father Adam were made to acknowledge the oneness of their Lord and Creator. And we ALL answered “Balaa” (Yes). (Quran 7:172)
But like the internal layer of the corn kernel, that inner self, that living part that is the very core of our existence had no real functionality until Allah (swt) wrapped it in the fleshy outer layer of our bodies and said unto the new creation, “Be”. At that point, we became a living being.
And though I hesitate to say that they have souls, I have confidence that even plants have similar designs. Unless Allah (swt) gives life to their seedlings or roots, corn, other plants, literally nothing will begin to grow.
As a newborn baby knows without any external guidance that its mother’s breast is the G-d given source of its nourishment, all living things, with their unique natures depend on some hidden part of their creation for their continued existence and survival.
Again, there is the seen – and the unseen. There is that outer layer that we observe. And there is the inner layer that is hidden. A kernel of corn. A human being. Different – but yet the same. Al-hamdu-Allah. One creation! Masha-Allah…
Forum Question – Are you a body with a spirit. Or a spirit with a body? Please, share your thoughts.