By: Samsul Nizar
Professor and Head of STAIN Bengkalis
The long bean plant (vigna sinensis) is one of the most recognisable and familiar plants. The fruit is green, elongated, and contains seed pods. String beans and their leaves (mauve) can be prepared into veggies or eaten raw as fresh vegetables. It is one of the most popular vegetables in Southeast and East Asian cuisines. The long bean plant, which is a climbing or twining plant, requires a medium to climb. It follows the pattern of the media that surrounds it. If the media is branched, then it will follow the twists based on the media branches that already exist. Although it adapts its propagation to the medium, it produces downward-sticking long bean fruit. While such is the nature of the long bean plant, it turns out that humans can learn a great deal about how to perform their duties on earth. These are the lessons that can be learned:
First, adapt to the environment. Although it originated in India and Africa, the long bean plant is versatile and flourishes in many places, including Indonesia. Thus, a rational individual should be capable of adapting to his or her surroundings. Adapt to the conditions, customs, culture, and viewpoints of the community, both in a restricted area (place of residence) and in a larger area (country). Adaptable humans will be considerate and appreciative of their environmental community. His ability to adapt will determine his survival in a community. He will be valued, respected, and safeguarded, and others. But, if humans are unable to adapt, their surroundings will isolate and isolate them. This conforms to the Malay proverb “where the ground is, there the sky is also.” Local knowledge instils a spirit of submission.
Second, Life is beneficial to humans and the environment. This plant is useful not only to humans but also to neighbouring plants. If for humans, its fruit provides good nutrition (protein, calories, vitamins A and B), consuming its leaves can improve breast milk production. It can utilise natural nitrogen from its root nodules, stop the cycle of pests and illnesses, and enhance soil fertility. By delivering benefits, the knowledge of long beans implements the words of Allah: “If you do well, you have done well for yourselves.” “If you commit evil, it will return to you” (Qur’an al-Isra’, verse 7).
People are reminded of the Prophet’s words, “And the best of men are those who are most beneficial to others” (HR. al-Qadlaa’iy and ath-Thabraniy) by the benefits that long bean plants bring.
This is how humans need to behave. Constantly provide benefits to the entirety of nature and refrain from causing harm to the universe’s inhabitants. When fertilised, the plant produces an abundance of fruit. Neglecting a plant might cause it to produce minimal fruit or possibly cause it to perish. Such is the human condition. Mutual respect will flourish when it is fostered by dialogue and sagacity. When his humanity is infused with courtesy, altruism will arise. Do not allow string beans to outperform humans in giving benefits. Due to their intelligence and perfect potential, they are capable of causing suffering and fostering enmity.
Third, crawling according to the surrounding media conditions. This pattern causes long plants to be wise and respectful of their environment. If the surrounding media is high, it will also increase. Similarly, the dissemination will be weak if the surrounding media is weak. A characteristic of life that is “suitable” and prioritises wisdom in accordance with the surrounding vegetation. He monitors the surrounding media judiciously, avoiding hurting people’ feelings, especially those of those near him. Allah said, “And the followers of the Most Compassionate are those who walk humbly upon the earth, and when the ignorant address them, they speak words of deliverance” (QS. al-Furqan: 63).
Consequently, Allah states in another verse, “Dear you who believe, do not invalidate the reward of your charity by mentioning it and hurting the recipient, as someone who spends his riches for the purpose of displaying it to others, while he does not believe in Allah and the Last Day” (al-Baqarah: 264).
According to Imam Nawawi, the affirmation of the ban on riya’ in the passage above is the basis for the prohibition of riya’ that is raised in many writings. Everything is done with the sole purpose of gaining praise, adulation, popularity, and recognition for what is possessed or performed. The nature of riya’ that is exhibited will obliterate the nature of empathy and the attitude of “appropriate” (suitable or harmonious) to the conditions of others around them.
Empathy is the mental state of sharing the same ideas, emotions, or situations as another individual. Yet, this characteristic has been eradicated in the digital age, since the rise of riya’ has become progressively “towering.” The social media practice of publishing riya’ appears to have damaged the character of empathy and good local wisdom. The pattern of boasting by oneself and one’s family appears intended to demonstrate “ignorance.” So, Allah reminds us through His word: “And know that your wealth and children are but a test, and there is a tremendous reward with Allah” (QS. al-Anfal: 28).
The trend of riya’ in the form of flexing style uploaded to social media appears to be a low-civilization society demonstrating their social standing. A variety of actions are displayed to flaunt their wealth, accomplishments, and other things to others. Those that flex their style typically believe themselves to be wonderful, successful, and victorious. From displaying riches, accomplishments, position, travel, and branded items to displaying the lives of family members with a lavish lifestyle, the opulent aesthetic is on display (hedonism). The display of riya’ motivates people to pursue wealth and rank by any means and against the law in order to brag.
In the digital age, there are two types of flexing styles: (1) Pseudo flexing, this approach makes use of the property of others as if it were their own. Displaying the opulence of property, vehicles, and attire. Yet, the majority of the items listed do not belong to him but to others. Everything is done to enhance his reputation as a prominent man. (2) Genuine flexing, this technique is used to demonstrate his social standing by utilising all of his possessions and treasures. A lavish lifestyle is portrayed to demonstrate affluence. In actuality, worship (vertical and horizontal) is occasionally made public in order to be regarded as pious.
Both sorts of riya’ exhibited in the digital era are examples of low-civilization conduct. As an indication of a lack of empathy towards others, flaunting riches and material possessions indicates a glitzy lifestyle. The phenomena of riya’, perpetrated by a small number of individuals, has harmed the standards of decency of other majority populations in the middle of the surrounding community suffering from the occurrence. Especially when the flexing is intended to brag, demonstrate its extent, or “deceive” people into becoming obsessed and affected by it. These latest incidents are simply “poor luck.” This is because they are all “ancient traditions” that have become “common knowledge.” In actuality, opulent fashion is sometimes produced from “robbery and fraud” that breaches the law and causes harm to others.
What has lately occurred to select individuals is comparable to a “snowball.” If it is traced in a fair and serious manner using objective laws, the snowball will grow. Even if it will create a field that enlarges the humiliation of a terrible “volcano crater,” it will cleanse and nourish society for the better. It depends on the individual’s personality and “common” desire to handle the surfacing situations. If the settlement is built by a person of noble character, the snowball will continue rolling until the “thorns” that litter the route are removed. Nevertheless, if the settlement is made by the owner of the same character as the case’s culprit (a vile character), the “snowball” that – again unluckily – appears will be confined to becoming a “scapegoat” or an ulcer “frozen” so as not to drag a much larger snowball.
The behaviour of “appropriateness” (local knowledge) must be prioritised, despite the fact that it is permissible to use wealth and property. Prioritize an attitude of living “appropriately” by empathising with others. A lifestyle of tawadhu’ and simple long bean that spreads according to the surrounding media and does not harm those who are suffering or in poor condition would result from a proper outlook on life.
Indeed, the practice of excessive showing off (riya’) in the era of cyberspace style flexing directly opposes what the Prophet Muhammad SAW taught. He stated, “From Abu Hurairah, the Prophet said, “Really, Allah does not look at your physique and wealth; rather, He looks at your hearts and actions” (HR. Mutafaq ‘Alaih).
Notwithstanding the clarity of the preceding Hadith, the desire to demonstrate superiority is more prevalent among humans. A display of the proprietor of an inferior civilization’s image. So, religious instruction is restricted to identification, regulations are restricted to text, and science is restricted to mere accessories. The predominance of desiring to be admired and recognised as wealthy, great, intelligent, powerful, and even religious. All have evidently abandoned religious beliefs and moral principles. Indeed, the string bean is wiser than humans in choosing a “good” lifestyle. While the string bean adjusts its coils to spread per the surrounding medium, humans opt to extend their coils beyond the surrounding medium to appear larger. When the string bean demonstrates local wisdom that is obedient, whereas humans appear to be in opposition to local wisdom. A lavish and conceited exhibition in the midst of a community that is genuinely in distress. It makes no difference whether the surrounding creatures are harmed by his actions; they are all disregarded.
Fourth, it is encased in the medium surrounding it but is not parasitic. The wrapping of the long bean tree around its environment is an example of “dependency on others.” It does not destroy the media upon which it is wrapped to propagate. In reality, it benefits by disrupting the pest and disease growth cycle and enhancing soil fertility. Hence, the life of the long bean plant is mutually beneficial to its surroundings (symbiotic mutualism). Long beans should be emulated by humans. As social beings who are “tolerant” of one another. In contrast, the technique appears unneeded for others. Interactions are frequently rich in interest. Like a parasite, it consumes everything it desires. If nothing is anticipated, he departs in search of another profitable location to stop.
Sixth, the fruit has a downward extension. It is advantageous since it extends downward for easy human pickup and uses. The fruit stretches downward, alluding to the nature of not forgetting the start of life, which makes its roots strong and channels nutrients up its stem to produce tasty fruit. The symbol of the long bean plant expresses gratitude to the land for allowing it to flourish and produce fruit. The behaviour of the long bean embodies Allah’s words: “And do not be like those who forget Allah. So that Allah causes them to forget themselves. These are the evildoers” (QS. al-Hasyr: 19).
This verse advises individuals to constantly obey God’s laws and avoid falling into disobedience because of the world’s temptations. So, when a person forgets Allah, he forgets his own interests. Such a predicament appears insurmountable till Allah takes his life. Such is the humiliation and self-destruction.
Very nicely Allah recalls humanity by means of the long bean plant Learning from such an accessible and common plant. Nevertheless, what Allah reveals is frequently overlooked. It is reasonable for Allah to repeat His words 31 times in QS. ar-Rahman: “Which of your Lord’s favours do you deny?” In the meantime, the arrogance of some people who are busy displaying their brilliance causes them to forget about other people. As a result, he forgot who the Giver’s Owner was. Therefore, it is evident that the Prophet’s example of living a simple life is commendable.
Despite the clarity of His verses and the simplicity of the Prophet’s life, it appears that it is not employed as a guide and is even contradictory. Thus, human sentiments are becoming progressively uncontrollable. This situation coincides with the shrinking character of empathy, low levels of thankfulness, the loss of tawadhu’, the disappearance of honesty, justice, and morality, and the absence of any remaining policy. In contrast, arrogance, hypocrisy, avarice, slander, injustice, hostility, and other vices of a similar nature are thriving. Then, it is time to ponder (muhasabah) on the nature and behaviour of each individual by comparing the nature of modern human phenomena to the nature of long beans. And Allah still affords them the chance to develop themselves.
Wa Allahua’lam bi al-Shawwab.
Translated by Riska Saputra, S.Pd
Alumni from the English Education Study Program at STAIN Bengkalis.
Master Student at Graduate Institute of Network Learning Technology in National Central University, Taiwan.