About word 'Rabwah' in verse 2:265
Fatwa No: 337423


Assalaamu alaykum. In verse 2:265 of the Quran, Allaah specifically mentions a garden on a "Rabwah" to yield double than other gardens. It was translated as a "garden on a high ground", and I read in Tafseer Ibn Katheer that Ibn ‘Abbaas, may Allaah be pleased with him, said that the 'Rabwah' is a high ground on which plants can best grow. Is there a consensus on this meaning? I have not fully grasped the wisdom behind this. Why is it that only the fertile garden on a high ground is mentioned and not all fertile gardens (including fertile gardens on low grounds) given that they might both yield the same (double)? Or can a fertile garden that is not on a high ground also be regarded as a 'Rabwah'? Has science been able to uncover the superiority of the fertile garden on a high ground in regards with the fertile garden on a low ground? Please, where can this kind of garden be found? Also, consider that, if the garden is too high, it might be very hot and might lead to dryness due to closeness to sun.


All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger. 

The original meaning of the Arabic word Rabwah is what is high and elevated. Ibn ‘Attiyyah said, “It is known in the language of Arabs that Rabwah means what is higher than what surrounds it.

As for the meaning of the word Rabwah in the verse, it is the high place, as has been narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbaas, Mujaahid, Qataadah, and others. Ibn Katheer said, “The majority of the scholars underlined that it means leveled high land.

As for the special reference to the elevated (high) garden in the verse, Ibn Al-Qayyim clarified it in Tareeq Al-Hijratayn, saying:

The garden on a Rabwah - which is a high ground - is more perfect than the garden on a low ground. This is because the altitude exposes it to wind and to the sunlight at sunrise, midday, and sunset. Hence, it yields better, tastier, riper fruits. Fruits are of better quality when they are exposed to wind and sunlight, contrary to those that grow in the shade. Since this garden is on high ground, the only risk is the lack of water, so Allaah, The Exalted, says (what means): {hit by a downpour}.[Quran 2:265] The downpour means heavy rain, which leads to double the yields of other gardens or double what it used to yield... {And (even) if it is not hit by a downpour, then a drizzle (is sufficient)}; the drizzle is sufficient for such blessed and fertile garden to produce its yields.” [Tareeq Al-Hijratayn]

You asked, “Can a fertile garden that is not on a high ground also be regarded as a 'Rabwah'?” The answer is that it is not regarded as a Rabwah according to the majority of Tafseer (exegesis) scholars.

As for the fact that modern science proved the superiority of a fertile garden on high land, this was pointed out by the Committee of Al-Azhar scholars that composed the book Al-Muntakhab fi Tafseer Al-Quran, saying in the margin of the interpretation of this verse, "The usage of the word Rabwah in the verse, meaning a fertile garden on high ground, is a reference to what modern science discovered, because the higher the garden is, the farther it becomes from groundwater, so its root system dives deep in the soil without excess water that would harm it and undermine its growth. The number of root hairs that absorb water and nutrients from the soil doubles, and thus the plants produce a bigger crop. The downpour rain benefits the plant as it dissolves some of the nutrients that the plant needs, washes off the harmful components in the soil that disrupt its growth, and washes off pests as well."

As for your statement, “If the garden is too high, it might be very hot and might lead to dryness due to closeness to sun,” then you should know that this is not true. It is known that the higher we go above sea level, the lower the temperature becomes, until it reaches the freezing point at mountain peaks, which is the exact opposite of your assumption.

Qawaa‘id Al-Jughraafya Al-‘Aammah At-Tabee‘iyyah wal-Bashariyyah (p. 224) reads:

It is known that the temperature drops one degree Celsius every 150 meters above sea level, and vice versa, the temperature rises one degree Celsius every 150 meters below sea level. Thus, the temperature of highlands is lower than plains; the people of the plains resort to highlands in summer when the heat and humidity become intense in the plains. The low temperature with the higher altitude indicates that the surface of the earth is the source of the heat that heats the air. This means that the air is heated by coming in contact with the surface of the earth. Although the sun rays heat the upper air layers directly as they pass through them on their way to the surface of the earth, the ability of the upper layers of air to absorb sunlight is weak, unlike the lower layers, which can absorb a greater amount of solar radiation due to the large amount of dust and water vapor suspended in them.

Allaah knows best.

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