Allah includes a long parable in surah al-Kahf that begins with:
وَاضْرِبْ لَهُم مَّثَلًا رَّجُلَيْنِ جَعَلْنَا لِأَحَدِهِمَا جَنَّتَيْنِ مِنْ أَعْنَابٍ وَحَفَفْنَاهُمَا بِنَخْلٍ وَجَعَلْنَا بَيْنَهُمَا زَرْعًا
And present to them an example of two men: We granted to one of them two gardens of grapes, and We bordered them with palm trees and placed crops between them. [18:32]
and continues until the end of ayah 44.
In his well-known book of tafsir, sheikh ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sa’di wrote a commentary on the entire parable, but summarized its main theme and message at the beginning and end of his explanation by writing:
يقول تعالى لنبيه صلى الله عليه وسلم: اضرب للناس مثل هذين الرجلين: الشاكر لنعمة الله، والكافر لها، وما صدر من كل منهما من الأقوال والأفعال، وما حصل بسبب ذلك من العقاب العاجل والآجل والثواب؛ ليعتبروا بحالهما، ويتعظوا بما حصل عليهما ـ
Allah is telling His prophet to strike this parable for the people: a parable of
- these two men; one of them is grateful for Allah’s blessings and the other is ungrateful for them
- the statements and actions of each one
- and the outcomes of those things – punishment both in the short-term and long-term on the one hand and reward on the others
so that the people could take a lesson from their circumstances and be admonished by what happened to them.