(Those who follow the Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write whom they find written of with them in the Tawrah and the Injil.) (7:157) They are as certain of this as they are about who their children are, yet they hide it and distort it. They did not believe in it despite its clear evidence. Therefore Allah said:
(Truly, those, against whom the Word (wrath) of your Lord has been justified, will not believe. Even if every sign should come to them, until they see the painful torment.) meaning they would not believe in a way that they might benefit from that belief. This is when they believe at a time one may not be able to benefit from his belief. An example is when Musa prayed against Fir`awn and his chiefs, saying:
(Our Lord! Destroy their wealth, and harden their hearts, so that they will not believe until they see the painful torment.)(10:88) And Allah said:
(And even if We had sent down unto them angels, and the dead had spoken unto them, and We had gathered together all things before their very eyes, they would not have believed, unless Allah willed, but most of them behave ignorantly.) (6:111) Allah then said:
(98. Was there any town (community) that believed (after seeing the punishment), and its faith (at that moment) saved it (from the punishment) -- except the people of Yunus; when they believed, We removed from them the torment of disgrace in the life of the (present) world, and permitted them to enjoy for a while).
Allah asked, `did any town from the previous nations, believe in its entirety when they received the Messengers All of the Messengers that We sent before you, O Muhammad, were denied by their people or the majority of their people.' Allah said,
(Alas for mankind! There never came a Messenger to them but they used to mock at him.)(36:30)
(Likewise, no Messenger came to those before them but they said: "A sorcerer or a madman!'')(51:52) and
(And similarly, We sent not a warner before you to any town (people) but the luxurious ones among them said: "We found our fathers following a certain way and religion, and we will indeed follow their footsteps.'')(43:23) As found in the authentic Hadith,
(The Prophets were displayed before me. There was a Prophet who passed with a group of people, and a Prophet who passed with only one man, a Prophet with two men, and a Prophet with no one.) Then he mentioned the multitude of followers that Musa had, peace be upon him, then that he saw his nation of people filling from the west to the east. The point is that between Musa and Yunus, there was no nation, in its entirety, that believed except the people of Yunus, the people of Naynawa (Nineveh). And they only believed because they feared that the torment from which their Messenger warned them, might strike them. They actually witnessed its signs. So they cried to Allah and asked for help. They engaged in humility in invoking Him. They brought their children and cattle and asked Allah to lift the torment from which their Prophet had warned them. As a result, Allah sent His mercy and removed the scourge from them and gave them respite. Allah said:
(Except the people of Yunus; when they believed, We removed from them the torment of disgrace in the life of the world, and permitted them to enjoy for a while.) In interpreting this Ayah, Qatadah said: "No town has denied the truth and then believed when they saw the scourge, and then their belief benefited them, with the exception of the people of Yunus. When they lost their Prophet and they thought that the scourge was close upon them, Allah sent through their hearts the desire to repent. So they wore woolen fabrics and they separated each animal from its offspring. They then cried out to Allah for forty nights. When Allah saw the truth in their hearts and that they were sincere in their repentance and regrets, He removed the scourge from them.'' Qatadah said: "It was mentioned that the people of Yunus were in Naynawa, the land of Mosul.'' This was also reported from Ibn Mas`ud, Mujahid, Sa`id bin Jubayr and others from the Salaf.
(99. And had your Lord willed, those on earth would have believed, all of them together. So, will you then compel mankind, until they become believers.) (100. It is not for any person to believe, except by the leave of Allah, and He will put the Rijs on those who do not reason.)
(And had your Lord willed) meaning `O Muhammad, if it had been the will of your Lord, He would make all the people of the earth believe in what you have brought to them. But Allah has wisdom in what He does.' Similarly, Allah said:
(And if your Lord had so willed, He could surely have made mankind one Ummah, but they will not cease to disagree. Except him on whom your Lord has bestowed His mercy and for that did He create them. And the Word of your Lord has been fulfilled (His saying): "Surely, I shall fill Hell with Jinn and men all together.'') (11:118-119) He also said,
(Have not then those who believed yet known that had Allah willed, He could have guided all mankind) (13:31) Therefore, Allah said:
(So, will you then compel mankind) and force them to believe.
(until they become believers.) meaning, it is not for you to do that. You are not commanded to do that either. It is Allah Who
(sends astray whom He wills, and guides whom He wills.) (35:8).
(So do not destroy yourself in sorrow for them.)
(It is not up to you to guide them, but Allah guides whom He wills.) (2:272).
(It may be that you would kill yourself with grief because they are not believers.) (26:3)
(you guide not who you like..) (28:56)
(Your duty is only to convey, and it is up to Us to reckon.) (13:40)
(So remind, you are only one who reminds. You are not a dictator over them.) (88:21-22)
There are other Ayat besides these which prove that Allah is the doer of what He wants, guiding whom He wills, leading whom He wills to stray, all out of His knowledge, wisdom, and justice. Similarly, He said,
(It is not for any person to believe, except by the leave of Allah, and He will put the Rijs) That is, disorder and misguidance
(upon those who do not reason) meaning, Allah's proofs and evidences, and He is the Just in all matters, guiding whom He wills to guide, and leading whom He wills astray.
(101. Say: "Behold all that is in the heavens and the earth.'' But neither Ayat nor warners benefit those who do not believe.) (102. Then do they wait save for the likes of the days of men who passed away before them Say: "Wait then, I am waiting with you among those who wait.'') (103. Then We save Our Messengers and those who believe! Thus it is incumbent upon Us to save the believers.)
Allah, the Exalted, guides His servants to reflect upon His blessings. What Allah has created in the heavens and the earth is part of the clear signs for those who possess correct understanding. From that which is in the heavens are the luminous stars, the firmaments, the moving planetary bodies, the sun and the moon. This also includes the night and day, their alternating, and their merging so that one is long and the other is short. Then they alternate (through the year) so that the long one becomes short and the short one becomes long. Likewise, from the signs in the heavens is the rising of the sun, its vastness, its beauty and its adornment. Also, whatever rain that Allah sends down from the heavens, thereby bringing the earth to life after its death, and causing various types of fruits, crops, flowers and plants to grow, is from its signs. Whatever Allah creates in the earth from the various species of beasts, with their differing colors and benefits (for man), are signs. The mountains, plains, deserts, civilizations, structures and barren lands of the earth are signs. Then there are the wonders of the sea and its waves. Yet, it still has been made subservient and submissive to those who travel upon its surface. It carries their ships, allowing them to traverse upon it with ease. This is all under the control of the Most Able; there is no God worthy of worship except Him and there is no true Lord other than Him. Concerning Allah's statement,
(But neither Ayat nor warners benefit those who do not believe.) This means, `What thing will benefit such disbelieving people besides the heavenly and earthly signs, and the Messengers with their miracles, proofs and evidences that clearly prove the truthfulness of their message' This is similar to Allah's statement,
(Truly! Those against whom the Word of your Lord has been justified, will not believe.) (10:96) Concerning Allah's statement,
(Then do they wait save for the likes of the days of men who passed away before them) This means, `Are these who reject you Muhammad, waiting for the vengeance and torment like the Days of Allah, when He punished those who came before them of the previous nations that rejected their Messengers'
(Say: "Wait then, I am waiting with you among those who wait.'' Then We save Our Messengers and those who believe!) This means, `Verily, We destroy those who reject the Messengers.'
(Thus it is incumbent upon Us to save the believers.) This means that this is a right that Allah, the Exalted, has obligated upon His Noble Self. This is similar to His statement,
(Your Lord has written (prescribed) mercy for Himself) (6:54)
(104. Say: "O people! If you are in doubt about my religion - I will never worship those whom you worship besides Allah, rather, I will worship Allah, the One Who cause you to die. And I was commanded to be one of the believers.) (105. And (I was commanded), "Direct your face toward the Hanif (monotheism) religion, and not be one of the idolaters.'') (106. "And do not invoke besides Allah what will not benefit you nor harm you. For if you did, you would certainly be one of the wrongdoers.'') (107. And if Allah touches you with harm, there is none who can lift it but He. And if He intends good for you, then none can repel His favor which He causes to reach whom He wills among His servants. And He is the Pardoning, the Merciful.)