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The Lessons to be learned from Those Who mocked the Messengers in the Past

Allah says consoling His Messenger for the pain and insult caused by the mockery and disbelief of the idolators,

﴿ وَلَقَدِ ٱسۡتُہۡزِئَ بِرُسُلٍ۬ مِّن قَبۡلِكَ فَحَاقَ بِٱلَّذِينَ سَخِرُواْ مِنۡہُم مَّا كَانُواْ بِهِۦ يَسۡتَہۡزِءُونَ

(Indeed (many) Messengers were mocked before you, but the scoffers were surrounded by what they used to mock.) meaning, the punishment which they thought would never come to pass. This is like the Ayah:

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ كُذِّبَتۡ رُسُلٌ۬ مِّن قَبۡلِكَ فَصَبَرُواْ عَلَىٰ مَا كُذِّبُواْ وَأُوذُواْ حَتَّىٰٓ أَتَٮٰهُمۡ نَصۡرُنَا‌ۚ وَلَا مُبَدِّلَ لِكَلِمَـٰتِ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ وَلَقَدۡ جَآءَكَ مِن نَّبَإِىْ ٱلۡمُرۡسَلِينَ

(Verily, Messengers were denied before you, but with patience they bore the denial, and they were hurt; till Our help reached them, and none can alter the Words of Allah. Surely, there has reached you the information (news) about the Messengers (before you)) (6:34). Then Allah mentions His favor for His creatures; He protects them by night and by day, taking care of them and watching over them with His Eye that never sleeps.

﴿ قُلۡ مَن يَكۡلَؤُڪُم بِٱلَّيۡلِ وَٱلنَّهَارِ مِنَ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ‌ۗ

(Say: "Who can guard and protect you in the night or in the day from the Most Gracious'') means, other than the Most Gracious Himself

﴿ بَلۡ هُمۡ عَن ذِڪۡرِ رَبِّهِم مُّعۡرِضُونَ

(Nay, but they turn away from the remembrance of their Lord.) means, they do not recognize the blessings and favor of Allah towards them; they turn away from His signs and blessings.

﴿ أَمۡ لَهُمۡ ءَالِهَةٌ۬ تَمۡنَعُهُم مِّن دُونِنَا‌ۚ

(Or have they gods who can guard them from Us) This is a rhetorical question aimed at denouncing and rebuking. The meaning is, do they have any gods who can protect them and take care of them other than Us It is not as they imagine or as they claim. Allah says:

﴿ لَا يَسۡتَطِيعُونَ نَصۡرَ أَنفُسِهِمۡ

(They have no power to help themselves,) these gods on whom they rely instead of Allah cannot even help themselves.

﴿ وَلَا هُم مِّنَّا يُصۡحَبُونَ

(nor can they be protected from Us.) Al-`Awfi reported from Ibn `Abbas, "Nor can they be guarded from Us.''

﴿ بَلۡ مَتَّعۡنَا هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ وَءَابَآءَهُمۡ حَتَّىٰ طَالَ عَلَيۡهِمُ ٱلۡعُمُرُ‌ۗ أَفَلَا يَرَوۡنَ أَنَّا نَأۡتِى ٱلۡأَرۡضَ نَنقُصُهَا مِنۡ أَطۡرَافِهَآ‌ۚ أَفَهُمُ ٱلۡغَـٰلِبُونَ قُلۡ إِنَّمَآ أُنذِرُڪُم بِٱلۡوَحۡىِ‌ۚ وَلَا يَسۡمَعُ ٱلصُّمُّ ٱلدُّعَآءَ إِذَا مَا يُنذَرُونَ وَلَٮِٕن مَّسَّتۡهُمۡ نَفۡحَةٌ۬ مِّنۡ عَذَابِ رَبِّكَ لَيَقُولُنَّ يَـٰوَيۡلَنَآ إِنَّا ڪُنَّا ظَـٰلِمِينَ وَنَضَعُ ٱلۡمَوَٲزِينَ ٱلۡقِسۡطَ لِيَوۡمِ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ فَلَا تُظۡلَمُ نَفۡسٌ۬ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا‌ۖ وَإِن ڪَانَ مِثۡقَالَ حَبَّةٍ۬ مِّنۡ خَرۡدَلٍ أَتَيۡنَا بِہَا‌ۗ وَكَفَىٰ بِنَا حَـٰسِبِينَ

(44. Nay, We gave the luxuries of this life to these men and their fathers until the period grew long for them. See they not that We gradually reduce the land from its outlying borders Is it then they who will overcome) (45. Say: "I warn you only by the revelation. "But the deaf will not hear the call, (even) when they are warned.) (46. And if a breath of the torment of your Lord touches them, they will surely cry: "Woe unto us! Indeed we have been wrongdoers.'') (47. And We shall set up Balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And sufficient are We to take account.)

How the Idolators are deceived by their long and luxurious Lives in this World, and the Explanation of the Truth

Allah explains that they have been deceived and misled by the luxuries that they enjoy in this world and the long life that they have been given, so they believe that they are following something good. Then Allah warns them:

﴿ أَفَلَا يَرَوۡنَ أَنَّا نَأۡتِى ٱلۡأَرۡضَ نَنقُصُهَا مِنۡ أَطۡرَافِهَآ‌ۚ

(See they not that We gradually reduce the land (in their control) from its outlying borders) This is like the Ayah:

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ أَهۡلَكۡنَا مَا حَوۡلَكُم مِّنَ ٱلۡقُرَىٰ وَصَرَّفۡنَا ٱلۡأَيَـٰتِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَرۡجِعُونَ

(And indeed We have destroyed towns round about you, and We have shown the Ayat in various ways that they might return.) (46:27) Al-Hasan Al-Basri said: "This means the victory of Islam over disbelief.'' The meaning is: Do they not learn a lesson from the fact that Allah supported those (believers) against their enemies, He destroyed the disbelieving nations and the evil-doing townships, and He saved His believing servants So Allah says:

﴿ أَفَهُمُ ٱلۡغَـٰلِبُونَ

(Is it then they who will overcome) meaning, on the contrary, they are the ones who will be overcame, who will be defeated, humiliated and brought low.

﴿ قُلۡ إِنَّمَآ أُنذِرُڪُم بِٱلۡوَحۡىِ‌ۚ

(Say: "I warn you only by the revelation.'') meaning, `I only convey to you the warning of Allah's punishment and vengeance, and this is no more than that which Allah reveals to me.' But this is of no benefit to the one whom Allah has made blind and has put a seal over his hearing and his heart. He says:

﴿ وَلَا يَسۡمَعُ ٱلصُّمُّ ٱلدُّعَآءَ إِذَا مَا يُنذَرُونَ

(But the deaf will not hear the call, (even) when they are warned.)

﴿ وَلَٮِٕن مَّسَّتۡهُمۡ نَفۡحَةٌ۬ مِّنۡ عَذَابِ رَبِّكَ لَيَقُولُنَّ يَـٰوَيۡلَنَآ إِنَّا ڪُنَّا ظَـٰلِمِينَ

(And if a breath of the torment of your Lord touches them, they will surely, cry: "Woe unto us! Indeed we have been wrongdoers!'') If these disbelievers were affected by the slightest touch of Allah's punishment, they would confess their sins and admit that they had wronged themselves in this world.

﴿ وَنَضَعُ ٱلۡمَوَٲزِينَ ٱلۡقِسۡطَ لِيَوۡمِ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ فَلَا تُظۡلَمُ نَفۡسٌ۬ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا‌ۖ

(And We shall set up Balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything.) meaning, "We shall set up the Balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection.'' The majority of scholars state that it is one Balance, and the plural form is used here to reflect the large number of deeds which will be weighed therein.

﴿ فَلَا تُظۡلَمُ نَفۡسٌ۬ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا‌ۖ وَإِن ڪَانَ مِثۡقَالَ حَبَّةٍ۬ مِّنۡ خَرۡدَلٍ أَتَيۡنَا بِہَا‌ۗ وَكَفَىٰ بِنَا حَـٰسِبِينَ

(then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And sufficient are We to take account.) This is like the Ayat:

﴿ وَلَا يَظۡلِمُ رَبُّكَ أَحَدً۬ا

(And your Lord treats no one with injustice) (18:49)

﴿ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَظۡلِمُ مِثۡقَالَ ذَرَّةٍ۬‌ۖ وَإِن تَكُ حَسَنَةً۬ يُضَـٰعِفۡهَا وَيُؤۡتِ مِن لَّدُنۡهُ أَجۡرًا عَظِيمً۬ا

(Surely, Allah wrongs not even of the weight of speck of dust, but if there is any good, He doubles it, and gives from Him a great reward.) (4:40)

﴿ يَـٰبُنَىَّ إِنَّہَآ إِن تَكُ مِثۡقَالَ حَبَّةٍ۬ مِّنۡ خَرۡدَلٍ۬ فَتَكُن فِى صَخۡرَةٍ أَوۡ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ أَوۡ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ يَأۡتِ بِہَا ٱللَّهُ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَطِيفٌ خَبِيرٌ۬

("O my son! If it be equal to the weight of a grain of mustard seed, and though it be in a rock, or in the heavens or in the earth, Allah will bring it forth. Verily, Allah is Subtle, Well-Aware.'') (31:16) In the Two Sahihs it was recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said:

« كَلِمَتَانِ خَفِيفَتَانِ عَلَى اللِّسَانِ، ثَقِيلَتَانِ فِي الْمِيزَانِ، حَبِيبَتَانِ إِلَى الرَّحْمَنِ: سُبْحَانَ اللهِ وَبِحَمْدِهِ، سُبْحَانَ اللهِ الْعَظِيم »

(Two words which are light on the tongue, heavy in the Balance and beloved to Ar-Rahman: "Subhan Allahi wa bi hamdihi, Subhan Allahil `Azim (Glory and praise be to Allah, Glory be to Allah the Almighty).'') Imam Ahmad also recorded that `A'ishah said that one of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah sat down before him and said, "O Messenger of Allah, I have two slaves who lie to me, betray me and disobey me, and I hit them and insult them. How do I stand with regard to them'' The Messenger of Allah said:

« يُحْسَبُ مَا خَانُوكَ وَعَصَوْكَ وَكَذَّبُوكَ وَعِقَابُكَ إِيَّاهُمْ، فَإِنْ كَانَ عِقَابُكَ إِيَّاهُمْ بِقَدْرِ ذُنُوبِهِمْ، كَانَ كَفَافًا لَا لَكَ وَلَا عَلَيْكَ، وَإِنْ كَانَ عِقَابُكَ إِيَّاهُمْ دُونَ ذُنُوبِهِمْ، كَانَ فَضْلًا لَكَ، وَإِنْ كَانَ عِقَابُكَ إِيَّاهُمْ فَوْقَ ذُنُوبِهِمْ، اقْتُصَّ لَهُمْ مِنْكَ الْفَضْلُ الَّذِي بَقِيَ قَبْلَك »

(The extent to which they betrayed you, disobeyed you and lied to you will be measured against the punishment you meted out to them. If your punishment was commensurate with their misconduct, then you will be equal and you will not have anything counted for you or against you. If your punishment of them was less than that what they deserved for their misconduct, then this will count in your favor. If your punishment of them was more than what they deserved for their misconduct, then Allah will take what is due to them from you.) Then the man started to weep before the Messenger of Allah , and the Messenger of Allah asked,

« مَالَهُ لَا يَقْرَأُ كِتَابَ الله
﴿ وَنَضَعُ ٱلۡمَوَٲزِينَ ٱلۡقِسۡطَ لِيَوۡمِ ٱلۡقِيَـٰمَةِ فَلَا تُظۡلَمُ نَفۡسٌ۬ شَيۡـًٔ۬ا‌ۖ وَإِن ڪَانَ مِثۡقَالَ حَبَّةٍ۬ مِّنۡ خَرۡدَلٍ أَتَيۡنَا بِہَا‌ۗ وَكَفَىٰ بِنَا حَـٰسِبِينَ

(What is the matter with him Has he not read the words of Allah, (And We shall set up Balances of justice on the Day of Resurrection, then none will be dealt with unjustly in anything. And if there be the weight of a mustard seed, We will bring it. And sufficient are We to take account.)) The man said, "O Messenger of Allah, I think there is nothing better than keeping away from these people -- meaning his slaves -- I call upon you to bear witness that they are all free.''

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ ءَاتَيۡنَا مُوسَىٰ وَهَـٰرُونَ ٱلۡفُرۡقَانَ وَضِيَآءً۬ وَذِكۡرً۬ا لِّلۡمُتَّقِينَ ٱلَّذِينَ يَخۡشَوۡنَ رَبَّہُم بِٱلۡغَيۡبِ وَهُم مِّنَ ٱلسَّاعَةِ مُشۡفِقُونَ وَهَـٰذَا ذِكۡرٌ۬ مُّبَارَكٌ أَنزَلۡنَـٰهُ‌ۚ أَفَأَنتُمۡ لَهُ ۥ مُنكِرُونَ

(48. And indeed We granted to Musa and Harun the criterion, and a shining light and a Reminder for those who have Taqwa.) (49. Those who fear their Lord in the unseen, and they are afraid of the Hour.) (50. And this is a blessed Reminder which We have sent down; will you then deny it)

The Revelation of the Tawrah and the Qur'an

We have already noted that Allah often mentions Musa and Muhammad together -- may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon them both -- and He often mentions their Books together as well. He says:

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ ءَاتَيۡنَا مُوسَىٰ وَهَـٰرُونَ ٱلۡفُرۡقَانَ

(And indeed We granted to Musa and Harun the criterion) Mujahid said, "This means the Scripture.'' Abu Salih said: "The Tawrah.'' Qatadah said: "The Tawrah, what it permits and it forbids, and how Allah differentiated between truth and falsehood.'' In conclusion, we may say that the heavenly Books included the distinction between truth and falsehood, guidance and misguidance, transgression and the right way, lawful and unlawful, and that which will fill the heart with light, guidance, fear of Allah and repentance. So Allah says:

﴿ ٱلۡفُرۡقَانَ وَضِيَآءً۬ وَذِكۡرً۬ا لِّلۡمُتَّقِينَ

(the criterion, and a shining light and a Reminder for those who have Taqwa.) meaning, a reminder and exhortation for them. Then He describes them as:

﴿ ٱلَّذِينَ يَخۡشَوۡنَ رَبَّهُم بِٱلۡغَيۡبِ

(Those who fear their Lord in the unseen.) This is like the Ayah:

﴿ مَّنۡ خَشِىَ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنَ بِٱلۡغَيۡبِ وَجَآءَ بِقَلۡبٍ۬ مُّنِيبٍ

(Who feared the Most Gracious in the unseen and came with a repenting heart.) (50:33)

﴿ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَخۡشَوۡنَ رَبَّهُم بِٱلۡغَيۡبِ لَهُم مَّغۡفِرَةٌ۬ وَأَجۡرٌ۬ كَبِيرٌ۬

(Verily, those who fear their Lord unseen, theirs will be forgiveness and a great reward.) (67:12)

﴿ وَهُم مِّنَ ٱلسَّاعَةِ مُشۡفِقُونَ

(and they are afraid of the Hour.) means, they fear it. Then Allah says:

﴿ وَهَـٰذَا ذِكۡرٌ۬ مُّبَارَكٌ أَنزَلۡنَـٰهُ‌ۚ

(And this is a blessed Reminder which We have sent down;) means, the Magnificent Qur'an, which falsehood cannot approach, from before it or behind it, revealed by the All-Wise, Worthy of all praise.

﴿ أَفَأَنتُمۡ لَهُ ۥ مُنكِرُونَ

(will you then deny it) means, will you deny it when it is the utmost in clarity and truth

﴿ وَلَقَدۡ ءَاتَيۡنَآ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ رُشۡدَهُ ۥ مِن قَبۡلُ وَكُنَّا بِهِۦ عَـٰلِمِينَ إِذۡ قَالَ لِأَبِيهِ وَقَوۡمِهِۦ مَا هَـٰذِهِ ٱلتَّمَاثِيلُ ٱلَّتِىٓ أَنتُمۡ لَهَا عَـٰكِفُونَ قَالُواْ وَجَدۡنَآ ءَابَآءَنَا لَهَا عَـٰبِدِينَ قَالَ لَقَدۡ كُنتُمۡ أَنتُمۡ وَءَابَآؤُڪُمۡ فِى ضَلَـٰلٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ۬ قَالُوٓاْ أَجِئۡتَنَا بِٱلۡحَقِّ أَمۡ أَنتَ مِنَ ٱللَّـٰعِبِينَ قَالَ بَل رَّبُّكُمۡ رَبُّ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ ٱلَّذِى فَطَرَهُنَّ وَأَنَا۟ عَلَىٰ ذَٲلِكُم مِّنَ ٱلشَّـٰهِدِينَ

(51. And indeed We bestowed aforetime on Ibrahim his guidance, and We were Well-Acquainted with him.) (52. When he said to his father and his people: "What are these images to which you are devoted'') (53. They said: "We found our fathers worshipping them.'') (54. He said: "Indeed you and your fathers have been in manifest error.'') (55. They said: "Have you brought us the Truth, or are you one of those who play about'') (56. He said: "Nay, your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, Who created them and to that I am one of the witnesses.'')

The Story of Ibrahim and his People

Allah tells us about His close Friend Ibrahim, peace be upon him, and how He bestowed upon him guidance aforetime, i.e., from an early age He inspired him with truth and evidence against his people, as Allah says elsewhere:

﴿ وَتِلۡكَ حُجَّتُنَآ ءَاتَيۡنَـٰهَآ إِبۡرَٲهِيمَ عَلَىٰ قَوۡمِهِۦ‌ۚ

(And that was Our proof which We gave Ibrahim against his people) (6:83). The point here is that Allah is telling us that He gave guidance to Ibrahim aforetime, i.e., He had already guided him at an early age.

﴿ وَكُنَّا بِهِۦ عَـٰلِمِينَ

(and We were Well-Acquainted with him.) means, and he was worthy of that. Then Allah says:

﴿ إِذۡ قَالَ لِأَبِيهِ وَقَوۡمِهِۦ مَا هَـٰذِهِ ٱلتَّمَاثِيلُ ٱلَّتِىٓ أَنتُمۡ لَهَا عَـٰكِفُونَ

(When he said to his father and his people: "What are these images, to which you are devoted'') This is the guidance which he had been given during his youth: his denunciation of his people's worship of idols instead of Allah. Ibrahim said:

﴿ مَا هَـٰذِهِ ٱلتَّمَاثِيلُ ٱلَّتِىٓ أَنتُمۡ لَهَا عَـٰكِفُونَ

("What are these images, to which you are devoted'') meaning, which you worship with such devotion.

﴿ قَالُواْ وَجَدۡنَآ ءَابَآءَنَا لَهَا عَـٰبِدِينَ

(They said: "We found our fathers worshipping them.'') means, they had no other evidence apart from the misguided actions of their forefathers. Ibrahim said:

﴿ لَقَدۡ كُنتُمۡ أَنتُمۡ وَءَابَآؤُڪُمۡ فِى ضَلَـٰلٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ۬

(Indeed you and your fathers have been in manifest error.) meaning, Speaking to your fathers whose actions you cite as evidence would be the same as speaking to you. Both you and they are misguided and are not following any straight path.' When he called their intelligence into question, and said that their fathers were misguided and belittled their gods,

﴿ قَالُوٓاْ أَجِئۡتَنَا بِٱلۡحَقِّ أَمۡ أَنتَ مِنَ ٱللَّـٰعِبِينَ

(They said: "Have you brought us the Truth, or are you one of those who play about'') They said: `These words that you are saying, are you speaking in jest or are you telling the truth For we have never heard such a thing before.'

﴿ قَالَ بَل رَّبُّكُمۡ رَبُّ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ ٱلَّذِى فَطَرَهُنَّ

(He said: "Nay, your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, Who created them...'') meaning, your Lord, beside Whom there is no other god, is the One Who created the heavens and the earth and all that they contain; He is the One Who initiated their creation; He is the Creator of all things.

﴿ وَأَنَا۟ عَلَىٰ ذَٲلِكُم مِّنَ ٱلشَّـٰهِدِينَ

(and to that I am one of the witnesses. ) means, and I bear witness that there is no God other than Him and no Lord except Him.

﴿ وَتَٱللَّهِ لَأَڪِيدَنَّ أَصۡنَـٰمَكُم بَعۡدَ أَن تُوَلُّواْ مُدۡبِرِينَ فَجَعَلَهُمۡ جُذَٲذًا إِلَّا ڪَبِيرً۬ا لَّهُمۡ لَعَلَّهُمۡ إِلَيۡهِ يَرۡجِعُونَ قَالُواْ مَن فَعَلَ هَـٰذَا بِـَٔالِهَتِنَآ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَمِنَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ قَالُواْ سَمِعۡنَا فَتً۬ى يَذۡكُرُهُمۡ يُقَالُ لَهُ ۥۤ إِبۡرَٲهِيمُ قَالُواْ فَأۡتُواْ بِهِۦ عَلَىٰٓ أَعۡيُنِ ٱلنَّاسِ لَعَلَّهُمۡ يَشۡهَدُونَ قَالُوٓاْ ءَأَنتَ فَعَلۡتَ هَـٰذَا بِـَٔالِهَتِنَا يَـٰٓإِبۡرَٲهِيمُ قَالَ بَلۡ فَعَلَهُ ۥ ڪَبِيرُهُمۡ هَـٰذَا فَسۡـَٔلُوهُمۡ إِن ڪَانُواْ يَنطِقُونَ

(57. "And by Allah, I shall plot a plan for your idols after you have gone away and turned your backs.'') (58. So he broke them to pieces, except the biggest of them, that they might turn to it.) (59. They said: "Who has done this to our gods He must indeed be one of the wrongdoers.'') (60. They said: "We heard a young man talking against them, who is called Ibrahim.'') (61. They said: "Then bring him before the eyes of the people, that they may testify.'') (62. They said: "Are you the one who has done this to our gods, O Ibrahim'') (63. He said: "Nay, this one, the biggest of them did it. Ask them, if they can speak!'')