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The Idolators' demand for Signs, and the Response

Allah tells us how the idolaters stubbornly demanded signs, meaning that they wanted signs to show them that Muhammad was indeed the Messenger of Allah, just as Salih was given the sign of the she-camel. Allah says:

﴿ قُلۡ

(Say) -- `O Muhammad' --

﴿ إِنَّمَا ٱلۡأَيَـٰتُ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ

(The signs are only with Allah) meaning, `the matter rests with Allah, and if He knew that you would be guided, He would respond to your request, because it is very easy for Him to do that. Yet He knows that you are merely being stubborn and putting me to the test, so He will not respond to you.' This is like the Ayah,

﴿ وَمَا مَنَعَنَآ أَن نُّرۡسِلَ بِٱلۡأَيَـٰتِ إِلَّآ أَن ڪَذَّبَ بِہَا ٱلۡأَوَّلُونَ‌ۚ وَءَاتَيۡنَا ثَمُودَ ٱلنَّاقَةَ مُبۡصِرَةً۬ فَظَلَمُواْ بِہَا‌ۚ

(And nothing stops Us from sending the Ayat but that the people of old denied them. And We sent the she-camel to Thamud as a clear sign, but they did her wrong) (17:59).

﴿ وَإِنَّمَآ أَنَا۟ نَذِيرٌ۬ مُّبِينٌ

(and I am only a plain warner) means, `I have been sent to you only as a warner to bring a clear warning; all I have to do is convey the Message of Allah to you. '

﴿ مَن يَہۡدِ ٱللَّهُ فَهُوَ ٱلۡمُهۡتَدِ‌ۖ وَمَن يُضۡلِلۡ فَلَن تَجِدَ لَهُ ۥ وَلِيًّ۬ا مُّرۡشِدً۬ا

(He whom Allah guides, he is the rightly-guided; but he whom He sends astray, for him you will find no guide to lead him.) (18:17)

﴿ لَّيۡسَ عَلَيۡكَ هُدَٮٰهُمۡ وَلَـٰڪِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يَهۡدِى مَن يَشَآءُ‌ۗ

(Not upon you is their guidance, but Allah guides whom He wills) (2:272). Then Allah shows us how ignorant and foolish they were when they demanded a sign to prove to them that what Muhammad had brought to them was true. He brought them a great Book which falsehood cannot reach, neither from before it or behind it, it was greater than all other miracles, for the most eloquent of men could not match it or produce ten Surahs, or even one Surah like it.

﴿ أَوَلَمۡ يَكۡفِهِمۡ أَنَّآ أَنزَلۡنَا عَلَيۡكَ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبَ يُتۡلَىٰ عَلَيۡهِمۡ‌ۚ

(Is it not sufficient for them that We have sent down to you the Book which is recited to them) means, `is it not sufficient as a sign for them that We have sent down to you this great Book which tells them about what happened before their time, what will happen after they are gone, and passes judgment between them. Even though you are an unlettered man who can neither read nor write, and you have not mixed with any of the People of the Book. Yet you brought them news of what was said in the first Scriptures showing what is right in the matters that they dispute over, and bringing clear and obvious truth. ' As Allah says:

﴿ يَكُن لَّهُمۡ ءَايَةً أَن يَعۡلَمَهُ ۥ عُلَمَـٰٓؤُاْ بَنِىٓ إِسۡرَٲٓءِيلَ

(Is it not a sign to them that the learned scholars of the Children of Israel knew it (to be true)) (26:197)

﴿ وَقَالُواْ لَوۡلَا يَأۡتِينَا بِـَٔايَةٍ۬ مِّن رَّبِّهِۦۤ‌ۚ أَوَلَمۡ تَأۡتِہِم بَيِّنَةُ مَا فِى ٱلصُّحُفِ ٱلۡأُولَىٰ

(They say: "Why does he not bring us a sign from his Lord'' Has there not come to them the proof of that which is in the former Scriptures) (20:133) Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, "The Messenger of Allah said:

« مَا مِنَ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ مِنْ نَبِيَ إِلَّا قَدْ أُعْطِيَ مِنَ الْآيَاتِ مَا مِثْلُهُ آمَنَ عَلَيْهِ الْبَشَرُ، وَإِنَّمَا كَانَ الَّذِي أُوتِيتُهُ وَحْيًا أَوْحَاهُ اللهُ إِلَيَّ، فَأَرْجُو أَنْ أَكُونَ أَكْثَرَهُمْ تَابِعًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَة »

(There is no Prophet who was not given some miracles that would make the people believe in him. What I have been given is revelation which Allah reveals to me, and I hope that I will have the greatest number of followers on the Day of Resurrection.)'' It was also recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim. Indeed Allah has said:

﴿ إِنَّ فِى ذَٲلِكَ لَرَحۡمَةً۬ وَذِڪۡرَىٰ لِقَوۡمٍ۬ يُؤۡمِنُونَ

(Verily, herein is mercy and a reminder for a people who believe.) In this Qur'an there is mercy, that is, explanation of the truth and removal of falsehood, and a reminder to the believers of the punishment that is to come to the disbelievers and sinners. Then Allah says:

﴿ قُلۡ كَفَىٰ بِٱللَّهِ بَيۡنِى وَبَيۡنَڪُمۡ شَہِيدً۬ا‌ۖ

(Say: "Sufficient is Allah for a witness between me and you...'') `He knows best the words of denial that you utter, and he knows what I am telling you about Him and that He has sent me. If I were telling lies about Him, He would have executed His vengeance upon me,' as Allah says elsewhere:

﴿ وَلَوۡ تَقَوَّلَ عَلَيۡنَا بَعۡضَ ٱلۡأَقَاوِيلِ لَأَخَذۡنَا مِنۡهُ بِٱلۡيَمِينِ ثُمَّ لَقَطَعۡنَا مِنۡهُ ٱلۡوَتِينَ فَمَا مِنكُم مِّنۡ أَحَدٍ عَنۡهُ حَـٰجِزِينَ

(And if he had forged a false saying concerning Us, We surely would have seized him by his right hand, and then We certainly would have cut off his aorta, and none of you could have withheld Us from (punishing) him.) (69:44-47). `But I am telling the truth in what I say to you about Him, so He has supported me with clear miracles and definitive evidence.'

﴿ يَعۡلَمُ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۗ

(He knows what is in the heavens and the earth.) means, nothing is hidden from Him at all.

﴿ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ بِٱلۡبَـٰطِلِ وَڪَفَرُواْ بِٱللَّهِ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرُونَ

(And those who believe in falsehood, and disbelieve in Allah, it is they who are the losers.) means, on the Day of Resurrection, they will be punished for what they did, and will get what they justly deserve for rejecting the truth and following falsehood, for disbelieving in the Messengers of Allah even when there was proof that they were telling the truth, and for worshipping false gods with no evidence. Allah will punish them for all that, for He is All-Wise and All-Knowing.

﴿ وَيَسۡتَعۡجِلُونَكَ بِٱلۡعَذَابِ‌ۚ وَلَوۡلَآ أَجَلٌ۬ مُّسَمًّ۬ى لَّجَآءَهُمُ ٱلۡعَذَابُ وَلَيَأۡتِيَنَّہُم بَغۡتَةً۬ وَهُمۡ لَا يَشۡعُرُونَ يَسۡتَعۡجِلُونَكَ بِٱلۡعَذَابِ وَإِنَّ جَهَنَّمَ لَمُحِيطَةُۢ بِٱلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ يَوۡمَ يَغۡشَٮٰهُمُ ٱلۡعَذَابُ مِن فَوۡقِهِمۡ وَمِن تَحۡتِ أَرۡجُلِهِمۡ وَيَقُولُ ذُوقُواْ مَا كُنتُمۡ تَعۡمَلُونَ

(53. And they ask you to hasten on the torment, and had it not been for a term appointed, the torment would certainly have come to them. And surely, it will come upon them suddenly while they perceive not!) (54. They ask you to hasten on the torment. And verily, Hell, of a surety, will encompass the disbelievers.) (55. On the Day when the torment shall cover them from above them and from beneath their feet, and it will be said: "Taste what you used to do.'')

How the Idolators asked for the Torment to be hastened on

Allah tells us of the ignorance of the idolaters and how they asked for the punishment of Allah to be hastened so that it would befall them quickly. This is like the Ayah,

﴿ وَإِذۡ قَالُواْ ٱللَّهُمَّ إِن كَانَ هَـٰذَا هُوَ ٱلۡحَقَّ مِنۡ عِندِكَ فَأَمۡطِرۡ عَلَيۡنَا حِجَارَةً۬ مِّنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ أَوِ ٱئۡتِنَا بِعَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ۬

(And when they said: "O Allah! If this is indeed the truth from You, then rain down stones on us from the sky or bring on us a painful torment.'') (8:32). And Allah says here:

﴿ وَيَسۡتَعۡجِلُونَكَ بِٱلۡعَذَابِ‌ۚ وَلَوۡلَآ أَجَلٌ۬ مُّسَمًّ۬ى لَّجَآءَهُمُ ٱلۡعَذَابُ

(And they ask you to hasten on the torment, and had it not been for a term appointed, the torment would certainly have come to them.) Were it not for the fact that Allah has decreed that the punishment should be delayed until the Day of Resurrection, the torment would have come upon them quickly as they demanded. Then Allah says:

﴿ وَيَسۡتَعۡجِلُونَكَ بِٱلۡعَذَابِ‌ۚ وَلَوۡلَآ أَجَلٌ۬ مُّسَمًّ۬ى لَّجَآءَهُمُ ٱلۡعَذَابُ وَلَيَأۡتِيَنَّہُم بَغۡتَةً۬ وَهُمۡ لَا يَشۡعُرُونَ يَسۡتَعۡجِلُونَكَ بِٱلۡعَذَابِ وَإِنَّ جَهَنَّمَ لَمُحِيطَةُۢ بِٱلۡكَـٰفِرِينَ

(And surely, it will come upon them suddenly while they perceive not! They ask you to hasten on the torment. And verily, Hell, of a surety, will encompass the disbelievers.) means, `they ask you to hasten on the punishment, but it will undoubtedly befall them.'

﴿ يَوۡمَ يَغۡشَٮٰهُمُ ٱلۡعَذَابُ مِن فَوۡقِهِمۡ وَمِن تَحۡتِ أَرۡجُلِهِمۡ

(On the Day when the torment (Hellfire) shall cover them from above them and from beneath their feet,) This is like the Ayah,

﴿ لَهُم مِّن جَهَنَّمَ مِهَادٌ۬ وَمِن فَوۡقِهِمۡ غَوَاشٍ۬‌ۚ

(Theirs will be a bed of Hell, and over them coverings (of Hell-fire)) (7:41).

﴿ لَهُم مِّن فَوۡقِهِمۡ ظُلَلٌ۬ مِّنَ ٱلنَّارِ وَمِن تَحۡتِہِمۡ ظُلَلٌ۬‌ۚ

(They shall have coverings of Fire, above them and coverings (of Fire) beneath them) (39:16).

﴿ لَوۡ يَعۡلَمُ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ حِينَ لَا يَكُفُّونَ عَن وُجُوهِهِمُ ٱلنَّارَ وَلَا عَن ظُهُورِهِمۡ

(If only those who disbelieved knew (the time) when they will not be able to ward off the Fire from their faces, nor from their backs) (21:39). The Fire will cover them from all sides, which is more effective as a physical punishment.

﴿ وَيَقُولُ ذُوقُواْ مَا كُنتُمۡ تَعۡمَلُونَ

(and it will be said: "Taste what you used to do.'') This is a threat and a rebuke, which is a form of psychological punishment, as in the Ayah,

﴿ يَوۡمَ يُسۡحَبُونَ فِى ٱلنَّارِ عَلَىٰ وُجُوهِهِمۡ ذُوقُواْ مَسَّ سَقَرَ إِنَّا كُلَّ شَىۡءٍ خَلَقۡنَـٰهُ بِقَدَرٍ۬

(The Day they will be dragged on their faces into the Fire (it will be said to them): "Taste you the touch of Hell!'' Verily, We have created all things with a measurement.) (54:48-49)

﴿ يَوۡمَ يُدَعُّونَ إِلَىٰ نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ دَعًّا هَـٰذِهِ ٱلنَّارُ ٱلَّتِى كُنتُم بِہَا تُكَذِّبُونَ أَفَسِحۡرٌ هَـٰذَآ أَمۡ أَنتُمۡ لَا تُبۡصِرُونَ ٱصۡلَوۡهَا فَٱصۡبِرُوٓاْ أَوۡ لَا تَصۡبِرُواْ سَوَآءٌ عَلَيۡكُمۡ‌ۖ إِنَّمَا تُجۡزَوۡنَ مَا كُنتُمۡ تَعۡمَلُونَ

(The Day when they will be pushed down by force to the fire of Hell, with a horrible, forceful pushing. This is the Fire which you used to deny. Is this magic or do you not see Enter you therein (taste you therein its heat) and whether you are patient of it or impatient of it, it is all the same. You are only being requited for what you used to do.) (52:13-16)

﴿ يَـٰعِبَادِىَ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ إِنَّ أَرۡضِى وَٲسِعَةٌ۬ فَإِيَّـٰىَ فَٱعۡبُدُونِ كُلُّ نَفۡسٍ۬ ذَآٮِٕقَةُ ٱلۡمَوۡتِ‌ۖ ثُمَّ إِلَيۡنَا تُرۡجَعُونَ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ لَنُبَوِّئَنَّهُم مِّنَ ٱلۡجَنَّةِ غُرَفً۬ا تَجۡرِى مِن تَحۡتِہَا ٱلۡأَنۡهَـٰرُ خَـٰلِدِينَ فِيہَا‌ۚ نِعۡمَ أَجۡرُ ٱلۡعَـٰمِلِينَ ٱلَّذِينَ صَبَرُواْ وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّہِمۡ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ وَڪَأَيِّن مِّن دَآبَّةٍ۬ لَّا تَحۡمِلُ رِزۡقَهَا ٱللَّهُ يَرۡزُقُهَا وَإِيَّاكُمۡ‌ۚ وَهُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ

(56. O My servants who believe! Certainly, spacious is My earth. Therefore worship Me.) (57. Everyone shall taste death. Then unto Us you shall be returned.) (58. And those who believe and do righteous good deeds, to them We shall surely give lofty dwellings in Paradise, beneath which rivers flow, to live therein forever. Excellent is the reward for the workers.) (59. Those who are patient, and put their trust in their Lord.) (60. And so many a moving creature carries not its own provision! Allah provides for it and for you. And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.)

Advice to migrate and the Promise of Provision and a Goodly Reward

Allah commands His believing servants to migrate from a land in which they are not able to establish Islam, to the spacious earth of Allah where they can do so, by declaring Allah to be One and worshipping Him as He has commanded. Allah says:

﴿ يَـٰعِبَادِىَ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ إِنَّ أَرۡضِى وَٲسِعَةٌ۬ فَإِيَّـٰىَ فَٱعۡبُدُونِ

(O My servants who believe! Certainly, spacious is My earth. Therefore worship Me.) When things became too difficult for the believers in Makkah who were in a weak position and were oppressed, they left and migrated to Ethiopia, where they were able to practice their religion. The Muslims found Ethiopia the best place for guest; where Ashamah, the Negus or king, may Allah have mercy on him, gave them refuge, helped them, supported them, and honored them in his land. Later, the Messenger of Allah and his remaining Companions migrated to Al-Madinah, formerly known as Yathrib, may Allah protect it. Then Allah says:

﴿ كُلُّ نَفۡسٍ۬ ذَآٮِٕقَةُ ٱلۡمَوۡتِ‌ۖ ثُمَّ إِلَيۡنَا تُرۡجَعُونَ

(Everyone shall taste death. Then unto Us you shall be returned.) meaning, `wherever you are, death with catch up with you, so always obey Allah and be where Allah commands you to be, for this is better for you. Death is inevitable and there is no escape from it, and then you will return to Allah, and whoever was obedient to Him will have the best reward.' Allah says:

﴿ وَٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَعَمِلُواْ ٱلصَّـٰلِحَـٰتِ لَنُبَوِّئَنَّهُم مِّنَ ٱلۡجَنَّةِ غُرَفً۬ا تَجۡرِى مِن تَحۡتِہَا ٱلۡأَنۡهَـٰرُ

(And those who believe and do righteous good deeds, to them We shall surely give lofty dwellings in Paradise, underneath which rivers flow,) meaning, `We shall cause them to dwell in lofty homes in Paradise under which various kinds of rivers flow -- water, wine, honey and milk -- which they can direct and cause to flow wherever they wish.'

﴿ خَـٰلِدِينَ فِيہَا‌ۚ

(to live therein forever.) means, they will remain there forever, never wanting to leave.

﴿ نِعۡمَ أَجۡرُ ٱلۡعَـٰمِلِينَ

(Excellent is the reward for the workers.) these rooms will be a blessed reward for the good deeds of the believers,

﴿ ٱلَّذِينَ صَبَرُواْ

(Those who are patient,) in adhering to their religion, who migrated for the sake of Allah and fought the enemy, leaving behind their families and relatives to seek Allah's Face, and hoping for that which is with Him, believing His promise. Ibn Abi Hatim, may Allah have mercy on him, recorded from Abu Mu`aniq Al-Ash`ari that Abu Malik Al-Ash`ari told him that the Messenger of Allah told him:

« إِنَّ فِي الْجَنَّةِ غُرَفًا يُرَى ظَاهِرُهَا مِنْ بَاطِنِهَا، وَبَاطِنُهَا مِنْ ظَاهِرِهَا، أَعَدَّهَا اللهُ تَعَالَى لِمَنْ أَطْعَمَ الطَّعَامَ، وَأَطَابَ الْكَلَامَ، وَتَابَعَ الصَّلَاةَ وَالصِّيَامَ، وَقَامَ بِاللَّيْلِ وَالنَّاسُ نِيَام »

(In Paradise there are rooms whose outside can be seen from the inside, and their inside can be seen from the outside; Allah has prepared them for those who feed others, who speak well, who pray and fast continually, and who stand in prayer at night while people are asleep.)

﴿ وَعَلَىٰ رَبِّهِمۡ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ

(and put their trust in their Lord.) in all their affairs, spiritual and worldly alike. Then Allah tells us that provision is not limited only to one place, but it is given to all His creatures no matter where they are. Indeed, when the Muhajirin migrated, their provision was greater and better than before, because after a short time they became rulers in the land, in all regions. Allah says:

﴿ وَڪَأَيِّن مِّن دَآبَّةٍ۬ لَّا تَحۡمِلُ رِزۡقَهَا

(And so many a moving creature carries not its own provision!) meaning, it does not have the ability to gather its provision and save it for tomorrow.

﴿ ٱللَّهُ يَرۡزُقُهَا وَإِيَّاكُمۡ‌ۚ

(Allah provides for it and for you.) means, Allah allots its provision to it even though it is weak, and makes it easy for it. He sends provision to every creature in the appropriate manner, even the ants in the depths of the earth, the birds in the air and the fish in the sea. Allah says:

﴿ وَمَا مِن دَآبَّةٍ۬ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ إِلَّا عَلَى ٱللَّهِ رِزۡقُهَا وَيَعۡلَمُ مُسۡتَقَرَّهَا وَمُسۡتَوۡدَعَهَا‌ۚ كُلٌّ۬ فِى ڪِتَـٰبٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ۬

(And no moving creature is there on earth but its provision is due from Allah. And He knows its dwelling place and its deposit. All is in a Clear Book.) (11:6)

﴿ وَهُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ

(And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower.) means, He hears all that His servants say and He knows their every movements.

﴿ وَلَٮِٕن سَأَلۡتَهُم مَّنۡ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ وَسَخَّرَ ٱلشَّمۡسَ وَٱلۡقَمَرَ لَيَقُولُنَّ ٱللَّهُ‌ۖ فَأَنَّىٰ يُؤۡفَكُونَ ٱللَّهُ يَبۡسُطُ ٱلرِّزۡقَ لِمَن يَشَآءُ مِنۡ عِبَادِهِۦ وَيَقۡدِرُ لَهُ ۥۤ‌ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَىۡءٍ عَلِيمٌ۬ وَلَٮِٕن سَأَلۡتَهُم مَّن نَّزَّلَ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءً۬ فَأَحۡيَا بِهِ ٱلۡأَرۡضَ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مَوۡتِهَا لَيَقُولُنَّ ٱللَّهُ‌ۚ قُلِ ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ‌ۚ بَلۡ أَڪۡثَرُهُمۡ لَا يَعۡقِلُونَ

(61. And if you were to ask them: "Who has created the heavens and the earth and subjected the sun and the moon'' They will surely reply: "Allah.'' How then are they deviating) (62. Allah expands the provision for whom He wills of His servants, and straitens it for whom (He wills). Verily, Allah is the All-Knower of everything.) (63. And if you were to ask them: "Who sends down water from the sky, and gives life therewith to the earth after its death'' They will surely reply: "Allah.'' Say: "All the praises and thanks be to Allah!'' Nay, most of them have no sense.)