By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
30 April 2021
There Are Several Verses In The Quran On The Active Enemies Of Allah’s Religion And His Messenger, And These By Themselves, Constitute Proof That The Quran Is The Word Of Allah And Not That Of The Messenger
1. Allah has given every creation its nature.
2. There are unchanging laws of human behaviour decreed by Allah.
3. Not only has Allah created most of His creation in pairs or as male and female, but there is duality in most things.
4. Pronouncements of Allah on some of the rebellious people who had crossed the point of no return in their evil ways.
5. Walid ibn Mughiyrah was a ringleader in calumniating the Prophet.
There are several verses in the Quran on the active enemies of Allah’s religion and His Messenger, and these by themselves, constitute proof that the Quran is the word of Allah and not that of the Messenger. The pronouncements are too risky for a mere mortal to make, because, these speak about their punishment in the Hereafter, several years before their death, which rule out the possibility of their repenting in their lifetime and accepting Islam. If any of these had repented and accepted Islam, Allah’s word of their punishment in Hell would have been proven false. This is because sincere repentance and making amends calls for Allah’s forgiveness and a place in Heaven. Only an omnipotent and omniscient God can make such pronouncements. These pronouncements cause consternation among some readers who treat the Book as the word of the Messenger and not as the word of Allah. It is indeed improper for man to make such pronouncements about another person but not for Allah who is above our judgment. Allah has given every creation its nature. To transform a person invested heavily in evil into becoming a good person, or to tempt a person invested heavily in following Allah’s commands into breaking His command no matter what the cost may be or the temptation offered, is as difficult as trying to change the course of a river or to move a mountain. There are unchanging laws of human behaviour decreed by Allah and therefore He knows when a person has reached a point of no return in the path chosen.
We do not argue with the laws of nature. We only learn what these are and learn to live by them and keep out of harm’s way and derive benefit from them. So, it is with Allah, who decreed those laws, who must be taken for what He is, as described by Himself in His revelations. We learn what His religion is which guides us along the path to success in this world and in the Hereafter and learn to live by it as best as we can. We also try to learn about the attributes of Allah to understand His ways.
Not only has Allah created most of His creation in pairs or as male and female, but there is duality in most things such as pleasure and pain, good and evil, justice and oppression, obedience and rebellion, rewards and punishment, Heaven and Hell etc. There can be no concept of one without its opposite other. The most beneficent, most merciful, and oft forgiving, is therefore also strict in punishment. Without punishment, evil will prevail, and virtue perish. Allah’s punishment is therefore a necessary part of His mercy and beneficence. You cannot have one without the other. It is not Allah who wrongs those who are punished but they wrong themselves through their obstinate and deliberate rebellion with full knowledge of their evil ways and disregarding the warnings of Allah.
Now let us look at the pronouncements of Allah on some of the rebellious people who had crossed the point of no return in their evil ways.
Surah 96 Al –Alaq
The very first Surah revealed was Surah Al- Alaq / The Clot. The first five verses are the very first verses revealed, and the later ones after the Prophet began to worship according to the Islamic way in the Kaaba, but much before he publicly proclaimed the new religion. From the historical recordings we learn that these verses describe the behaviour of Abu Jahl who violently opposed the Prophet and was the leader of the violent rebels. The Surah is reproduced below:
(1) Proclaim! (or read!) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created-
(2) Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood:
(3) Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful,-
(4) He Who taught (the use of) the pen,-
(5) Taught man that which he knew not.
(6) Nay, but man doth transgress all bounds,
(7) In that he looketh upon himself as self-sufficient.
(8) Verily, to thy Lord is the return (of all).
(9) Seest thou one who forbids-
(10) A votary when he (turns) to pray?
(11) Seest thou if he is on (the road of) Guidance?-
(12) Or enjoins Righteousness?
(13) Seest thou if he denies (Truth) and turns away?
(14) Knoweth he not that Allah doth see?
(15) Let him beware! If he desist not, We will drag him by the forelock,-
(16) A lying, sinful forelock!
(17) Then, let him call (for help) to his council (of comrades):
(18) We will call on the angels of punishment (to deal with him)!
(19) Nay, heed him not: But bow down in adoration, and bring thyself the closer (to Allah)!
The Prophet had begun to perform the Prayer in the precincts of the Ka'bah in the way Allah had taught him, by performing Sajdah or setting his forehead on the ground, but had not yet proclaimed the new religion. The people of Mecca realized from this that he may have adopted a new religion. Abu Jahl, a prominent leader of the Meccans, on hearing about it is reported to have said "By Lat and Uzza, if I ever catch him in that act of worship, I will set my foot on his neck and rub his face in the dust." Abu Jahl was a vicious and cruel person who persecuted the followers of Muhammad (pbuh). He was also the leader of the Meccan army in the battle of Badr against the Muslims and died of the wounds he suffered in that battle.
Verse 10 speaks about his forbidding the worshipers to pray in the new manner and points to the general character of the person which is known to the people as if to say “what else do you expect from a person such as Abu Jahl who is corrupt, does not enjoin righteousness as a leader, and one who is clearly not on the path of virtue or guidance”. The active and even violent resistance to Muhammad (pbuh) and his followers on a sustained basis came only from people known to be cruel, unjust and corrupt. The Surah ends by saying “heed not such a person who has no power to save himself from Allah’s punishment, but continue to bow down to Allah in worship and bring yourself closer to Allah.”
Surah 68 Al –Qalam or the Pen
The second surah revealed in chronological order was Surah 68 Al-Qalam or The Pen. This surah, describes mounting opposition to the Prophet and his mission. The Prophet is taunted by his detractors of being either mad or possessed. The revelation assures the Prophet that he is neither mad nor possessed but a person of an exalted standard of character. The Surah also describes the opposition from which the Prophet and the people of Mecca could easily identify the people who are referred to. They are violent and cruel who hinder all good besides slandering with calumny and invoking false oaths:
(1) Nun. By the Pen and the (Record) which (men) write,-
(2) Thou art not, by the Grace of thy Lord, mad or possessed.
(3) Nay, verily for thee is a Reward unfailing:
(4) And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character.
(5) Soon wilt thou see, and they will see,
(6) Which of you is afflicted with madness.
(7) Verily it is thy Lord that knoweth best, which (among men) hath strayed from His Path: and He knoweth best those who receive (true) Guidance.
(8) So hearken not to those who deny (l-mukadhibīna)
(9) Their desire is that thou shouldst be pliant: so would they be pliant.
(10) Heed not the type of despicable men,- ready with oaths,
(11) A slanderer, going about with calumnies,
(12) (Habitually) hindering (all) good, transgressing beyond bounds, deep in sin,
(13) Violent (and cruel),- with all that, base-born,-
(14) Because he possesses wealth and (numerous) sons.
(15) When to him are rehearsed Our Signs, "Tales of the ancients", he cries!
(16) Soon shall We brand (the beast) on the snout!
The type of each of these hateful qualities is not uncommon, though the combination of all in one man makes him peculiarly despicable, as was Walid ibn Mughiyrah, who was a ringleader in calumniating the Prophet and who came to an evil end not long after the battle of Badr, in which he received injuries. Walid ibn Mughayrah was a wealthy Sybarite, and an inveterate enemy to the Prophet. He and Abu Jahl did all they could, from the beginning of the preaching of Islam, to abuse and persecute the Prophet, to run down his doctrine, and to injure those who believed in it.
The Surah also challenges the polytheistic faith of the Meccans and asks for the authority for their beliefs and makes a clear distinction between “people of the Faith” and the “people of the Sin” whose behaviour is described in the verses quoted above.
(35) Shall We then treat the People of Faith like the People of Sin (Mujrimin)?
(36) What is the matter with you? How judge ye?
(37) Or have ye a book through which ye learn-
(38) That ye shall have, through it whatever ye choose?
(39) Or have ye Covenants with Us to oath, reaching to the Day of Judgment, (providing) that ye shall have whatever ye shall demand?
(40) Ask thou of them, which of them will stand surety for that!
(41) Or have they some "Partners" (in Godhead)? Then let them produce their "partners", if they are truthful!
(42) The Day that the shin shall be laid bare, and they shall be summoned to bow in adoration, but they shall not be able,-
(43) Their eyes will be cast down,- ignominy will cover them; seeing that they had been summoned aforetime to bow in adoration, while they were whole, (and had refused).
The Surah also contains a clear warning of the punishment in this world to those engaged in active opposition and rejection of the Message. The Prophet is also informed that the respite granted to those who reject the message would be long but Allah’s plan to punish them is powerful. The manner in which such punishment will come will surprise them.
(44) Then leave Me alone with such as reject (Yukadhibu) this Message: by degrees shall We punish them from directions they perceive not.
(45) A (long) respite will I grant them: truly powerful is My Plan.
(46) Or is it that thou dost ask them for a reward, so that they are burdened with a load of debt?-
(47) Or that the Unseen is in their hands, so that they can write it down?
The following verses enjoin on the Prophet to be patient in the face of opposition and not to be in haste like Prophet Yunus(pbuh) and the previous verses give assurance that Allah’s plan is truly powerful. At this stage of the mission, the Prophet had only a handful of followers. While the Surah was a source of strength and assurance to the “believers”, considering their insignificance both in number and worldly wealth and influence, the warning was lost on the detractors who only mocked at the Prophet with their eyes saying “Surely he is mad”.
(48) So wait with patience for the Command of thy Lord, and be not like the Companion of the Fish,- when he cried out in agony.
(49) Had not Grace from his Lord reached him, he would indeed have been cast off on the naked shore, in disgrace.
(50) Thus did his Lord choose him and make him of the Company of the Righteous.
(51) And the Rejecters (Kafaru) would almost trip thee up with their eyes when they hear the Message; and they say: "Surely he is mad!"
(52) But it is nothing less than a Message to all the worlds (Dhik'runlil'ʿālamīna).
The Surah makes a clear distinction between “those who stray from His path and those who receive guidance”. It is the opposite nature of these two people that makes the same message have the opposite effect. The last verse also makes it clear that this Message is not only for the Arabs, but for all the worlds.
Surah 73 Al –Muzammil
This is the third Surah revealed. It stresses the importance of the remembrance (worship, contemplation) of Allah, the best time for it, and the most suitable manner. It reassures the Prophet and the believers about the mighty revelations yet to come and asks them not to bother about the active opposition of the rejecters of the faith and to let God take care of them the way he took care of Pharaoh and his followers.
(10) And have patience with what they say, and leave them with noble (dignity).
(11) And leave Me (alone to deal with) those in possession of the good things of life, who (yet) deny the Truth; and bear with them for a little while.
(12) With Us are Fetters (to bind them), and a Fire (to burn them),
(13) And a Food that chokes, and a Penalty Grievous.
(14) One Day the earth and the mountains will be in violent commotion. And the mountains will be as a heap of sand poured out and flowing down.
(15) We have sent to you, (O men!) a messenger, to be a witness concerning you, even as We sent a messenger to Pharaoh.
(16) But Pharaoh disobeyed the messenger; so We seized him with a heavy Punishment.
(17) Then how shall ye, if ye deny (Allah), guard yourselves against a Day that will make children hoary-headed?-
(18) Whereon the sky will be cleft asunder? His Promise needs must be accomplished.
(19) Verily this is an Admonition: therefore, whoso will, let him take a (straight) path to his Lord!
Surah 74, Al-Muddaththir / The Cloaked one
This is the fourth Surah in chronological order which asks the Prophet to now publicly proclaim the religion.
(1) O thou wrapped up (in the mantle)!
(2) Arise and deliver thy warning!
(3) And thy Lord do thou magnify!
(4) And thy garments keep free from stain!
(5) And all abomination shun!
(6) Nor expect, in giving, any increase (for thyself)!
(7) But, for thy Lord´s (Cause), be patient and constant!
(8) Finally, when the Trumpet is sounded,
(9) That will be- that Day - a Day of Distress,-
(10) Far from easy for those without Faith.
We learn from recorded history that when the Prophet began to preach Islam and recite the Qur'anic verses revealed, the people of Makkah felt alarmed. They feared that if the Prophet started visiting the caravans of the pilgrims coming from all over Arabia at their halting places and reciting the spellbinding and unique Revelations of the Qur'an in their assemblies on the occasion of Hajj, his message would reach every part of Arabia and influence countless people. Therefore, the Quraish chiefs held a conference and decided that they would start a campaign among the pilgrims to discredit the Prophet.
Walid bin al-Mughirah said to the assembled people: "If we say contradictory things about Muhammad, we all will lose our trust among the people. Therefore, let us agree upon what we shall say about him and stick to it.” Then, after prolonged thought and consideration, Walid proposed to tell the pilgrims that Muhammad is a sorcerer, who has brought a message by which he separates a man from his father; and from his brother, and from his wife and children, and from his family.” They all agreed on what Walid had proposed. It is also recorded, that Walid had made this proposal at the instance of their leader Abu Jahl. In verse. 11-26, without naming Walid bin al-Mughirah, it has been told how Allah had blessed him and how inimical he proved to be to the true Faith. Therefore, not only did he reject faith, but also decided to hinder people from believing in the Message. After exposing his evil nature, it has been said: "Notwithstanding such evil inclinations and misdeeds, this person desires that he should be further blessed, whereas he has now become worthy of Hell, and not of further blessings." His plotting and scheming has been graphically described in verses 18-25.
Verses 27-48 describe the dreadfulness of Hell. Verses 43-46, describe what kind of people will be in Hell. The deniers propose unreasonable conditions for believing, whereas even if each and every condition of theirs was fulfilled, they could not advance even an inch on the way of Faith with their denial of the Hereafter.
(11) Leave Me alone, (to deal) with the (creature) whom I created (bare and) alone!-
(12) To whom I granted resources in abundance,
(13) And sons to be by his side!-
(14) To whom I made (life) smooth and comfortable!
(15) Yet is he greedy-that I should add (yet more);-
(16) By no means! For to Our Signs he has been refractory!
(17) Soon will I visit him with a mount of calamities!
(18) For he thought and he plotted;-
(19) And woe to him! How he plotted!-
(20) Yea, Woe to him; How he plotted!-
(21) Then he looked round;
(22) Then he frowned and he scowled;
(23) Then he turned back and was haughty;
(24) Then said he: "This is nothing but magic, derived from of old;
(25) "This is nothing but the word of a mortal!"
(26) Soon will I cast him into Hell-Fire!
(27) And what will explain to thee what Hell-Fire is?
(28) Naught doth it permit to endure, and naught doth it leave alone!-
(29) Darkening and changing the colour of man!
(30) Over it are Nineteen.
(31) And We have set none but angels as Guardians of the Fire; and We have fixed their number only as a trial for Unbelievers,- in order that the People of the Book may arrive at certainty, and the Believers may increase in Faith,- and that no doubts may be left for the People of the Book and the Believers, and that those in whose hearts is a disease and the Unbelievers may say, "What symbol doth Allah intend by this?" Thus doth Allah leave to stray whom He pleaseth, and guide whom He pleaseth: and none can know the forces of thy Lord, except He and this is no other than a warning to mankind.
(32) Nay, verily: By the Moon,
(33) And by the Night as it retreateth,
(34) And by the Dawn as it shineth forth,-
(35) This is but one of the mighty (portents),
(36) A warning to mankind,-
(37) To any of you that chooses to press forward, or to follow behind;-
(38) Every soul will be (held) in pledge for its deeds.
(39) Except the Companions of the Right Hand.
(40) (They will be) in Gardens (of Delight): they will question each other,
(41) And (ask) of the Sinners:
(42) "What led you into Hell Fire?"
(43) They will say: "We were not of those who prayed;
(44) "Nor were we of those who fed the indigent;
(45) "But we used to talk vanities with vain talkers;
(46) "And we used to deny the Day of Judgment,
(47) "Until there came to us (the Hour) that is certain."
(48) Then will no intercession of (any) intercessors profit them.
(49) Then what is the matter with them that they turn away from admonition?-
(50) As if they were affrighted asses,
(51) Fleeing from a lion!
(52) Forsooth, each one of them wants to be given scrolls (of revelation) spread out!
(53) By no means! But they fear not the Hereafter,
(54) Nay, this surely is an admonition:
(55) Let any who will, keep it in remembrance!
(56) But none will keep it in remembrance except as Allah wills: He is the Lord of Righteousness, and the Lord of Forgiveness.
Surah 111Al-Masad / The Palm Fibre
(1) Perish the hands of the Father of Flame! Perish he!
(2) No profit to him from all his wealth, and all his gains!
(3) Burnt soon will he be in a Fire of Blazing Flame!
(4) His wife shall carry the (crackling) wood - As fuel!-
(5) A twisted rope of palm-leaf fibre round her (own) neck!
The sixth surah in chronological order is Al-Masad and is about Abu Lahab and his wife. The Surah was revealed a decade before the death of Abu Lahab. His wife died after him. The Surah predicts that Abu Lahab and his wife will be in Hell-Fire more than 10 years before they died. The others in whose lifetime they were put in the same category of intransigent rejecters are Abu Jahl in Surah 96, Walid-ibn-Mughiyrah in Surah 68 who are referred indirectly and not by name, Pharaoh in verse 10:88, Lut’s wife, Abraham’s father and several more.
After 950 years of preaching by Noah the following verse was revealed:
(11:36) It was revealed to Noah: "None of thy people will believe except those who have believed already! So grieve no longer over their (evil) deeds.
Among the intransigent rejecters was Noah’s son whom Noah tried to save till the last moment but to no avail. Once Allah decides a people as having reached a point of no return, they will not return to the path of Allah no matter what - not even if they happen to be the son, father or wife of the Prophet and even though the Prophet ardently desires so.
Contrast this with the majority of the Mushrikin of Mecca who had not crossed the threshold of stubborn opposition to Islam to the point of no return. Most of them finally accepted Islam and even before they did so, and were fighting against the Prophet, Allah confirms in verse 8:33 that many of them “could still ask for pardon”.
(8:32) Remember how they said: "O Allah if this is indeed the Truth from Thee, rain down on us a shower of stones form the sky, or send us a grievous penalty."(33) But Allah was not going to send them a penalty whilst thou wast amongst them; nor was He going to send it whilst they could ask for pardon.
The exceptions of course are people such as Abu Jahl, Walid bin al-Mughirah, Abu Lahab and his wife and several others who were killed in battle with the Muslims.
Surah 109 Al-Kafirun / The Rejecters
This is the eighteenth surah in chronological order and is also an early Meccan Surah. There were 86 Surahs revealed in Mecca before the migration to Medina or the Hijra.
(1) Say : O ye that reject Faith!
(2) I worship not that which ye worship,
(3) Nor will ye worship that which I worship.
(4) And I will not worship that which ye have been wont to worship,
(5) Nor will ye worship that which I worship.
(6) To you be your Way, and to me mine.
The non-believers fall in three categories:
1. Active opponents who fight you and hinder you in the path of Allah. These are the Kafirun against whom fighting is permissible by the State but not by non-state actors.
2. Peaceful rejecters or the peaceful Kafirun who must be left alone as the Surah above and several other verses say.
3. Non-believers who have not yet rejected the Message and are therefore not among the Kafirun. The Prophet was commanded to propagate Islam only among this category and leave the Kafirun alone. The best way to propagate in this day is by example. The Book is available to all who wish to read it. Unsolicited preaching is mostly unwelcome.
There were violent enemies of Islam who later accepted Islam such as Umar Bin Khattab. The difference between Umar and Abu Jahal is that Umar’s opposition did not come from an evil disposition but from his love of his old religion. He accepted Islam the moment he realised the truth of Islam when he listened to a recitation of the Quran. Abu-Sufiyan who led the Meccans after Abu Jahal’s death also eventually accepted Islam. In spite of their significant role in opposing the Messenger and Islam, they do not form the subject of any Surah or verse. Allah, in His infinite wisdom and knowledge, knew that they were among those who could transform. Allah helps such people find their way.
I hope it is now easy to understand why Hell is as necessary as Heaven. Only those who have wilfully chosen an evil path will end up in Hell. Let not their description or fate bother us. Anyone with a belief in the Hereafter can navigate his/her way to Heaven and only those who do not believe in the Hereafter lose their way.
A frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com, Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over three decades. He has spent years studying Quran in-depth and made seminal contributions to its interpretation.
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