“Yet even now as you recite this Quran to them, among them are those who listen to you with malicious intent, pursuing their whims. Therefore, We have placed sheaths over their ill-inclined hearts, so that they may no longer understand it, and in their ears, an utter deafness. For even if they were to see every natural and revealed sign of Heavenly truth, still they would not believe in it. Thus when they come to you to argue with you, those who disbelieve say: This is nothing but tales of the ancients!” (Translation by Ahmad Zaki Hammad)
Last month, we concluded our topic of seeking the guidance of Allahﷻ through returning to Him and repenting for all wrongdoings. We learned that no matter the severity of the sin or how hopeless we may feel, we must turn back to Allahﷻ and completely submit to His will to receive any kind of guidance towards the straight path.
However, a common theme that is seen throughout the entire Holy Quran is this concept of Allah’s ﷻ mercy/reward as well as His wrath. Interestingly enough, you will find that in most parts of the Quran, Allahﷻ speaks of His mercy and wrath one after the other as a pair. Whenever we hear about his mercy and rewards, it is followed soon after by verses describing His wrath or punishment for the wrongdoers and disbelievers. You may have never noticed this but now you question, why is that? Many of the scholars of Quranic Tafseer have suggested that it is because Allahﷻ wants us to fear His wrath while also understanding that limitless boundary of His mercy. Allahﷻ wants to maintain a balance between both sides. If Allahﷻ only spoke of His mercy and rewards, then no one would hold themselves accountable for their wrongdoings because they feel that Allahﷻ will always forgive them. On the other hand, if Allahﷻ only spoke of His wrath and punishment, then His slaves would often feel hopeless and miserable, feeling as if they will never be forgiven by their Lord. For that reason, our Lord has maintained the perfect balance between both extremes.
As we spoke of the mercy and forgiveness of Allahﷻ in the previous months, I felt that it would be appropriate to follow up by reminding ourselves of the punishment of Allahﷻ. In this manner, we are able to keep ourselves in check of not taking anything for granted. For the next few months, we will cover verses 25-32 of Surat Al-Ana’am. These verses are speaking of the people of Quraish from the time that the Prophetﷺ was spreading Islam while still in Makkah. In that point throughout history, it was very common that many of the younger men and women were converting to Islam and following our beloved Messenger Muhammadﷺ while the parents and elders still rejected the truth.
وَمِنۡهُمۡ مَّنۡ يَّسۡتَمِعُ اِلَيۡكَ ۚ وَجَعَلۡنَا عَلٰى قُلُوۡبِهِمۡ اَكِنَّةً اَنۡ يَّفۡقَهُوۡهُ وَفِىۡۤ اٰذَانِهِمۡ وَقۡرًا
As a result of the younger generation following Islam, the elders wanted to show them that they would be willing to listen. But of course, this was all a lie and just for show. From these elders, some of them “listened” to the message of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Surely, they were just pretending to listen. They wanted to use their status of being older, respected, and having wisdom to attempt to regain the trust of the followers of the Prophetﷺ. Allahﷻ has placed an impenetrable barrier over the hearts of these people so that nothing can get to them. These leaders of Quraish have already made up their minds. Islam is a religion of reason and logic. They knew that it was the truth but let their emotions control them. So, there was nothing that could change their minds at this point because they had allowed their emotions to reject the logic that they knew was the truth, but just did not want to believe it. If they chose to submit to Islam, then they would lose the status, wealth, and following that they had built for themselves. Allahﷻ has placed a veil over their hearts and ears that will keep them from understanding.
وَاِنۡ يَّرَوۡا كُلَّ اٰيَةٍ لَّا يُؤۡمِنُوۡا بِهَا ؕ حَتّٰۤى اِذَا جَآءُوۡكَ يُجَادِلُوۡنَكَ يَقُوۡلُ الَّذِيۡنَ كَفَرُوۡۤا اِنۡ هٰذَاۤ اِلَّاۤ اَسَاطِيۡرُ الۡاَوَّلِيۡ.
And regardless of whatever sign Allahﷻ shows them, they will still reject the truth. We know that it is very common that people always ask for a sign from Allahﷻ. They say, “Oh Allah! Give us a sign and then we will follow.” However, they reject every sign given to them. It is to the point that these individuals begin to argue with the people who are serving as these “signs” or reminders for them and attempt to win the argument at all costs. It is like a one-sided argument with a person that is so stubborn, and you know you will never win. They will say that this “message” is nothing but stories and fairytales!
This is a good place to pause and pick up from here next month Insha’Allah. In the following month, we will learn how the fate of these disbelievers and how quickly their minds will change in the afterlife. I ask Allahﷻ to make us among those whom He guides. I ask Allahﷻ to make us among those who listen and follow the best out of it. Allahumma Ameen.
By Ahmad Salah