The Secret Beyond Matter

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The Unbelievers Target the Prophets First

Unbelievers have existed in every period of history and have fought His religion and the believers. This is one of Allah's unchanging laws. Their methods are clear, and among the most prominent of them is mockery. In fact, the tactics and even the words they use are always the same:

Pharaoh and those before him and the Overturned Cities made a great mistake. They disobeyed the messenger of their Lord... (Surat al-Haqqa, 9-10)

Unbelievers have exhibited the same obstinate behavior throughout the centuries. Pharaoh, Abu Lahab, the Prophet Noah's (as) tribe, the ‘Ad's tribe, the Thamud's tribe, Prophet Lot's (as) tribe, and others are among the people mentioned as having adopted a cruel and mocking approach toward the prophets and thereby earning their own destruction. In the most unintelligent way, these people not only made the prophets a subject of mockery, but everything to do with religion, including worship and religious rules. However, as in the Qur'an Allah tells us, they were the ones who were destroyed and plunged into remorse as a result:

Alas for My servants! No messenger comes to them without their mocking him. (Surah Ya Sin, 30)

No messenger came to them without their mocking him. (Surat al-Hijr, 11)

As we can see, such a heedless resistance against the prophets is characteristic of the unbelievers. They have employed these techniques in every historical period, because satan has caused them to grow arrogant and devote themselves to mockery. Since he does not want the Qur'an's morality to be followed by anyone, satan incites people to immorality and irreligious behavior, including mockery. In contrast, the prophets lived by and spread the message of the true religion, and taught that people should not heed satan and his deceptions or follow his path of unbelief. Therefore, satan urges the unbelievers, as a priority, to form a front against the prophets and incites them to oppose and mock them. Hence, people who struggle against and mock the prophets are following satan's path.

But always remember that none of satan's efforts can succeed. On the contrary, the mocking behavior and harsh words that he inspires the unbelievers to direct toward the prophets only exalts them further in the hereafter and earns them Allah's good pleasure and blessing. Since these revered people bore this ugly behavior patiently, they could expect a fine reward from Allah, for on the Day of Judgment everybody will be rewarded or punished for his deeds. While the prophets and the believers who stood alongside them will be rewarded, those who mocked them will be punished:

To those who do not believe, the life of this world is painted in glowing colors and they laugh at those who believe. But on the Day of Resurrection, those who fear [and respect] Allah will be over them. Allah provides for whoever He wills, without any reckoning. (Surat al-Baqara, 212)

Messengers before you were mocked. I gave those who did not believe a little more time, and then I seized them. How terrible was My retribution! (Surat ar-Ra‘d, 32)

Allah informs us that the unbelievers will mock the prophets. This is nothing new, and only increases their joy and determination to fight on, for the prophets know that their trust in Allah's justice will be rewarded in the hereafter. Since Allah is just, the unbelievers and their leader satan will never achieve their aims. Allah tells us that such attacks are a clear manifestation of the unbelievers' lack of comprehension:

We only send the messengers to bring good news and to warn. Those who do not believe use fallacious arguments to deny the truth. They mock My signs and also the warning they were given. Who could do greater wrong than someone who is reminded of the signs of his Lord and then turns away from them, forgetting all that he has done before? We have placed covers on their hearts, preventing them from understanding it, and heaviness in their ears. Though you call them to guidance, they will, nonetheless, never be guided. (Surat al-Kahf, 56-57)

In the Qur'an Allah also gives many examples of when the unbelievers resort to mockery and of the methods they use. In the coming pages, we will discuss at length the mocking attitude of the unbelievers against the Messengers of Allah and the contemptuous response they get as a result of this ugly attitude.


The Unbelievers' Impudent Dislike of the Prophet Chosen by Allah

In societies that are far from the Qur'an's morality, value judgments are made on the basis of such material qualities as wealth, property, fame, rank, and position. And so when a prophet is sent to such a community, most people judge him by these criteria. If the prophet is considered inadequate in terms of such material values, they do not want to accept that Allah has chosen and sent him to guide them. Allah's selection of him, as well as the fact that he possesses the qualities of piety and superior morality, is of no importance to them due to their perverted mentality. Since they are arrogant and incapable of noticing the prophet's finer points, they find it very difficult to accept that he has been chosen. They regard themselves as superior to him, and so instead of accepting the true path to which he summons them, they prefer to act in a stubborn and mocking manner. Allah reveals this in the Qur'an:

When they see you, they only mock you: "Is this the one Allah has sent as a messenger?" (Surat al-Furqan, 41)

As it is revealed in the verse, these people evaluate and dislike the prophet according to their corrupted value system. In addition:

When those who do not believe see you, they only mock you: "Is this the one who mentions your deities?" Yet they disown any mention of the All-Merciful. (Surat al-Anbiya', 36)

In the Qur'an Allah gives further examples. When The Prophet Moses (as) was sent to Pharaoh, Pharaoh and his court chose to mock him because they resented the fact that Allah chose him, who was poorer than they were, to call them to the true religion. Their arrogance made it very hard for them to change their own superstitious religion. As a result, like all unbelievers throughout history, they began to mock their prophet:

Pharaoh asked his people: "My people, doesn't the kingdom of Egypt belong to me? Don't all these rivers flow under my control? Don't you then see? Am I not better than this man, who is contemptible and can scarcely make anything clear? Why haven't gold bracelets been put upon his arms, and why isn't there a train of angels accompanying him?" (Surat az-Zukhruf, 51-53)

As it is revealed in the verses, Pharaoh had all the characteristics of an unbeliever. He evaluated the Prophet Moses (as) according to his own ignorant criteria, and so was unable to understand the Prophet Moses' (as) superior morality and closeness to Allah. He tried to influence the Egyptians by describing the property he owned. In other words, he thought that he was proving his own superiority by using his own misguided values, based on ignorance, as his criteria.

People who do not believe think that if a prophet is to be appointed and granted authority, he should at least be one of their own. As a result, they are jealous of the prophets sent to them and begin to mock them immediately. For example, as in the Qur'an Allah reveals: "[They exclaimed:] ‘Has the reminder been given to him of all of us? No indeed! He is an impudent liar'" (Surat al-Qamar, 25), they subject the prophet to various types of unpleasant behavior. But prophets are people of firm morality, extremely scrupulous in conforming to Allah's instructions and prohibitions, possess great modesty, and know that Allah holds all power. Such slander is nothing but a baseless accusation directed at them by the envious and ignorant unbelievers.

One of their accusations is that the prophets are "imprudent," a verdict that they always deliver in mocking terms. In the Qur'an Allah gives us this example:

The ruling circle of those of his people who did not believe said: "We consider you a fool and think you are a liar." He replied: "My people, I am by no means a fool; rather, I am a messenger from the Lord of all the worlds." (Surat al-A‘raf, 66-67)

This slander, which was directed at the Prophet Hud (as), has been flung against Allah's prophets in almost every period of history. The unbelievers' mockery is immediately apparent in these words, for the prophets are known for their superior intelligence. The unbelievers target them with these calumnies in order to influence the people against them. In other words, the accusers seek to protect their own interests by preventing others from following the prophets. As in the Qur'an Allah states:

He [Pharaoh] said: "This messenger, who has been sent to you, is crazy." (Surat ash-Shu‘ara', 27)

[The ruling circle of Noah's people said:] "He is nothing but a man possessed, so wait a while and see what happens to him." (Surat al-Mu'minun, 25)

These examples show that charges of insanity or lack of intelligence are commonly directed against all prophets and believers. But in reality, as mentioned above, these baseless accusations are great honors for them. Whereas the unbelievers think that they can reduce the believers' strength, destroy their joy, and stop them from doing good works, they can do nothing of the sort. In fact, the believers interpret such mockery in their own way, which causes it to have a very different effect upon them. The unbelievers feel depressed and unhappy when they are mocked; however, the believers know that such words have been used against believers and prophets throughout history and therefore consider them as just one more sign that they are on the right path. In other words, they derive great encouragement from it. This uncomprehending and immoral behavior on the part of the unbelievers only increases the believers' strength and makes them more joyful and determined while proclaiming their faith.

Mocking the Believers' Adherence to the Qur'an

While believers act according to Allah's instructions and prohibitions, unbelievers are led around by their own selfish desires, which prevent them from being moral, upright, honorable, honest, sincere, just, pure, well-intentioned, temperate, compassionate, and truthful. On the contrary, they suggest that all types of immorality, untruthfulness, and dishonesty are perfectly reasonable. Therefore, the believers' determination to remain good and pure does not appeal to the unbelievers. When they see the believers' fine moral behavior, they see once more that their own morality is bad. But their arrogant nature causes them to reject such a thing. Thus, they want the believers to become like themselves – people who deviate from the true path. When they see that the believers continue to engage in moral behavior, they attempt to belittle their good points with insulting and mocking words:

The only response of his people was to say: "Drive the family of Lut out of your city! They are people who keep themselves pure!" (Surat an-Naml, 56)

As we know, the Prophet Lot's (as) people were ferocious and engaged in sexual perversion. Although he repeatedly summoned them to justice, truth, virtue, and purity, they rejected his calls and set themselves against him. When the Prophet Lot (as) continued to preach the truth, their hostility increased to such a point that they drew up plans to drive him and his followers out of their land. In doing so, they called Allah's wrath upon themselves and were destroyed. Allah also informed the believers that they would be richly rewarded for their forbearance. In other words, He turned the unbelievers' behavior into a great honor for the Prophet Lot (as) and his followers. In the Qur'an, Allah tells those who consider themselves to be superior to the believers just who really possesses true dignity and honor:

They say: "If we return to Madinah, the more honorable will drive out the inferior." But all honor belongs to Allah, His messenger, and the believers. However, the hypocrites do not know this. (Surat al-Munafiqun, 8)

If anyone wants glory and power, all glory and power belongs to Allah. All good words rise to Him, and He raises up all virtuous deeds. But people who plot evil deeds will suffer a harsh punishment. Their plotting is profitless. (Surah Fatir, 10)

Mocking the Prophets' Deeds

The unbelievers and the hypocrites, who lack the believers' pure and virtuous mentality, cannot understand religious concepts and spiritual matters. However, they think that they are extremely intelligent because they can understand some worldly matters. They do not want to admit that they cannot understand religious concepts. Unaware of Allah's immutable law that people who are alienated from religion cannot be intelligent since they are unaware of the terrible state they are in, they consider themselves superior and thus display the classic morality of unbelievers and mock Allah's prophets. We find frequent examples of this in the Qur'an. For instance, when the Prophet Shu`ayb (as) told his people to abandon their evil ways and selfish desires, they protested violently and mocked him, even though they knew perfectly well that he was a man of superior morality:

They said: "Shu‘ayb, do your prayers instruct you that we should abandon what our ancestors worshipped or stop doing whatever we want to with our wealth? You are clearly the forbearing, the rightly-guided!" (Surah Hud, 87)

Another example is the experience of the Prophet Noah (as), whom Allah told to build an ark in order to save his people from destruction. When he started to do so, the unbelievers among his tribe began to mock him:

It was revealed to Noah: "None of your people are going to believe, except for those who already believe, so do not be distressed at what they do. Build the ark under Our supervision and as We reveal, and do not address Me concerning the wrongdoers. They shall be drowned." He began to build the ark, and every time some nobles of his people passed him by, they ridiculed him. He said: "Though you ridicule us now, we will certainly ridicule you as you do us. You will soon know who will receive a punishment that disgraces him and find unleashed against himself an everlasting punishment." (Surah Hud, 36-39)

In the end, what Allah promised to the Prophet Noah (as) came true, and his people were destroyed. In this world, his people failed to understand Allah's power. Their own lack of intelligence caused them to regard Allah's threat of their destruction as a distant possibility from which their properties and power would protect them. But their mockery turned back on themselves and they were punished for their violent deeds in this life. And, they would find more punishment awaiting them in the hereafter. Allah warns us that the unbelievers' fate in the hereafter will be so severe that it cannot be compared with anything experienced in this world.

Making Trouble by Demanding Miracles

The unbelievers also demand that the prophets perform miracles. Thinking that they will be unable to meet this demand, they hope to put the prophets in a difficult position and demean them in the peoples' eyes:

They said: "You are merely someone bewitched. You are nothing but a human being like ourselves. We think that you are a liar. So make lumps from heaven fall down on us, if you are telling the truth." He [Shu‘ayb] replied: "My Lord knows best what you are doing." They denied him, and the punishment of the Day of Shadow fell upon them. It was indeed the punishment of a terrible Day. (Surat ash-Shu‘ara', 185-189)  

Those who do not believe ask: "Why has not a sign been sent down to him from his Lord?" (Surat ar-Ra‘d, 27)

The main reason behind these demands is the unbelievers' perverted conviction that they are superior to Allah's chosen messengers and prophets. Therefore, they impudently treat these great men with hostility and rejection. In the Qur'an Allah describes these unbelievers' distorted mentality in the following terms:

They say: "We will not believe you until you make a spring gush out from the earth for us; or have a garden of dates and grapes from which you make rivers come pouring through; or make the sky, as you claim, fall down on us in lumps; or bring Allah and the angels here as a guarantee; or possess a house built out of gleaming gold; or ascend up into heaven – and even then we will not believe in your ascent unless you bring us down a book to read!" Say: "Glory be to my Lord! Am I anything but a human messenger?" Nothing prevents people from believing when guidance comes to them but the fact that they ask: "Has Allah sent a human being as a messenger?" (Surat al-Isra', 90-94)

As mentioned earlier, in the Qur'an Allah tells us that such demands and mockery have always characterized the unbelievers' attacks against Allah's prophets and the believers. However, the unbelievers have never been able to achieve their goals, for Allah always smashes their traps and punishes them in ways that they never expect:

If We postpone the punishment for them for a limited time, they will ask: "What is holding it back?" No, indeed! The day it reaches them it will not be averted, and the things they mocked will encompass them. (Surah Hud, 8)

They ask you to hasten the punishment. If it were not for a stipulated term, the punishment would have come to them already. It will come upon them suddenly, when they are not expecting it. They ask you to hasten the punishment, but hell already encircles the unbelievers. On the Day that the punishment envelops them from above and from underneath their feet, He will say: "Taste what you were doing!" (Surat al-‘Ankabut, 53-55)

They ask: "When will this promise be fulfilled, if you are telling the truth?" Say: "It may well be that some of what you are anxious to hasten is right on your heels." (Surat an-Naml, 71-72)



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