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Allah Demeans the Unbelievers in This Life

Those who foolishly mock Allah's religion and revelation, as well as His prophets and those who follow them, have always existed. Incapable of praising Allah's power and greatness, they live heedless lives and overlook the fact that they will be punished for their deeds. They continue to hold this attitude, even though in the Qur'an Allah tells them that the punishment they regard as being far in the future is, in reality, very close at hand:

They deny the truth each time it comes to them, but news of what they were mocking will certainly reach them. (Surat al-An‘am, 5)

Messengers before you were also mocked, but those who jeered were engulfed by what they mocked. (Surat al-Anbiya', 41)

… every time some nobles of his people passed him by, they ridiculed him. He [Nuh] 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, 38-39)

There is no doubt that these people will be punished for their sins in the hereafter. However, this punishment also reaches them while they are still in this world. They mock the believers and the prophets sent by Allah, and Allah mocks them. Allah makes this absolutely clear:

But Allah is mocking them and drawing them on as they wander blindly in their excessive insolence. (Surat al-Baqara, 15)

By misusing the time allotted to them, the unbelievers fall into a terrible trap. Throughout their lives they struggle against the Qur'an's morality, Allah's prophets, and the believers, thinking that they will suffer no negative consequences. In fact, no matter how arrogant they may be in this life, they will die and be buried whenever Allah wills this to happen. Allah withdraws the property of which they are so proud and leaves their bodies to rot beneath the ground. All of this is inescapable – they will die just like everybody else. Their mortality and inability to escape death are the greatest proofs of their desperate position.

Moreover, Allah sends a lot of trouble, concern, and difficulty to these people. While they believe themselves superior, all that happens to them reveals just how helpless they really are. Allah gives us several examples in the Qur'an of the state into which the unbelievers will fall. In the coming pages, we will speak of those who engage in mockery and the end that awaits them.

The End of Those Who Mock Others

Pharaoh has gone down in history as a byword for unbelief and cruelty. In the Qur'an Allah describes his arrogant attitude and that of his court:

Then We sent Moses and his brother Aaron, with Our signs and clear authority, to Pharaoh and his ruling circle. But they were a proud and haughty people. (Surat al-Mu'minun, 45-46)

Pharaoh tried to misguide his people just as he denied the truth. He impudently made special arrangements to belittle the Prophet Moses (as) and mock him in front of everybody. But in reality, he was the one who was brought low. One day he brought his sorcerers to challenge the Prophet Moses (as), supposing they would be superior and thus demean the prophet. But the outcome was not what he expected: Allah enabled the Prophet Moses (as) to defeat their magic and thereby embarrass Pharaoh and his entourage. In the Qur'an Allah describes it in the following words:

He [Moses] said, "You throw [first]." And when they threw, they cast a spell on the people's eyes and caused them to feel great fear of them. They produced an extremely powerful magic. We revealed to Moses, "Throw down your staff." And it immediately swallowed up what they had forged. So the Truth took place and what they did was shown to be false. (Surat al-A`raf, 116-118)

All of the traps set by Pharaoh failed, and Allah tells us that what happened to him is an example for everybody to ponder:

We brought the tribe of Israel across the sea, and Pharaoh and his troops pursued them out of tyranny and enmity. Then, when he was on the point of drowning, he [Pharaoh] said: "I believe that there is no deity but Him in Whom the tribe of Israel believes. I am one of the Muslims." "What, now! When previously you rebelled and were one of the corrupters? Today We will preserve your body so you can be a sign for people who come after you." (Surah Yunus, 90-92)

Obviously, Pharaoh met with an end that he did not expect at all. He realized the situation when he saw the giant waves approaching him, and finally understood that there is no deity but Allah and that only Allah could protect him. For the first time, Pharaoh, who had spent his entire life in arrogant revolt against Allah, felt the need to take refuge in Him. Of course, this was not a sincere submission, because it was designed to escape the danger confronting him. Therefore, Allah did not accept it. Taking refuge in Allah at times of danger and then returning to their former ingratitude when the danger has passed is a common characteristic of people who do not live according to the Qur'an's morality. They pass their whole lives in mocking, resisting, and displaying hostility toward the faith, and then think that they can save themselves by submitting when faced with a crisis. But Allah never allows such a plan to succeed.

This is exactly what Pharaoh did when he realized that all true power, omnipotence, and greatness belong only to Allah. He deceived himself when he said, "I submit," thinking that mere words would save him. Allah belittled and demeaned him when, while he was hoping for rescue, He saved only his body in order to make him an example to later generations. Pharaoh's vast worldly power and wealth, which allowed him to live in palaces and have thousands of slaves and soldiers at his beck and call, were not enough to save him from the raging waves or from falling into a shameful state. This was his repayment for his mocking and dismissive behavior toward religion. Now he is not in a position to mock; rather, he himself is mocked. His fate and that of his army is a very important example:

Such was the case with Pharaoh's people and those before them. They denied their Lord's signs, so We destroyed them for their wrong actions. We drowned Pharaoh's people. All of them were wrongdoers. (Surat al-Anfal, 54)

Allah has humbled many such proud societies that indulged in various forms of depravity. For example, the ‘Ad people, who were notorious for their depravity, were destroyed by "a howling wind." After this event, these extremely arrogant people resembled "the hollow stumps of uprooted palms":

The ‘Ad people were arrogant in the land, without any right, asking: "Who has greater strength than us?" Did they not see that Allah, Who created them, had greater strength than them? But they renounced Our signs. So, We sent a howling wind against them on disastrous ill-fated days to make them taste the punishment of degradation in this world. And the punishment of the hereafter is even more degrading. They will not be helped. (Surah Fussilat, 15-16)

The ‘Ad people were destroyed by a savage, howling wind. Allah subjected them to it for seven whole nights and eight whole days without a break. You could see the people flattened in their homes, just like the hollow stumps of uprooted palms. (Surat Al-Haqqa, 6-7)

Allah allots the unbelievers a certain amount of time in the world. But if they persist in their depravity and mockery, He repays them for it in a very violent way when their allotted period ends. In particular, there is a definite punishment for crimes committed against Allah's prophets. Allah avenges His prophets and the believers as He reveals in the Qur'an:

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)

In another verse, Allah warns the unbelievers who mock the prophets that their evil will definitely harm them:

The evil deeds they did will appear before them, and the things they mocked will engulf them. (Surat al-Jathiyya, 33)

Based on our analysis so far, we can see that people who mock religion and the believers cannot escape Allah's punishment. As Allah tells us, anyone who indulges in depravity, resists the faith, or regards himself as superior to others will encounter a variety of serious problems in this life. In the Qur'an Allah also tells us that any punishment meted out here will be nothing like that which will be handed down in the hereafter:

Then the final fate of those who did evil will be the worst, because they denied Allah's signs and mocked them. (Surat ar-Rum, 10)


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