Traps Set For the Messengers
Many accounts of the Messengers relate the opposition, assaults, plots, and accusations that the unbelievers launch against them. No Messenger has ever been exempted from such abuse. The struggle between Allah's Messengers and leading unbelievers has been going on ever since Allah sent the Prophet Adam (as) to earth.
But there is an interesting aspect to this abuse, which the elite set about opposing the Messengers but which had actually been defeated before they even began it: The leaders generally do not deny Allah's existence and thus reject His ordinances; on the contrary, they claim that they genuinely believe in Allah but lie in saying the Messenger is not Allah's envoy. They even utterly foolishly and immorally slander these holy Messengers of Allah by saying they are solely interested in their own worldly advantage. They issue another slander by saying that his followers are "deceived" and "bewitched," and, in their own foolish minds, organize themselves to "save society from him." According to their distorted logic, they think that their own traditional social organization is right and that "someone with no wealth or rank" must be trying to sow confusion and ruin the existing order for his own interests. But it is they who have strayed into perversion. The only true path is that shown by Allah and His Messenger. But those people are suffering the pain and anguish of not living by the moral values revealed by Allah. The Messenger invites them to true salvation from the disasters afflicting them. People who heed that call are acting in their own interests, while those who not are acting against those interests.
The general spiritual condition of the people who set traps for these superior, intelligent, worthy, and highly moral individuals is certainly in a state of decay. We can understand from the Qur'anic accounts that those who set traps for the Messengers are those who could easily commit murder. For example, in the Qur'an Allah tells us about the Prophet Joseph's (as) brothers, who planned to martyr him out of jealousy:
[Joseph's brothers said:] "Kill Joseph or expel him to some land so that your father will look to you alone, and then you can be people who do right." (Surah Yusuf, 9)
Those who set the trap claim to be good people. In fact, this is a major ploy that the unbelievers use to "prove" that they are working for the good of society. Leaders of unbelievers, who have literally become expert at portraying good as evil, and evil as good, strive to spread propaganda against believers by way of lies, slanders and false accusations, and carefully wage a campaign of psychological warfare. Pharaoh tried to justify threatening the Prophet Moses (as) with martyrdom because he lied that he did not want to impugn religion and to unleash disorder. In spite of his cruelty and oppression, he proclaimed himself to be the protector of society's values. The real aim here, of course, was to try to turn society against the Prophet Moses (as) by misusing areas in which people are particularly sensitive. Pharaoh's words are revealed in the Qur'an:
Pharaoh said: "Let me kill Moses, and let him call upon his Lord. I am afraid that he may change your religion and bring about corruption in the land." Surah Ghafir, , 26)
In other words, Pharaoh supposedly wanted to save the people from the Prophet Moses (as). But it was actually Pharaoh himself causing corruption on Earth, while society's true savior was the Prophet Moses (as) and the true path he called people to. This disingenuousness is a common characteristic of all unbelievers. The following conversation between the Prophet Noah (as) and the leaders of his people is related in the Qur'an:
The ruling circle of his people – those who did not believe and denied the encounter of the hereafter and to whom We had given opulence in this world – said: "This is nothing but a human being like yourselves, who eats what you eat and drinks what you drink. If you were to obey a human being like yourselves, you would, in that case, definitely be the losers. Does he promise you that when you have died and become dust and bones you will be brought forth again? What you have been promised is sheer nonsense! What is there but our life in this world? We die and we live, and we will not be raised again. What is he but a man who has invented a lie against Allah? We do not believe in him." (Surat al-Muminun, 33-38)
Such unbelieving leaders spread amazing propaganda against the Messengers. They deny one of religion's most important foundations: the existence of the hereafter. They do not admit that they reject Allah, but foolishly portray the Messengers as "inventors of lies in His name and exploiters of religion." This is certainly terribly immoral and a total lie and slander. But some people, who have lost the capacity to distinguish between right and wrong from living far removed from religious moral values, fall under the spell of this propaganda based on lies. But for believers, albeit in few in number, upon whom Allah bestows faith, these slanders, attacks and propaganda are all excellent means whereby they love the Messenger even more, become more genuinely attached to him and increase their religious fervor and excitement. That is because each one of these phenomena takes place as promised by Allah and is created as one of our Lord's wise tests. Another irrational claim that unbelievers make is that the Messengers are just normal people who eat and drink like everyone else. Therefore, there is no advantage in following them. But this is nonsense, because a Messenger is a human being who lives like everyone else – the only difference is that Allah has chosen him, made him superior with blessings from His Presence and led him to the truth. For this reason, those who obey the one true Messenger have chosen to follow a guide to the truth.
It is revealed in the Qur'an that people with no faith expect a Messenger to be an extraordinary individual, but that this is a mistake. Allah speaks of these people thus:
Nothing prevents people from believing when guidance comes to them, but the fact that they ask: "Has Allah sent a human being as messenger?" Say: "If there had been angels on earth going about in peace, We would have sent down to them an angel from heaven as a messenger." (Surat al-Isra', 94-95)
The main reason why unbelievers oppose the Messengers is not, as they untruthfully maintain, because they want to protect the people from the Messenger's ideas. Rather, it is because such people seek only their own advantage and thus are hostile to a Messenger, who is viewed as a threat to these advantages. Therefore, the leading unbelievers think they must stop a Messenger from communicating his message.
The first thing they do is spread negative propaganda about the Messenger and his message. Some classic accusations are related in the Qur'an. But it is useful here to recall an important matter: No matter what the unbelievers do to disparage a Messenger and his followers, at least in their own foolish eyes, and no matter what accusations they allege, they will fail. Contrary to what they expect, their insults, accusations, and calumnies will have no ill effect on the believers, who are aware that they will be rewarded in this life in the finest manner and the hereafter for enduring such things patiently, reacting to them properly, and holding fast to His way and religious morality.
Slanders against Messengers
Believers know that all such accusations made against them are gossip and slander created by Allah to test them. That is because it is foretold in the Qur'an that all these things will certainly befall believers. It is revealed as follows in one verse:
You will be tested in your wealth and in yourselves, and you will hear many abusive words from those given the Book before you and from the idolaters. But if you are steadfast and guard against evil, that is the most resolute course to take.(Surah Al 'Imran, 186)
Allah has promised that these tests will purify those who endure them in this world. For example, the unbelievers tried, in their own eyes, to oppress the Prophet Moses (as) with accusations and insults, but Allah exonerated him:
O you who believe! Do not be like those who abused Moses. Allah absolved him of what they said, and he was highly honored in Allah's Sight. (Surat al-Ahzab, 69)
In the same way, they leveled serious accusations against the Prophet Joseph (as) with regard to his chastity. Although everyone knew that he had preserved his chastity, that he had committed no crime, that he was an innocent and immaculate individual, and although everyone realized this and that all the evidence proved the Prophet Joseph's (as) innocence, they nonetheless threw him into prison:
Then, after they had seen the signs, they thought that they should still imprison him for a time. (Surah Yusuf, 35)
Hz. Yusuf hiçbir suçu olmadığı halde kendisine atılan iftiradan, hakkında oluşturulan şaibelerden ötürü yıllar yılı zindanda tutulmuştur. Ancak sonunda gerçek Although the Prophet Joseph (as) has committed no crime, he spent years in prison. Later on, the truth came out and he was cleared. And Allah made this holy individual responsible for the Egyptian Treasury. This is described as follows in verses:
He [the King] asked [the women]: "What was this past affair of yours when you solicited Joseph?" Then they said: "Allah forbid! We know no bad of him." The governor's wife then said: "The truth has now emerged. Indeed, I tried to seduce him then and he has simply told the honest truth." [Then Joseph said:] "In this way, he [the governor] may know at last that I did not dishonor him behind his back and that Allah most surely does not guide the deviousness of the dishonorable." (Surah Yusuf, 51-52)
After his innocence became known, the Prophet Joseph (as) came to lead his people and assume power. Allah reveals thus in verses on the subject:
He [Joseph] said: "Entrust the treasures of the land to me. In truth, I am a knowing guardian." And thus We established Joseph in the land so he could live in any place he pleased. We grant Our grace to anyone We will, and We do not allow to go to waste the wage of any people who do good. (Surah Yusuf, 55-56)
The Messengers are not concerned with being exonerated in the eyes of others. It is enough for them that All-Knowing Allah knows what they are doing and what is in their hearts. But it is revealed in the Qur'an that the pangs of hell await those who make false accusations against the Messengers and believers:
Those who accuse chaste believing women, unaware [of the evil], are cursed both in this world and the hereafter, and will have a terrible punishment on the Day when their tongues, hands, and feet will testify against them about what they were doing. On that Day, Allah will pay them in full what is due to them, and they will know that Allah is the Clear Truth. (Surat an-Nur, 23-25)
In another verse it is revealed what will happen to those who accuse believing men and women of committing sins, which they did not:
And those who abuse believing men and women when they have not merited it, [will] bear the weight of slander and clear wrongdoing. (Surat al-Ahzab, 58)
Now we will examine the accusations made against the Messengers, as well as the methods used to sully their characters.
The accusation that messengers seek their own advantage
The most frequent accusation made by the unbelievers' leaders is the totally immoral lie that the Messenger does not believe in what he proclaims, but rather is only seeking his own advantage and personal gain. Furthermore, they claim that the Messenger's "thirst for power" underlies his demand to be obeyed. The fact is, however, that Messengers are immaculate people who charge people nothing, who have no worldly expectations, who look for Allah's approval alone and who live in the hope of His mercy, good pleasure and paradise. Messengers expect nothing in worldly terms, although Allah bestows the world's finest blessings on these sincere and righteous servants of His. For example, Pharaoh and his circle claimed that the Prophet Moses (as) was not interested in calling people to religion; all he wanted was to "gain greatness in the land":
They said: "Have you come to us to turn us from what we found our fathers doing and to gain greatness in the land? We do not believe you." (Surah Yunus, 78)
It is revealed in the Qur'an that the same ugly accusation was made about the Prophet Noah (as):
We sent Noah to his people, and he said: "My people, worship Allah. You have no deity other than Him. So will you not guard against evil?" The ruling circle of his unbelieving people said: "This is nothing but a human being like yourselves who simply wants to gain ascendancy over you. If Allah had wanted, He would have sent down angels. We never heard of anything like this among our ancestors, the earlier peoples." (Surat al-Muminun, 23-24)
These verses show that one of the unbelievers' foolish errors lies in maintaining that the Messengers are ordinary people like themselves. The fact is that every Messenger is a superior and holy person in the Sight of Allah. The Prophet Moses (as) and all other Messengers, without exception, call their people to obey them – but only for the sake of gaining Allah's approval. Each Messenger and those who believe in and obey him are Allah's servants. Thus, when a Messenger calls people to obey him, he is actually calling them to serve Allah:
It is not right for any human being that Allah should give him the Book and Judgment and Prophethood, and then that he should say to people: "Worship me rather than Allah." Rather he will say: "Be people of the Lord, because of your knowledge of the Book and because you study." He would never command you to take the angels and the Prophets as Lords. Would He command you to abandon belief after being Muslim? (Surah Al 'Imran, 79-80)
However, as we have seen, Pharaoh and other leading unbelievers foolishly and supposedly claimed to be "gods" (surely Allah is beyond that). This is one of the reasons why, unless these unbelievers repent and change their ways, they will be rewarded with great torment.
The accusation that messengers are crazy
Another of the slanderous techniques frequently employed by unbelievers is to accuse the Messenger, and sometimes also the believers with him, of "madness." This foolish accusation has been made about nearly all Messengers. This is often referred to in the Qur'an. For example, the Prophet Noah (as) was called a "madman":
"He is nothing but a man possessed, so wait a while and see what happens to him." (Surat al-Muminun, 25)
Before them, the people of Noah denied the truth. They denied Our servant, saying: "He is madman," and he was driven away with jeers. (Surat al-Qamar, 9)
The same accusation was made against our Prophet (saas):
They say: "You, to whom the Reminder has been sent down, are clearly crazy. Why do you not bring angels to us if you are telling the truth?" (Surat al-Hijr, 6-7)
Do they not ponder these words? Has anything come to them that did not come to their ancestors, the previous peoples? Or is it that they do not recognize their messenger and, therefore, do not acknowledge him? Or do they say: "He is a man possessed" when he has brought the truth to them? But most of them hate the truth. (Surat al-Muminun, 68-70)
The same slander was directed against the Prophet Moses (as):
He [Pharaoh] said: "This messenger, who has been sent to you, is crazy." (Surat ash-Shu'ara', 27)
Allah tells us that all peoples tend to make false accusations against the Messengers sent to them:
Those who do not believe ask: "Shall we point out to you a man who will tell you that when you have completely disintegrated you will then be recreated all anew? Has he invented a lie against Allah, or is he possessed?" No indeed! Those who do not believe in the hereafter are in punishment and deeply misguided. (Surah Saba', 7-8)
How shall they be reminded when a clear messenger has already come to them? But then they turned away from him and said: "He is an instructed madman!" (Surat ad-Dukhan, 13-14)
Since the leading unbelievers are unable to properly appreciate the might of Allah they are also unable to comprehend the courage of the Messengers, their determination in their struggle and the source of their relevant strength and influence. While personal gain is their first criterion, a Messenger gives up his personal advantage to deliver Allah's message. Personal gain is an unbelievers' sole criterion; they observe only their own interests. In contrast, the Messenger sacrifices all his personal interests in order to preach the word. According to the distorted logic of the unbelievers, such behavior is opposed to worldly gain and is, therefore, a type of madness.
However, by forgoing this world entirely, a Messenger gains Allah's approval and mercy, as well as the promise of paradise, which nothing else can equal in value. But unbelievers cannot grasp this.
The accusation that messengers are magicians
We are also informed in the Qur'an that these leaders of unbelievers cannot understand how anyone obeys the Messenger. Even though the majority of people are opposed to the Messenger, there are still some people – believers – who understand the truths imparted by him and are sincerely devoted to him. Believers know that he is Allah's Messenger and guides them according to His ordinances. As a result, they are loyal to him and feel great love and respect for him.
This is difficult for the leading unbelievers to understand, for according to their distorted logic, the Messenger's message is nothing "but the myths of previous peoples" (Surat al-Muminun, 83). However, believers are deeply attached to these truths, which the unbelievers call "myths." The unbelievers try to dismiss, in their own eyes at least, the wisdom and striking ability to communicate of the Messenger, which he possesses as a blessing from Allah, as sorcery, brainwashing, and casting spells. According to this lie they so frequently resort to, the Messenger is brainwashing the people around him and supposedly casting a spell over them. The fact is, however, that Messengers are responsible for much that is valuable and worthy, that the unbelievers can never understand, by cleansing believers' brains of every last vestige of immorality and unpleasantness left over from the society of ignorance.
These slanders of the unbelievers are again described in the Qur'an:
Do people find it so surprising that We should reveal to a man among them: "Warn humanity and give good news to those who believe that they are on a sure footing with their Lord?" The unbelievers exclaim: "This is downright magic!" (Surah Yunus, 2)
They are surprised that a warner should come to them from among themselves. The unbelievers say: "This is a lying magician. Has he turned all the deities into One God? That is truly astonishing!" (Surah Sâd, 4-5)
They made the same accusation against the Prophet Moses (as):
And also in Moses, when We sent him to Pharaoh with clear authority. But he turned away with his forces, saying: "A magician or a madman!" (Surat adh-Dhariyat, 38-39)
The ruling circle of Pharaoh's people said: "This is certainly a skilled magician." (Surat al-A'raf, , 109)
Similarly, no messenger came to those before them without them exclaiming: "A magician or a madman!" Did they bequeath this to each other? Indeed, they are an unbridled people. (Surah Ghafir, 23-24)
The accusation that messengers are liars
Along with the above accusations, the Qur'an also mentions another: that the Messenger is a liar. One of the unbelieving leaders' main worries is that the people will accept the truth of the Messenger's message and adopt the fine moral system commanded by Allah to which he is calling them. If this happened, their own false systems, as well as their power and authority, would crumble and collapse.
The accusations mentioned above are designed to show, at least in their own eyes, that the Messenger's message is not true. They seek to camouflage the fact that a Messenger is Allah's Messenger and to convince their people that what he says is his own invention. Otherwise, almost no one would openly show hostility toward a Messenger out of fear of opposing Allah's Messenger.
In the Qur'an this accusation is revealed as follows:
The ruling circle of those of his [Hud's] unbelieving people said: "We consider you a fool and think you are a liar." (Surat al-A'raf, 66)
The ruling circle of those of his [Noah's] unbelieving people said: "We see you as no more than a human being like ourselves. We do not see anyone but the lowest of us following you, unthinkingly. We do not see you as superior to us. On the contrary, we consider you to be liars." (Surah Hud, 27)
The Thamud people denied the warnings. They said: "Are we to follow a human being, one of us? Then we would truly be misguided, quite insane! Has the Reminder been given to him from among all of us? No indeed! He is an impudent liar." (Surat al-Qamar, 23-25)
There are other accusations as well, such as ridiculing and belittling the Messengers: "We sent messengers before you among the disparate groups of previous peoples. No messenger came to them without their mocking him" (Surat al-Hijr, 10-11). They also ignore their own vices and unpleasant life styles and accuse the immaculate Messengers and their followers of "heresy" and even of "unchastity." The Prophet Joseph (as) and Hazrat Mary (as) were both accused of unchastity. Yet these slanders have in fact been a source of honor for all the Messengers, Prophets and true believers throughout the course of history, and have raised them in the Sight of Allah and the eyes of other believers many times over.
But it is absolutely certain that such accusations can never intimidate a Messenger and his followers, for their basic goal is to gain Allah's approval and mercy and to obtain the promise of paradise. For this reason, obstacles along the way never deter believers or weaken their resolve. In the Qur'an, Allah tells us about the difficulties that believers will face.
Believers know that they will be abused verbally:
You will be tested in your wealth and in yourselves, and you will hear many abusive words from those given the Book before you and from those who are idolaters. But if you are steadfast and guard against evil, that is the most resolute course to take. (Surah Al 'Imran, 186)
The Messenger and his followers pay no attention to these false accusations and slander, for they are those "who strive in the way of Allah and do not fear the blame of any censurer" (Surat al-Ma'ida, 54).
In time, the leading unbelievers will certainly notice that the accusations made against the Messenger and his followers have not achieved the desired goal. The classic behavior these leaders will then adopt is to resort to what they imagine to be more "effective" measures: they turn instead toward another piece of unpleasantness that can never bear fruit either. They try, in their own eyes, to put pressure on the Messenger.
Actual Assaults against Messengers
When a Messenger tells the people about Allah's religion, the unbelievers' leaders react more and more ferociously. When they see the true religion continue to spread despite all of their accusations and calumnies, they resort to what they consider to be more "effective," such as setting traps.
In the Qur'an one "plot" against the Messenger is revealed as follows:
When those who do not believe were plotting against you to imprison, kill, or expel you: they were plotting and Allah was plotting, but Allah is the Best of Plotters. (Surat al-Anfal, , 30)
The unbelievers' goal is to have the Messenger arrested, martyred, or expelled. The word "plot" here is thought-provoking: Instead of confronting a Messenger openly, the unbelievers resort to plots in an attempt to achieve the above-mentioned goal. But as the verse says, their plots can never harm a Messenger, for Allah will protect His Messenger until his work is completed. In the Qur'an it is revealed that nearly all of the Messengers were threatened with martyrdom, prison, or torture and that the unbelievers' threats often turned into actual assaults.
Attempts to exile Messengers
As revealed in the Qur'an, exile is one of the methods unbelievers foolishly think they can use to silence the Messengers. They think scattering a Messenger and his followers by driving them away from their homes will cause them to become powerless and that this will enable them to neutralize them. For example, they tried to exile the Prophet Lot (as) and his family because they lived pure and honest lives among their corrupt people. In the Qur'an Allah relates how they ridiculed the Prophet Lot's (as) message:
The only response of his people was to exclaim: "Drive Lot's family out of your city! They are people who keep themselves pure!" (Surat an-Naml, 56)
The Prophet Lot (as) urged his people to avoid immorality, to stay within the limits set by Allah, and to abandon their current immoral and shameful behavior. This is why they wanted to exile him and his family. But at Allah's command, as soon as the Prophet Lot (as) left his city it was destroyed by a catastrophe, and the unbelievers' trap was neutralized:
When Our command came, We turned their cities upside down and rained down upon them stones of hard baked clay piled on top of one another in layers, each one earmarked by your Lord. And they are never far from the wrongdoers. (Surah Hud, , 82-83)
Our Prophet (saas) and the believers were banished from their towns by their own people and forced to migrate elsewhere because they proclaimed Allah's existence and unity, invited people to accept the Qur'an, and prohibited them from doing evil. In one verse, Allah reveals that the Messengers were banished from their lands, but that those who exiled them were eventually destroyed:
How many cities We have destroyed, greater in strength than your city that has driven you out, and there was no one to help them. (Surah Muhammad, 13)
This is one of Allah's eternal laws. Those who exile people from their homes because of their religion cannot remain there themselves for long. The unbelievers' traps are always foiled. After our Prophet (saas) was forced to leave Makkah, he returned years later in the company of thousands of believers and established his rule over the unbelievers. To the unbelievers' surprise, the Muslims were neither divided nor scattered; rather, they were stronger and more united and, with Allah's permission, they defeated the unbelievers. This shows that alliances formed against the believers will never succeed.
Attempts to arrest and imprison the Messengers
One of the methods used by the unbelievers' leaders is to arrest and imprison the Messengers in an attempt to silence them, at least in their own eyes, and prevent them from proclaiming His way. In fact, these leaders want to totally eliminate the Messengers and all other believers. The very existence of such people makes them extremely anxious and uncomfortable. For this reason, they spare no effort or expense to silence the Messengers in order to protect their property and to perpetuate the status quo.
For example, Pharaoh threatened the Prophet Moses (as) with prison when the latter did not offer his obedience, out of the foolish and mistaken belief that this was the best way to control him. This threat is related in the Qur'an:
He [Pharaoh] said: "If you take any deity other than me, I will certainly throw you into prison." (Surat ash-Shu'ara', 29)
When we look at Islamic history, those who strived in His way were constantly subjected to pressure, cruelty, and interference by the unbelievers. And the believers also experienced similar difficulties. Since the unbelievers always feel threatened in such circumstances, those who worked to promote His way have constantly been watched, followed, and imprisoned.
Such experiences may look extremely oppressive from the outside; however, remember that believers regard them as spiritual training, for they know that such difficulties are a source of joy and contentment, a way of purification that helps them gain Allah's approval and mercy, as well as attain the promise of paradise. Such events allow them to come closer to Allah, to witness the Qur'an's truth and Allah's close interest in what happens to them.
In the Qur'an the believers' courage is revealed as follows:
... Say: "Call on your partner-deities. Try all of your wiles against me and grant me no reprieve. My Protector is Allah, Who sent down the Book. He takes care of the righteous." (Surat al-A'raf, 195-196)
Efforts to oppress, wear down, and frighten
In order to increase their spiritual reward, Allah tests the believers' patience, trust, and determination to remain faithful to Him. He may do this in many different ways, one of which He reveals in the Qur'an:
When you were few and oppressed in the land, afraid that the people would snatch you away, He gave you refuge, supported you with His help, and provided you with good things so that, hopefully, you would be thankful. (Surat al-Anfal, 26)
No matter how bereft and helpless believers may appear, Allah's mercy and assistance are always with them. In other verses Allah speaks of the armies He sends to support believers:
O you who believe! Remember Allah's blessing to you when forces came against you and We sent a wind and other forces that you could not see against them. Allah sees what you do. When they came at you from above and below, when your eyes rolled, your hearts rose to your throats, and you thought unworthy thoughts about Allah, at that point the believers were tested and severely shaken. (Surat al-Ahzab, 9-11)
In every period of history, unbelievers have always tried, in their own eyes, to intimidate believers. They always direct the brunt of their attacks against the Messengers. But because believers know that all power belongs to Allah, they are not intimidated or discouraged.
When faced with these moments of difficulty, believers realize that Allah and His Messengers have told them of these things beforehand, and so they do not lose their dignity of their trust; on the contrary, their trust and determination increase. In the Qur'an, Allah reveals the believers' determination when they confronted the Confederates:
When the believers saw the Confederates, they said: "This is what Allah and His messenger promised us. Allah and His messenger told us the truth." It only increased them in faith and submission. (Surat al-Ahzab, 22)
Attempts to Martyr Messengers
The unbelievers' cruelest assault against these individuals of the best and finest morality known to humanity is attempted martyrdom. Almost every Messenger has been faced with such an attempt. Sometimes these plots were successful; sometimes they were not. These unbelievers thought that martyring the Messengers would destroy Allah's religion and cause the believers to abandon their faith. The people's desire to martyr the Prophet Jethro (as) to death is an example of the unbelievers' resentment and hostility toward those following Allah's way:
They said: "Jethro, we do not understand much of what you say, and we see that you are weak among us. Were it not for your clan, we would have stoned you. We do not hold you in high esteem!" (Surah Hud, 91)
When Pharaoh and his circle were planning to martyr the Prophet Moses (as), Allah informed him:
A man came running from the furthest part of the city, saying: "Moses, the Council is conspiring to kill you, so leave! I am someone who brings you good advice." (Surat al-Qasas, 20)
Unbelievers also tried to martyr the Messengers through kidnappings and solitary confinement. Earlier, we gave the example of how the Prophet Joseph (as) was abandoned by his brothers in a well to expose him to hunger and thirst, and thus martyr him. And the Prophet Abraham's (as) people were frenzied enough to burn this blessed Messenger alive after he had broken their idols. But Allah miraculously rescued him from this situation. In one verse Allah says this of the Prophet Abraham (as):
The only answer of his people was to say: "Kill him or burn him!" But Allah rescued him from the fire. There are certainly signs in that for people who are believers. (Surat al-'Ankabut, 24)
As revealed in the above verse, the unbelievers' attempt to "burn" the Prophet Abraham (as) ended in failure and Allah rescued him. Allah reveals in the Qur'an that this attempt failed and that Allah protects His Messengers:
... Allah will protect you from people... (Surat al-Ma'ida, 67)
Without Allah's permission, unbelievers cannot harm a believer or a Messenger.
The Unbelievers' Traps Are Doomed to Fail from the Beginning
By taking a few physical measures, unbelievers think that they can silence a Messenger's message. However, they never consider that Allah determines the outcome of everything and that He always helps the believers. They do their best to prevent the Messenger's work, but their traps always fail and rebound upon them, no matter how well and intelligently planned they are.
Some of the verses of the Qur'an that reveal how the plots and stratagems of the unbelievers will be confounded and rebound against them read as follows:
... Allah always confounds the schemes of the unbelievers. (Surat al-Anfal, 18)
… The stratagems of the unbelievers are nothing but errors. (Surah Ghafir, 25)
They hatched a plot, and We hatched a plot while they were not aware. So look at the end result of all their plotting; We utterly destroyed them and their whole people! (Surat an-Naml, 50-51)
Or do they desire to dupe you? But the duped ones are the unbelievers. (Surat at-Tur, 42)
... But then, when a warner came to them it only increased their aversion, shown by their arrogance in the land and evil plotting. But evil plotting envelops only those who do it. Do they expect anything but the pattern of previous peoples? You will not find any changing in the pattern of Allah. You will not find any alteration in the pattern of Allah. (Surah Fatir, 42-43)
Every sort of trap, wicked ruse, accusation, and plot designed against the Messengers will turn into something good, for apart from Allah there is no power; He creates every trap and ensures that it will come to naught. In fact, He turns all traps to the believers' advantage and thereby harms the unbelievers. This person who prepares a trap for Muslims foolishly imagines he is doing it himself. The fact is, however, that he is also subject to His will. Without the slightest alteration, they set the traps just as Allah commands. In the same way, believers witness the failure of these traps just as Allah wills. Allah reveals in the Qur'an that the traps will only harm the unbelievers:
Those before them plotted, but all plotting belongs to Allah. He knows what each self earns, and the unbelievers will soon know who has the Ultimate Abode. (Surat ar-Ra'd, 42)
And likewise in every city We set up its greatest wrongdoers to plot in it. They plot against themselves alone, but they are not aware of it. (Surat al-An'am, 123)
Allah also reveals in the Qur'an that no matter how damaging the trap may be, it cannot overcome what Allah has willed. To the unbelievers, these plots are seen as proofs of their power. But Allah has prepared a response for these people, and He always keeps His promise. This is one of His unchanging laws. This law is set out in several verses of the Qur'an. Some of the verses concerned read:
Our Word was given before to Our servants, the messengers, that they would certainly be helped. Our army will be victorious. (Surat as-Saffat, 171-173)
We showed great kindness to Moses and Aaron. We rescued them and their people from their terrible plight. We supported them, and so they were the victors. (Surat as-Saffat, 114-116)
Allah has written: "I will be victorious, I and My messengers." Allah is Most Strong, Almighty. (Surat al-Mujadala, 21)
As for those who make Allah their friend, and His messenger and those who believe: It is the party of Allah that is victorious! (Surat al-Ma'ida, 56)
The lives of Allah's Messengers are full of examples of victories obtained over the unbelievers' plots. For example, Pharaoh killed all male children who had been born during a particular period, foolishly imagined he took precautions, and oppressed believers, but he still could not hinder the Prophet Moses (as). During the Hegira the pagans of Mecca followed our Prophet (saas) and sought to martyr him, but Allah miraculously protected him in a cave .
The people tried to burn the Prophet Abraham (as) alive, but Allah cooled it for him so that he could survive. The Prophet Joseph's (as) brothers threw him into a well, but Allah rescued him and had an Egyptian king put him in charge of the nation's treasures. They tried to martyr the Prophet Jesus (as), but Allah raised him to heaven. Again and again He foiled their traps in the most unexpected way. Allah creates what and when He wills, and gives victory to His Messengers.
Allah Knows All of Their Traps
Unbelievers, who have no knowledge of Allah's power, think that no one is aware of their traps for the Messengers. Quietly and behind closed doors, they make their cruel and unjust decisions. But they are mistaken in their assumption that such secrecy hides them, for Allah knows all secrets and is aware of every detail. Allah is everywhere. He hears all words and sees all things. As He reveals in the Qur'an:
Do you not see that Allah knows what is in the heavens and on earth? Three men cannot confer together secretly without Him being the fourth, or five without Him being the sixth, or fewer than that or more without Him being with them wherever they are. Then He will inform them on the Day of Resurrection of what they did. Allah has knowledge of all things. (Surat al-Mujadala, 7)
Allah reveals in many verses how futile and useless are the efforts of the unbelievers, who unite their forces and plot evil actions against good people, to conceal their wickedness.
They try to conceal themselves from people, but they cannot conceal themselves from Allah. He is with them when they spend the night saying things that are not pleasing to Him. Allah encompasses everything they do. (Surat an-Nisa', 108)
It makes no difference whether you keep secret what you say or voice it out loud, whether you hide in the night or go out in the day. (Surat ar-Ra'd, 10)
Do not consider Allah to be unaware of what the wrongdoers perpetrate. He is merely deferring them to a Day on which their sight will be transfixed. (Surah Ibrahim, 42)
Unable to immediately see the reward of their trickery, the plotters deceive themselves. Despite all of Allah's Messengers' warnings, they persist in their wickedness. Allah is aware of each of their plans, but gives them a certain amount of time. So, believers who know of His promise endure their oppression with patient trust.
I will allow them more time. My device is sure. (Surat al-Qalam, 45)
They are hatching a plot. I too am hatching a plot. So bear with the unbelievers – bear with them for a while. (Surat at-Tariq, 15-17)
Do not imagine that the unbelievers have gotten ahead. They are quite powerless. (Surat al-Anfal, 59)
He [Noah] began to build the Ark, and every time some nobles of his people passed 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, 38-39)
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)
imparts this good news read:
They desired to trap him, but We made them the losers. (Surat al-Anbiya', 70)
If anyone wants power, all 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)
Or do they desire to dupe you? But the duped ones are the unbelievers. (Surat at-Tur, 42)