Allah Saves Believers from Unbelievers’ Stratagems
Without exception, those who have reacted with hostility to the communication of religion have been unbelievers. They have always outnumbered the believers and incited other people against them. This is one of Allah’s laws and, as the Qur’an tells us, Allah’s laws cannot be altered. Thus, thinking on the Qur’anic verses, we can learn the stages of this ongoing struggle and how Allah ends it.
In earlier chapters, we saw the unbelievers’ violent reactions against the believers who sought to communicate religion and learned that the basic reason for this was their close relationship with satan. We saw that ruling circles have made many threats, often consisting of intimidation and attempted murder, against believers. Now we will see how believers bring their attempts to communicate religion to an end.
When believers realize that the person or society they are calling to Islam will not become Muslim, they stop their efforts. In such a situation, the only thing that can be done is to end their relationship with that society. At that point, Allah, in His mercy, will separate the believers from the unbelievers and give the latter what they deserve: a great misery that will destroy them.
When Our messengers [the angels] came with the good news to Ibrahim, they said: “We are going to destroy the people of this city. Truly its inhabitants are wrongdoers.” He (Ibrahim) said: “Lut is in it.” They (the messengers) said: “We know very well who is in it. We are going to rescue him and his family–except for his wife. She will be one of those who stay behind.” When Our messengers came to Lut, he was distressed on their account, feeling incapable of protecting them. They said: “Do not fear and do not grieve. We are going to rescue you and your family–except for your wife; she will be one of those who stay behind.” (Surat al-‘Ankabut: 31-33)
Then when Our command came, We rescued Salih and those who believed along with him by a mercy from Us from the disgrace of that day. Your Lord is the All-Strong, the Almighty. (Surah Hud: 66)
But they denied him (Nuh), so We rescued him and those with him in the Ark. And We drowned the people who denied Our Signs. They were a blind people. (Surat al-A‘raf: 64)
After the rescue, all the tyrants were led to destruction:
Has the news of those who came before them not reached them, the people of Nuh, ‘Ad, and Thamud; and the people of Ibrahim and the inhabitants of Madyan and the overturned cities? Their Messengers brought them the Clear Signs. Allah did not wrong them; rather, they wronged themselves. (Surat at-Tawba: 70)
These instances of destruction have come to light in modern archaeological investigations. In this way, information given in the Qur’an has been corroborated by external evidence. Thus, it is seen once again that the verses have a deterrent nature. Now we will see how unbelieving societies came to destruction.
The destroyed people of Lut
The people of Lut (as), who called him a liar, were the first people to practice homosexuality. Allah describes how He sent down a plague and put out their eyes, how a great blast seized their city, how He turned their cities upside down, and how stones of hard-baked clay rained down upon them.
The destruction of Pharaoh
The punishment inflicted on Pharaoh and his supporters is described in the following terms: they were pursued with a curse in this world and they will appear as hideous and spurned people on the Day of Resurrection. Allah describes how He has expelled them from springs and gardens, from treasures and a splendid situation. He goes on to say that their army was drowned and that years of drought and scarcity were sent so that Pharaoh and his people would come to their senses and listen. He describes how He sent them plagues of floods, locusts, lice, frogs, and blood as well as signs, but that they were arrogant and doers of evil.
He says that He utterly destroyed what Pharaoh and his people had made and the buildings they had constructed, and inflicted the harshest punishment upon them.
The torment of the people of Thamud
The punishment inflicted on the people of Thamud, who did not believe Prophet Salih (as), consisted of mass destruction: their wrecked, abandoned, and ruined dwellings were left standing as a deterrent to others, they spent the night on their knees because of the terrible noise, they were caught up in earthquakes, they resembled dry grass being scythed down, and they were struck by lightning as they looked on.
The flood that engulfed Nuh’s (as) people
Nuh’s (as) unbelieving people, who oppressed those with him, were drowned in a terrible flood. As Allah said previously, they were seized hold of inexorably by the “great blast” and turned into dirty scum.
The torment of the people of ‘Ad
The terrible torments inflicted on the people of ‘Ad ended in their total destruction and eradication.
An unbearable noise strikes the people of Madyan
The punishment inflicted on the people of Madyan, who were hostile toward Prophet Shu‘ayb (as), caused them to be seized by a terrible noise. In addition, the oppressors spent the night on their knees in their own homes, as if they had never known any comfort. Pitiless tremors assailed them, and they were found flattened in their own homes.
All of these events happened to those unbelieving societies that rejected Allah and religion. Remains of several destroyed civilizations have been preserved until today to serve as warnings:
Whole societies have passed away before your time, so travel throughout the land and see the final fate of the unbelievers. (Surah Al ‘Imran: 137)
Those who ignore religious morality or who are lax in this regard should be afraid of experiencing the same things that befell the people of ‘Ad or Madyan.