Demand for Another Miracle
Ayah 8 was also revealed because of another event that concerned Abdullah ibn Abi Umaiyyah who accompanied by Nadr ibn al-Harith and Nawfal ibn Khiilid came to the Prophet salAllahu aalyhi wa sallam.
This time their demand was, “We shall believe in you only when you go and bring a book from the heavens and let four angels come along with it to testify that the book was from none but Allah and that you are the Messenger of Allah.”
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala replied to this demand in ayah 8 and ayah 9,
وَقَالُواْ لَوْلا أُنزِلَ عَلَيْهِ مَلَكٌ وَلَوْ أَنزَلْنَا مَلَكاً لَّقُضِىَ الاٌّمْرُ ثُمَّ لاَ يُنظَرُونَ
“And they say: Why has not an angel been sent down to him. Had We sent down an angel, the matter would have been judged at once, and no respite would be granted to them.”
In this ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala tells us that by making such demands these people were inviting their own destruction. When people ask their prophet to show a miracle of their choice, and as a result of their demand, such miracle is shown by the Power and Will of Allah, then, should they still remain reluctant to believe and accept faith, they will be destroyed by a mass general punishment.
As Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says in Surah al-Hijr Ayah 8,
مَا نُنَزِّلُ الْمَلَـئِكَةَ إِلاَّ بِالحَقِّ وَمَا كَانُواْ إِذًا مُّنظَرِينَ
“We send not the angels down except with the truth (i.e. for torment, etc.), and in that case, they (the disbelievers) would have no respite!”
Angels are sent with a purpose; they bring punishment or they come to re-collect the soul i.e. death. If the angels come down then people are finished.
These particular people of Makkah were really not making their demands as based on any good intentions which may have at the least given some hope of their accepting the truth.
Therefore, it was said وَلَوْ أَنزَلْنَا مَلَكاً لَّقُضِىَ الاٌّمْرُ (“…Had We sent down an angel, the matter would have been judged at once…”) There would be no more time for repentance.
After telling that angels descend by the Will of Allah only to give punishment or to take soul away, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
وَلَوْ جَعَلْنَـهُ مَلَكاً لَّجَعَلْنَـهُ رَجُلاً وَلَلَبَسْنَا عَلَيْهِم مَّا يَلْبِسُونَ
“And had We appointed him an angel, We indeed would have made him a man, and We would have certainly caused them confusion in a matter which they have already covered with confusion.”
Angels can come down in only two forms; their real form or in the shape of a human being. No human has the strength to see the angels in their real form. He is more likely to die on seeing an angel. As for taking the shape of humans, this is how Angel Jibraeel aalyhi salaam used to come to the Prophet salAllahu aalyhu wa sallam as a questioner to teach a subject to general public. Similarly, an angel came in the form of human being to Mariam aalyhi salaam.
Now, if an angel comes in the human form and it is told it’s an angel; people will be confused because no one will believe that to be true. Therefore, it was said, وَلَلَبَسْنَا عَلَيْهِم مَّا يَلْبِسُونَ (“… and We would have certainly caused them confusion in a matter…”) It’s not going to solve the problem. The matter will remain obscure.
– We learn about the arrogance of those who don’t want to believe. For example, when we want to do something we immediately do it. When we don’t want to do something we keep coming up with excuses.
– We learn about the kufr of the people who made these demands.
– Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala refutes each excuse logically. So when you are discussing something with someone always quote from Qur’an and Sunnah, and also use simple logic. For example, when people say that the Prophet salAllahu aalyhi wa sallam is alive in his grave and he can hear us. Wouldn’t it be more logical that if he was still alive he was on earth among us to guide us instead of being inside the grave where we can’t reach him? Similarly, people say the Prophet salAllahu aalyhi wa sallam was not a human being therefore we can’t be like him. He was created from Noor. No. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala states in the Qur’an he was a human being like us. Therefore, we should refute the false claims of people as logically as Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala teaches us through Qur’an.
After seeing truth, a person should accept it. He should not come up with silly excuses and questions.