Comforting the Prophet
In Ayah 33, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala comforts His Messenger sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam in his grief over his people’s denial and defiance of him.
We know indeed the grief which their words cause you; it is not you that they deny, but it is the ayaat of Allah that the wrongdoers deny.
Muhammad bin Ishaq mentioned that Az-Zuhri said that Abu Jahl, Abu Sufyan Sakhr bin Harb and Al-Akhnas bin Shurayq once came to listen to the Prophet reciting the Qur’an at night, but these three men were not aware of the presence of each other. So they listened to the Prophet’s recitation until the morning, and then left. They met each other on their way back and each one of them asked the others, “What brought you”. So they mentioned to each other the reason why they came. They vowed not to repeat this incident so that the young men of Quraysh would not hear of what they did and imitate them.
On the second night, each one of the three came back thinking that the other two would not come because of the vows they made to each other. In the morning, they again met each other on their way back and criticized each other, vowing not to repeat what they did. On the third night, they again went to listen to the Prophet and in the morning they again vowed not to repeat this incident.
During that day, Al-Akhnas bin Shurayq took his staff and went to Abu Sufyan bin Harb in his house saying, “O Abu Hanzalah! What is your opinion concerning what you heard from Muhammad?” Abu Sufyan said, “O Abu Tha`labah! By Allah, I have heard some things that I recognize and know their implications. I also heard some things whose meaning and implications were unknown to me.” Al-Akhnas said, “And I the same, by He Whom you swore by!”
Al-Akhnas left Abu Sufyan and went to Abu Jahl and asked him, “O Abu Al-Hakam! What is your opinion about what you heard from Muhammad?” Abu Jahl said, “We competed with Bani `Abd Manaf (the Prophet’s sub-tribe) and so we fed as they fed and gave away as they gave away. So, when we were neck and neck with them, just as two horses in a race, they said, ‘There is a Prophet from among us, to whom revelation from the heaven comes.’ So how can we ever beat them at that By Allah we will never believe in him or accept what he says.” This is when Al-Akhnas left Abu Jahl and went away.
The Prophet sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam had lived 40 years with these people. The entire Makkah gave testimony to his truthfulness and honesty but when Prophethood came to him, the people rejected him. They called him a magician and sorcerer. Some men from his own family and tribe denied him.
Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala was witnessing this denial and the grief that the Prophet sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam suffered. The same has been mentioned in the Qur’an at numerous places. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala says,
It may be that you are going to kill yourself with grief, that they do not become believers. [Qur’an 26:3]
Now in Surah al-Anaam Ayah 33, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala is comforting His Messenger that Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala knows about their denial of the Prophet and his sadness and sorrow for them but it is not “him” that they deny but rather “the Ayaat of Allah”.
Other Prophets Faced the Same Denial
Reassuring the Prophet sallAllahu `alayhi wa sallam that it is the truth that they reject and not him, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala then gives the examples of previous Prophets `alayhi salaam.
Verily, (many) Messengers were denied before you, but with patience they bore the denial, and they were hurt, till Our help reached them, and none can alter the Words of Allah. Surely, there has reached you the information about the Messengers (before you).
This comforts the Prophet’s concern for those who denied and rejected him. Allah also commands the Prophet to be patient, just as the mighty Messengers before him were. He also promised him victory, just as the previous Messengers were victorious and the good end was theirs, after the denial and harm their people placed on them. Then, victory came to them in this life, just as victory is theirs in the Hereafter.
“…and none can alter the Words of Allah…” refers to His decision that victory in this life and the Hereafter is for His believing servants. As Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala said,
And, verily, Our Word has gone forth of old for Our servants, the Messengers. That they verily would be made triumphant. And that Our hosts, they verily would be the victors.” [Qur’an 37:171-173]
Allah has decreed: ‘Verily! It is I and My Messengers who shall be the victorious.’ Verily, Allah is All-Powerful, Almighty. [Qur’an 58:21]
Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala ends Surah al-Anaam Ayah 34 by saying, surely, there has reached you the information about the Messengers (before you) who were given victory and prevailed over the people who rejected them. You (O Muhammad) have a good example in them.
– When we are going through a test or are in suffering, a word of comfort spoken at that time by anyone means a lot. In the Ayah, we learn not to be sad and have good hope in Allah.
– A person who rejects the da’ee doesn’t really have a problem with the da’ee but rather the message that is being brought. For example, when we are studying religion we trying to adopt and practice some good habits. When we are outside our study circle and meet people who are not practicing religion some problems arise. We meet a friend who wants to gossip with us about this and that. We try to stop, “Listen I don’t gossip anymore. This may be backbiting someone and I don’t want to do that.” Our friend would say, “You have changed.” They may also add a few more comments to that but they cannot accept the situation. Now the problem is not with “you” but rather their denial of the message that you are practicing.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala free people of their sorrows and grief, relieve them of their worries and bless steadfastness and sincerity to the people who want to practice religion in its entirety, aameen.
DOWNLOAD PDF: Al Anaam Ayaat 33 and 34