Ayaat 10-14 ― Be Patient and Keep Away from the Evil Doers
The previous ayaat were about how one could strengthen their spiritual bond with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and come closer to Him. When a person builds a strong relationship with his Creator and considers Him his Wakeel, then he must remain patient with what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala chooses for him. Since in these ayaat Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is preparing the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for his great mission, he is being advised how he must go about it. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
In the early days of Islam, one of the Prophet’s greatest enemies were his own relatives, his uncles and the people that he grew up with. It was both hurtful and disturbing for the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to see his loved ones turning against him. He could, however, not abandon his family. Therefore, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala commands him to be patient with what they say about him. There was no point in arguing with them or responding to them in the same manner. Rather, what he should do was to keep away from them gracefully. Meaning, he should not show any trace of grief or anger.
As we have studied, the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was a noble man even before he was assigned Prophethood. He was not known to be ill-mannered or abusive. The reason why Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala made this instruction part of the Qur’an is that the foolish ones can know being quiet or not responding to someone’s abusive remarks is not a sign of weakness rather it is the way of the noble ones.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala assures the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that He will take care of the deniers. The disbelievers are warned with threats of a blazing Fire and a painful torment.
The word ankalan [أَنكَالاً] is the plural of the word nikl (noon-kaf-laam) and it means ‘shackles, fretters or chains’. Specifically, it means those chains that are used to bind animals. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala warns the deniers of the truth that heavy fretters will be placed on their feet which will bind them from standing up or moving. They will be given food that chokes. Explaining this ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “This means it will get stuck in the throat and it will not enter or come out.”
The mountains will turn into crumbling dunes of fine sand after they had been firm rocks. Then because of the shaking of the earth all the mountains will be destroyed and nothing of them will remain. The sand from the mountains will scatter and the whole earth will turn into an empty leveled plain with no curvature to be seen. There will be no valleys or hills. We read a similar description in Surah Ta-Ha ayaat 105-107, “And they ask you concerning the mountains, say: ‘My Lord will blast them and scatter them as particles of dust. Then He shall leave it as a level smooth plain. You will see therein nothing crooked or curved.’”
Ayaat 15-19 ― Take Heed before it’s too Late
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reminds the deniers of what happened with the earlier nations. Pharaoh was sent Prophet Musa (Moses) ‘alayhi salaam but he denied him and was therefore struck with Allah’s punishment. The deniers of Makkah should take heed and stop denying and persecuting the Messenger of Allah, salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
Prophets are sent to a people to deliver to them the message of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. They convey to the people what Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala expects from them and how to live their lives. Whether people follow the Messenger or deny him, these Messengers are witness over their people in this life and the next. On the Judgment Day, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will ask them about how their people treated them and the Messengers will narrate the account of their acknowledgement or denial.
By mentioning this here, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reminds the people that they should beware of denying this Messenger, salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, lest they be afflicted by that which befell Fir’awn and the earlier nations. We read in Surah an-Nazi’at ayah 25,
فَأَخَذَهُ اللَّهُ نَكَالَ الاٌّخِرَةِ وَالاٍّوْلَى
“So Allah seized him with punishment for his last and first transgression,” (79:25)
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “Then how can you avoid the punishment, if you disbelieve, on a Day that will make the children grey-headed,” (73: 17), meaning how can you attain safety for yourselves from the Day of great horror where young children would age due to its burden and heaviness. The earth will be shaking and there will be utter confusion. It has been recorded that on the Judgment Day, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will address Prophet Adam ‘alayhi salaam and say, “Send a group to the Fire.” Prophet Adam will ask, “How many?” Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala will say, “From every thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine to the Fire, and one to Paradise.” Pause and reflect on this narration for a moment, from every thousand only ONE person will enter Jannah, the remaining will end up in the Hellfire. We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to choose us to be from Ahlul-Jannah (people of Jannah), aameen.People should be afraid that if they are not being punished for their behavior in this world then Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is only given a respite. On the Judgment Day, everyone will face the punishment that they deserve. And the punishment of the Hereafter will be severe and lasting.
Due to the severity and the horrors of that Day, the heaven will be cleft asunder. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala ends this threat by saying, “His promise is certainly to be accomplished,” (73: 18) . This means it will occur and there is no way around it, and it will come to pass and there is no avoiding it.