They ask you to hasten the punishment. Allah shall most certainly not fail His promise; but a Day with your Lord is as a thousand years of your reckoning. How many towns did I respite at first though they were steeped in inequity, and then I seized them? To Me are all destined to return. Say (O Muhammad!): ‘O people! I have been sent to you only as a warner (before the Doom strikes you).’ So those who believe and act righteously shall be granted forgiveness and an honourable sustenance, whereas those who strive against Our Signs, (seeking to profane them), they are the friends of the Fire!”

(Al-Qur’ān – 22:47-51)

This refers to the ludicrous statement repeatedly made by the Makkan unbelievers to the effect that if Muhammad ﷺ was indeed a Prophet sent by God then why had his detractors not been visited by the scourge that ought to afflict those who deny a true Prophet? Why did such a scourge not specifically visit them even though they had repeatedly been warned by their Prophet that were they to deny him they would be seized by a calamity?

It is preposterous to think that the consequences of obeying or disobeying God’s injunctions can be observed instantly. It is also absurd for them to retort that they have taken that course for the last ten, or twenty years, and still no calamity has befallen them. For it often takes not days, months or years, but centuries for the consequences of a people’s behaviour to become fully evident.

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