(O Prophet!) If they give the lie to you, then before them the people of Noah, ‘Ād and Thamud, also gave the lie (to Prophets), and so too did the people of Abraham and the people of Lot; and so did the dwellers of Midian; and Moses too was branded a liar. Initially I granted respite to the unbelievers for a while and then seized them. How dreadful was My punishment! How many towns have We destroyed for their people were steeped in iniquity: so they lie fallen down upon their turrets! How many wells lie deserted and how many towering places lie in ruins?”

(Al-Qur’ān – 22:42-5)

No people in the past were visited with God’s scourge immediately after they rejected the Prophet sent to them, calling him a liar. On the contrary, each people was granted respite several times in order that they might understand and mend their ways. Yet each of them was eventually punished after all the dictates of justice had been fully met.

The Makkan unbelievers should, therefore, not misperceive that they have not as yet been punished and they should not look upon the warnings of the Prophet ﷺ as hollow and baseless. They should instead realise that the respite which they are enjoying has been granted to them in keeping with God’s way of dealing with nations to whom He sends Prophets. If they do not make proper use of the respite granted to them, they are bound to meet the same fate as that of their predecessors and be subjected to an awesome punishment.

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