By Sikandar Azam
The Qur’ān, as we know, was revealed to God’s Last Messenger ﷺ. Man is the subject of this Divine Book. All its teachings move around how man can attain ultimate success here in this world as well as in the life to come. This is why the Book prescribes dos and don’ts for man. If man follows the teachings, acts thereupon to lead a pious and trustworthy, careful and responsible life, he is likely to attain success and eventually be blessed with a blissful seat in the Paradise. If not, the Qur’ān warns man of divine chastisement and punishment in the Hell.
The ayahs of the Qur’ān were revealed in a long period of 23 years. When some ayahs were revealed, the believers and the unbelievers naturally responded to them differently. The believers took them as revealed by the Lord. But the unbelievers always cast aspersions thereupon. They responded with ridicule, persisting in their playful negligence coupled with arrogance.
The Qur’ān (21: 1-3) records their behaviour: “Closer to people draws their reckoning, yet they continue to blithely turn away. Whenever there comes to them any new reminder from their Lord, they listen to it but take it in jest; their hearts set on pleasure. Yet, concealing their inner thoughts, the wrongdoers say to one another: Is this man anything but a human being like yourselves? Will you, then, follow his sorcery with your eyes open?”
This is a sordid picture of hearts that know no sincerity and seriousness. They do not know that jesting when the situation is most serious, and trifling with what is sacred can invite Divine chastisement. The Qur’ānic reminder given to them here reminds them that it is from ‘their Lord’, yet they are playful as they listen to it, showing no respect whatsoever.
They are dead at their hearts. This is why they make every effort to resist its influence with false excuses and baseless charges against the Messenger ﷺ. The ayah records their whispering to one another that Muhammad ﷺ is a man. They wonder how they could believe a message presented by a human being like themselves. They allege that his teachings are nothing but plain magic, and ask how they could surrender themselves to sorcery when they have eyes with which to look. This is the lame excuse of the unbelievers. With this attitude of non-compliance to the Divine call, success cannot be achieved. What this attitude can yield is conflict, chaos and anarchy in the world and a life devoid of peace and contentment. On the other hand, a sincere and responsible response to the Divine call promises a purposeful, healthy life here and ultimate success in the hereafter.