The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) has compassionately insisted that people accept the faith on the basis of voluntary acceptance and not through compulsion.
وَمَا كَانَ لِنَفْسٍ أَنْ تُؤْمِنَ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَيَجْعَلُ الرّجْسَ عَلَى الَّذِينَ لاَ يَعْقِلُونَ ﴿100﴾
- No soul can believe except by the Will of Allah, and He will place Doubt on those who will not understand.
People are neither compelled to accept the faith (according to the previous verse) nor can they succeed in accepting the faith without His guidance and Divine Providence.
Divine favor and Divine Providence shine their light upon the sage and those people who use their reasoning and he who does not meditate and reason under his own volition, will suffer His Punishment and will abide in wretchedness.
Sound reasoning provides the basis for faith and having no faith exhibits ignorant and irrational behavior.
قُلِ انْظُرُوا مَاذَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ وَمَا تُغْنِي الاَيَاتُ وَالنُّذُرُ عَن قَوْمٍ لاَّ يُؤْمِنُونَ ﴿101﴾
- Say: “Behold all that is the heavens and on earth: But neither Signs nor Warners profit those who believe not.”
In the previous verses the issue in question was that faith is a voluntary matter; it is not a matter that springs up in emergency situations, nor is it compulsory. It is for this reason that the means of acquiring faith is shown in this verse. Addressing the Prophet (p.b.u.h.), the Qur’an says that he should say to the unbelievers to carefully observe the wonderful, profound system at work in the skies and on the earth each part of which exhibits the magnitude, power, knowledge and wisdom of God.
The above sentence explicitly rules out the issue of fatalism and the lack of freedom of will, it says that accepting faith is consequential upon studying the cosmos which is a task left entirely in our hands.
The Qur’an adds, however, that despite all these verses and clues to the Truth, is it not surprising that some groups do not become believers, for those verses and clues, warnings and admonishments not only are of no benefit to those who lack preparedness for embracing the Truth, but they are not useful for those obstinate people who will not become believers either.
فَهَلْ يَنْتَظِرُونَ إِلاَّ مِثْلَ أَيَّامِ الَّذِينَ خَلَوْا مِن قَبْلِهِمْ قُلْ فَانْتَظِرُوا إِنّي مَعَكُم مِنَ الْمُنتَظِرِينَ ﴿102﴾
- Do they then expect (anything) but (what happened in) the days of the men who passed away before them? Say: “Wait ye then, for I, too, will wait with you.”
This verse is in the form of a question with a threatening tone, it declares that obstinate and faithless people expect to see a destiny other than that of former nations which suffered the painful Divine Punishment; the doom of Pharaohs, the Nimrods, Shaddads, and their assistants and advocates. Towards the end of the verse, in order to warn them, God commands the Prophet to tell them that now they are on such a track, and are not ready to reconsider their fate, that they should wait and look out for it as he was.
They wait in order to avoid and deny God’s call, and we wait for the evil and painful destiny which awaits them like that of the former oppressive nations of the past.
ثُمَّ نُنَجّي رُسُلَنَا وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا كَذَلِكَ حَقّاً عَلَيْنَا نُنْجِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ﴿103﴾
- In the end We deliver Our messengers and those who believe. Thus it is fitting on Our part that We should deliver those who believe!
Our common sense tells us and we witness the fact that the good and evil are sometimes placed in the same category indiscriminately. The Qur’an warns us also in verse 25 of Surah Anfal that we must also fear the calamities which not only are inflicted upon the oppressors but upon the faithful as well. How is it, then, that this verse states that God saves the faithful in time of trouble?
The answer to this verse is that if the faithful remain silent when they are among the idol worshippers and the guilty, God’s punishment will encompass all of them, however, if the believers act according to their divine duty, which is forbidding the wrong, God would save them in time of trouble.
قُلْ يَآ أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنْ كُنتُمْ فِي شَكٍّ مِنْ دِيني فَلآ أَعْبُدُ الَّذِينَ تَعْبُدُونَ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ وَلَكِنْ أَعْبُدُ اللَّهَ الَّذِي يَتَوَفَّاكُمْ وَاُمِرْتُ أَنْ أَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ ﴿104﴾
- Say: “O you men! If ye are in doubt as to my religion, (behold!) I worship not what ye worship other than Allah! But I worship Allah Who will take your souls (at death). I am commanded to be among the Believers.”
Do not allow the skepticism of others to influence you. Decisiveness is the primary condition for leadership.
Any reconciliation and agreement with the unbelievers is prohibited. You must expel the unbelieving front from among yourselves, making them despair. Beware that the enemy envies the leaders of Islam. You must declare your ostracism and position of differentiation from the unbelievers. He Who is in command of life and death is more suitable to be worshipped than idols, oppressors, and insignificant powers and puppets. Therefore, the Prophet and by extension, the Believers have been commanded to be faithful and testify to monotheism.
وَأَنْ أَقِمْ وَجْهَكَ لِلدّينِ حَنِيفاً وَلاَ تَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ ﴿105﴾ وَلا تَدْعُ مِن دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لاَ يَنفَعُكَ وَلاَ يَضُرُّكَ فَإِن فَعَلْتَ فَإِنَّكَ إِذاً مِنَ الظَّالِمِينَ ﴿106﴾
- “And further: set thy face towards Religion with true piety, and never in anywise be of the Unbelievers;”
- “Nor call on any other than Allah, such will neither profit thee nor hurt thee: if thou dost, behold! Thou shalt certainly be of those who do wrong.”
In the last verses of this Surah, God the Supreme has designated the responsibilities of the Messenger (the Prophet) as to what he must do in case the people did not follow him or hesitated in accepting his mission.
The Prophet’s responsibility is to get the people to desist from the worship of self-styled gods and induce the sincere worship of the one God, “Allah”, to inculcate an honest faith in Him and to execute His Commandments whether apparent or hidden. They should not worship other gods and man-made idols, for by doing this they would be oppressing themselves because these false deities are of no advantage or disadvantage to them. He Who is the only source of benefit and loss is no one but “Allah”.
Man’s submission to idols and those manufactured deities he has made as partners with the Creator, is oppression of himself. If he does this, he will lose his identity which is one of the most precious endowments he is blessed with, and if he tries to persuade others to follow this road this can also be considered as oppressing the people by misleading them in their thinking.
Though this speech is addressed to the Prophet, in reality it is targeted at the people.
وَإِن يَمْسَسْكَ اللَّهُ بِضُرٍّ فَلاَ كَاشِفَ لَهُ إِلاَّ هُوَ وَإِن يُرِدْكَ بِخَيْرٍ فَلاَ رَآدَّ لِفَضْلِهِ يُصِيبُ بِهِ مَن يَشَآءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ وَهُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ ﴿107﴾
- And if Allah does touch thee with hurt, there is none that can remove it but Him. And if He does design some benefit for thee, there is none can keep back His favor. He causes it to reach whomsoever of His servants He pleases. And He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.
If God causes you pain in cases of calamities or brings you hardships or sufferings, no one but He is able to release you by removing them, and if He gives you well-being in matters of health, blessings or affluence and so forth, no one can block His way.
God’s beneficence, which is always appropriate, extends in different circumstances according to His wise Judgment and realistic evaluation. He is forgiving of the sins committed by his subjects and He is compassionate towards them.