Surah al-Ahqaf, Verses 22 - 35
Surah al-Ahqaf - Verses 22-23
قَالُوا أجِئْتَنَا لِتَأفِكَنَا عَنْ آلِهَتِنَا فَأتِنَا بِمَا تَعِدُنَا إِنْ كُنْتَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ
قَالَ إِنَّمَا الْعِلْمُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ وَاُبَلِّغُكُمْ مَا اُرْسِلْتُ بِهِ وَلَكِنِّي أرَاكُمْ قَوْماً تَجْهَلُونَ
22. They [the people of ‘Ad to Prophet Hud] said: “Have you come to
turn us away from our gods? Then bring us that with which you threaten
us, if you are one the truthful!”
23. He said: “The knowledge [of the time of Resurrection] is with Allah only. And I convey to you that wherewith I have been sent, but I see that you are a people given to ignorance!”
At times polytheism and disbelief appear so true that monotheism and belief are considered to be deviation from the right path. Requesting the prophet to bring torment upon them rather than pondering on the True Word is a token of ignorance.
Such obdurate people stood against Divine Invitation and said unto Hud:
“Have you come to turn us away from our gods with your lies. Then bring us that with which you threaten us, if you are one of the truthful!”
The two sentences clearly demonstrate the deviation and obduracy of this disobedient people. According to the former, they say that Hud’s call to Monotheism is false since it is against their common practice regarding their objects of worship passed down to them from their forefathers. In the latter, they request the prophet to bring torment upon them, a torment which will be totally irreversible.
In response to their unwise request, Hud says:
“The knowledge is with Allah only. He is the only One who knows when and under what circumstances the torment shall be brought forth whose occurrence shall be irrelevant to their request or his will and desire. The purpose is giving the ultimatum since Divine Wisdom requires the same. He further adds that it is his duty to convey to them that wherewith he has been sent.
It is his responsibility but they are to decide concerning obeying God and it rests upon His Will to bring torment upon them. However, he sees that they are a people given to ignorance. Their misfortune has its roots in their ignorance that together with obduracy and false pride impedes them from giving their ears to the Messengers of God and makes you persist in requesting God to send down His torment upon them and cause their annihilation. Had they been aware in the least, they would have thought about the realization of the threat.”
The people were indifferent toward Hud’s (as) words and Divine Promise and Threat but waxed their disobedience. According to Qur’an exegets, God Almighty sent down famine and three years passed without a single drop of rain so that they may take a lesson.
Prophet Hud (as) asked them to believe in Monotheism so that God may send down rain or else Divine torment would be brought upon them. At the end and out of dire necessity they sought refuge in Ka’ba which was merely a pile of red sand at the time. A certain adherent of Hud (as) asked them to believe in Hud’s prophethood in order to save themselves from the disaster, but they ignored him and put him in prison.
Surah al-Ahqaf - Verses 24-25
فَلَمَّا رَأوْهُ عَارِضاً مُسْتَقْبِلَ أوْدِيَتِهِمْ قَالُوا هَذَا عَارِضٌ مُمْطِرُنَا بَلْ هُوَ مَا اسْتَعْجَلْتُمْ بِهِ رِيحٌ فِيهَا عَذَابٌ ألِيمٌ
تُدَمِّرُ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ بِأمْرِ رَبِّهَا فَأصْبَحُوا لا يُرَی إِلاّ مَسَاكِنُهُمْ كَذَلِكَ نَجْزِي الْقَوْمَ الْمُجْرِمِينَ
24. When they saw it as a dense cloud coming toward their valleys,
they said: “This is a cloud bringing us rain!” Nay, but he [Hud] said
that it is that [torment] which you were asking to be hastened – a wind
wherein is a painful torment!
25. Destroying everything by the Command of its Lord! So they became such that nothing could be seen except their dwellings! Thus do We recompense the people who are sinners.
The word ‘Aridh denotes a cloud appearing in the sky covering the horizon all over. Awdiya is the plural form of wadi (“valley; dwelling place”). Having faced severe famine and having awaited rain for long, the people of ‘Ad were gladdened to see the cloud in the sky but later on they found out that the cloud was not a harbinger of felicity but one of misfortune. It was the torment sought desirously and hastily by them.
Seeing three clouds in the sky, the people of ‘Ad thought that they would bring rain, but they were mistaken. Au contraire, they led to their annihilation. It was the same severe torment of which prophet Hud (as) had informed them and said that had they not believed in Monotheism and had they worshipped the One God, they would have not suffered from the severe torment.
However, they were too ignorant to believe him and said that if he had been in the right he would have brought that severe torment upon them. According to the exegets, the cloud contained a wind which blew so hard that they were desperate and their property and animals were scattered and they were annihilated as well.
As per a narration recorded in Manhaj and narrated on the authority of ‘Amr ibn Maymun, the wind blew so hard that it took the tents and the camels with their litters to the sky like grasshoppers jumping up.
According to another narration, the first person to notice the torment was a woman who said:
“I see a wind blowing and blazing with flames.”
Hud (as) took away the believers from among the disbelievers. The wind invigorated the believers and softened their bodies and they enjoyed its blow.
The fact is that all creatures are the Divine Host at His Command. They are the enemies of God’s enemies and the friends of God’s friends. If they do not turn away from God’s enemies for a while we should know that God works in mysterious ways and the Creator has granted them respite so that the world may be refashioned.
It is said that when the people of ‘Ad were desperate with the harsh wind blowing, they sought refuge in their houses and closed the doors thinking that they could save themselves from God’s torment.
The wind blew harsher and pulled out the doors. It blew for seven days and nights and embraced them beneath the piles of sand in Ahqaf so that they were hidden beneath them and were annihilated:
“such that nothing could be seen except their dwellings!”
According to Verse 25, following the occurrence of the harsh disaster, no trace was seen of the people of ‘Ad but their houses and dwelling places. It becomes evident that when the wind subsided, their dead bodies had also disappeared, since it is said that the wind hurled them toward the mounts so that their bodies were destroyed.
Thus is the chastisement decreed for the sinners. If God wills, they have to meet the recompense of their vices so that others may take a lesson.
Surah al-Ahqaf - Verse 26
وَلَقَدْ مَكَّنَّاهُمْ فِيمَا إِنْ مَكَّنَّاكُمْ فِيهِ وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُمْ سَمْعاً وَأبْصَاراً وَأفْئِدَةً فَمَا أغْنَی عَنْهُمْ سَمْعُهُمْ وَلا أبْصَارُهُمْ وَلا أفْئِدَتُهُمْ مِنْ شَيْءٍ إِذْ كَانُوا يَجْحَدُونَ بِآياتِ اللَّهِ وَحَاقَ بِهِمْ مَا كَانُوا بِهِ يَسْتَهْزِئُونَ
26. And verily We had firmly established them with that wherewith We have not established you! And We had assigned them hearing, seeing, and hearts; but their hearing, seeing, and their hearts availed them nothing since they used to deny the Signs of Allah, and they were [finally] completely encircled by that which they used to mock at!
To have access to facilities necessitates making efforts, but they all belong to God:
(“And verily We had firmly established them”).
In ad hoc indicates negation and is addressed to Meccans signifying:
“O people of Quraysh! The people of ‘Ad were better than you in terms of property, wealth, power, high stature, and perseverance.”
It is said that they were so powerful that they would built houses out of mountain rocks. God had provided them with such wealth and power that they were superior to Quraysh in this respect. In ad hoc may be taken as a particle referring to the fact that the people of ‘Ad, despite their strength, power, high stature, and lofty and fortified dwellings were unable to stay unharmed from the harsh wind blowing as a result of Divine Wrath.
How could you who are weaker than them save yourselves from God’s torment?
In spite of having been granted hearing, seeing, and perceiving hearts, i.e., having provided them with all the requirements of mankind in terms of bodily strength and intellectual power, they failed to enjoy Divine Bounties, felicity, and spiritual merits. They made use of them to satisfy their bestial needs, denied Divine Signs, and derided the Messenger of God. As a consequence of their vices, they suffered from the torment and paid for their mockery.
Surah al-Ahqaf - Verse 27
وَلَقَدْ أهْلَكْنَا مَا حَوْلَكُمْ مِنَ الْقُرَی وَصَرَّفْنَا الْآياتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ
27. And verily We have destroyed towns round about you and We have shown [them] the Signs in various ways that they might return [from error to the Truth].
Annihilation and Divine Wrath follow the ultimatum given by prophets. Studying the history of peoples closer to us in terms of time may bear further results. The blessed Verse in question refers to the preceding one saying that in the same manner that the people of ‘Ad were annihilated as a consequence of their opposition against their prophet, he inhabitants of the villages around you, namely within the vicinity of Mecca were also destroyed.
Consider the peoples of Hud (as) in the Yemen, Salih (as) in Hijr, and Thamud in Sodom, and Lot on your way to Sham [viz. Syria, Palestine, East Jordan, Lebanon, and the northwestern parts of the Fertile Crescent] and take a lesson. God recurrently showed His Signs and the Tokens of His Omnipotence unto them so that they may turn away from disbelief to Monotheism. Failing to do so, they were afflicted with the torment as a consequence of their vicious deeds.
The Verse refers to the fact that God repeatedly shows His Signs in the forms of miracles, threats, rewards of Paradise, Heavenly Bounties, Tokens of His Omnipotence, poverty, and hardships so that man may forego his obduracy. God gives an Ultimatum to man to not deny the Divine Message, harming prophets and the faithful. Failing to take a lesson, man will be afflicted with torment so that others may take a lesson.
Surah al-Ahqaf - Verse 28
فَلَوْلا نَصَرَهُمُ الَّذِينَ اتَّخَذُوا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ قُرْبَاناً آلِهَةً بَلْ ضَلُّوا عَنْهُمْ وَذَلِكَ إِفْكُهُمْ وَمَا كَانُوا يَفْتَرُونَ
28. Then why did those whom they had taken for gods besides Allah, as a way of approach [to Allah] not help them? Nay, but they vanished completely from them [when there came the torment]. And that was [the end of] their deviation and what they were seeking.
Inclination toward proximity to God is innate; even idolaters regard idols as a means of nearness to God:
(“as a way of approach”).
We may rely on someone as a means of succor in hardships, but it would be wishful thinking to regard idols as means of support:
(“Nay, but they vanished completely from them”).
The Verse in question rejects the claims of those entangled in torment owing to their polytheism and disbelief.
They worshipped the statues of gods fashioned by them and said:
“we do not worship them except for rendering us nearer to God.”
Upon sending down the torment they were abandoned.
At that time:
“they vanished completely from them when there came the torment.”
They were unable to find their objects of worship owing to slandering the One God and associating false gods with Him. The Verse refers to the fact that had they enjoyed any rank or merit with, they should have been able to save their worshippers from torment rather than being annihilated in it.
Surah al-Ahqaf - Verse 29
وَإِذْ صَرَفْنَا إِلَيْكَ نَفَراً مِنَ الْجِنِّ يَسْتَمِعُونَ الْقُرْآنَ فَلَمَّا حَضَرُوهُ قَالُوا أنْصِتُوا فَلَمَّا قُضِيَ وَلَّوْا إِلَی قَوْمِهِمْ مُنْذِرِينَ
29. And when We sent toward you a group of the jinn, listening to the Qur’an. When they stood in the presence thereof, they said: “Listen in silence!” And when it was finished, they returned to their people, as warners.
Familiarity with the Qur’an broadens man’s horizon. According to the Qur’an, man is not the only perceiving and willful being, but other beings called jinn enjoy the same conditions but excel man in power. The Verse may allude to polytheists and those in error who regard themselves as masterminds. It denotes that you listened to so many Verses but failed to believe; however, the jinn listened to a few Verses and believed in the Islamic faith and promulgated its teachings.
The Noble Prophet (S) is thus addressed herein:
“Remember when We sent toward you a group of the jinn, listening to the Qur’an.”
It is said that some of the jinn were Divinely inspired to leave their dwellings and lands and make their presence there to listen to the Qur’an. It is also said that when devils noticed that the way to the sky is blocked for them and whenever they wish to ascend the sky they were warded off by meteors.
They said that a great event has occurred on the earth as a consequence of which the path to the sky has been blocked for them. They embarked upon a thorough search. Traversing on the earth they came upon idols and met with the Messenger of God (S) in Wadi Nakhla. Listening to the Qur’an they learned that the same impeded them from ascending the sky.
Narrating on the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas, a number of exegets regard nafaran as denoting a number of the jinn ranging between seven, nine, and ten. Upon hearing the Holy Qur’an they asked each other to stand silent and listen to the Verses being recited. Upon returning to their folk they warned them.
It is reported that following listening to the Qur’an, the jinn believed in the Islamic faith and inquired about a number of issues and the Prophet (S) appointed a number of the jinn to promulgate the Islamic teachings among their folk.
Surah al-Ahqaf - Verse 30
قَالُوا يَا قَوْمَنَا إِنَّا سَمِعْنَا كِتَاباً اُنْزِلَ مِنْ بَعْدِ مُوسَی مُصَدِّقاً لِمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ يَهْدِي إِلَی الْحَقِّ وَإِلَی طَرِيقٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ
30. They said: “O our people! Verily, we have heard [the Verses of] a Book sent down after Musa, confirming what preceded it: it guides to the Truth and to the Straight Path.”
The prophets of mankind are the prophets of the jinn as well and a group of the jinn were appointed to promulgate prophetic teachings among their own society:
(“They said: ‘O our people! Verily, we have heard …’”).
The jinn knew the history of prophets and the Divine Books.
Upon hearing a number of Verses the jinn comprehended the truth; however, people like Abu Jahl and Abu Lahab spent a life time with the Prophet (S); however they did not wish to perceive the truth:
(“It guides to the truth”).
According to the blessed Verse in question, upon returning to their people, the jinn said:
“We have heard [the Verses] of a Book sent down after Musa.”
It is said that the jinn made no mention of the Christian Bible since they were either Jews or unaware of the Christian Bible or did not believe in it. Upon their return, they addressed their people saying that they had heard a Book confirming the preceding Scriptures including the prophets’ truthfulness and guiding to the truth and the straight path.”
Surah al-Ahqaf - Verse 31
يَا قَوْمَنَا أجِيبُوا دَاعِيَ اللَّهِ وَآمِنُوا بِهِ يَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ مِنْ ذُنُوبِكُمْ وَيُجِرْكُمْ مِنْ عَذَابٍ ألِيمٍ
31. O our people! Respond to Allah’s Caller [namely the Messenger of God, Muhammad (S)] and believe in him. He [Allah] will forgive you of your sins, and will save you from a painful torment.
As per the Holy Qur’an, faith, repentance, interest free loan, and fearing God lead to Divine Forgiving.
The blessed Verse enumerates the principles of Islamic dogma, i.e., Divine Oneness:
(“believe in him”),
(“He will save you from a painful torment”).
Divinely appointed prophets call people to God rather than to themselves. Faith absolves man of a number of sins like polytheism and disbelief, but sins like transgression of the rights of people is different. The Verse holds that certain sins may be forgiven. The other point is that the jinn, like mankind, have obligations and their disobedience shall lead to being regarded as sinners and subject to Divine Recompense.
According to the blessed Verse, the jinn addressed their people to guide them to the true path saying:
“O our people! Respond to Allah’s Caller [namely the Messenger of God, Muhammad (S)] and believe in him. He [Allah] will forgive you of your sins, and will save you from a painful torment.”
Surah al-Ahqaf - Verse 32
وَمَنْ لا يُجِبْ دَاعِيَ اللَّهِ فَلَيْسَ بِمُعْجِزٍ فِي الْأرْضِ وَلَيْسَ لَهُ مِنْ دُونِهِ أوْلِيَاءُ اُولَئِكَ فِي ضَلالٍ مُبِينٍ
32. And whosoever does not respond to Allah’s Caller, he cannot escape on earth, and there will be no supporter for him besides Allah [from Allah’s punishment]. Those are in manifest error.
Any path besides that of God is manifest error. Disbelief entangles man such that he may neither release himself nor may anyone release him. According to the blessed Verse, whosoever does not respond to Allah’s Caller, i.e., Prophet Muhammad (S), out of disobedience and turning away from God’s Callers, torment shall befall him and he shall have no support to release him from the affliction, since all beings are God’s friends and the enemies of His enemies.
Such astray ones tread the path of manifest error.
In the same vein, Qur’anic exegets say that following the demise of his support, Abu Talib, the Noble Prophet (S) was harassed by the Quraysh and know that his call could not affect the disbelievers from Quraysh whose hearts had been hardened in time. Consequently, the Noble Prophet (S) found himself in jeopardy.
Even though he entertained no fear, but in order to accomplish his mission he left Mecca for Ta’if, located at the verdant foot of a hill at a distance of a three day journey from Mecca. Ta’if and Thaqif, his maternal uncles, resided there and the Prophet (S) thought that they may render him support there.
He entered into negotiation with three chiefs of Thaqif, ‘Abdiyaliyl ibn ‘Amr and his two sons Mas’ud and Habib and called them to his support; however they not only declined his call but also derided him and instigated some rascals against him.
The people of Thaqif were of substance and had transactions with Quraysh. Their town was the seat of Lat, one of the most respected Qurayshi idols. They even failed to send their guest away unharmed. When the Noble Prophet (S) learned that they did not accept his call, he requested them to disregard the call so as not to instigate the Qurayshis.
Au contraire, they instigated rascals to stone him such that he suffered a wound in his foot and was sent away. On his way, the Prophet (S) stayed in a garden called Nakhila for a few days.
Released from the hands of the rascals from Ta’if, his heart broke and finding himself without support from men, he turned to his Lord with tears in his eyes saying:
“O Lord! I complain to You from powerlessness, insufficient means, and humility in the eyes of people, O Most Forgiving Lord!”
When the sons of Rabi’a noticed his sadness, their sense of family ties made them to ask ‘Addas, a Christian slave, to take a dish of grapes to him. Fining the dish before him, he said “In the Name of Allah” and began eating the grapes.
Shockingly ‘Addas asked him:
“The inhabitants of this town never utter such words. Where are you?”
“From Mecca. Where are you from? What is your religion?”
The slave answered:
“I am a Christian from Nineveh.”
The Prophet (S) inquired:
“Are you from the village of the pious man Yunus ibn Matta (as)?”
“What do you know about Yunus?”
Muhammad (S) replied:
“Yunus (as) the prophet was my brother and I am a prophet too.”
Upon hearing him, ‘Addas fell to his knees and kissed the Prophet’s (S) hands and feet. The sons of Rabi’a saw them surprisingly from afar; however they did not convert to the Islamic faith. Upon their slave’s return they warned him against the Prophet asking him to be cautious lest he might lose his faith though his was better than the one proclaimed by Muhammad.
‘Addas informed them that he had heard something from Muhammad (S) that no one save a prophet would be apprised of it.
They said to him:
“the man is a sorcerer and a charlatan.”
When Prophet Muhammad (S) learned that the people of Ta’if would not believe in the Islamic faith, he departed for Mecca and upon arriving at Nakhla at night he established his late night prayers and recited the Qur’an when the jinn heard him and believed in the Islamic faith:
(“And when We sent to you a group of the jinn listening to the Qur’an…”).
The Verse in question as well as those of Chapter 72 (Surah al-Jinn) and some other Verses evidently indicate two points – one is that the jinn exist and they are different from mankind and the other is that the Seal of the Prophets (S) was Divinely appointed to proclaim his Call to the jinn and mankind alike.
Surah al-Ahqaf - Verse 33
أوَلَمْ يَرَوْا أنَّ اللَّهَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأرْضَ وَلَمْ يَعْيَ بِخَلْقِهِنَّ بِقَادِرٍ عَلَی أنْ يُحْيِيَ الْمَوْتَی بَلَی إِنَّهُ عَلَی كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
33. Do they not see that Allah Who created the heavens and the earth and was not wearied by their creation is Able to give life to the dead? Yes, He surely is Most Able to do all things.
Lam ya’a is from ‘ayy (“powerlessness”). In order to conceive the inevitability of Resurrection, it would suffice to notice the Infinite Divine Omnipotence.
Do disbelievers in Resurrection think that raising the dead is more difficult than creation of the heavens and the earth?
(“Do they not see that Allah Who created the heavens and the earth … is Able to give life to the dead?”)
The blessed Verse rejects disbelievers’ incredulity of Resurrection and proves the raising of the dead on the Last Day.
In response to their disbelief the Verse says:
“Do they not see?”
Do disbelievers not perceive that God created the heavens and the earth without any toil? The Creator is so Omnipotent that He has created such heavens with such grandeur abounding in planets, stars, galaxies, and creatures whose number is solely known by Him. He has also created the earth together with mountains, oceans, and diverse species of creatures through His Divine Will.
The Qur’an says:
“When He decrees a matter, He only says to it: ‘Be!’ – and it is”1.
in the aforementioned Verse indicates the immediate response of possibilities that through Divine Creative Command come into being ex nihilo which bears testimony to Divine Omnipotence including the raising of the dead unintelligible to disbelievers’ imperfect intellect attempting in vain to deny and/or restrict Divine Omnipotence and interpret the Verses without the scope of physical phenomena through their comprehension and taste.
Surah al-Ahqaf - Verse 34
وَيَوْمَ يُعْرَضُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا عَلَی النَّارِ ألَيْسَ هَذَا بِالْحَقِّ قَالُوا بَلَی وَرَبِّنَا قَالَ فَذُوقُوا الْعَذَابَ بِمَا كُنْتُمْ تَكْفُرُونَ
34. And on the Day when those who disbelieve will be exposed to the Fire [God will say to them]: “Is this [Hell] not the truth?” They will say: “Yes by our Lord!” He will say: “Then taste the torment, because you used to disbelieve!”
Physical and mental torments are side by side on the Day of Resurrection. On that Day, confessing Divine Sovereignty shall be of no avail. In this Verse God Almighty informs His Noble Prophet (S) that when disbelievers are exposed to Hell fire on the Last Day, it will be said unto them that they did not believe the prophets’ warnings.
They will say:
“Aye, by God what they said unto us were totally right but we failed to believe their promises and warnings.”
The angels in charge of tormenting disbelievers in Hell will say unto them
“You declined the prophets’ Calls and felt animosity toward them. Now you taste a severe torment as a recompense for your vicious deeds.”
“Because you used to disbelieve!”
may refer to the fact that Hell fire blazes through wickedness, denial of Truth, and animosity toward Divinely appointed prophets and messengers.
At that time, man reproaches his own self saying:
“The prophets uttered the Truth, but you denied it.”
Upon tasting the torment they admit to their ignorance, but their belief will be of no avail and they have to suffer the consequences of their disbelief.
Surah al-Ahqaf - Verse 35
فَاصْبِرْ كَمَا صَبَرَ اُولُوا الْعَزْمِ مِنَ الرُّسُلِ وَلا تَسْتَعْجِلْ لَهُمْ كَأنَّهُمْ يَوْمَ يَرَوْنَ مَا يُوعَدُونَ لَمْ يَلْبَثُوا إِلاّ سَاعَةً مِنْ نَهَارٍ بَلاغٌ فَهَلْ يُهْلَكُ إِلاّ الْقَوْمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
35. Therefore be patient [O Prophet!] as did the arch-prophets [lit. possessor of constancy, determination, and strong will, applied to Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad]. On the Day when they will see that [torment] with which they are promised as if they had not stayed more than an hour in a single day. [This is] a clear Message [for all]. But shall any be destroyed except the people who are evil doers?
‘Azm is used in the senses of will, decision, determination, and Divine Law (shari’a) Uulu al-’azm is applied to the legislating prophets.
Taking disbelievers’ chastisement into consideration paves the way for believers’ patience and perseverance. Addressing His Messenger (S), God asks him to be patient with disbelievers and their false claims as to deeming you words as legends in the same manner as the arch-prophets were patient with disbelievers and their cruelty.
He also asks him to not make haste in having them chastised for their vicious deeds since mundane life is so transient that when disbelievers taste Divine Torment they think that they stayed in this world but for a single hour. Compared to the life to come, this worldly life seems to resemble a single moment. In retrospect, this mundane life may be likened to a dream. Fanciful pleasures of the flesh preoccupying man leave him with nothing but misfortune, cruelty, and darkness of heart.
(“except an hour”)
may indicate the changeable moment referred to the time that is constantly in the process of generation and corruption lacking stable existence.
The world to come is the stable and unchangeable world of life, i.e., eternal life, referred to in the Holy Qur’an as:
“Verily, the home of the Hereafter – that is the life indeed [i.e., the eternal life that will never end], if they but knew”2.
In Manhaj al-Sadiqin it is narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir and Imam Ja’far Sadiq (as) that the arch-prophets were five in number who abrogated their preceding Laws. They are Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus (as), and Muhammad (S) who are also referred to as Sarat al-Nabiyin. Thus is narrated on the authorities of Ibn ‘Abbas and Qatada. Other narrations have been narrated by exegets but space limitations impede their citation.
In short, ulu al-’azm in its literal sense of “having a strong will” may be applied to all the prophets since they possessed strong will, clemency, and perseverance in the fulfillment of their Divine Mission. Their words were against the beliefs and practices of their time, as a consequence of which they suffered many an affliction and were patient with disbelievers for the fulfillment of Divine Command.
The Verse in question may serve as an encouragement for the Noble Prophet (S) to be patient in the same manner as all the prophets were patient with disbelievers and their vicious deeds.