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Prophethood and affliction- part 1

Prophethood and affliction- part 1

From the first day of creation, men were in hardship to be tested against Allah and to be evaluated in their faith in the site of Allah . The prophets are not only exceptions but also from those who are afflicted and tested more than others. Taking into account the concepts of Sahifeh Sajjadieh, specially the sixth invocation, Professor Hossein Ansarian in his book “ The land of lovers” exemplifies this issue. 

Adam vis-à-vis disagreeable events:

Being enticed by Shaitan to get near to the tree from which they had been prohibited, Adam and Eve approached the tree out of their greed and got deprived of the heavenly clothing and were sent to live on the earth as a consequence.

Upon his fall onto the earth, Adam became extremely depressed because he had lost the paradise, and he had been deprived of the heavenly clothing; he got grieved because his internal side had become dark and his countenance had transformed. Due to the God's guidance and through the trainings of the Great Prophet, he raised his hands towards Allah, imploring Him for assistance and salvation.

“This imploration continued upto the point when he received salvation from Allah.”

And then Adam enjoyed the content of the following sacred verse:

[1] وَعَلَّمَ آدَمَ الْأَسْمَاءَ كُلَّهَا

“And He taught Adam all the names,” and became God's favorite creature and was promised the Garden.”

When Adam committed that error, he was reproached by Allah through this sacred verse:

أَنْهَكُمَا عَنْ تِلْكُمَا الشَّجَرَةِ [2]

“Did I not forbid you both from that tree…”

Upon his fall from the Garden, Adam had to suffer the absence of the paradise and Eve and got depressed and invoked God for two hundred years  [3]قَالَا رَبَّنَا ظَلَمْنَا أَنفُسَنَا “They said: Our Lord! We have been unjust to ourselves.” His depression continued till the Almighty Allah pardoned him because of his excessive invocation.

فَتَابَ عَلَيْهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيمُ  [4]

So He turned to him mercifully; Surely He is oft-returning to mercy, the Merciful.

Thus, Adam was the first person who invoked God and his invocation was answered by Allah and in this way his sorrow turned into happiness and delight. He subsequently was subject to God's Grace and assets.

Allah is the Merciful king who answers your invocation when you appeal to Him.

The full description of God's Mercy is in the Holy Quran and we shall not deal with this issue anymore.”[5]

Nuh [Noah] and Disagreeabe Events:

In accordance with the sacred verse 14 of the Surah Ankabut [The Spider, Quran 29:14]:

(And certainly We sent Nuh to his people, so he remained among them a thousand years save fifty years. And the deluge overtook him, while they were unjust,) Nuh invited people to monotheism and good deeds and fine manners for nine hundred and fifty years. He strongly desired to guide people and purify them out of their spiritual impurities and equip them with gracious deeds and guarantee people's prosperity both here and in the Hereafter. While inflicted by all sorts of afflictions, he carried out this hard task for nine hundred and fifty years of his prophethood.

Among his contemporary people only a limited number accepted his invitation towards God and his conviction. But those who were the subject to God's wrath did not accept his invitation and remained ignorant. These were among the first and second layers of society who had social distinction. They both rejected his ideology and put some obstacles on his way. At the end, they openly ridiculed him and called his thoughts foolish, telling him:

“You are a human being just like us. If God had wanted to send us a Messenger, He would have sent us an angel. In that case we would have listed to that angel. Besides, if your statements and offerings had been correct, your followers would not have included a bunch of rascals and home-less wanderers who lack good socio-economic status and who blindly follow and imitate others without rational reasoning. Those people have surpassed us in accepting your invitation”

These nobles and rich people continued with their struggles and quarrelsomeness, saying: “We can not see any superior virtue either in you or in your followers; neither in your wisdom, not in your providence; neither in your expedience nor in your recognition of Resurrection. We, therefore, call you and your followers as liars.”

Without being impatient or offended with their sheer ignorance, Nuh(s) answered them patiently:

“Be just and fair: can I impose my beliefs and conviction on you while you want to cover the sun with the palms of your hands and make the stars blind?”

They said: “O Nuh! If you want to add up to your dignity and social position by making us the believers in your conviction, you should get rid of the rascals that are with you. This is because we are not willing to rub our shoulders and be companions of these hoodlums and villains. How could we adopt a religion which does not distinguish the differences between the nobles and the rascals, or between the kings and the beggars?”

Nuh(s) replied: “My call of truth is of a general and universal nature; it is for all walks of life; it does not distinguish between the intellectuals or the ignorant; or between the well-known and the common; or between the rich and the poor; or between the chiefs and the inferiors. Now, if I accepted your demand and got rid of my royal followers, whom should I then trust in to propagate my religion? Could I depend on you who are libertines and pleasure-seekers? Upto now I have been continuously supported by these followers of mine whereas you have always been my opponents; you have always shown your animosity towards me and my religion; you have continuously shown your stubbornness. How could I betray these people if they complain to God that I have left them alone after they have suffered so many hardships in helping me out in my teachings for the religion? In fact, you are ignorant people.”

When the discussion between Nuh(s) and his nation got heated, people threatened him, saying, “O Nuh! You Have decided to quarrel with us and have gone to the extremes. If you are right, then make that torture which you frighten us with come and engulf us.”

Nuh(s) replied, “You have gone too far in your stupidity. Can I ever bring upon you the tortures which only God can impose upon you? Am I not a simple obedient of God who receives revelation from god? The One Whom I worship can send calamity upon you, not me. I just act as His envoy to let you know the good news and warn you against His tortures. Now try to understand that we all shall return to Him. If He sees it appropriate, He will send you the disaster. Now He has given you a chance to deliberate on what you are doing. Surely I am a plain warner for you: that you shall not serve anyone but Allah. I fear for you the punishment of a painful day.

In order for the Prophet(s) to carry out their mission in the most desirable way, Allah has bestowed upon them the required perseverance and patience.

Being one of the most staunch Prophets, Nuh(s) endured nine hundred and fifty years of people's tortures and ridicules in the hope to achieve his aspirated objectives. However, day by day, people added to their obstinacy and doggedness and his call for the religion only bore him their hatred. Little by littly, he lost his hope and had to complain to God against them and asked Him for assistance. And God revealed to him:

أَنَّهُ لَنْ يُؤْمِنَ مِنْ قَوْمِكَ إِلَّا مَنْ قَدْ آمَنَ فَلَا تَبْتَئِسْ بِمَا كَانُوا يَفْعَلُونَ  [6]

“And it was revealed to Nuh: That none of your people will believe except those who have already believed, therefore do not grieve at what they do.”

Seeing that these people are exposed now to God's wrath, Nuh(s) said:

رَبِّ لَا تَذَرْ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ مِنْ الْكَافِرِينَ دَيَّارًا إِنَّكَ إِنْ تَذَرْهُمْ يُضِلُّوا عِبَادَكَ وَلَا يَلِدُوا إِلَّا فَاجِرًا كَفَّارًا  [7]

“And Nuh said: My Lord! Leave not upon the land any dweller from among the unbelievers: For surely if thou leave them they will lead astray Thy servants, and will not beget any but immoral, ungrateful children.”

The compassionate God put an end to Nuh's problems by sending a terrible typhoon in which all the creators of disasters were drowned and saved Nuh(s) and the believers from calamities.[8]

Ibrahim [Abraham] and Disagreeable Events:

Ibrahim(s) used to live among a group of people who were engaged in idol making and idolatry and were dominated by a dictator like Nimrud. Ibrahim who was preoccupied with momotheism experienced a lot of pain in his encounter with the ethics of his contemporary people.

Ibrahim was determined to salvage his people from their unnatural whims and wishes and the Nimrudian dictatorship and tyranny. He wished to cut people with their idols and connect them with God's bond. He suffered mentally when he saw people dominated by ignorant soothsayers and supersticious ones.

On a day when people had left town to be in the open country, Ibrahim entered the city's idol temple and started talking to the idols. Noting that the idols could not talk to him, he started smashing them one by one with the axe which he had with him and put the axe on the neck of the great idol and left there, being delighted for what he had done for God's sake. He waited for the reaction of the ignorant people, however.

When the people returned home, they noticed what had happened. People started a great uproar and tumult and were looking for the agent. Some people shouted it was the work of the young Ibrahim who used to show a lot of indignation towards these gods.

قَالُوا أَأَنْتَ فَعَلْتَ هَذَا بِآلِهَتِنَا يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ  [9]

They said: Who has done this to our gods?

Being prepared beforehand for such a debate, Ibrahim gave them an answer they did not anticipate:

بَلْ فَعَلَهُ كَبِيرُهُمْ هَذَا فَاسْأَلُوهُمْ إِنْ كَانُوا يَنطِقُونَ  [10]

He said: surely some doer has done it; the chief of them [the idols] is this; therefore, ask them, if they can speak.

This was a great blow over the head of those ignorant people. They were puzzeled. They could not answer him back. They only thing they could offer was: O Ibrahim, you are well aware these gods of us can not talk. How would you force us to ask them for witness? When these people still insisted on their being wrong, Ibrahim reproached them in the following manner:

قَالَ أَفَتَعْبُدُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ مَا لَا يَنفَعُكُمْ شَيْئًا وَلَا يَضُرُّكُمْ أُفٍّ لَكُمْ وَلِمَا تَعْبُدُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ أَفَلَا تَعْقِلُونَ  [11]

He said: What! do you then serve besides Allah what brings you not any benefit at all, nor does it harm you? Fie on you and on what you serve besides Allah; what do you not then understand?

Ibrahim's reasoning and his clear evidence did not however, have any effect on the hearts and brains of those stubborn people. They put aside logics and resorted to power and force. They convicted him in the way that the Holy Quran reveals:

فَمَا كَانَ جَوَابَ قَوْمِهِ إِلَّا أَنْ قَالُوا اقْتُلُوهُ أَوْ حَرِّقُوهُ فَأَنجَاهُ اللَّهُ مِنْ النَّارِ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ  [12]

“So naught was the answer of his people except that they said: slay him or burn him; then Allah delivered him from the fire; most surely there are signs in this for a people who believe.”

Those tyrant unbelievers gathered a big fire. Then they put Ibrahim on a crane and threw him onto the fire. God, the Almighty, addressed the fire:

يَا نَارُ كُونِي بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا عَلَى إِبْرَاهِيمَ  [13]

“We said: O Fire! Be a comfort and peace to Ibrahim.”


[1] Quran 2:31.

[2] Quran 7:22.

[3] Quran 7:23.

[4] Quran 2:37.

[5] Joy after sorrow, P 22.

[6] Quran 11:36.

[7] Quran 71:26-27.

[8] The History Prophet, P 21.

[9] Quran 21:60.

[10] Quran 21:62.

[11] Quran 21:66-67.

[12] Quran 29:24.

[13] Quran 21:69.

source : land of lovers
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