The Answer Of The Prophets to The Illogical Demand Of The Polytheists
Without doubt, extreme self-worship, going to extremes in self- worship and in distorting reality and ignoring it, causes the human being’s misguidance to increase, together with the dominance of personal, arbitrary inclination over his mind. A true orientation to reality, a decisive entry onto the path of truth, requires the human being to empty his inner being of all obstinate tendencies, the negative consequences of which are irreparable. Everyone has the individual duty of speaking the truth, and this can be attained only by following the path of salvation.
The Quran recognizes as logical that miracles be demanded of the Prophets are proofs of the veracity of their claim, and it narrates in detail the practical and affirmative answer given by the Prophets to this demand of mankind. Nonetheless, there were certain obstinate and illogical persons in each age who were in effect unwilling to accept the truth and demanded from the Prophets miracles of their own choosing. Sometimes they even demanded the performance of deeds that were rationally impossible. Naturally enough, the Prophets who were in communication with the source of revelation did not submit to their childish and obstinate demands.
The purpose of miracles is to bear witness to messengerhood, and this aim is accomplished by any miraculous deed that gives assurance that a Prophet has indeed received a mission from God.
Is it necessary that Prophets should produce miracles corresponding to the particular taste and desire of everyone? Must a Divine miracle be subordinate to the will of frivolous and aimless individuals?
The Prophets proclaimed to the human beings that they were entrusted with the guidance and teaching of mankind, so the occurrence of miracles had to be based on the will and desire of God and the necessities of the situation; it was not a means for entertaining illogical and obstinate people. The Nobel Quran says: “No Messenger had the right to perform a miracle without God’s permission.” (40:78). One of the reasons for the Prophets’ refusal to submit to those who were demanding miracles of them may have been that those persons imagined the Prophets to be claiming some kind of control over the whole of the universe. The Quran therefore, says: “Tell people I am a human being like you, except that revelation comes to me.” (41:6) “Say: God is transcendent and elevated. Am I more than the human being whom God has chosen as His Messenger?” (17:92)
However, when people were seeking guidance and pursuing the truth, and the Prophets themselves wished to establish the truth of their mission, miracles took place, as is evident from many such instances in the case of Moses, upon whom be peace. It is always possible for God to draw the attention of the human beings to a miracle in some spectacular way. For example, He can cause inanimate objects and plants to speak or do other remarkable things in order to establish the veracity of His religion. However, such miracles would not be conducive to the human being’s freedom or his conscious choice and development. Therefore, God has not acted in this fashion and He has not sought to guide the human being at the expense of his intellectual freedom.
Those who turn their back on the truth will naturally come to experience the result of their deeds and the consequence of their behavior. It is thus that everything moves forward in this world in complete harmony.
If God were to punish all humans immediately because of their misdeeds, no one would be able to endure it, for if every wrongdoer were to be killed, the human race would inevitably come to an end.
If those opposing the Prophets had no aim other than uncovering the truth, they would come to accept it both as a result of their own extensive and comprehensive reflections and of the manifest miracles displayed to them. However, the manner in which they demand miracles indicates an evil intention on their part, and a tendency to make unjustifiable objections, not a real search for the truth.
The basic concern of these obstinate persons whose hearts had died within them was denial and turning away from the truth, for considering the existence of clear miracles there was no need for them to be repeated. Even if they had been repeated, those deniers would still not have believed.
The Quran says: “When the Messenger of Truth was sent to them by us, they said, Why has he not been given what Moses was given? But did they not disbelieve in what had been given to Moses?” (28:48)
Many of their demands did not even accord with the conditions of a miracle.
Thus, the Quran tells us that they proposed the following to the Prophet of Islam:”…..to prove your mission you must bring God and the angels here to us.”(25:24).
In other verse, their foolish objections and expectations along the same lines are analyzed as follows: “They said: ‘We will not believe in you unless you make a spring gush forth for us from the ground, or have a garden of date trees and vines with water flowing through it, or cause the sky to fall in on our heads, or make God and His angels appear in front of us, or have a house covered with gold, or ascend into the sky.
But we will not believe in your ascending into the sky unless you bring for us a book we can read. ’Say: ‘Glory be unto my Lord! Am I anything more than a human being, sent by God with a mission? (17:90-93)
It is evident from these verses that the objectors were demanding from the Messenger of God that, in order to prove his prophethood and his special relationship with the origin of all existence, he should perform miracles such as causing a spring to gush out of the ground or possessing an orchard overflowing with fruit or a palace of god, these being the marks of aristocratic opulence in that age.
It was possible for those demands to be fulfilled, for certain individuals possessed one or all of the things mentioned, however, they were not Prophets.
To be continued