وَقَالُوا لَنْ نُؤْمِنَ لَكَ حَتَّىٰ تَفْجُرَ لَنَا مِنَ الْأَرْضِ يَنْبُوعًا
And they say, "We will not believe you until you break open for us from the ground a spring.
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(And they say: We will not put faith in thee till thou cause a spring to gush forth from the earth for us)[17:90]. 'Ikrimah reported that Ibn 'Abbas related that 'Utbah, Shaybah, Abu Sufyan, al-Nadr ibn al-Harith,Abu'l-Bukhturi, al-Walid ibn al-Mughirah, Abu Jahl, 'Abd Allah ibn Ubayy ibn Umayyah, Umayyah ibn Khalaf,and the chiefs of Quraysh gathered in front of the Ka'bah and said to each other: “Send for Muhammad,speak to him, and argue with him so that others do not blame you about him”. They sent to him with amessage that the nobles of your people have gathered and want to speak with you. He came promptly,thinking that they had changed their mind about him, for he was keen to see them guided and was painedfor their stubbornness. When he sat with them, they said: 'O Muhammad, by Allah we do not know of anyman among the Arabs who has introduced to his people what you have introduced. You have insulted ourforefathers, censored our religion, accused us of ignorance, slandered our idols, divided the community andyou have not left anything revolting except that you have placed it between us and you. Now, if you havebrought all this to seek wealth, we will collect from our wealth so that you become the richest among us; ifyou seek status, we will make you our chief; if you seek kingship, we will make you our king; and if the jinnthat appears to you has completely overwhelmed you, we will spend our money to get you the rightmedicine to cure you or discharge our duty toward you'. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and givehim peace, said to them: 'I do not have what you accuse me of. I did not bring you what I brought to seekwealth, status or kingship. Rather, it is Allah, glorious and majestic is He, Who has sent me to you as aMessenger. He has revealed to me a Scripture and commanded me to be a carrier of good tiding as well as awarner. I have conveyed to you the message of my Lord and advised you well. If you accept that which Ihave brought you, it is your share in this world and in the next. And if you reject it, I will be patient with thejudgment of Allah until He judges between me and you'. They said: 'O Muhammad, if you do not accept ouroffer, then you know that, compared to other people, we have a more restricted land, a tougher life andmuch less wealth. So ask your Lord, Who has sent you with that which He has sent you, to remove from usthese mountains which have restricted our land and expand our country and run through it rivers like therivers of Syria and Iraq. And let Him resurrect our dead forefathers, and among those resurrected, let Himresurrect Qusayy ibn Kilab, for he was a truthful old man, so that we ask them about whether what you sayis true or false. If you do what we ask for, we will believe you and, by the same token, know your statuswith Allah, and that He has sent you as a Messenger, as you claim'. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless himand give him peace, said: 'I was not sent to bring what you have asked for. Rather, I came to you fromAllah, glorious is He, with that which He has sent me, and I have conveyed to you what I have been sentwith to you. If you accept it, it is your share in this world and in the next; but if you reject it, I will be patientwith Allah's judgement'. They said: 'If you do not do what we have asked for, then ask your Lord to send anangel to confirm your message, and ask Him to provide you with gardens, treasures and palaces of gold andsilver which will suffice you from your needs, for you stand in the market place as we do, and strive to earna living as we do, in order that we appreciate your merit and position with your Lord, if you are truly amessenger, as you claim to be'. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said: 'I will notdo it, nor am I someone to ask his Lord for such things, nor was I sent to you with this; He has rather sentme as a bringer of good tidings and as a warner'. They said: 'In that case, cause the heaven to fallpiecemeal down on us, since you claim that your Lord can do so if He wills'. The Messenger of Allah, Allahbless him and give him peace, said: 'That is up to Allah, He will do it if He wills'. One of them said: 'We willnot believe in you until you bring Allah and the angels as warrants. 'Abd Allah ibn Abi Umayyah al-Makhzumi- the son of 'Atikah bint 'Abd al-Muttalib, the maternal aunt of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give himpeace - said: 'I will never believe in you until you get a ladder and climb up to heaven while I am watchingyou, and bring an unfolded Scripture with you and a group of angels to testify about what you say'. TheMessenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, left to his family very sad for failing to get hispeople to follow him as well as for the antagonism they displayed toward him. And so Allah, exalted is He,revealed (And they say: We will not put faith in thee till thou cause a spring to gush forth from the earth forus…). Sa'id ibn Ahmad ibn Ja'far informed us> Abu 'Ali ibn Abi Bakr al-Faqih> Ahmad ibn al-Husayn ibn al-Junayd> Ziyad ibn Ayyub> Hushaym> 'Abd al-Malik ibn 'Umayr> Sa'id ibn Jubayr who said: “I said to him[to 'Abd al-Malik ibn 'Umayr]: 'The words of Allah (And they say: We will not put faith in thee till thou causea spring to gush forth from the earth for us) was it revealed about 'Abd Allah ibn Abi Umayyah?' He said:'This is what they claim' ”.
وَقَالُواْ لَن نُّؤْمِنَ لَكَ حَتَّى تَفْجُرَ لَنَا مِنَ الاٌّرْضِ يَنْبُوعًا - أَوْ تَكُونَ لَكَ جَنَّةٌ مِّن نَّخِيلٍ وَعِنَبٍ فَتُفَجِّرَ الاٌّنْهَـرَ خِلَـلَهَا تَفْجِيرًا - أَوْ تُسْقِطَ السَّمَآءَ كَمَا زَعَمْتَ عَلَيْنَا كِسَفًا أَوْ تَأْتِىَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْمَلَـئِكَةِ قَبِيلاً - أَوْ يَكُونَ لَكَ بَيْتٌ مِّن زُخْرُفٍ أَوْ تَرْقَى فِى السَّمَآءِ وَلَن نُّؤْمِنَ لِرُقِيِّكَ حَتَّى تُنَزِّلَ عَلَيْنَا كِتَابًا نَّقْرَءُهُ قُلْ سُبْحَـنَ رَبِّى هَلْ كُنتُ إَلاَّ بَشَرًا رَّسُولاً
(90. And they say: "We shall not believe in you, until you cause a spring to gush forth from the earth for us;'')
(91. "Or you have a garden of date palms and grapes, and cause rivers to gush forth in their midst abundantly;'')
(92. "Or you cause the heaven to fall upon us in pieces, as you have pretended, or you bring Allah and the angels before (us) face to face;'')
(93. "Or you have a house of Zukhruf, or you ascend up into the sky, and even then we will put no faith in your ascension until you bring down for us a Book that we would read.'' Say: "Glorified be my Lord! Am I anything but a man, sent as a Messenger'')
Ibn Jarir recorded from Muhammad bin Ishaq, "An old man from among the people of Egypt who came to us forty-odd years ago told me, from `Ikrimah, from Ibn `Abbas, that `Utbah and Shaybah -- the two sons of Rabi'ah, Abu Sufyan bin Harb, a man from Bani `Abd Ad-Dar, Abu Al-Bakhtari -- the brother of Bani Asad, Al-Aswad bin Al-Muttalib bin Asad, Zam`ah bin Al-Aswad, Al-Walid bin Al-Mughirah, Abu Jahl bin Hisham, `Abdullah bin Abi Umayyah, Umayyah bin Khalaf, Al-`As bin Wa'il, and Nabih and Munabbih - the two sons of Al-Hajjaj As-Sahmin, gathered all of them or some of them behind the Ka`bah after sunset. Some of them said to others, `Send for Muhammad and talk with him and argue with him, so that nobody will think we are to blame.' So they sent for him saying, `The nobles of your people have gathered for you to speak to them.' So the Messenger of Allah came quickly, thinking that maybe they were going to change their minds, for he was very keen that they should be guided, and it upset him to see their stubbornness. So he came and sat with them, and they said, `O Muhammad, we have sent for you so that nobody will think we are to blame. By Allah we do not know any man among the Arabs who has brought to his people what you have brought to your people. You have slandered our forefathers, criticized our religion, insulted our reason, slandered our gods and caused division. There is no objectionable thing that you have not brought between us. If you are preaching these things because you want wealth, we will collect some of our wealth together for you and make you the wealthiest man among us.
«مَا بِي مَا تَقُولُونَ، مَا جِئْتُكُمْ بِمَا جِئْتُكُمْ بِهِ أَطْلُبُ أَمْوَالَكُمْ، وَلَا الشَّرَفَ فِيكُمْ، وَلَا الْمُلْكَ عَلَيْكُمْ، وَلَكِنَّ اللهَ بَعَثَنِي إِلَيْكُمْ رَسُولًا وَأَنْزَلَ عَلَيَّ كِتَابًا، وَأَمَرَنِي أَنْ أَكُونَ لَكُمْ بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا، فَبَلَّغْتُكُمْ رِسَالَاتِ رَبِّي وَنَصَحْتُ لَكُمْ، فَإِنْ تَقْبَلُوا مِنِّي مَا جِئْتُكُمْ بِهِ فَهُوَ حَظُّكُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ، وَإِنْ تَرُدُّوهُ عَلَيَّ أَصْبِرْ لِأَمْرِ اللهِ حَتَّى يَحْكُمَ اللهُ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَكُم»
(My case is not as you say. I have not brought what I have brought to you because I want your wealth or to be your leader or king. But Allah has sent me to you as a Messenger and has revealed to me a Book and has commanded me to bring you good news and a warning. So, I have conveyed to you the Messages of my Lord and have advised you accordingly. If you accept what I have brought to you, then this is your good fortune in this world and the Hereafter, but if you reject it, I shall wait patiently for the command of Allah until Allah judges between me and you.) or words to that effect. They said, `O Muhammad, if you do not accept what we have offered you, then you know that there is no other people whose country is smaller, whose wealth is less and whose life is harder than ours, so ask your Lord Who has sent you with what He has sent you, to move away these mountains for us that are constricting us, to make our land wider and cause rivers to gush forth in it like the rivers of Syria and Iraq, and to resurrect for us those of our forefathers who have passed away.
«مَا بِهَذَا بُعِثتُ، إِنَّمَا جِئْتُكُمْ مِنْ عِنْدِ اللهِ بِمَا بَعَثَنِي بِهِ، فَقَدْ بَلَّغْتُكُمْ مَا أُرْسِلْتُ بِهِ إِلَيْكُمْ، فَإِنْ تَقْبَلُوهُ فَهُوَ حَظُّكُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ، وَإِنْ تَرُدُّوهُ عَلَيَّ أَصْبِرْ لِأَمْرِ اللهِ حَتَّى يَحْكُمَ اللهُ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَكُم»
(I was not sent for this purpose. I have brought to you from Allah that with which He has sent me, and I have conveyed to you the Message with which I was sent to you. If you accept what I have brought to you, then this is your good fortune in this world and the Hereafter, but if you reject it, I shall wait patiently for the command of Allah until Allah judges between me and you.) They said, `If you will not do this for us, then at least do something for yourself. Ask your Lord to send an angel to confirm that what you are saying is the truth and to speak up on your behalf. Ask Him to give you gardens and treasures and palaces of gold and silver, and to make you independent so that you will not have to do what we see you doing, for you stand in the marketplaces seeking provision just as we do. Then we will know the virtue of your position with your Lord and whether you are a Messenger as you claim.' The Messenger of Allah said to them:
«مَا أَنَا بِفَاعِلٍ، مَا أَنَا بِالَّذِي يَسْأَلُ رَبَّهُ هَذَا، وَمَا بُعِثْتُ إِلَيْكُمْ بِهَذَا، وَلَكِنَّ اللهَ بَعَثَنِي بَشِيرًا وَنَذِيرًا، فَإِنْ تَقْبَلُوا مَا جِئْتُكُمْ بِهِ، فَهُوَ حَظُّكُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ، وَإِنْ تَرُدُّوهُ عَلَيَّ أَصْبِرْ لِأَمْرِ اللهِ حَتَّى يَحْكُمَ اللهُ بَيْنِي وَبَيْنَك»
(I will not do that, and I will not ask my Lord for this. I was not sent to you for this reason. But Allah has sent me to you to bring you good news and a warning. If you accept what I have brought to you, then this is your good fortune in this world and the Hereafter, but if you reject it, I shall wait patiently for the command of Allah until Allah judges between me and you.) They said, `Then cause the sky to fall upon us, as you claim that if your Lord wills, He can do that. We will not believe in you until you do this.' The Messenger of Allah said to them:
«ذَلِكَ إِلَى اللهِ، إِنْ شَاءَ فَعَلَ بِكُمْ ذَلِك»
(That is for Allah to decide. If He wills, He will do that to you.) They said, `O Muhammad, did your Lord not know that we would sit with you and ask you what we have asked and make the requests that we have made He should have told you beforehand and taught you how to reply to us, and informed you what He would do to us if we do not accept what you have brought to us. We have heard that the one who is teaching you this, is a man in Al-Yamamah called Ar-Rahman. By Allah, we will never believe in Ar-Rahman. We are warning you, O Muhammad, that we will not let you do what you want to do until you or we are destroyed.' One of them said, `We worship the angels who are the daughters of Allah.' Another said, `We will never believe in you until you bring Allah and the angels before (us) face to face.' When they said this, the Messenger of Allah got up and left them. `Abdullah bin Abi Umayyah bin Al-Mughirah bin `Abdullah bin `Umar bin Makhzum, the son of his paternal aunt `Atikah, the daughter of `Abdul-Muttalib, also got up and followed him. He said to him, `O Muhammad, your people have offered you what they have offered you, and you did not accept it. Then they asked for things for themselves so that they would know your position with Allah, and you did not do that for them. Then they asked you to hasten on the punishments with which you are scaring them. By Allah, I will never believe in you unless you take a ladder to heaven and ascend it while I am watching, then you bring with you an open book and four angels to testify that you are as you say. By Allah, even if you did that, I think that I would not believe you.' Then he turned away from the Messenger of Allah , and the Messenger of Allah went home to his family, grieving over having missed out on what he had hoped for when his people had called him, because he saw that they were resisting him even more.''
In the case of this gathering where the Quraysh came together to speak with the Messenger of Allah , if Allah knew that they were making these requests in order to be guided, they would have been granted, but He knew that they were making these demands out of disbelief and stubbornness. It was said to the Messenger of Allah , "If you wish, We will give them what they are asking, but if they then disbelieve, I will punish them with a punishment that I have never imposed upon anyone else in the universe; or if you wish, I will open for them the gate of repentance and mercy.'' He said:
«بَلْ تَفْتَحُ عَلَيْهِمْ بَابَ التَّوْبَةِ وَالرَّحْمَة»
(Rather, You open for them the gate of repentance and mercy.) This is like the Ayah:
وَمَا مَنَعَنَآ أَن نُّرْسِلَ بِالاٌّيَـتِ إِلاَّ أَن كَذَّبَ بِهَا الاٌّوَّلُونَ وَءَاتَيْنَا ثَمُودَ النَّاقَةَ مُبْصِرَةً فَظَلَمُواْ بِهَا وَمَا نُرْسِلُ بِالاٌّيَـتِ إِلاَّ تَخْوِيفًا
(And nothing stops Us from sending the Ayat but that the people of old denied them. And We sent the she-camel to Thamud as a clear sign, but they did her wrong. And We sent not the signs except to warn, and to make them afraid (of destruction).) (17:59) And Allah says:
وَقَالُواْ مَا لِهَـذَا الرَّسُولِ يَأْكُلُ الطَّعَامَ وَيَمْشِى فِى الاٌّسْوَاقِ لَوْلا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مَلَكٌ فَيَكُونَ مَعَهُ نَذِيراً - أَوْ يُلْقَى إِلَيْهِ كَنْزٌ أَوْ تَكُونُ لَهُ جَنَّةٌ يَأْكُلُ مِنْهَا وَقَالَ الظَّـلِمُونَ إِن تَتَّبِعُونَ إِلاَّ رَجُلاً مَّسْحُوراً - انظُرْ كَيْفَ ضَرَبُواْ لَكَ الاٌّمْثَـلَ فَضَلُّواْ فَلاَ يَسْتَطِيعُونَ سَبِيلاً - تَبَارَكَ الَّذِى إِن شَآءَ جَعَلَ لَكَ خَيْراً مِّن ذلِكَ جَنَّـتٍ تَجْرِى مِن تَحْتِهَا الاٌّنْهَـرُ وَيَجْعَل لَّكَ قُصُوراً - بَلْ كَذَّبُواْ بِالسَّاعَةِ وَأَعْتَدْنَا لِمَن كَذَّبَ بِالسَّاعَةِ سَعِيراً
(And they say: "Why does this Messenger eat food, and walk about in the markets (as we). Why is not an angel sent down to him to be a warner with him Or (why) has not a treasure been granted to him, or why has he not a garden whereof he may eat'' And the wrongdoers say: "You follow none but a man bewitched.'' See how they coin similitudes for you, so they have gone astray, and they cannot find a path. Blessed be He Who, if He wills, will assign you better than that - Gardens under which rivers flow and will assign you palaces. Nay, they deny the Hour, and for those who deny the Hour, We have prepared a flaming Fire.) (25:7-11) Allah's saying,
حَتَّى تَفْجُرَ لَنَا مِنَ الاٌّرْضِ يَنْبُوعًا
(until you cause a spring to gush forth from the earth for us) refers to a spring of flowing water. They asked him to bring forth springs of fresh water in the land of Al-Hijaz, here and there. This is easy for Allah, may He be glorified and exalted; if He willed, He could do that. He could have responded to all their demands, but He knew that they would not be guided by that, as He says:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ حَقَّتْ عَلَيْهِمْ كَلِمَةُ رَبِّكَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ - وَلَوْ جَآءَتْهُمْ كُلُّ ءايَةٍ حَتَّى يَرَوُاْ الْعَذَابَ الاٌّلِيمَ
(Truly, those, against whom the Word (wrath) of your Lord has been justified, will not believe. Even if every sign should come to them, until they see the painful torment.) (10:96-97) And Allah says:
وَلَوْ أَنَّنَا نَزَّلْنَآ إِلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَـئِكَةَ وَكَلَّمَهُمُ الْمَوْتَى وَحَشَرْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ كُلَّ شَىْءٍ قُبُلاً مَّا كَانُواْ لِيُؤْمِنُواْ
(And even if We had sent down unto them angels, and the dead had spoken unto them, and We had gathered together all things before their very eyes, they would not have believed) 6:111 His saying;
أَوْ تُسْقِطَ السَّمَآءَ كَمَا زَعَمْتَ
(Or you cause the heaven to fall upon us in pieces, as you have pretended,) means, `you promised us that on the Day of Resurrection the heavens will be split asunder, being broken and torn up, with parts of it falling down, so do that in this world and make it fall in pieces.' This is like when they said:
اللَّهُمَّ إِن كَانَ هَـذَا هُوَ الْحَقَّ مِنْ عِندِكَ فَأَمْطِرْ عَلَيْنَا حِجَارَةً مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ
(O Allah! If this (the Qur'an) is indeed the truth from You, then rain down stones on us from the sky.) 8:32 Similarly, the people of Shu`ayb asked him:
فَأَسْقِطْ عَلَيْنَا كِسَفاً مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ إِن كُنتَ مِنَ الصَّـدِقِينَ
(So cause a piece of the heaven to fall on us, if you are of the truthful!) (26:187) So Allah punished them with the punishment of the day of Shadow (a gloomy cloud), which was the torment of a Great Day. 26:189 As for the Prophet of Repentance and Mercy, who was sent as a mercy to the worlds, he asked Allah to delay their punishment, in the hope that Allah would bring forth from their offspring people who would worship Allah Alone, with no partner or associate. This is what indeed did happen, for among those who are mentioned above were some who later embraced Islam and became good and sincere Muslims, even `Abdullah bin Abi Umayyah, who followed the Prophet (out of that meeting) and spoke to him as he did. He became a sincere Muslim and turned to Allah in repentance.
أَوْ يَكُونَ لَكَ بَيْتٌ مِّن زُخْرُفٍ
(Or you have a house of Zukhruf.) Ibn `Abbas, Mujahid and Qatadah said, "This is gold.'' This was also what was said in the recitation of Ibn Mas`ud, "Or you have a house of gold.''
أَوْ تَرْقَى فِى السَّمَآءِ
(or you ascend up into the sky,) meaning, you climb up on a ladder while we are watching you.
وَلَن نُّؤْمِنَ لِرُقِيِّكَ حَتَّى تُنَزِّلَ عَلَيْنَا كِتَابًا نَّقْرَءُهُ
(and even then we will put no faith in your ascension until you bring down for us a Book that we would read.) Mujahid said, "This means a book in which there would be one page for each person, on which would be the words: `This is a book from Allah to so-and-so the son of so-and-so, which he would find by his head when he woke up in the morning.''
قُلْ سُبْحَـنَ رَبِّى هَلْ كُنتُ إَلاَّ بَشَرًا رَّسُولاً
(Say: "Glorified be my Lord! Am I anything but a man, sent as a Messenger'') meaning, `Glorified, exalted and sanctified be He above the notion that anyone would come before Him concerning any matter pertaining to His authority and sovereignty. He is the One Who does what He wills. If He willed, he could have given you what you asked for, or if He willed, he could have refrained. I am only a Messenger to you, sent to convey the Messages of my Lord and advise you. I have done that, and the response to what you have asked is to be decided by Allah, may He be glorified.'