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Torture within Quranist Viewpoint (5): Torture/Torment of Ancient Nations in This World


Torture within Quranist Viewpoint (5): Torture/Torment of Ancient Nations in This World

Published in September 15, 2017

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy




1- God's narration of smiting and destroying ancient nations is often linked to their tasting types of torment (in ways known only to God the Omniscient) before they faced their death

2- There are general rules for the torment inflicted on ancient nations smitten and destroyed by God. we give some details in the points below.


Firstly: a general description:

Steps of the test/ordeal:

  The test begins with their tasting fearful ordeal(s) so that they implore God for mercy and forgiveness, and then the test of bounties, and if they are not thankful and grateful to God and if they refuse to worship Him without associating other deities along with Him, they deserve to be smitten and destroyed: "We did not send any prophet to any town but We afflicted its people with misery and adversity, so that they may humble themselves. Then We substituted prosperity in place of hardship. Until they increased in number, and said, "Adversity and prosperity has touched our ancestors." Then We seized them suddenly, while they were unaware." (7:94-95); "We sent messengers to communities before you, and We afflicted them with suffering and hardship, that they may humble themselves. If only, when Our calamity came upon them, they humbled themselves. But their hearts hardened, and Satan made their deeds appear good to them. Then, when they disregarded what they were reminded of, We opened for them the gates of all things. Until, when they delighted in what they were given, We seized them suddenly; and at once, they were in despair.  Thus the last remnant of the people who committed injustices was cut off..." (6:42-45).


Secondly: reasons: disbelief, injustice, and tyranny:

1- Tyrants and unjust ones smitten and destroyed by torment inflicted by God refused arrogantly to implore Him for mercy and were ungrateful to Him for His bounties; e.g., God says the following about the people of Aad, the people of Thamood, and Moses' Pharaoh's people: "Those who committed tyrannical actions on Earth. And spread much corruption therein. So your Lord poured down upon them a scourge of torment. Your Lord is on the lookout." (89:11-14); they were ridiculing and mocking the messengers of God: "How many a prophet did We send to the ancients? No messenger came to them, but they ridiculed him. We destroyed people more powerful than they, and so the example of the ancients has passed away." (43:6-8).

2- The unjust, disbelieving, tyrannical ones disobeyed and denied the messengers in arrogance and stubbornness, because they thought of themselves as too powerful and rich; e.g. Saleh was a prophet who warned his people of Thamood against slaughtering the she-camel sent to them as a miracle by God: "And do not touch her with harm, lest the torment of a severe day seizes you."" (26:156), but they slaughtered it in defiance, and God has smitten them: "So the torment overtook them..." (26:158), and this was the result of their evil deeds: "And as for Thamood, We guided them, but they preferred blindness over guidance. So the thunderbolt of the humiliating torment seized them, because of what they used to earn." (41:17).

3- This is the rule made and applied by God in smiting and destroying the unjust ones: "Priding themselves on Earth, and scheming evil. But evil scheming overwhelms none but its authors. Do they expect anything but the precedent of the ancients? You will not find any change in God's practice, and you will not find any substitute to God's practice." (35:43).

4- God tells us in the Quran about the town that received three messengers of God successively, but its people accused the messengers of being liars, and they threatened to torture or stone the messengers to death! "They said, "We see an evil omen in you; if you do not give up, we will stone you, and a painful torment from us will befall you!"" (36:18). When a believing man gave them a piece of advice, they murdered him, and they were punished by being tormented and smitten by the Lord God: "It was just one Cry, and they were stilled." (36:29).

5- The people of Madian desired very much to stone their prophet, Shuaib, if it had not been for his tribe the protected him: "They said, "O Shuaib, we do not understand much of what you say, and we see that you are weak among us. Were it not for your tribe, we would have stoned you. You are of no value to us."" (11:91). The people of the cave fled the religious persecution inflicted on them by their tribe, and when they woke up after 309 years of deep slumber, their fear of persecution was still alive in their hearts, and they said the following about their tribe: ""If they discover you, they will stone you, or force you back into their religion; then you will never succeed."" (18:20). Even the father of Abraham threatened stone his son, Abraham, to death or to drive him out of the tribe: "He said, "Are you renouncing my gods, O Abraham? If you do not desist, I will stone you. So leave me alone for a while."" (19:46).

6- The stories of prophets in the Quran can be summarized in one dialogue repeated in most cases between prophets/messengers and their disbelieving people; in this verse, we see how disbelievers reacted and how God responded: "Those who disbelieved said to their messengers, "We will expel you from our land, unless you return to our religion." And their Lord inspired them: "We will destroy the unjust ones."" (14:13).

7- Committing injustices is the common reason for tormenting and smiting ancient nations: "How many a town have I reprieved, although it was unjust? Then I seized it. To Me is the destination." (22:48). The tyrants and unjust ones are the cause for incurring such torment: "Have you not seen those who exchanged the blessing of God with disbelief, and landed their people into the house of perdition?" (14:28); they rejected and denied warners seeking reform, and they deserved to be smitten: "Never did We destroy a town, but it had warners. As a reminder - We are never unjust." (26:208-209). This is a general rule that is applied more often than not: "When We decide to destroy a town, We command its affluent ones, but they transgress in it, so the word becomes justified against it, and We destroy it completely. How many generations have We destroyed after Noah? Your Lord is sufficient as Knower and Beholder of the sins of his servants." (17:16-17); Moses' Pharaoh and his people and those before them serve as examples of this rule: "That is because God would never change a blessing He has bestowed on a people unless they change what is within themselves, and because God is Hearing and Knowing. Such was the case with the people of Pharaoh, and those before them. They denied the signs of their Lord, so We annihilated them for their wrongs, and We drowned the people of Pharaoh-they were all unjust ones." (8:53-54).


Thirdly: warning, drawing moral lessons, and taking heed:

1- God in the Quran has narrated to believers the stories of ancient nations as a form of warning, so that believers would draw moral lessons and take heed: "Everything We narrate to you of the history of the messengers is to strengthen your heart therewith. The truth has come to you in this, and a lesson, and a reminder for the believers." (11:120); "In their stories is a lesson for those who possess intelligence. This is not a fabricated tale, but a confirmation of what came before it, and a detailed explanation of all things, and guidance, and mercy for people who believe." (12:111). 

2- After the Quranic narration of the stories of ancient nations who were destroyed and smitten by God, we read this divine warning in the Quran addressed to all people: "Had the people of the towns believed and turned righteous, We would have opened for them the blessings of the heaven and the Earth; but they rejected the Truth, so We seized them by what they were doing. Do the people of the towns feel secure that Our might will not come upon them by night, while they sleep? Do the people of the towns feel secure that Our might will not come upon them by day, while they play? Do they feel safe from God's plan? None feel safe from God's plan except the losing people. Is it not guidance for those who inherit the land after its inhabitants, that if We willed, We could strike them for their sins? And seal up their hearts, so that they would not hear? These towns - We narrate to you some of their tales. Their messengers came to them with the clear signs, but they would not believe in what they had rejected previously. Thus God seals the hearts of the disbelievers." (7:96-101).

3- This warning is repeated in these verses as well: "Do those who scheme evils feel secure that God will not cause the Earth to cave in with them, or that the torment will not come upon them from where they do not perceive? Or that He will not seize them during their activities? And they will not be able to prevent it. Or that He will not seize them while in dread?..." (16:45-47).

4- God says about all human beings that most of them do not believe in Him unless within polytheism: "And most of them do not believe in God unless they associate others. Do they feel secure that a covering of God's torment will not come upon them, or that the Hour will not come upon them suddenly, while they are unaware?" (12:106-107). The very next verse is the call of true monotheistic Quranists who preach and warn others using only the Quran and thus follow the footsteps of Muhammad: "Say, "This is my way; I invite to God, based on clear knowledge - I and whoever follows me. Glory be to God; and I am not of the polytheists."" (12:108). 

5- God says the following about the destruction of the people of Thamood: "They planned a plan, and We planned a plan, but they did not notice. So note the outcome of their planning; We destroyed them and their people, altogether. Here are their homes, in ruins, on account of their iniquities. Surely in this is a sign for people who know." (27:50-52). The homes of Thamood carved in mountains remain until now as evidence and proof, as per 27:52, of this event of smiting the unjust ones by God.

6- God says the following about the Arabs in Arabia who rejected and denied the Quranic message conveyed by Muhammad: "If they deny you - before them the people of Noah, and Aad, and Thamood also denied. And the people of Abraham, and the people of Lot. And the inhabitants of Median. And Moses was denied. Then I reprieved those who disbelieved, but then I seized them. So how was My rejection?" (22:42-44); this means the Arabs denied God's message and rejected the messenger, as done by ancient nations before them. The result was that the ancient nations were smitten and destroyed by God, and some features and remnants remain as proof of their grave injustices, for people to take heed: palaces inhabited by the unjust affluent tyrants and stilled wells that should have provided water for the poor ones, but the affluent ones of the palaces never cared about needs of the poor: "How many a town have We destroyed while it was committing injustices? They lie in ruins; with stilled wells, and lofty mansions." (22:45). This is why we find the Quranic command to roam the Earth to seek to learn moral lessons to take heed to be wise: "Have they not journeyed on Earth, and had minds to reason with, or ears to listen with? It is not the eyes that go blind, but it is the hearts, within the chests, that go blind." (22:46).

7- Within the verse 22:45, we find that this parable expresses the despicable conditions within the countries of the Muhammadans today; tyrannical, affluent rulers and their retinue members and cronies reside in luxurious palaces, whereas the poor ones live within overcrowded slum areas with hardly any services and facilities; this is exactly the image in the parable of 22:45 about the stilled wells and lofty mansions.

8- This is why bloodshed occurs more often than not within the countries of the Muhammadans, and the terrible fate for tyrants is still fresh within memories of everyone; yet, no one is drawing the moral lesson or taking heed until now!

9- Why do not they take heed?! The answer is in the following verse: "...It is not the eyes that go blind, but it is the hearts, within the chests, that go blind." (22:46). As always, God says nothing but the Absolute Truth.  

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