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Friday, December 8, 2023

Dwellers of the Town

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In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Allah the Almighty says:
{And put forward to them a similitude: the (story of the) dwellers
of the town, when there came Messengers to them. When We sent to
them two Messengers, they belied them both; so We reinforced them
with a third, and they said: “Verily we have been sent to you as
Messengers.” They (people of the town) said: “You are only human
beings like ourselves and the Most Gracious (Allah) has revealed
nothing. You are only telling lies.” The Messengers said: “Our Lord
knows that we have been sent as Messengers to you.” And our duty is
only to convey plainly (the Message).” They (people) said: “For us, we
see an evil omen from you: if you cease not, we will surely stone you,
and a painful torment will touch you from us.” They (Messengers) said:
“Your evil omens be with you! (Do you call it “evil omen”) because you
are admonished? Nay, but you are a people Musrifun (transgressing all
bounds by committing all kinds of great sins, and by disobeying Allah).
And there came a man running from the farthest part of the town. He
said: “O my people! Obey the Messengers. ” “Obey those who ask no
wages of you (for themselves), and who are rightly guided. “And why
should I not worship Him (Allah Alone) Who has created me and to
Whom you shall be returned.” “Shall I take besides Him alihah (gods)?
If the Most Gracious (Allah) intends me any harm, their intercession
will be of no use for me whatsoever, nor can they save me?” “Then
verily, I should be in plain error.” “Verily! I have believed in your Lord,
so listen to me!” It was said (to him when the disbelievers killed him):
“Enter Paradise.” He said: “Would that my people knew. “That my Lord
(Allah) has forgiven me, and made me of the honored ones!” And We
sent not against his people after him a host from the heaven, nor was it
needful for Us to send (such a thing). It was but one Saihah (shout)
and lo! They (all) were still (silent, dead, destroyed)}.

(Ya-Sin, 13-29)


‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas, Ka’b Al-Ahbar and Wahb Ibn Munabih and many
others narrated a story of a town called Antioch (Antakiyah), governed by the
king Antikhis Ibn Antikhis. This king used to observe idol worship. Allah Almighty
sent him three Messengers whom he severely belied. The Messengers were:
Sadiq, Masduq and Shalom.


It is evidently apparent that they were Messengers sent by Allah the
Almighty. Qatadah claimed them to be messengers sent by Jesus Christ. The
same view was held by Ibn Jarir after Wahb after Ibn Sulaiman after Shu’ aib Al-
Jiba’i who added that: those messengers were called: Shimon, Jonah and Paul
and the town was called Antioch. This view is groundless because the people of
Antioch when received three of the disciples of Jesus Christ (Peace be upon him)
-were the first to believe in him at that very time. Thereupon, Antioch was one of
the first four towns in which there first existed Christian Patriarchs. These four
towns were Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria and Rome. However, the people of
these towns were not destroyed, whereas the people of the aforementioned
town in the Qur’anic verses were totally annihilated, following the killing of their
companion whom Allah sent to admonish them. Allah the Almighty says: {It
was but one Saihah (shout) and lo! They (all) were still (silent, dead
and destroyed)}.
(Ya-Sin, 29) There is no contradiction between the two
interpretations, if the case was that the three Messengers of Allah were sent to
the earlier dwellers of Antioch and that they were belied, the matter which
incurred complete destruction. Then, their land was re-inhabited and during the
lifetime of Jesus (Peace be upon him) the new dwellers believed in his three
messengers.


The claim that the story mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an is that of the
messengers of Jesus (Peace be upon him) is very absurd and groundless.
Obviously, the context shows that they, the Messengers were sent by Allah the
Almighty.


Allah the Almighty says: {And put forward to them a similitude} i.e. for
your people 0 Muhammad (Peace be upon him). {The (story of the) dwellers
of the town, when there came Messengers to them. When We sent to
them two Messengers, they belied them both, so We reinforced them
with a third}
i.e. We supported them with a third Messenger, {and they said:
Verily we have been sent to you as Messengers}.
The people of the town
said that the Messengers were only human beings and they set aside the idea
that Allah Almighty might send human beings as His Messengers to mankind.
The Messengers asserted that Allah knows that they have been sent to them and
that if they lie to Him, He would certainly give them the severest of all
punishment. They added: {our duty is only to convey plainly (the
Message)}
i.e. what they were sent with and that guidance and misleading are
in the Hand of Allah the Almighty Alone. {They (people) said: For us, we see
an evil omen from you}
i.e. from what you have brought us. {If you cease
not, we will surely stone you}
with bad words and stones as well; {and
a painful torment will touch you from us}
i.e. they threatened them with
afflicting humiliation (bad words) and killing (stoning to death). {They
(Messengers) said: Your evil omens be with you!}
i.e. they will badly
affect you. {(Do you call it “evil omen “) because you are admonished?}
i.e. because we reminded you with guidance and invited you to it you threatened
us with killing and afflicting humiliation. {Nay, but you are a people
Musrifun}
i.e. you transgress all bounds by committing all kinds of sinful deeds,
and by disobeying Allah.


Allah the Almighty says: {And there came a man running from the
farthest part of the town}
to support the Messengers and to declare his faith
in them. {He said: 0 my people! Obey the Messengers. Obey those who
ask no wages of you (for themselves), and who are rightly guided}
i.e.
they invite you to the absolute truth without asking wages or reward for
themselves of you. Then he invited them to worship Allah Alone, and not to
worship other than Him that can do nothing in this present life or in the
Hereafter. {Then verily, I should be in plain error} i.e. if I abandoned the
worship of Allah and worshipped anything else besides Him.


Then, the believing man said to the three Messengers: {Verily! I have
believed in your Lord, so listen to me!}
, i.e. you should listen to my
statement and bear witness to this before your Lord. Or, 0 my people! Listen to
my declaration of faith of these Messengers. Thereupon, the people killed him
either by stoning him to death, or biting, or making one sudden assault against
him. Narrated Ibn Ishaq after some of his counterparts on the authority of
Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud that the people stepped over his body till they broke his
neck.

Narrated Ath-Thawri after `Asim Al-Ahwal after Abu Majlaz his saying: The
name of that believing man was Habib Ibn Murriy who was said to be a
carpenter, or rope-maker, or shoe-maker. It is also said that he used to observe
his religious rituals in an isolated cave. Abdullah Ibn Abbas (May Allah be
pleased with him) said: He was Habib, the carpenter who was afflicted with
leprosy. He was charitable, but killed at the end at the hands of his own people.
Then, Allah the Almighty says: {Enter Paradise} i.e. when he was killed by his
people, Allah Almighty admitted him into Paradise. When he saw of the pleasures
and joys therein, he said: {Would that my people knew? That my Lord
(Allah) has forgiven me, and made me of the honored ones!}
, i.e. to
believe in what I have believed in and thus gain what I have just obtained. Ibn
`Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) said: He advised his people during his
life saying: {O my people! Obey the Messengers}, and after his death
{Would that my people knew? That my Lord (Allah) has forgiven me,
and made me of the honored ones!}
. In addition, Qatadah said: The believer
always gives counseling because of what he sees of the rewards granted by Allah
{Would that my people knew? That my Lord (Allah) has forgiven me,
and made me of the honored ones!}
, i.e. he wished that his people would
know the honor Allah bestowed on him. Qatadah added: By Allah! Allah did not
admonish or even blame those people after killing him (the believing man) {It
was but one Saihah (shout) and lo! They (all) were still (silent, dead,
destroyed)}
. Allah the Almighty says: {And We sent not against his people
after him a host from the heaven, nor was it needful for Us to send
(such a thing)},
i.e. it was not needful for Allah the Almighty to send against
them a host from the heaven to avenge the Messengers.


Mujahid and Qatadah said: This means that Allah did not send them another
Message. Ibn Jarir said: The first interpretation looks more proper because Allah
the Almighty says after this: {nor was it needful for Us to send (such a
thing)}
, i.e. Allah was not in need to send such a thing to punish them when
they belied His Messengers and killed His godly man, {It was but one Saihah
(shout) and lo! They (all) were still (silent, dead, destroyed)}
.


Interpreters said: Allah the Almighty sent Gabriel (Peace be upon him) who
maintained a grasp on their town’s gate and made a single shout {one Saihah
(shout) and lo! They (all) were still (silent, dead, destroyed)},
i.e. they
turned to be silent, motionless and dead.


Finally, all these indicate that the town mentioned in the Qur’anic verses was
not Antioch because the people of Antioch believed in Allah and followed the
messengers of Jesus (Peace be upon him). Moreover, Antioch was said to be the
first town to declare faith in Jesus (Peace be upon him).

Stories Of The Quran By: Ibn Katheer

Translated by Ali As-Sayed Al- Halawani

Retrieved from https://www.islambasics.com

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