Belying
(takdhīb, juḥūd, inkār)

Gibril Fouad Haddad, Muzaffar Iqbal and Csaba Okvath

“Belying” is here defined as the denial of veracity and the imputation of falsehood to Allah, His Prophets and Messengers, His signs and miracles, His Book, Resurrection, and truth. It is mentioned in the Qurʾān through the synonymous cognates of the three roots k-dh-bj-ḥ-d and n-k-r in the frequencies, forms, senses and contexts described below.

Definitions and Usage

K-dh-b. The root k-dh-b occurs 282 times, of which 176 as verbs in the Form-II kadhdhaba, “ascribe a lie to someone” (Farāhīdī, ʿAyn, 5:374; Fārābī, Dīwān, 2:146; Saraqusṭī, Afʿāl, 2:449; Ibn Sīda, Muḥkam, 6:491), seven in the Form-I kadhaba (Q 6:24, 9:90, 11:18, 12:110, 39:32, 39:60, 53:11) and once in the the Form-IV akdhaba (Q 6:33 in the reading of Warsh from Nāfiʿ), all used as direct transitives, the first two sometimes with prepositions: kadhdhaba bil-ḥadīth is to call a statement false (Ibn Durayd, Jamhara, 1:251b, sub b-dh-k; Zamakhsharī, Asās, sub k-dh-b) and kadhdhabū bi-liqāʾ Allāh is they denied the truth of the meeting with Allah (Q 6:31, 10:45) while kadhabū ʿalā anfusihim is they belied themselves (Q 6:24), kadhabū ʿalā Rabbihim, kadhabū ʿalā Allāh is they belied their Lord (Q 11:18), they belied Allah (Q 39:60). The Form-II verbal noun takdhīb (used once in Q 85:19) is the antonym of taṣdīq—affirmation and attestation of someone being truhful (ʿAskarī, Furūq, al-farq bayn al-kadhib wal-kharṣ) while its plural agential noun mukadhdhibīn (inveterate beliers) recurs in the two phrases roam the earth and see the invariable fate of the beliers (Q 3:137, 6:11, 16:36, cf. 43:25) and woe to the beliers on that Day (Q 77:15, 19, 24, 28, 34, 37, 40, 45, 47, 49, 83:10), as (i) a cautionary historical archetype of the annihilation of naysayers, (ii) a Divine threat of dire punishment in the Hereafter ( also Promises and Threats), and (iii) a powerful exposition of the irrepressible Divine Custom (Sunnat Allāh) in the rise and fall of empires and civilizations.

The above terms, moreover, are used with Prophets and Messengers as their objects (see the rest of this article), especially with regard to their mission and function (see Calling unto Allah, Prophethood and Messengership), but also in reference to Allah (Q 9:90), His signs and miracles (Q 2:11, 6:39, 6:49, 6:150, 7:36, 7:40, 7:72, 7:101, 7;136, 7:146, 7:147, 7:176, 7:177, 7:182, 8:54, 10:73-74, 10:95, 21:77, 25:36, 30:10, 54:42, 62:5, 78:28), His Book (Q 40:70), Resurrection and the meeting with Allah (Q 6:31, 7:147, 10:45, 25:11, 83:11, 84:22), and truth  in general (Q 6:5, 50:5), including whatever beliers have no understanding of (Q 10:39) as well as denial in absolute terms, without direct object (Q 7:96, 26:6, 85:19, 92:16).

J-ḥ-d. The root j-ḥ-d points to “lack of goodness” (qillat al-khayr: Ibn Fāris, Maqāyīs, 1:425), its infinitive nouns jaḥd, juḥūd meaning “denial in bad faith” (ankarah wa-huwa ʿālim bih: Saraqusṭī, Afʿāl, 2:258; ʿAskārī, Furūq, al-Farq bayn al-jaḥd wal-kadhib; Fayrūzābādī, Qāmūs) as well as “affirming what the heart denies” (Rāghib, Mufradāt). The Form-I verb jaḥada occurs 12 times (Q 6:33, 7:51, 11:59, 27:14, 29:47, 29:49, 31:32, 40:63, 41:15, 41:28, 46:26) as the indirect-transitive jaḥada bi-, “to deny what one rightly owes” (Ibn Durayd, Jamhara, 2:53; Fārābī, Dīwān, 2:200), always with the signs (āyāt) of Allah as an object except in one verse: is it the blessing of Allah they vehemently deny/dispute/reject? (Q 16:71). Jaḥada bi- has the same meaning as a direct transitive (Fārābī, op. it.) but the addition of the preposition gives it the sense of disbelief: and when Our signs came to them plain and visible, they said, “This is manifest sorcery” and belied them (jaḥadū bihā) (Q 27:13-14), where jaḥadū bihā means kafarū bihā (Ibn Sīda, Muḥkam, op. cit.; Qurṭubī, Tafsīr), as in the people of ʿĀd’s identical denial of the miraculous signs (jaḥadū: kafarū bi-āyāti Rabbihim: Ījī, Tafsīr, sub Q 11:59).

N-k-r. The root n-k-r occurs 37 times, ten of which in the sense of lack of recognition and belying: “nakira al-shayʾ and ankarah mean the heart’s rejection of something and the tongue’s refusal to admit it” (Ibn Fāris, Maqāyīs, 5:476). These ten occurrences are mostly with IV-Form verbal and nominal cognates of the act of belying (tunkirūn, yunkirūn, munkirūn: you/they belie or are belying), whether genuine as in the inability to identify visitors (Q 11:70, 15:62, 51:25), the brothers of Yūsuf, upon him peace, not recognizing him (Q 12:58), and the camouflaging of the throne of the Queen of Sabaʾ, or deliberate, as in the studied refusal to recognize as true the Book (Q 21:50, see Qurʾān) or part thereof (Q 13:36), the Hereafter (Q 16:22), Divine favors (Q 16:83), the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace (Q 23:69), and the signs of Allah (Q 40:81). The difference between inkār and jaḥd is that “jaḥd is more specific as the denial of something apparent, hence the Qurʾān reserved inkār for blessings, as blessings might also be hidden… Also, jaḥd is with certainty (yaqīn), while inkār can be both with certainty and without certainty” (ʿAskārī, Furūq, al-Farq bayn al-jaḥd wal-kadhib). The rest of the occurrrences of n-k-r are mostly in the sense of “reprehensible matters” (munkar, see Commanding Good and Forbidding Wrong).


The Belying Nations of Old

Every new belying nation followed the previous ones and their stories were transmitted to successive generations as wonders, though not in a good sense (Qurṭubī, Tafsīr); rather, these are stories of destruction: We made them proverbial (aḥādīth) and We tore them completely to pieces (Q 34:19), whereby the deniers were scattered over the land and became the stuff of expletives and proverbial dispersion (Ṭabarī, Tafsīr). Belying nations are named and listed one after the other (see Past Nations):

  1. The People of Nūḥ (Q 22:42; 26:105; 38:12; 50:12; 54:9), among whom none believed with him save very few (Q 11:40).
  2. ʿĀd (Q 22:42; 26:123; 54:18; 69:4).
  3. Thamūd (Q 22:42; 26:141; 54:23; 69:4; 91:11).
  4. The People of Lūṭ (Q 22:43; 26:160; 54:33), among whom none believed save a single household of Muslims (Q 51:35-36), namely “Lūṭ and his two daughters” (Naḥḥās, Iʿrāb).
  5. The People of Ibrāhīm (Q 22:43; 26:69-77).
  6. Sabaʾ (Q 34:15-19).
  7. The People of Madyan to whom was sent the Prophet Shuʿayb, upon him peace (Q 7:85-93, 22:44) and concerning whom he said, after they belied him, our Lord, decide between us and our nation in truth, and You are the best of those who decide (Q 7:89).
  8. The People of al-Rass (Q 25:38, 50:12), said to have been part of Thamūd, and al-Rass a reference to the town of al-Falj in Yamāma or to the well in that town wherein they interred (rassū=dassū) their Prophet (Ṭabarī, Tafsīr; Zajjāj, Iʿrāb; Ibn Abī Ḥātim, Tafsīr; Māturīdī, Taʾwīlāt), possibly Shuʿayb, upon him peace (Tafsīrs of Yaḥyā b. Sallām, Thaʿlabī) or a pious non-Prophet, the man who came from the farthest end of the town (Q 36:20), identified as the mason Ḥabīb b. Marī, in Antioch (Muqātil, Tafsīr, sub Q 25:38, 50:12; Samarqandī, Baḥr, sub Q 36:20-25), among other scenarios (Tafsīrs of Baghawī, Ibn al-Jawzī).
  9. The People of al-Ayka (Q 15:78, 38:13) who were also the nation of Shuʿayb (Q 26:176), “ayka meaning tender green trees, mostly doum-palms (al-dūm al-muql)” (Muqātil, Tafsīr, sub Q 50:14). Thus the Prophet Shuʿayb was sent to three different groups who all belied him: Ayka, Madyan, and Rass (Ibn Abī Zamanīn, Tafsīr, sub Q 25:38).
  10. The People of Tubbaʿ (Q 44:37, 50:14), a dynastic name for “the kings of Yemen who were all called Tubbaʿ , because each succeeded (yatbaʿ) his predecessor, a Jāhiliyya equivalent of khalīfa in Islam. They are the major kings of the Arabs” (Abū ʿUbayda, Majāz), idol-worshipping Himyarites whose territory at one point reached Samarqand, one of whom became Muslim (Ṭabarī, Tafsīr; Zajjāj, Maʿānī), whence the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, forbade the cursing or insulting of Tubbaʿ (Ibn Wahb, Jāmiʿ, 1:37 §5; Aḥmad, 37:519 §22880; rated ḥasan).
  11. Firʿawn (Pharaoh) and his nation (Q 22:44).
  12. The Israelites, who denied some of the Messengers (“such as ʿĪsā the son of Maryam, and Muḥammad, upon them blessings and peace,” Samarqandī, Baḥr, sub Q 2:87) and slew others (“Yaḥyā and Zakariyyā, upon them peace,” Baḥr) as part of a long list of transgressions (see Children of Isrāʾīl).

In addition to the above-mentioned, certain unspecified nations are also cited among those who denied their prophets (Q 23:44) (see Anonymous Mentions).


Belying Is Typically by the Rich and Powerful

Such belying is a persistent trait of the unbelievers (Qushayrī, Tafsīr, sub Q 40:5) such as Qārūn, Hāmān (Q 28:76-82, 29:39, 40:24), and their archetype Firʿawn , to whom We showed Our signs, all of them; yet he denied and refused (Q 20:56), claiming to his people, “I am your lord most high” (Q 79:24), among the haughty who hold power and wealth: We sent no warner to a town, but that the luxurious therein said, “Truly we disbelieve in that with which you have been sent” (Q 34:34; cf. Q 6:6, 11:116; 19:74, 40:21-22, 40:82, 43:23, 47:13, 50:36). Their belying is not necessarily out of conviction: Truly they are not belying you (personally); however, it is the signs of Allah the wrongdoers deny (Q 6:33) out of arrogance in the land and evil design (Q 35:43) but also out of trust in materiality and addiction to ease and luxury: "Those who did wrong followed that wherein they were gratified (mā utrifū fīh) as they transgressed (Q 11:116): He is saying that they followed in their worldly lives whatever easy living and predilection for pleasures they got accustomed to, over all matters of the Hereafter (Farrāʾ, Maʿānī; see also Wealth and Prosperity)."

The ultimate consequence of such belying is Hellfire wherein the unbelievers will say, “Would that we were sent back! Then we would not deny the signs of our Lord, but we would be among the believers” (Q 6:27); yet there would be no such return, since

  1. they denied Resurrection (al-baʿth) and belied Prophets in their worldly life (Qurṭubī, Tafsīr, sub Q 6:27);
  2. by Divine Custom repentance is valid only before the onset of the certainty of death (Q 40:85; cf. Qushayrī, Tafsīr);
  3. “belief at that time [i.e. in Hellfire] is not out of free choice in reality but only meant to deflect punishment from themselves, as in His saying, when they saw Our severe punishment they said, “We believe in Allah alone!” (Q 40:84) and even if they were sent back, they would have resumed what they were forbidden to do; truly they are inveterate liars (Q 6:28) (Māturīdī, Taʾwīlāt, sub Q 6:158); finally,
  4. they would have perpetuated their iniquity even if they had lived years and years (law ʿāshū sinīn la-tamādaw fīl-ijrām: Rāzī, Tafsīr, sub Q 51:34), just as the eternal reward of Believers in Paradise is for their truthful past resolve to perpetuate their virtuous actions even if they had lived forever (Biqāʿī, Naẓm, sub Q 95:6).

Thus, just as it persists through the ages, the belying of naysayers and their nations is also a firmly-ingrained, inveterate trait of theirs in the Divine foreknowledge (Makkī, Hidāya, sub Q 32:13; Abū Ḥayyān, Baḥr, sub Q 6:28). Such belying, moreover, revolves around the materialistic denial of Resurrection and typifies "most of the Jews, Christians, and polytheists for their stubbornness even after they came to know that the command of Allah is real. They gave themselves over to luxurious living (rafāhiyya) and told themselves that that thing [i.e. death] is far off, just as Iblīs (see Satan) had witnessed an endless amount of proofs to that effect. Allah Most High made it clear that if those were to return, they would have disbelieved all over again (Wāḥidī, Basīṭ, sub Q 6:29; cf. Q 23:37)."


The Belying of Allah and Prophets in Q 6:148

While historically addressing polytheists, the verse those who associate others with Allah will say, “Had Allah willed, neither We nor our ancestors would have associated others to Allah, nor would we have (wrongly) declared anything illicit”; such also was their predecessors’ belying (Q 6:148) also refutes Determinist (Jabriyya) doctrine—the belief that human action is neither free nor accountable but forcibly determined by whatever Allah dictates (Māturīdī, Tawḥīd, Masʾala fīl-qaḍāʾ wal-qadar, fī dhamm al-qadariyya; Shahrastānī, Milal, 1:85, Jabriyya, madkhal)—by characterizing it as an imputation of falsehood to Allah and His Prophet (Jaṣṣāṣ, Aḥkām; Samarqandī, Baḥr; Ibn ʿĀshūr, Tafsīr). The Jabriyya past and present misconstrue the true notion of all-encompassing Divine Will (q.v., irāda) as a cancellation of human legal liability (taklīf), “a word of truth adduced to promote falsehood” (Ṭībī, Futūḥ). At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Muʿtazila take the ultra-libertarian view that the verse is proof that the Divine Will cannot apply to polytheism and sin (Makkī, Hidāya), and that to claim so “belies Allah, His Books and His Messengers” (Zamakhsharī, Kashshāf). Their position is rejected since its consequence is that they attribute the power of Divine Decree (qadar) to themselves (Imām al-Ḥaramayn, Irshād, pp. 255-256, dhamm al-Qadariyya). This is the dualist manicheism foretold by the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, in his hadith, “The Qadariyya are the Zoroastrians of this Umma” (Abū Dāwūd, Sunna, fīl-qadar; Ḥākim, 1:85; rated ḥasan-chained: Ibn Ḥajar, Ajwiba, 1:346), or worse yet, since the claim is not just two creators as Dualists say, but multiple ones (Qārī, Sanad, p. 65 §21, Qadariyya), for there would be as many creators as there are sinners. The Sunni view is that the Divine Will applies to everything without exception including good and evil, while Divine Contentment (riḍā) applies to good alone, at the exclusion of evil (Māturīdī, Taʾwīlāt, sub Q 8:67; Ibn Khafīf, ʿAqīda, §38: disobedience takes place by His will without His contentment; Pazdawī, Uṣūl, §26, Allah creates all the acts of creatures; Nasafī, Tamhīd, §26, sins are by virtue of the will of Allah; Nawawī, Sharḥ al-Arbaʿīn, p. 18; Ibn al-Munayyir, Intiṣāf, sub Q 6:35 and 6:148; Bayḍāwī, Tafsīr, sub 6:148; Ibn al-Subkī, Ṭabaqāt, 4:286-287, 10:295; Qārī, Minaḥ, All the acts of creatures are their acquisition and it is Allah Who creates them).


To Belie a Single Prophet is to Belie Allah and All Prophets

Belief in the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, is identical with belief in Allah Most High (Q 4:136, 7:158, 24:62, 48:13, 49:15, 64:8): “Any human being that believes in Allah but not in His Messenger, the designation (ism) denoting belief in no way applies to him until he believes in His Messenger together with belief in Allah” (Shāfiʿī, Risāla, p. 75), as “one’s faith (īmān) and islām are respectively incomplete and invalid without it” (ʿIyāḍ, Shifā, p. 472, II.i). Likewise, belying the Prophet Muḥammad or any of the Divinely-sent Prophets, upon him and them blessings and peace, is among the categories of unbelief—kufr al-takdhīb (Khānī, Alfāẓ, p. 389; see Apostasy; Belief; Disbelief; Doubt). It is, moreover, an obligation to believe in the attribute of truthfulness (ṣidq) as inherent to the Divine attributes (Wāḥidī, Wasīṭ; Baghawī, Tafsīr, sub Q 51:23) as well as to the attributes of Prophets, belying either of which also entails unbelief (Rāzī, Tafsīr, sub Q 2:6).

The exegetes point out a rhetorical subtlety in five verses of Sūrat al-Shuʿarāʾ (“The Poets” Q 26:105, 123, 141, 160, 176) where each verse mentions one belying nation with a single Messenger sent to them, but the reference to the latter is in the plural form mursalīn each time. The construction underscores the creedal doctrine that to belie a single Prophet or Messenger is to deny all of them (Samarqandī, Baḥr; Makkī, Hidāya; Rāzī, Tafsīr, sub Q 26:105). The same form and inference may apply in Q 25:37, and the nation of Nūḥ, when they belied the Messengers: “This wording indicates that the nation of Nūḥ belied other than him as well, and it is equally possible that by Messengers is meant Nūḥ alone, because whoever belies a single Prophet has belied all Prophets” (Zajjāj, Maʿānī). Two additional possibilities are that Nūḥ alone called them to faith but they belied him and all other Prophets as well, and the idiomatic use of the plural in the sense of the singular (Māturīdī, Taʾwīlāt), which is very frequent in the Qurʾān as is that of the singular in the sense of the plural (Ibn al-Rāzī, Laṭāʾif, pp. 69-74).


Belying the Seal of Prophets, upon him blessing and peace

During the lifetime of the Prophet Muḥammad, upon him blessings and peace, those who denied his Prophethood belied him in various ways, raising objections, some similar to what has been mentioned in the previous section, others specific to him. They called him a poet (shāʿir, Q 21:5; 37:36; 52:30; 69:41; see Poets and Poetry); a soothsayer (kāhin, Q 52:29); a man possessed, a madman (majnūn, Q 15:6; 37:36; 44:14; 51:39, 52; 52:29; 54:9; 68:2, 51); a lying sorcerer (sāḥirun kadhdhāb, Q 38:4). They claimed he has been taught by a human being (Q 16:103) he is taught, possessed (44:14), he has fabricated the Qurʾān (Q 11:13), an accusation which forms the cornerstone of the past and modern denial of his veracity in Judeo-Christian constructs and Orientalism. They questioned his veracity and disputed his Prophethood (Q 3:79; 6:91; 43:30-31) as well as the Divine nature of the revelation sent to him (Q 6:7-8; Q 11:12-13, 35; Q 38:8). They mocked him just as unbelievers of old had mocked their Prophets (Q 4:140; 6:10; 13:32; 15:11; 18:106; 21:36; 41; 25:41; 36:30; 43:7), saying, “Are we to abandon our gods for a mad poet?” (Q 37:36) and “What ails this Messenger who eats food and walks in the markets? Why is there not an angel sent down unto him to be a warner with him? Or no treasure given him, or no garden for him from which to eat?” (Q 25:7-8). And they said, “Why was this Qurʾān not sent down upon a great man from the two cities?” (Q 43:31). The deniers called the Qurʾān fables of old (Q 6:25; 8:31; 16:24; 23:83; 25:5; 27:68; 46:17; 68:15; 83:13), which he has had written down, and they are recited to him morning and evening (Q 25:5). The disbelievers also demanded manifestations of his Prophethood in the form of miracles to be given to him like those given to the earlier Prophets (Q 6:124); and they asked for clear signs to be sent down (Q 10:20; 13:7, 27; 29:50).

All the above accusations of the Makkan polytheists are refuted and they are asked to reflect on the sublime character of their companion—who has spent a lifetime among them (Q 10:16, see Companion) and whom they themselves had long called “Truthful and Trustworthy” (al-Ṣādiq al-Amīn) (Wāḥidī, Basīṭ, sub Q 13:5; Tafsīrs of Qurṭubī, sub Q 13:5, 45:24, 74:18 and Ibn Kathīr, sub Q 25:5). Allah Most High confirms that there is no madness in the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace (Q 7:184; 52:29; 68:2; 81:22)—a conclusion they would themselves draw if they but reflected, standing for Allah, in pairs and singly (Q 34:46), “that you stand for Allah Most High with complete sincerity, without motives or partisanship” (Ibn Kathīr, Tafsīr), in pairs so as to discuss the matter with one another, and singly to reflect alone, without being swayed by others or by inherited beliefs (Zamakhasharī, Kashshāf). Abū Manṣūr Muḥammad b. Muḥammad al-Māturīdī (d. 333/ca.945) points out the paradoxical nature of their accusations: even by their own logic, one cannot be at once a madman (the epitome of ignorance) and a magician (someone who, they believed, possessed great knowledge) (Taʾwīlāt, sub Q 81:22). “Claiming the collective presence of soothsaying, poetry and madness in a single person is as extreme as obvious self-contradiction can be” (Biqāʿī, Naẓm, sub Q 52:43). Contrary to their charge, the Prophet was blessed with prophethood and sagacity of opinion (ḥaṣāfat al-raʾy) (Bayḍāwī, Tafsīr).

The claim by some Makkan idolaters that the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, was taught by a human being—a certain Christian named Balʿām or Yaʿīsh (Ṭabarī, Tafsīr)—is refuted because the speech of the one whom they falsely implicate is aʿjamī (foreign, not Arabic), while this [Qurʾān] is [in] clear Arabic (Q 16:103). With regard to their incredulity that a Prophet should eat and walk in the market places and has no angel companion, the divine response points out We have not sent Messengers before you but that they all ate food and walked in the markets (Q 25:20) and Had We sent down an angel, then the matter would be decreed, and they would be granted no respite (Q 6:8)—meaning that, had an angel been sent, either they would immediately receive divine retribution or the Final Hour would be at hand (Ṭabarī, Tafsīr) (also see Q 11:12; 15:7; 17:92-95; 25:7, 21; 43:53). Their demand for a Prophet of their choice (Q 43:31) also receives a divine rejoinder: Is it they who apportion the Mercy of your Lord? (Q 43:32); rather, it is His prerogative: He chooses for His Mercy whomever He wills (Q 3:74):

His choice for His final Revelation is the Chosen One (al-Muṣṭafā), whom He has favored above all His creatures through the gift of His mercy and the sealing of Prophethood, whom He sent with [a message] more universal than He had sent through any previous Messenger, whose mention is exalted and conjoined with His in this world, and whose intercession is sought in the next, the most excellent of His creatures, who combines most fully every trait that is pleasing to Him, both in religion and in worldly life, the best in lineage and abode—Muḥammad, His servant and Messenger (al-Shāfiʿī, Risāla, p. 105).


The Qurʾān as the Ulterior Goal of Belying the Prophet

In the face of belying and accusations that weighed heavily on him the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, received divine reassurance: Indeed, We have sent you with the Truth, as a bearer of glad tidings, and a warner, and you will not be questioned about the inhabitants of Hellfire (Q 2:119). One of his fiercest enemies in Makka, Abū Jahl ʿAmr b. Hishām (d. 2/624), even confessed to the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, “We know full well, Muḥammad, that you keep strong family ties and that you are truthful in your speech. Verily we do not belie you; but we belie what you bring,” whereupon was revealed Q 6:33: We know well that what they say grieves you. Verily they do not belie you; but the wrongdoers deny the Signs of Allah (Ḥākim, 2:315, rated ṣaḥīḥ: Zahawī, Silsila, 1:334-336 §349; cf. Tirmidhī, Tafsīr; Ibn Abī Ḥātim, Tafsīr). Other verses confirm that message of support (Q 3:184; 14:38; 35:4; see Prophethood). In this verse and its continuation, Messengers before you were indeed belied and they bore patiently their being belied and harmed until Our help came to them (Q 6:34), there was consolation (tasliya, taʿziya) for the Prophet (Ṭabarī, Tafsīr, sub Q 22:42-44; Qushayrī, Tafsīr; Zamakhsharī, Kashshāf, sub Q 6:33-34) to know that they did not bely him on the basis of any proof (bi-ḥujja) but merely through “fabricated lies and stubbornness” (Māwardī, Nukat, sub Q 6:33-34) targeting what he brought—the Signs of Allah, that is, the Qurʾān (Māwardī, Nukat; Wāḥidī, Wajīz; Zamakhsharī, Kashshāf, sub Q 6:33-34). The Quraysh did what others before them had done, for there came no messenger to those before them but they said, “a sorcerer or one possessed” (Q 51:52). The Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, is asked to bear with patience all forms of belying and mocking, as did the previous Messengers, for surely Messengers have been mocked before you; then those who scoffed at them were beset by that which they used to mock (Q 6:10; also 11:8; 16:34; 21:41; 39:48; 40:83; 45:33; 46:26).

In addition to citing and responding to the belying of the Prophet by the Makkan polytheists, the Qurʾān also censures those from among the People of the Book who refuse to accept his Prophethood, even though their own Book—a reference to the Torah (Ṭabarī; Qurṭubī, Tafsīrs)—contains clear signs and proofs of his Prophethood as per the explanation of Q 2:99 by Ibn ʿAbbās (Ṭabarī, Tafsīr), which every believing Jew, especially the learned, did know or should have known (Ṭabarī, Tafsīr, sub Q 2:99). Elsewhere (Q 7:157), Jews and Christians are both told that they have received news about the coming of the final Messenger whom they find inscribed in the Torah and the Injīl and whose coming was foretold by ʿĪsā son of Maryam [who] said, O Children of Isrāʾīl! Behold, I am the Messenger of Allah unto you, confirming whatever is before me of the Torah, and bringing good tidings of a Messenger who shall come after me and whose name is Aḥmad (Q 61:6) (see Aḥmad, upon him blessings and peace).

The Sufi master and exegete Abū al-Qāsim ʿAbd al-Karīm b. Hawāzin b. ʿAbd al-Malik al-Qushayrī (376-465/986-1073) notes that not only ʿĪsā, but “every Prophet has informed his nation about the coming of the final Prophet, but Allah Most High has singled out ʿĪsā [in Q 61:6] because he is the last of them in sequence before our Prophet, upon them blessings and peace. He has made it clear that the glad tidings of his coming were given by every successive Prophet, until they concluded with ʿĪsā” (Tafsīr, sub Q 61:6). Since the Qurʾān came from the same source as their Books, belief in the bearer of this final Revelation is a sine qua non for the People of the Book. The true believers among them recognize the Qurʾān as they recognize their own children (Q 2:146; 6:20; 19:58; 28:52-53) and they fall down prostrate on their faces. And they say, “Glory be to our Lord! Truly, the promise of our Lord is fulfilled.” And they fall down on their faces weeping and it increases their humility (Q 17:107-9). Such verses form proof that, just as for the idolaters’ “adding to their polytheism obduracy against truth, contempt of the Prophet, and denial of the Qurʾān” (Qummī, Gharāʾib, sub Q 43:30), the over-arching aim of the Christian and Jewish beliers of the Prophet is to deny the truth of the Qurʾān (Ibn al-Jawzī, Zād, sub Q 2:177) despite their professed monotheism (Rāzī, Tafsīr, sub Q 34:43; Abū Ḥayyān, Baḥr, sub Q 17:110, 34:43; see Children of Isrāʾīl; Christians and Christianity; Tawḥīd).


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See also

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