Hastening on the punishment

The Prophet was also sent to his people to warn them that if they continued rejecting the call to faith, Allah might at any time punish them severely. He cautioned them but they waited and watched. Nothing happened, so their inherent arrogance grew, and they challenged the Prophet to hasten Allah’s punishment. Allah replied to their request in the following three verses: “Yet, they ask you to hasten on the punishment! But Allah will not fail in His Promise. Verily, a day with your Lord is like a thousand years of your reckoning.” (22: 47) “They ask you to hasten on the punishment. Indeed, Hell will encircle the unbelievers.” (29: 54).

“Are the plotters of wickness not afraid that Allah will cause the earth to swallow them up? Or that Allah’s punishment will seize them unexpectedly, or that He may call them to account in the midst of their daily affairs when they have no chance to escape? Ot that He may cause them to waste away gradually? Truly, your Lord is kind and merciful.” (16: 45-47).

Again, the Makkans found a way to evade the truth. They remained stubborn in their opposition, and made further demands of the Prophet , asking him to enact miracles even as they hoped he would be unable to perform them. Thus, they wavered, sometimes approaching the Prophet with compromises, and at other times challenging him to do the impossible. Many of the Makkans felt that the only solution was the sword, while others feared the consequences of killing their adversary.

The Makkans had already asked Abu Talib to hand over Muhammad so that they could kill him, a demand he had refused. Despite his seeming unconcerned at their threats, he was secretly afraid, and with good reason, that the Quraysh were plotting to assasinate the Prophet . Abu Talib acted fast and called on the members of Banu Hashim and Banu Al-Muttalib to meet at the Ka’bah. He convinced them to pledge that they would protect their clansman, Muhammad , but Abu Lahab, another of the Prophet’s uncles and self-proclaimed sworn enemy, refused to take the pledge. He declared he was on the side of the Quraysh.