There is not a town but that We shall destroy it or upon which We shall inflict severe chastisement before the Day of Resurrection. This is written down in the Eternal Book (of Allah). Nothing hindered Us from sending Our signs except that the people of olden times rejected them as lies. We publicly sent the she-camel to the Thamūd to open their eyes but they wronged her. We never send Our signs except to cause men to fear.
(Al-Qur’an – 17:58-59)
The verse 17:58 underlines the fact that no one is immortal. Every habitation will either perish in the course of time by the natural death of its inhabitants, or will be destroyed by God’s scourge. However, the verse 17:59 refers to the tangible miracles which provided evidence in support of the Holy Messenger’s claim to be designated by God. The Quraysh unbelievers had repeatedly asked the Messenger (may Allah bless and greet him) to produce such signs.
Once people witness such a miracle and still refuse to believe it, they inevitably invite God’s chastisement upon themselves. Such people are not spared from destruction. This is borne out by mankind’s past record; for several nations witnessed clear miracles in the past and yet did not shrink from decrying them as false. As a result, they were destroyed. If, in certain periods of history, God has not confronted a people with miracles, this was by dint of His mercy; it meant that He provided them with a respite such that they might mend their ways. Was it not then sheer folly for people to continuously ask God for miracles? For if they did not care to accept the truth even after witnessing miracles, then they were bound to meet the calamitous end of nations like the Thamūd.
Miracles are never performed to entertain people. Their underlying purpose has always been to make people realise that the Messenger enjoyed the support of God’s infinite power. Additionally, they served to warn people of the dire consequences of disobeying Him.