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A Trial for Men


“And recall when We said to you, (O Muhammad), that your Lord encompasses these people; and that We have made the vision which We have shown you, and the tree accursed in the Qur’an, to be only a trial for men. We go about warning them, but each warning leads to greater transgression.”

(Al-Qur’ān – 17:60)

In the early phase of Muhammad’s prophethood, when the Makkan unbelievers had set out on a course of opposition to him, God had declared, unequivocally, that He encompassed the unbelievers. Regardless of the extent of the unbelievers’ resistance, it would simply be impossible for them to prevent the Prophet’s call from spreading. The task assigned to the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) was bound to be accomplished, and in the teeth of their opposition. If the unbelievers truly needed a miracle in order to mend their ways, they should reflect upon what they had already witnessed, i.e. that which had been foretold in the very early days of Islam had already come to pass and that their opposition and hostility towards the Prophet had proved to be of no avail in preventing the spread of Islam.  

The word ru’yā is not used here as a synonym of a dream, rather it signifies seeing something with one’s own eyes. God enabled the Prophet to witness a number of things in the course of the Ascension. This was in order that people might learn certain truths for sure through no less truthful and trustworthy a person than the Prophet.

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