Quranic Reflection No. 488. Āyat 10:71 – Responding to Intimidation
فَأَجْمِعُوا أَمْرَكُمْ وَشُرَكَاءَكُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَكُنْ أَمْرُكُمْ عَلَيْكُمْ غُمَّةً ثُمَّ اقْضُوا إِلَيَّ وَلَا تُنظِرُونِ
Fa-ajami‘ū amrakum washurakā’akum thumma lā yakun amrukum ‘alaykum ghummatan thumma-qdhū ilayya walā tunzirūn
So, conspire together, along with your partners, leaving nothing vague in your plan, then carry it out against me without giving me any respite.
(Sūrat Yūnus, No 10, Āyat 71)
Human beings are predictable in their attitudes towards the truth. Their stubborn rejection of what conflicts with their interests and their sinister opposition to those who stand in their way are patterns in history that keep repeating. The above verse is an example from the life of Prophet Nūh ‘alayhis-salām when he tells the people to gather their forces against him if they wish. They can do all they want – conspire, plan meticulously, carry out their plans, and not give any respite to him. He is not afraid of them and will not be deterred in his goal. The Prophet knows that ultimately it is God who is in control and all that they plan will be annulled by the plan of Allah ‘azza wajall.
The words of Nabī Nūh (a) show his unflinching bravery. Despite having a small group of supporters that faced a large group of apparently strong adversaries, he had no fear of their conspiracies against him. He challenges them to do what they can. Such an attitude can only come from a deeply held conviction of the truth of his mission. Prophet Hūd ‘alayhis-salām said similar words to his people when they stubbornly rejected him. He told them: Now try out your schemes against me, together, without granting me any respite (Q 11:55).
The Holy Prophet sallal-lāhu ‘alayhi wa-ālihi wasallam is told to narrate these words to the polytheists and disbelievers of his time. He is to remind them of the words of Prophet Nūh (a) at a time when the Muslims were a minority facing enemies who were powerful and well equipped. Challenging the enemies openly and not being intimidated by their show of strength bolsters the spirit of the Prophet’s supporters and weakens the morale of the other side. It is a strategy the Holy Prophet (s) himself also used, when Allah tells him to tell his enemies: Say, Invoke your partners [that you ascribe to Allah] and try out your schemes against me without granting me any respite (Q 7:195).
The words of Prophet Nūh (a) in the above verse were used by Imam al-Husayn ‘alayhis-salām in his first sermon on the Day of Ashura. On the morning of Ashura Imam led Fajr salāt in congregation with his companions. He then lined up his soldiers and divided them into separate wings each under a commander. The enemy marched over to the camp of the Imam. Seeing the thousands of soldiers under the ‘Umar bin Sa‘d and the divisions of his army, Imam supplicated to Allah subhānahu wata‘ālā and rode towards them. He began his sermon loudly so all could hear. In it he asked them to listen to what he had to say and use reason to recognize the truth. He then told them: But if you do not accept my reason and do not fare with me with equity, then gather your affair and your accomplices, and do not feel sorry for what you do but effect your judgment in my regard and do not grant me any respite; surely my Lord is Allah Who revealed the Book and He looks after the righteous (Sayyid ‘Abd al-Razzāq al-Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husayn). His brave words showed the enemies that he was not afraid of what they were going to do to him and his family. He trusted in Allah ‘azza wajall for the ultimate outcome of the conflict.
For believers, this verse is a reminder not to succumb to displays of power and intimidation. Standing firm and challenging the enemies of Allah is the Sunnah of the Prophets and Imams. It is a path we must continue as we face opposition on our journey towards God.
Sources: Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh; Agha Muhsin Qarā’atī, Tafsīr Nūr; https://www.al-islam.org/