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But we noted and wrote down all:
Taste this then, and we will give increase of nought— but torment. 21-30.

Sura Buruj (lxxxv) refers to the persecutions suffered by the early Muslims1 and to the punishment of those who vex the believers. For them there is waiting the torments of hell, and 'the torment of the burning.' To confirm all this denunciation of those who opposed the Prophet, his hearers are reminded that the words are not his, but are those of the 'glorious Qur'an, written on the preserved table,' that is, the very words of God Himself.

These more general statements of the future lot of the impenitent sometimes gave way to the threat of a temporal calamity. Just as in ancient times God, before he destroyed a city, sent first a prophet to warn it, so it was now :

We never destroyed a city which had not first its warners
With admonition; nor did we deal unjustly. Sura Ash Shu'ara (xxvi) 208-9.

We never destroyed a city whose term was not prefixed.
No people can forestall or retard its destiny. Sura Al-Hijr (xv) 4-5.

In such sort have we influenced the heart of the wicked ones,
That they will not believe it till they see the grievous chastisement;
And it shall come upon them on a sudden when they look not for it. Sura Ash Shu'ara (xxvi) 201-2.

1Unless vv. 8-11 are of later date which a difference of style may show.

The people of Mecca may, for a time, have been stirred by the constant reiteration of an impending local danger but, as time passed by and no calamity came to them, they passed from curiosity to incredulity. They challenged Muhammad's message, derided his denunciations and demanded miraculous signs of his authority.

They said:—

By no means will we believe in thee till thou cause a fountain to gush forth for us from the earth,
Or till thou have a garden of palm-trees and grapes, and thou cause forth gushing rivers to gush forth in our midst;
Or thou make the heaven to fall on us, as thou hast given out, in pieces; or thou bring God and the angels to vouch for thee. Sura Al-Isra (xvii), 92-5.
The unbelievers say, ' Why hath not a sign been given him by his Lord.' Sura Ar-Ra'd (xiii) 8.

Muhammad had to acknowledge that he had no such credentials, but he brought revelations to show that the absence of this power was part of God's purpose in dealing with these rebellious people of Mecca.

Thus, in order to show that what he deemed mere idle curiosity could not be gratified, we have :

We will not send down the angels without due cause. Suratu Al-Hijr (xv) 8.

If they would not believe from the example of those who had gone before, if they now deliberately rejected the warning and the warner, then nothing

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