opponents of the prophets in former ages, for a time will come when the
Know the time when they shall not be able to keep the fire of hell from their
faces, or from their backs, neither shall they be helped!
But it shall come on them suddenly and shall confound them; and they shall not
be able to put it back, neither shall they be respited.
Other apostles have been scoffed at before thee; but that doom at which they
mocked encompassed the scoffers. Sura Al-Anbiya' (xxi) 40-3.
The Sura As-Saffat (xxxvii) seems to belong to a time when the opposition was
not quite so active, a time when stolid indifference took the place of actual
antagonism. It shows how the Meccan infidels followed in the steps of those who,
in former ages, had rejected Noah, Moses, Aaron, Elias, Lot and Jonah, whose
stories are told at some length. The Meccans excused themselves by saying:
Had we a revelation transmitted to us from those of old,
We had surely been God's servants. 168-9.
The Prophet is then told to turn aside from them for a time and behold, for
their doom is certain. 179-80.
A late Meccan Sura is in the same strain and the same retribution is
described, and how even no place of repentance will be found:
And when their apostles had come to them with the tokens of their mission,
they exulted in what they possessed of knowledge: but that retribution at which
they scoffed, encompassed them.