Chapter Two: The Cow (Al Baqara)
Chapter 2, Verse 118
Those who have no knowledge also say, ‘If only God would speak to us!’ or ‘If only a miraculous sign would come to us!’ People before them said the same things: their hearts are all alike. We have made Our signs clear enough to those who have certainty.
(Chapter 2:Verse 118)
‘Those who have no knowledge’ refers to the disbelievers who do not know anything about God's book. They asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) why God does not speak to them directly just like He spoke to Moses. But what did they want God to say? Did they want Him to confirm that He sent Muhammad as a Messenger to convey the heavenly scripture? It is as if all the miracles with which God supported Muhammad -the greatest one being the Noble Quran- were insufficient in convincing them of the truth. The words of the Quran itself are miracles revealed to an illiterate Man. Moreover, when the disbelievers asked Muhammad about past events, God answered with detailed revelations. The Quran revealed to them incidents yet to occur, and discoveries that were yet to be made in science, astronomy and much more.
If the disbelievers had given it even a little thought, they would have found more than enough evidence to guide them to the truth. Sadly, they were close-minded and stubborn every time a sign came to them. Their response was always to demand yet another sign. As for those who say that the only way to believe is to hear directly from God, He Almighty answers:
“It is not fitting for a man that God should speak to him except by inspiration, or from behind a veil, or by the sending of a messenger to reveal, with God's permission, what God wills: for He is Most High, Most Wise. “ (42:51)
Take note that even people chosen as messengers and prophets did not speak to God directly, rather, it was through revelations, inspirations, a direct messenger -like the angel Gabriel- or from behind a veil as God spoke to Moses (peace be upon him). In this worldly life, direct communication between man and God is impossible.
Let's look at the second demand of the disbelievers: ‘If only a miraculous sign would come to us!’ Every time God presents a miracle, many people deny it and increase in disbelief. God says:
Nothing stops Us from sending the miracles except that former generations rejected them. We had given the Thamud the camel as a visible sign but they mistreated her. We do not send such signs except to warn (17:59)
In fact, not only do those who ask for miracles reject them when they come, but they also become more stubborn. Their attitude is similar to the attitude of the people of Pharaoh as the following shows:
But when Our enlightening signs came to them, they said, ‘This is clearly sorcery!’ They denied them, in their iniquity and their pride, even though their souls acknowledged them as true. See how those who spread corruption met their end! (27:13-14)
God says: ‘People before them said the same things' Recall how the children of Israel asked Moses to show them God face to face. The Israelites had the knowledge of the Torah, but when they ask their Prophet the same demands the disbelievers ask of Muhammad, it is as if they had no knowledge at all. God says: ‘their hearts are all alike.' This phrase gives us a valuable insight. If those who had the knowledge of the Torah did not make these demands, it would have been easy to conclude that whoever makes such demands makes them out of ignorance and lack of knowledge. But what is the excuse of those who know the revelations? The true source of their behaviour is a corrupt heart chasing worldly desires. In other words, demands to speak to God, or have personal miracles delivered to them have nothing to do with seeking the truth, rather, when the heart is not sincere, there is no difference between a person who has knowledge and a person who does not.
Then God Almighty says: ‘We have made Our signs clear enough to those who have certainty' What is certainty? It is a firm conviction in the heart in regards to a particular matter leaving no room for doubt, or second thought. When you have certainty, you have solid faith. There are three ways you can obtain this type of certain knowledge. First: Certainty can be obtained by receiving information from someone whom you have complete trust. Hence, for the believer, if Allah says something then it is certain, and if the Prophet (peace be upon him) says something then his words are true. Take the example of Abu Bakr (may God be pleased with him) to whom the disbelievers of Quraish came and said mockingly: 'Your companion claims that he ascended to the seventh heaven and travelled to Jerusalem in one night' Abu Bakr replied "If Muhammad said that, then he has certainly spoken the truth.” This certainty was the result of receiving information from the person he trusts most; it is called the certainty of knowledge.
Listen to the following verse:
Competing in accumulation of worldly goods distracts you, until you go into your graves. No indeed! You will surly come to know. Again, no indeed! You will surely come to know. No indeed! If only you knew with certainty of knowledge, You will most definitely see Hellfire. (102:1-6)
Second: certainty can come from eyesight. When you see something with your own eyes, it leaves no room for doubt, and this is called the eye of certainty. Allah continues in chapter 102:
Then, you will most surely see it with the eye of certainty. (Chapter 102)
In other words, on the day of judgment, you will witness hellfire with your own eyes. The certainty of knowledge you had regarding the existence of hellfire -because God and His prophets told you it exists-, will be transferred to the eye of certainty on the day of resurrection -because you will physically see hellfire-. The first level of certainty was acquiring the knowledge of certainty from God's words, followed by the second level of the eye of certainty that comes from actually seeing with your own eyes.
Yet, for those who deny the truth, there is a third level of certainty, called absolute certainty. God says:
And if he is one of the misguided deniers, there is hospitality of scalding water And roasting in a Blazing Flame. Indeed this is absolute certainty. (56:92-95)
Those who repeatedly deny God's messages, ignore His miracles, and ask for one proof after another, will experience absolute certainty when they are cast into hellfire. They ignored the knowledge God provided in the scriptures, and ignored all the signs God put before their eyes, thus, God will provide the disbelievers with the ultimate proof on the day of judgment. The disbeliever, who denies hellfire despite all the heavenly miracles and messages, will actually burn in it. This is absolute certainty.
May God protect us all from experiencing hellfire with absolute certainty!