Insulting God and His Prophets is not an invention of the contemporary world. For eons, forgotten losers of old have levelled abuse at the Divine and His notable representatives on Earth, not least of all at the Prophets of God.
It is undoubtedly clear that the champions of paltry ideologies that reduce man to a measly composition and movement of chemical compounds cannot salvage their philosophical wreckage except by scorning those who know life’s greater purpose. Despite its laïcité, France stands as the “most depressed nation on earth” and has the highest suicide rate western Europe. Scorning definitely distracts from confessing that others may be right.
Many Prophets were killed, crucified, or insulted, yet they are in bliss and their legacies remain. Their killers or scorners are, at best, dust, awaiting a much longer chastisement and humiliation in the Hereafter. The history of the final Prophet, Muhammad (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), is replete with how his scorners faced abysmal and humiliating ends whilst his immaculate status was forever preserved. Allāh has promised:
“Surely We will be sufficient for you against the mockers…”
During the international phase of the da’wah, the Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) wrote to invite both Khosrow (of Persia) and Caesar (of Rome) to Islam. Both abstained from accepting the message. Caesar, however, honoured the letter and emissary of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Allāh strengthened and stabilised the Kingdom of Caesar. Khosrow, on the other hand, tore apart the letter and mocked the Messenger (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and his emissary. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) later said: “Khosrow has just torn apart his own dominion.”
A short time later, Khosrow’s son, Kavad II, killed his father to take over the throne. Through successive ignominious defeats at the hands of the Byzantines and the Muslims in the Caliphate of ‘Umar (rady Allāhu ‘anhu), Khosrow’s empire was indeed irreversibly torn into pieces.
Al-Suhaili reports: “Heraclius (610-641 AD) kept the Prophet’s letter sheltered in a gold reed-like object in its honour and kept passing it down from one emperor to the other. It finally ended up with the ‘King of the Franks’ over Toledo, before being inherited down. Some of our companions told me that Abd al-Malik b. Sa’īd, one of the Muslim commanders, met that king. In their encounter, he showed him the Prophetic letter. On seeing it, he was overtaken by emotion and knelt across (to kiss it), but was not given permission.”
Ibn Hajar reports, on the authority of Said al-Din Falih al-Mansūri, that the King of the Franks showed him a box lined with gold containing a gold pen case. He opened the case and pulled out a letter, the ink of which had faded, attached to a silk rag. The king then said: “This is your Prophet’s letter to my grandfather the Caesar that continues to be inherited down until now. Our father advised us that so long as we preserve this letter, our kingdom will be preserved. We thus protect it with utmost effort and honour it, concealing it from the Christians so that our dominion may persist.”
Abu Lahab and his son ‘Utbah were once preparing to head for al-Shām (the Levant). Before they left, ‘Utbah promised: “I will (first) go to Muhammad and mock his Lord.” ‘Utbah approached the Prophet and daringly said (invoking a Qur’ānic passage from Surah al-Najm out of mockery): “I have disavowed the one ‘who got close and drew near, and was at a distance of two bow lengths or nearer.’” Hearing his mockery of Allāh’s words, the Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) invoked: “Allāh, send upon him a dog of your dogs,” and turned away.
‘Utbah returned to his father who asked: “Son, what did you say to him?” ‘Utbah related the account, then Abu Lahab asked: “And what did he say back?” He replied: “Allāh, send upon him a dog of your dogs.” Abu Lahab then said: “Son, by Allāh, I do not feel safe from (the manifestation of) that supplication.”
They both took off until they reached a land near al-Shām full of lions. Addressing his travelling group, Abu Lahab said: “By the right of my age and position, that man (Muhammad) supplicated against my son that I do not feel protected from, so gather your belongings and go to that monastery and put my son in the middle of your belongings and surround him.” They did as he ordered. Moments later, a lion approached and roamed around the camping group, sniffing and searching until he hopped on top of their caravan and jumped directly onto ‘Utbah, vigorously attacking him until he ripped his head off. Abu Lahab said: “I knew that he would not escape the supplication of that man.”
In his book Thail Mawlid al-‘Ulamā’, Al-Kettāni mentions that during the era of the Caliph al-Hākim, there emerged a man who called himself Hādi al-Mustajībīn (the Guide of the Accepters) who would call to the worship of the ruler. It was said that he insulted the Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and spat at the Qur’ān. When he entered Makkah, its residents complained to its Emir, but the latter defended the man and sought to excuse him by claiming he was repentant. The people insisted that such a sin cannot be made up by mere repentance. They gathered in the Haram, collectively beseeching Allāh. Thick dark smog filled the atmosphere then cleared, leaving over the sacred house a bright ray, visible day and night. This persisted until it was brought to the attention of the Emir of Makkah, who summoned Hādi al-Mustajībīn and executed him.
In his book Al-Shifā, Qādi ‘Iyād writes that the jurists of Kairouan in present-day Tunisia – and companions of the jurist Sahnūn b. Sa’īd – had issued an edict to execute Ibrahim al-Fazāri, a skilled poet and master of multiple sciences who would frequently mock Allāh and his prophets, including the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). The jurist Yahya b. Umar ordered for al-Fazāri to be killed and crucified. As he hung facing the Qiblah, historians mention that the firmly grounded wooden pole was later found in its place, but facing another direction!
The 20th century scholar Ahmad Shakir mentions that he attended a sermon in which an articulate orator wanted to praise the leadership for showing courtesy to the writer Taha Hussein, who was blind. In his speech, he said: “(The leader) did not frown or turn his attention away when the blind man came him,” invoking but deforming the verses of Surah ‘Abasa. Ahmad Shakir said: “This criminal’s retribution came in this world before the next. By Allāh, I saw him after a few years with my very two eyes, after his haughtiness and position… as a docile and humiliated servant looking after people’s slippers at the door of the masjid.”
In other instances, Allāh protected His Messenger (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) through imperceptible barriers, through angels, and through fear thrown into the hearts of those who intended to cause him harm. It was reported that Ghawrath b. al-Hārith, who was a polytheist, vowed to kill the Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) whilst the Prophet was sleeping under a palm tree with his sword hung up on it.
Ghawrath held a sword over the head of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and threatened: “Who will protect you?” The Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) answered: “Allāh!” Jabir, the narrator, says: “The sword fell out of his hand and the Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) picked it up and said: ‘And who will protect you’? The man replied: ‘The best of the two who grabbed (the sword).’ The Prophet asked: ‘Do you bear witness that none is worthy of worship besides Allāh and that I am His Messenger?’ The man said: ‘I promise to not fight you, nor to assist anyone who fights you.’ The Prophet let him go.” In other narrations, the Prophet had given him the sword on the man’s request and, on grabbing it, his hands shuddered and he dropped it. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Allāh stood between you and what you sought to do.”
Abu Huraira reports that Abu Jahl asked his friends whether the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) ‘places his face on the ground’ (in sujūd) in their presence. They answered in the affirmative. He said: “By Lāt and `Uzza! If I see him doing that, I will trample his neck or smear his face with dust.”
Abu Jahl approached the Messenger (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) as he was in sujūd and pressed ahead to step on his blessed neck. On nearing, Abu Jahl stumbled back with glaringly wide eyes, petrified and looking as if he were repelling something with his hands. It was said to him: “What is the matter with you?” He said: “I saw a ditch of fire, terror and wings had emerged between me and him.” Allāh’s Messenger (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) would later say: “If he were to come near me, the angels would have torn him to pieces!”
‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbās (rady Allāhu ‘anhu) reported that a group of the leadership of Quraish gathered in the Hijr (the Sacred House) and vowed by their idols (Lāt, Uzza, Manāt, and Isāf) that if they were to see Muhammad (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), they will collectively kill him. Fātimah (rady Allāhu ‘anha) was made aware of their plan and rushed to her father, the Messenger (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), weeping. He said: “O daughter, bring me water for ablution.” He then washed and entered the Masjid. When the leadership of Quraish saw him, they lowered their heads and avoided making eye contact; not a man approached him. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) advanced, knelt, and filled his palm with dirt and threw it at them, exclaiming: “May these faces be deformed.” The narrator of this event said that everyone in the vicinity of that pelted dirt was killed years later on the Day of Badr.
Allāh protected His Messenger from scorners by diverting insults to other than his noble self. The Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) used to say: “Does it not astonish you how Allāh protects me from the abuse and curses of Quraish? They abuse Mudhammam and curse Mudhammam, while I am Muhammad (and not Mudhammam).” Ibn Hajar explains: “The disbelievers of Quraish would, out of sheer hate, insult the Prophet using Mudhammam (the lowly one) other than his name, Muhammad (the praised one)…but Mudhammam is neither his name, nor is he known by it, and thus their insults were naturally diverted away from him!”
On other occasions, Allāh would alter the laws of nature in defence of his Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Zaynab bint Hārith presented meat that she had packed with poison to the Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). On placing the meat in his mouth, and without swallowing it, he said: “The bone is telling me that it is poisoned!” On inquisition, Zaynab admitted to poisoning the meat. The laws of nature were altered in two ways: by the poison having no effect on the Messenger, and by the bone informing the Messenger of the poison!
Allāh would transform the hearts of the Prophet’s enemies to friends on their first direct interaction with him. The starkest example of this is in the story of Abu Sufyān b. Hārith, the Prophet’s milk-brother who loved the Prophet during his childhood but became a stern enemy following the prophethood. Abu Sufyān would frequently insult the Prophet and his companions, but rather than humiliate him, Allāh softened his heart to Islam.
Abu Sufyan said: “Allāh put Islam in my heart, so I travelled with my wife and child until we reached al-Abwa’. I covered my face and approached until I was face to face with the Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). When he saw me, he turned away, so I repositioned myself so that I was facing him again.” The narrator said: “Abu Sufyan kept following him (the Prophet) everywhere he would go… until Abu Sufyan said: ‘By Allāh, the Messenger shall give me permission (to speak to him) or I will take my son’s hand and die of hunger or thirst.’ When the Messenger (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) heard of this, his heart softened towards him and he allowed him to enter.”
Subhān Allāh, the One who humiliates the scorners of the Prophet in this life before the next, averts their insults to useless caricatures or objects, and transforms the heart of the Prophet’s haters to become humbled at his door begging for his pardon! His mockers fail to reduce from his veneration. They are like sloths who spit at the sun: dirtied by their own splutter. They are tarnished in this life before more humiliation in the next.
“Surely those who offend Allāh and His Messenger are condemned by Allāh in this world and the Hereafter. He has prepared for them a humiliating punishment.”
And all praise and thanks are due to Allāh alone.
 Al-Qur’ān 15:95
 See Al-Bidāya wa al-Nihāya, Ibn Kathir
 See Tafsir Ibn Kathīr
 Sahīh Al-Dhahabi on the authority of Abdullah b. Jabir (rady Allāhu ‘anhu)
 See Tafsir Ibn Kathīr
 Sahīh Ibn Hibbān on the authority of Abu Hurairah (rady Allāhu ‘anhu)
 Musnad Ahmad; classed Sahih by al-Albāni
 Bukhāri on the authority of Abu Hurairah (rady Allāhu ‘anhu)
 See the Sīrah of Ibn Hishām
 Al-Qur’ān 33:57