Or are the treasuries of your Sustainer with them, or are they the managers [of affairs]? * Or have they a ladder by which they can [climb up to heaven and] listen [to its secrets]? Then let [such a] listener of theirs produce a manifest proof. * Or has He only daughters and you have sons? * Or is it that you ask for a reward, so that they are burdened with a load of debt? * Or that the Unseen is in their hands, and they write it down? * Or do they intend a plot [against you]? But those who defy God are themselves involved in a plot! * Or have they a god other than God? Exalted is God far above the things they associate with them.1
Here we shall explain only one of the thousands of truths of these verses as a further example of the category of silencing in argument. It is as follows: with the word, Or....Or..., it silences every group of the people of misguidance with a rhetorical question expressing surprise and stops up all the sources of their doubts. It leaves no satanic chink through which doubts might enter and hide themselves; it closes them all. It leaves no veil of misguidance under which they might creep and lurk; it rends all of them. It leaves not one of their lies; it crushes them. In each sentence it either demolishes the essence of the blasphemous ideas of one group with a short phrase, or since the falsity is obvious, it exposes it by silence, or since it is refuted in detail in other verses, it here alludes to it briefly. For example, the first sentence alludes to the verse:
And We have not instructed him poetry, nor is it meet for him.2
While the fifteenth sentence points to the verse:
Were there gods other than God in the heavens and earth, there surely would have been confusion in both.3
You can make further examples from the other sentences like these. It is like this: it says at the start: Announce the Divine decrees. You are not a soothsayer, for the words of soothsayers are confused and conjectural, while yours are true and certain. And you are not mad; your enemies even attest to your perfect sanity.
Or do they say: A poet – let us wait and see what time will do!4
Do they call you a poet, like the unreasoning, common infidels? Are they waiting for you to perish? You say to them: “Wait! I shall wait with you!” Your vast and brilliant truths are free of the imaginings of poetry and independent of their fancies.