Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Nay, they have no firm belief!1
Or, like the mindless, confused Mu’attila, who denied God all attributes and denied the Creator, do they deny God so that they do not heed the Qur’an? In which case, let them deny the existence of the heavens and the earth, or let them say: “We created them!” Let them lose their minds altogether and begin uttering the frenzied ravings of lunacy. For in the heavens as many proofs of Divine unity are apparent and are recited as the stars, and on the earth as many as the flowers. That means they have no intention of acquiring certain knowledge and finding the truth. Otherwise how do they suppose to be without inscriber the book of the universe, in one word of which is written a whole book, although they know that a letter cannot exist without the one who wrote it.
Or are the treasuries of your Sustainer with them?2
Or, like one group of misguided philosophers who denied Almighty God the power of choice, or like the Brahmans, do they deny the source of prophethood so that they do not believe in you? In which case, let them deny all the traces of wisdom and purpose, all the order and fruits which are apparent in all beings and demonstrate will and choice, let them deny all the works of mercy and grace, and all the miracles of all the prophets! Or let them say: “All the treasuries of the bounties given to creatures are with us and under our control.” Let them prove they are not fit to be addressed! Do not be grieved at their denial, say: “God’s unreasoning animals are many!”
Or are they the managers [of affairs]?3
Or, like the arrogant Mu’tazilites, who made the reason dominant, do they imagine themselves to be rivals to and inspectors of the Creator’s works, and want to hold the All-Glorious Creator responsible? Beware, do not lose heart! Nothing can come of the denials of self-centred people like that! You do not be deceived either!
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! 4
Or, like the spiritualists and phony soothsayers, do they follow Satan and the jinn and suppose they have found another way to the World of the Unseen? In which case, have they a ladder by which to ascend to the heavens which