later said to it: “You say you’re a camel, so you should carry loads.” Whereupon it opened its wings and declared: “I’m a bird,” and so avoided being a beast of burden. But then it had neither protector nor food, and was pursued by the hunters.
In exactly the same way, the unbeliever gave up absolute disbelief in the face of the Qur’an’s heavenly proclamations and fell into scepticism. If he is asked: “You think death is eternal extinction. How can a person live when he perpetually sees before him the gallows on which he is to be hanged? How can he be happy?” Thanks to the portion he has received of the Qur’an’s universal mercy and all-encompassing light, the man replies: “Death doesn’t mean going to nothingness; perhaps there is life after death.” Or else he plunges his head in the sand of heedlessness like the ostrich so that the appointed hour will not spot him and the grave will not watch him and the transience of things will not let fly their arrows at him!
I n S h o r t : When like the ostrich the unbeliever looks on death and decline as extinction, his scepticism makes him consider possible the certain tidings of the Qur’an and revealed scriptures concerning belief in the hereafter afford him a possibility. He grasps the possibility and does not suffer that ghastly pain. If he is then told: “Since one will go to an everlasting realm, to have a good life there, here one has to put up with the difficulties of performing the religious obligations,” his scepticism leads him to reply: “Perhaps there is no such world, so why should I work for something that doesn’t exist?” That is to say, he is saved from the pain of eternal nothingness by the possibility of immortality afforded by that decree of the Qur’an, and clinging onto the possibility of unbelief, he is saved from the hardship of the religious obligations by the possibility of non-existence afforded by his scepticism. That is to say, from this point of view, he supposes he receives more pleasure from this life than the believers, for due to the possibility afforded by unbelief he is saved from the hardship of the religious obligations, and due to the possibility afforded by belief, he does not expose himself to everlasting pains. However, this satanic sophistry is extremely superficial, temporary, and without benefit.
Thus, the All-Wise Qur’an produces a sort of manifestation of mercy for the unbelievers too that to an extent saves their lives in this world from being Hell; it induces doubt in them, so they live through doubt. Otherwise, by recalling the Hell of the hereafter they would have suffered the torments of a sort of Hell in this world too, and they would have been compelled to commit suicide.
O people of belief! Fully confident in your belief enter under the protection of the Qur’an, which will save you from eternal extinction and the