13. And put forward to them a similitude; the Dwellers of the Town, when there came Messengers to them. 14. When We sent to them two Messengers, they denied them both; so We reinforced them with a third, and they said: "Verily, we have been sent to you as Messengers.'' 15. They said: "You are only human beings like ourselves, and the Most Gracious has revealed nothing. You are only telling lies.'' 16. The Messengers said: "Our Lord knows that we have been sent as Messengers to you,'' 17. "And our duty is only to convey plainly.''
Allah says, `O Muhammad, tell your people who disbelieve in you,'
(a similitude; the Dwellers of the Town, when there came Messengers to them.) In the reports that he transmitted from Ibn `Abbas, Ka`b Al-Ahbar and Wahb bin Munabbih - Ibn Ishaq reported that it was the city of Antioch, in which there was a king called Antiochus the son of Antiochus the son of Antiochus, who used to worship idols. Allah sent to him three Messengers, whose names were Sadiq, Saduq and Shalum, and he disbelieved in them. It was also narrated from Buraydah bin Al-Husayb, `Ikrimah, Qatadah and Az-Zuhri that it was Antioch. Some of the Imams were not sure that it was Antioch, as we shall see below after telling the rest of the story, if Allah wills.
(When We sent to them two Messengers, they denied them both;) means, they hastened to disbelieve in them.
(so We reinforced them with a third,) means, `We supported and strengthened them with a third Messenger. ' Ibn Jurayj narrated from Wahb bin Sulayman, from Shu`ayb Al-Jaba'i, "The names of the first two Messengers were Sham`un and Yuhanna, and the name of the third was Bulus, and the city was Antioch (Antakiyah).
(and they said) means, to the people of that city,
(Verily, we have been sent to you as Messengers.) meaning, `from your Lord Who created you and Who commands you to worship Him Alone with no partners or associates.' This was the view of Abu Al-`Aliyah. Qatadah bin Di`amah claimed that they were messengers of the Messiah, peace be upon him, sent to the people of Antioch.
(They said: "You are only human beings like ourselves...'') means, `so how could you receive revelation when you are human beings and we are human beings, so why do we not receive revelation like you If you are Messengers, you should be angels.' This is like what many of the nations said who disbelieved, as Allah has told us in the Ayah: c
(That was because there came to them their Messengers with clear proofs, but they said: "Shall mere men guide us'') (64: 6) meaning that they were amazed by that and they denied it. And Allah says:
(They said: "You are no more than human beings like us! You wish to turn us away from what our fathers used to worship. Then bring us a clear authority.'') (14:10). And Allah tells us that they said:
("If you were to obey a human being like yourselves, then verily, you indeed would be losers.'') (23:34). And Allah says:
(And nothing prevented men from believing when the guidance came to them, except that they said: "Has Allah sent a man as (His) Messenger'') (17:94). These people said:
(You are only human beings like ourselves, and the Most Gracious has revealed nothing. You are only telling lies.'' The Messengers said: "Our Lord knows that we have been sent as Messengers to you.'') This means that the three Messengers answered them saying: "Allah knows that we are His Messengers to you. If we were lying, He would have taken the utmost vengeance against us, but He will cause us to prevail and will make us victorious against you, and you will come to know whose will be the happy end in the Hereafter.'' This is like the Ayah:
(Say: "Sufficient is Allah for a witness between me and you. He knows what is in the heavens and on earth.'' And those who believe in falsehood, and disbelieve in Allah, it is they who are the losers.) (29:52)
(And our duty is only to convey plainly.) means, `all we have to do is to convey to you the Message with which we have been sent; if you obey, then happiness will be yours in this world and the Hereafter, and if you do not respond, you will soon know the consequences of that.' And Allah knows best.