“If your Lord had so willed (and, denying them free will, compelled humankind to believe), all who are on the earth would surely have believed, all of them. Would you, then, force people until they become believers?” ( the Qur’an, Jonah, 10:99).
O Muhammad! If your Lord had so willed, all the people on the earth would have become believers whether they had wanted or not. However, Your Lord let people free to believe with their own wills because of His wisdom. So, you cannot force them to believe. Your duty is to preach His word.
If your Lord had willed, surely all humans would have become believers. Yet, He did not do so as it was against the wisdom because, Allah, the Almighty wished His people to believe in Him based their own needs but not by force. Will you force people to become a believer and convert into your religion? No such duty was given to you after all. This verse is for the consolation and relief for the Prophet who was distressed by his desire for all people to believe.
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) sometimes felt upset and sorry that people did not accept the right path. He saw people around who were on the way to Hell and due to his grief, he felt too depressed. It is impossible for a Muslim to accept and consent to his Muslim brother who is on the way to Hell.
So, Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was trying to hinder these people from their way to Hell and get them to enter Paradise. I wonder what I must do to get these people on the right path? How can I help them so that they will win their right to enter Paradise? So ambitious was Messenger of Allah (pbuh) regarding the issue that he was trying to spend what he possessed to this end. He was doing what he must but he was still thinking on what to do more than this.
See that our Lord states, “ O, My Prophet! You do not need to worry yourself to death because of this matter. Do not forget that if Your Lord had willed, He would have made all the people Muslims.” If Allah had willed, none of the people would have become deniers or polytheists. If Allah had so willed, none of these people would have attributed partners to Allah, they could not have challenged Him and they would not have led a life of rebellion against Allah. If these people prefer polytheism and denial despite Allah and His words and if they have the chance to lead their lives however they like today, this is because of the law Allah imposed and a result of the permission Allah granted them.
So, in this case, will you force them to become believers? However, their finding the right path does not depend on your plans and programs. No doubt that, My Prophet, you cannot make those whom you want enter them right path. Neither you nor somebody else can get them who have chosen denying and polytheism to the right path. This is what only Allah can do. This is a law that Allah has made. No one can rescind it.
In this case, O My Prophet, Your duty is not to revive the dead. You must only tell people what We sent down to you without fear and hesitation. If Allah had willed, He would have gathered them in the right one, within Islam. Yet, Your Lord had not willed so and had not done so.”
All the prophets who did their duty to preach never forced people in their duties, and they only fulfilled their duty to preach and left the result to Allah:
“Nothing rests with the Messenger but to convey the Message fully.” ( The Qur’an, Al-Ma’idah, 5:99)
( Regarding the issue, see the Qur’an, Aal-i‘Imran, 3:20; Al-Ma’idah, 5:92; Ar-Ra’d, 13:40), An-Nahl, 16:35/82; An-Nur, 24:54; Al- Ankabut, 29:18; Ya-Sin, 36:17; Ash-Shuara, 42:48; At-Taghabun, 64:12).
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