A crucial test that every soul will have to face is to see if it is willing to follow the truth in the face of any bigotry, bias, or prejudice it may hold. The oldest example of this can be seen in the history of Iblees (Satan).
Satan and Adam
When God created Adam and commanded the angles to fall prostrate before Adam, Iblees became exposed as arrogant, and confessed that the reason he defied God’s orders was because he thought that he was better than Adam.
[7:12] He (God) said, “What prevented you from prostrating when I ordered you?” He (Satan) said, “I am better than he (Adam); You created me from fire, and created him from mud.”
قَالَ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلَّا تَسْجُدَ إِذْ أَمَرْتُكَ قَالَ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِي مِنْ نَارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِنْ طِينٍ
[38:76] He (Satan) said, “I am better than he; You created me from fire, and created him from clay.”
قَالَ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِي مِنْ نَارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِنْ طِينٍ
Pharaoh and Moses
We see that this is a common method that is used to expose a person’s true convictions. We see that God tested Pharaoh and his people in a similar manner by sending two people among the Children of Israel, Aaron and Moses, to deliver the message to Pharaoh, and this served as a barrier to Pharaoh from taking the warnings seriously.
[23:45] Then we sent Moses and his brother Aaron with our revelations and a profound proof
[23:46] To Pharaoh and his elders, but they turned arrogant. They were oppressive people.
[23:47] They said, “Shall we believe for two men whose people are our slaves?”
[23:48] They rejected the two, and consequently, they were annihilated.
ثُمَّ أَرْسَلْنَا مُوسَىٰ وَأَخَاهُ هَارُونَ بِآيَاتِنَا وَسُلْطَانٍ مُبِينٍ
إِلَىٰ فِرْعَوْنَ وَمَلَئِهِ فَاسْتَكْبَرُوا وَكَانُوا قَوْمًا عَالِينَ
فَقَالُوا أَنُؤْمِنُ لِبَشَرَيْنِ مِثْلِنَا وَقَوْمُهُمَا لَنَا عَابِدُونَ
فَكَذَّبُوهُمَا فَكَانُوا مِنَ الْمُهْلَكِينَ
But in addition to being a Children of Israel, Moses also had a speech impediment where his tongue would get tied. This served as an additional reason for Pharaoh to disregard the warnings that Moses brought from God.
[43:52] (Pharaoh said) “Which one is better; me or that one who is lowly and can hardly speak?
أَمْ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِنْ هَٰذَا الَّذِي هُوَ مَهِينٌ وَلَا يَكَادُ يُبِينُ
A similar example can be seen when a group of people asked their prophet, identified as Samuel in the Bible for a king. But when God appointed Taloot (Saul) to be their king, the people disregarded him because they believed they were more worthy and criticized Saul for not even being rich.
[2:247] Their prophet said to them, “GOD has appointed Taloot (Saul) to be your king.” They said, “How can he have kingship over us when we are more worthy of kingship than he; he is not even rich?” He said, “GOD has chosen him over you, and has blessed him with an abundance in knowledge and in body.” GOD grants His kingship to whomever He wills. GOD is Bounteous, Omniscient.
وَقَالَ لَهُمْ نَبِيُّهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ بَعَثَ لَكُمْ طَالُوتَ مَلِكًا قَالُوا أَنَّىٰ يَكُونُ لَهُ الْمُلْكُ عَلَيْنَا وَنَحْنُ أَحَقُّ بِالْمُلْكِ مِنْهُ وَلَمْ يُؤْتَ سَعَةً مِنَ الْمَالِ قَالَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَاهُ عَلَيْكُمْ وَزَادَهُ بَسْطَةً فِي الْعِلْمِ وَالْجِسْمِ وَاللَّهُ يُؤْتِي مُلْكَهُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ وَاسِعٌ عَلِيمٌ
Muhammad And His People
Muhammad received similar feedback from his people when delivering the message. One of the objections from the people was that they preferred to have someone they deemed more prominent to be the one delivering the message.
[43:31] They said, “If only this Quran was sent down through another man from the two communities (Mecca or Yathrib) who is prominent!”
وَقَالُوا لَوْلَا نُزِّلَ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنُ عَلَىٰ رَجُلٍ مِنَ الْقَرْيَتَيْنِ عَظِيمٍ
[11:27] The leaders who disbelieved among his people said, “We see that you are no more than a human being like us, and we see that the first people to follow you are the worst among us. We see that you do not possess any advantage over us. Indeed, we think you are liars.”
فَقَالَ الْمَلَأُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ قَوْمِهِ مَا نَرَاكَ إِلَّا بَشَرًا مِثْلَنَا وَمَا نَرَاكَ اتَّبَعَكَ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ هُمْ أَرَاذِلُنَا بَادِيَ الرَّأْيِ وَمَا نَرَىٰ لَكُمْ عَلَيْنَا مِنْ فَضْلٍ بَلْ نَظُنُّكُمْ كَاذِبِينَ
Muhammad And The Blind Man
In a twist of irony, even Muhammad showed his bias in his judgement when he chose to give his attention to the rich person over the blind man who was eager to hear the message.
[80:0] In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
[80:1] He (Muhammad) frowned and turned away.
[80:2] When the blind man came to him.
[80:3] How do you know? He may purify himself.
[80:4] Or he may take heed, and benefit from the message.
[80:5] As for the rich man.
[80:6] You gave him your attention.
[80:7] Even though you could not guarantee his salvation.
[80:8] The one who came to you eagerly.
[80:9] And is really reverent.
[80:10] You ignored him.
أَنْ جَاءَهُ الْأَعْمَىٰ
وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ لَعَلَّهُ يَزَّكَّىٰ
أَوْ يَذَّكَّرُ فَتَنْفَعَهُ الذِّكْرَىٰ
أَمَّا مَنِ اسْتَغْنَىٰ
فَأَنْتَ لَهُ تَصَدَّىٰ
وَمَا عَلَيْكَ أَلَّا يَزَّكَّىٰ
وَأَمَّا مَنْ جَاءَكَ يَسْعَىٰ
فَأَنْتَ عَنْهُ تَلَهَّىٰ
Muhammad And The Children of Israel
Out of all the prophets mentioned in the Quran the prophet that is mentioned the most is Moses, and the tribe that is mentioned the most in the Quran is that of the Children of Israel. So since the Quran was sent to Muhammad who was a gentile and written in Arabic itself was and is a major test for the Children of Israel. This is because the Jewish people historically have a bias against the Arab lineage of Abraham and the descendants of Ishmael. They consider Ishmael an illegitimate son of Abraham and consider themselves God’s chosen people. To these people who hold such beliefs, God challenges them in the following verses:
[62:6] Say, “O you who are Jewish, if you claim that you are GOD’s chosen, to the exclusion of all other people, then you should long for death if you are truthful!”
[62:7] They will never long for it, because of what they have committed. GOD is fully aware of the wicked.
قُلْ يَاأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ هَادُوا إِنْ زَعَمْتُمْ أَنَّكُمْ أَوْلِيَاءُ لِلَّهِ مِنْ دُونِ النَّاسِ فَتَمَنَّوُا الْمَوْتَ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
وَلَا يَتَمَنَّوْنَهُ أَبَدًا بِمَا قَدَّمَتْ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِالظَّالِمِينَ
So just like Pharaoh was tested by having someone from the Children of Israel delivering to them the message, the Children of Israel are tested by God sending the final scripture to a gentile from the Arabs. This is why God informs us that when Moses implored God for forgiveness for the sins of the Children of Israel, God responded with one of the requirements being to follow the gentile prophet when the time comes.
[7:156] (Moses said) “And decree for us righteousness in this world, and in the Hereafter. We have repented to You.” He (God) said, “My retribution befalls whomever I will. But My mercy encompasses all things. However, I will specify it for those who (1) lead a righteous life, (2) give the obligatory charity (Zakat), (3) believe in our revelations, and [7:157] “(4) follow the messenger, the gentile prophet (Muhammad), whom they find written in their Torah and Gospel. He exhorts them to be righteous, enjoins them from evil, allows for them all good food, and prohibits that which is bad, and unloads the burdens and the shackles imposed upon them. Those who believe in him, respect him, support him, and follow the light that came with him are the successful ones.” [7:158] Say, “O people, I am GOD’s messenger to all of you. To Him belongs the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth. There is no god except He. He controls life and death.” Therefore, you shall believe in GOD and His messenger, the gentile prophet, who believes in GOD and His words. Follow him, that you may be guided.
وَاكْتُبْ لَنَا فِي هَٰذِهِ الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ إِنَّا هُدْنَا إِلَيْكَ قَالَ عَذَابِي أُصِيبُ بِهِ مَنْ أَشَاءُ وَرَحْمَتِي وَسِعَتْ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ فَسَأَكْتُبُهَا لِلَّذِينَ يَتَّقُونَ وَيُؤْتُونَ الزَّكَاةَ وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ بِآيَاتِنَا يُؤْمِنُونَ
الَّذِينَ يَتَّبِعُونَ الرَّسُولَ النَّبِيَّ الْأُمِّيَّ الَّذِي يَجِدُونَهُ مَكْتُوبًا عِنْدَهُمْ فِي التَّوْرَاةِ وَالْإِنْجِيلِ يَأْمُرُهُمْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَاهُمْ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَيُحِلُّ لَهُمُ الطَّيِّبَاتِ وَيُحَرِّمُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْخَبَائِثَ وَيَضَعُ عَنْهُمْ إِصْرَهُمْ وَالْأَغْلَالَ الَّتِي كَانَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ فَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِهِ وَعَزَّرُوهُ وَنَصَرُوهُ وَاتَّبَعُوا النُّورَ الَّذِي أُنْزِلَ مَعَهُ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ
قُلْ يَاأَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ إِلَيْكُمْ جَمِيعًا الَّذِي لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ فَآمِنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ النَّبِيِّ الْأُمِّيِّ الَّذِي يُؤْمِنُ بِاللَّهِ وَكَلِمَاتِهِ وَاتَّبِعُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ
The Arabs and The Children of Israel
Additionally, even the people of Muhammad were tested with their bias and prejudice, when God temporarily changed the direction of their Qibla from the Kaaba to Jerusalem. Despite the details not being specified in the Quran, this was a major test for some of the believers at the time to determine whether they would be able to overcome their bias and follow the truth when presented to them, or would their ego get the best of them.
[2:142] The fools among the people would say, “Why did they change the direction of their Qiblah?” Say, “To GOD belongs the east and the west; He guides whoever wills in a straight path.” [2:143] We thus made you an impartial community, that you may serve as witnesses among the people, and the messenger serves as a witness among you. We changed the direction of your original Qiblah only to distinguish those among you who readily follow the messenger from those who would turn back on their heels. It was a difficult test, but not for those who are guided by GOD. GOD never puts your worship to waste. GOD is Compassionate towards the people, Most Merciful.
سَيَقُولُ السُّفَهَاءُ مِنَ النَّاسِ مَا وَلَّاهُمْ عَنْ قِبْلَتِهِمُ الَّتِي كَانُوا عَلَيْهَا قُلْ لِلَّهِ الْمَشْرِقُ وَالْمَغْرِبُ يَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ
وَكَذَٰلِكَ جَعَلْنَاكُمْ أُمَّةً وَسَطًا لِتَكُونُوا شُهَدَاءَ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكُونَ الرَّسُولُ عَلَيْكُمْ شَهِيدًا وَمَا جَعَلْنَا الْقِبْلَةَ الَّتِي كُنْتَ عَلَيْهَا إِلَّا لِنَعْلَمَ مَنْ يَتَّبِعُ الرَّسُولَ مِمَّنْ يَنْقَلِبُ عَلَىٰ عَقِبَيْهِ وَإِنْ كَانَتْ لَكَبِيرَةً إِلَّا عَلَى الَّذِينَ هَدَى اللَّهُ وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُضِيعَ إِيمَانَكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ بِالنَّاسِ لَرَءُوفٌ رَحِيمٌ
Why Do People Follow Their Bias Despite The Detriment It Causes Them?
God informs us that the core of the reason individuals go with their bias as opposed to the truth is due to jealousy. Individuals who are in opposition to the decision that God has decreed when choosing whoever He willed in the blessing He chooses feel jealous and rather than accept the outcome the cognitive dissonance causes them to deny reality. That since God chose to bless certain individuals with messengership, prophethood, wisdom, righteousness or any other blessing from God that deep down they are jealous that they were not selected.
There are a couple words and expressions in the Quran used to convey jealousy in the context of not to covet what God has bestowed upon others (4:32 “tatamannaw / covet”, 20:131, 15:88 “tamuddanna ʿaynayka / extend your eyes”) or that God will remove the jealousy from the hearts of the believers in the Hereafter (7:43, 15:47 “ghillin / bitterness or jealousy”), but the word most frequently used for jealousy is the word baghyan. What else is interesting is that this word, baghyan, is always used in the context of individuals objecting to the message due to jealousy on their part.
[3:19] The only religion approved by GOD is “Submission.” Ironically, those who have received the scripture are the ones who dispute this fact, despite the knowledge they have received, due to jealousy. For such rejectors of GOD’s revelations, GOD is most strict in reckoning.
إِنَّ الدِّينَ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ الْإِسْلَامُ وَمَا اخْتَلَفَ الَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ إِلَّا مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَهُمُ الْعِلْمُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ وَمَنْ يَكْفُرْ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ سَرِيعُ الْحِسَابِ
[2:90] Miserable indeed is what they sold their souls for—rejecting these revelations of GOD out of sheer resentment that GOD should bestow His grace upon whomever He chooses from among His servants. Consequently, they incurred wrath upon wrath. The disbelievers have incurred a humiliating retribution.
بِئْسَمَا اشْتَرَوْا بِهِ أَنْفُسَهُمْ أَنْ يَكْفُرُوا بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ بَغْيًا أَنْ يُنَزِّلَ اللَّهُ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ عَلَىٰ مَنْ يَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ فَبَاءُوا بِغَضَبٍ عَلَىٰ غَضَبٍ وَلِلْكَافِرِينَ عَذَابٌ مُهِينٌ
[2:213] The people used to be one community when GOD sent the prophets as bearers of good news, as well as warners. He sent down with them the scripture, bearing the truth, to judge among the people in their disputes. Ironically, those who received the scripture were the ones who rejected any new scripture, despite clear proofs given to them. This is due to jealousy on their part. GOD guides those who believe to the truth that is disputed by all others, in accordance with His will. GOD guides whoever wills in a straight path.
كَانَ النَّاسُ أُمَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ النَّبِيِّينَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنْذِرِينَ وَأَنْزَلَ مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَ بِالْحَقِّ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ فِيمَا اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ وَمَا اخْتَلَفَ فِيهِ إِلَّا الَّذِينَ أُوتُوهُ مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَتْهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ فَهَدَى اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِمَا اخْتَلَفُوا فِيهِ مِنَ الْحَقِّ بِإِذْنِهِ وَاللَّهُ يَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ
[42:14] Ironically, they broke up into sects only after the knowledge had come to them, due to jealousy and resentment among themselves. If it were not for a predetermined decision from your Lord to respite them for a definite interim, they would have been judged immediately. Indeed, the later generations who inherited the scripture are full of doubts.
وَمَا تَفَرَّقُوا إِلَّا مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَهُمُ الْعِلْمُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ وَلَوْلَا كَلِمَةٌ سَبَقَتْ مِنْ رَبِّكَ إِلَىٰ أَجَلٍ مُسَمًّى لَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُمْ وَإِنَّ الَّذِينَ أُورِثُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ بَعْدِهِمْ لَفِي شَكٍّ مِنْهُ مُرِيبٍ
[45:17] We have given them herein clear commandments. Ironically, they did not dispute this until the knowledge had come to them. This is due to jealousy on their part. Surely, your Lord will judge them on the Day of Resurrection regarding everything they have disputed.
وَآتَيْنَاهُمْ بَيِّنَاتٍ مِنَ الْأَمْرِ فَمَا اخْتَلَفُوا إِلَّا مِنْ بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَهُمُ الْعِلْمُ بَغْيًا بَيْنَهُمْ إِنَّ رَبَّكَ يَقْضِي بَيْنَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فِيمَا كَانُوا فِيهِ يَخْتَلِفُونَ
How To Overcome Bias
A popular example of people’s bias comes on full display during political elections. Many studies have shown that one’s political bias heavily influences how a person understands and interprets comments made by the politicians and political parties one supports compared to those they are against. Many people will side with their favored political nominee and against the opposing politician despite what statement they make.
A clever example of this can be seen with the common trick where people on one side of the political isle will be asked about their thoughts towards certain quotes that they are told are either from their supported politician or the opposing politician. After the individual vehemently supports or objects to the quote based on their belief if they they are told that it came from the politician they are in favor of or their opponent they are then informed that the quote was actually from the other side. In that moment people are faced with a dilemma either reassess their understanding and support or flip flop into cognitive dissonance.
- “I see improved relations with Russia from a position of strength only is possible”
- “Immigration is a privilege, and we should not let anyone into this country who doesn’t support our communities – all of our communities.”
- “In order to achieve the American dream, let people keep more money in their pockets and increase after-tax wages.”
- “There’s nothing I love more than women, but they’re really a lot different than portrayed—they are far worse than men, far more aggressive, and boy, can they be smart!”
- “I like the concept of local education. I want to get rid of Common Core. I think Common Core is a disaster.”
- “I have never seen a thin person drinking Diet Coke.”
“It doesn’t matter what was said, it matters to people which candidate said it”Jimmy Kimmel
Cognitive dissonance occurs when our perception of reality comes into contradiction with our experience in reality. It is at these crucial junctions where people can consciously reassess how they view the world. If we choose to face our contradictions then we will be genuinely searching for the truth, but if we choose to ignore them then we are admitting our bias.
An example of this can be seen when Abraham destroyed the idols of his people, and when confronted by his people he explained to them that it was the big stone idol who did it for that moment they realized the errors of their ways, yet they reverted back to their old understanding.
[21:51] Before that, we granted Abraham his guidance and understanding, for we were fully aware of him. [21:52] He said to his father and his people, “What are these statues to which you are devoting yourselves?” [21:53] They said, “We found our parents worshiping them.” [21:54] He said, “Indeed, you and your parents have gone totally astray.” [21:55] They said, “Are you telling us the truth, or are you playing?” [21:56] He said, “Your only Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, who created them. This is the testimony to which I bear witness. [21:57] “I swear by GOD, I have a plan to deal with your statues, as soon as you leave.” [21:58] He broke them into pieces, except for a big one, that they may refer to it. [21:59] They said, “Whoever did this to our gods is really a transgressor.” [21:60] They said, “We heard a youth threaten them; he is called Abraham.” [21:61] They said, “Bring him before the eyes of all the people, that they may bear witness.” [21:62] They said, “Did you do this to our gods, O Abraham?” [21:63] He said, “It is that big one who did it. Go ask them, if they can speak.” [21:64] They were taken aback, and said to themselves, “Indeed, you are the ones who have been transgressing.” [21:65] Yet, they reverted to their old ideas: “You know full well that these cannot speak.” [21:66] He said, “Do you then worship besides GOD what possesses no power to benefit you or harm you? [21:67] “You have incurred shame by worshiping idols beside GOD. Do you not understand?
Another method of confronting our bias, is through the idea of falsification. If someone holds a certain belief to be true, therefore there should also be a criteria that if also true will contradict the belief. For instance, if someone believes that the Earth is flat then they should be able to provide a criteria that if presented would falsify their original belief. If a person cannot propose a condition that would falsify their belief then the claim is meaningless. God provides such an argument in the Quran for those who challenge its legitimacy as God’s proven word.
[2:23] If you have any doubt regarding what we revealed to our servant, then produce one sura like these, and call upon your own witnesses against GOD, if you are truthful.
وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِمَّا نَزَّلْنَا عَلَىٰ عَبْدِنَا فَأْتُوا بِسُورَةٍ مِنْ مِثْلِهِ وَادْعُوا شُهَدَاءَكُمْ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
[10:38] If they say, “He fabricated it,” say, “Then produce one sura like these, and invite whomever you wish, other than GOD, if you are truthful.”
أَمْ يَقُولُونَ افْتَرَاهُ قُلْ فَأْتُوا بِسُورَةٍ مِثْلِهِ وَادْعُوا مَنِ اسْتَطَعْتُمْ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
[4:82] Why do they not study the Quran carefully? If it were from other than GOD, they would have found in it numerous contradictions.
أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ وَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ عِنْدِ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ لَوَجَدُوا فِيهِ اخْتِلَافًا كَثِيرًا
[28:48] Now that the truth has come to them from us, they said, “If only we could be given what was given to Moses!” Did they not disbelieve in what was given to Moses in the past? They said, “Both (scriptures) are works of magic that copied one another.” They also said, “We are disbelievers in both of them.”
فَلَمَّا جَاءَهُمُ الْحَقُّ مِنْ عِنْدِنَا قَالُوا لَوْلَا أُوتِيَ مِثْلَ مَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَىٰ أَوَلَمْ يَكْفُرُوا بِمَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَىٰ مِنْ قَبْلُ قَالُوا سِحْرَانِ تَظَاهَرَا وَقَالُوا إِنَّا بِكُلٍّ كَافِرُونَ
[28:49] Say, “Then produce a scripture from GOD with better guidance than the two, so I can follow it, if you are truthful.”
قُلْ فَأْتُوا بِكِتَابٍ مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ هُوَ أَهْدَىٰ مِنْهُمَا أَتَّبِعْهُ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
Despite this if the person does not want to change and is hard pressed into their ways there is nothing we can do to change their mind.
[13:11] Shifts (of angels) take turns, staying with each one of you—they are in front of you and behind you. They stay with you, and guard you in accordance with GOD’s commands. Thus, GOD does not change the condition of any people unless they themselves make the decision to change. If GOD wills any hardship for any people, no force can stop it. For they have none beside Him as Lord and Master.
لَهُ مُعَقِّبَاتٌ مِنْ بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ يَحْفَظُونَهُ مِنْ أَمْرِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ وَإِذَا أَرَادَ اللَّهُ بِقَوْمٍ سُوءًا فَلَا مَرَدَّ لَهُ وَمَا لَهُمْ مِنْ دُونِهِ مِنْ وَالٍ
[8:53] GOD does not change a blessing He has bestowed upon any people unless they themselves decide to change. GOD is Hearer, Omniscient.
ذَٰلِكَ بِأَنَّ اللَّهَ لَمْ يَكُ مُغَيِّرًا نِعْمَةً أَنْعَمَهَا عَلَىٰ قَوْمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
In the book the Little Prince, author Antoine de Saint—Exupery, had the following quote, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” Similarly while no one can reason someone out of a belief, perhaps by God’s leave they can be motivated to desire to seek the truth.
[57:16] Is it not time for those who believed to open up their hearts for GOD’s message, and the truth that is revealed herein? They should not be like the followers of previous scriptures whose hearts became hardened with time and, consequently, many of them turned wicked.
أَلَمْ يَأْنِ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَنْ تَخْشَعَ قُلُوبُهُمْ لِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ وَمَا نَزَلَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ وَلَا يَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ أُوتُوا الْكِتَابَ مِنْ قَبْلُ فَطَالَ عَلَيْهِمُ الْأَمَدُ فَقَسَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَكَثِيرٌ مِنْهُمْ فَاسِقُونَ